WASHINGTON – Today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced Colleyville Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker to testify on the rise in hate crimes across the nation after being held hostage in January. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.
“Over the last 16 years, Rabbi Charlie has built bridges within that community, bringing together people with different viewpoints, backgrounds, and religious beliefs to foster a strong sense of community.”
“On January the 15th of this year, a stranger knocked on the synagogues door, and Rabbi Charlie welcomed the man with open arms, even making him a cup of tea. It soon became clear that this was not a man in need of shelter but an armed, anti-Semitic terrorist who held the rabbi and three other individuals at gunpoint.”
“For 11 hours, Rabbi Charlie talked with the gunman to keep him calm and, when the moment was right, he acted to ensure his members could escape to safety. Harkening back to security training, which I know he will discuss here today, he convinced the gunman to take a drink of water, which created enough separation between the gunman and his weapon that the rabbi was able to throw a chair in the gunman’s direction distracting him.”
“This swift action allowed the rabbi and the other hostages to escape safely before a shot was fired.”
“I had the opportunity to visit with Rabbi Charlie in January and commend his incredible courage and quick thinking on that day.”
“It’s good to have Rabbi Charlie here with us today and it’s an honor for you to appear at this important hearing on the disturbing rise in hate crimes. I think there’s a lot we can learn from Rabbi Charlie’s experience and I look forward to his testimony.”