Jewish National Fund-USA has partnered with synagogues and schools around Atlanta to honor school resource officers in memory of 9/11, presenting them with a special plaque depicting Jerusalem’s 9/11 monument.
Events took place at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta, at Sandy Springs City Hall and Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs just to name a few. One of the honorees was instrumental in apprehending the person responsible for a recent spate of antisemitic graffiti in an Atlanta-area high school.
On Sept. 12, at a ceremony organized and led by The Weber School Student Council, members of the Rams for Israel student club honored the Sandy Springs Police Department Chief of Police Kenneth DeSimone, as well as local school resource officers in a special 9/11 memorial ceremony.
In partnership with JNF-USA, the officers received plaques depicting the 9/11 memorial outside of Jerusalem and recognizing their dedicated service and selfless sacrifice.
During the ceremony, Chief DeSimone shared that he had visited the Israeli memorial and had found his friend’s brother’s name on it, saying, “This is very personal to me and very meaningful to our department.”
Student presenter Barri Seitz, a senior at The Weber School, said, “Speaking on behalf of the Weber Rams for Israel at our 9/11 memorial ceremony strengthened not only my connection to the United States but Israel as well. I am proud to support a country and organization that knows how and when to stand with another.”
On Sept. 13, a ceremony was held at Congregation B’nai Torah honoring Officer Aurora Gwynn, who frequently serves the synagogue on Shabbat mornings. Rabbi Joshua Heller reported that the officer received a standing ovation for her dedicated and continued service to the community.
On Sept. 14, Congregation Etz Chaim honored Cobb County School District resource officers Jerry Quan, William Marshall Duling and Kevin Brunson and thanked them for their service. In partnership with JNF-USA, teens from the synagogue youth group presented these officers with plaques recognizing their years of service to the community in law enforcement. Officer Quan was personally instrumental in catching the perpetrators of recent antisemitic graffiti in ccc, making this recognition from the Jewish community particularly poignant.
Said synagogue teen Mia Kleinman, “I felt inspired seeing the people who keep me safe at the synagogue I grew up in.” Speaking of the tremendous service of these officers, Tamar Oren, a senior at Sprayberry High School said, “The officers are like our dads at school. They talk to us in the hall and are people we go to for absolutely anything. I know they have risked their lives and for that I am forever grateful.”
The synagogue’s rabbi remarked about the ceremony, “We continue to be grateful for our community’s partnership with Jewish National Fund-USA that enabled us to honor our law enforcement personnel in such a special and meaningful way.”
The plaque features JNF-USA’s and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-JNF’s 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in Jerusalem — the only commemorative site of its type outside of the U.S. that lists all the names of those who were killed on 9/11. It represents the firefighters, paramedics and police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and worked tirelessly to save countless lives on that infamous day and honors first responders who risk it all to protect and serve.
Established in 2009, the monument is a testament to the deep connection between the State of Israel and the U.S., and the two countries’ shared values of peace, religious tolerance, democracy and fighting terrorism.
- Jan Jaben-Eilon
- Jewish National Fund-USA
- The Weber School
- congregation etz chaim
- Sandy Springs City Hall
- Congregation B’nai TorahCongregation B’nai Torah
- Weber Rams for Israel
- Officer Aurora Gwynn
- Rabbi Joshua Heller
- Jerry Quan
- William Marshall Duling
- Kevin Brunson
- Lassiter High School
- Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-JNF’s 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza
- Sprayberry High School