Rabbi Yisrael Goldstein, who was injured Saturday in a shooting attack on Chabad of Poway synagogue, thanked US President Donald Trump for "bringing him from darkness to the White House" and helping him heal.
Speaking at a gathering on the White House lawn, Rabbi Goldstein said, "Just five days ago, Saturday morning, I faced evil and the worst darkness of all time, right in our own house of worship, right at Chabad of Poway. I faced him, and I had to make a decision – do I run and hide, or do I stand tall and fight, and protect all those that are there. We cannot control what others do, but we can control how we react."
"The way we react to darkness, is with light. I decided that no matter what happens to me, I will save as many people as possible."
"I should've been dead by now," he said, adding that "if something good could come out of this terrible, terrible, horrific event, let us bring back a moment of silence to our public school system."
"The Rebbe taught me: As a Jew, you are a soldier of G-d and you have to stand tall and stand fast, and do whatever it takes to change the world. My life has changed forever, but it changed so I could make change, and I could help others learn how to be strong, how to be mighty and tall."
Thanking Trump, Rabbi Goldstein added, "I'd like to thank our dear, honorable, Mr. President, for being, as they say in Yiddish, 'a mentsch par excellence.' Mr. President, when you called me, I was at home weeping. You were the first person who began my healing. You heal people in their worst of times, and I'm so grateful for that."
"You have helped me bring great honor to Mrs. Lori Kay, of blessed memory, a sixty-year-old dear friend of our congregation, I've known her for twenty-five years, a staunch volunteer. She works for the Friendship Circle, an organization that helps children with special needs. This year, on June 2, we're doing a march in her memory, to show that nothing is going to stop us, we're going to march with victory, and you helped us bring Lori Kaye great honor, and G-d bless you, and G-d bless America."
After helping Rabbi Goldstein off the platform, Trump said, "Such beautiful words, a great man, and he said, 'This is my greatest moment in life, to go from darkness to the White House.' That's great, beautiful. Thank you very much rabbi, I appreciate it. Anything we can do - you know that. And truly your courage and your grace and devotion touches every heart and soul in America. We're blessed by having you and your family here with us today. Thank you rabbi."
""We will fight with all our strength and everything that we have in our bodies to defeat anti-Semitism, to end the attacks on the Jewish people, and to conquer all forms of persecution, intolerance, and hate.
"Every citizen has the absolute right to live according to the teachings of their faith and the convictions of their heart. This is the bedrock of American life."