Sarri Singer, who moved to Israel at the end of 2001, became a victim of terror on June 11, 2003 when a teen-age suicide bomber blew himself up on the Jerusalem bus #14 she had taken to meet a friend for dinner. Sarri was severely injured, but when she recovered, rather than harbor resentment or hopelessness, Sarri founded Strength to Strength, a global haven for victims of terror; a network for survivors to heal, become empowered, and move forward to build a culture of peace.
Strength to Strength (http://stosglobal.org) provides terror victims and their families with psychological and emotional support through regular meetings and retreats, a forum to share their stories, and access to information and advice, as well as raising public awareness of the unmet needs of terror survivors.
As the Director of Strength to Strength, Sarri has addressed audiences throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, and Israel and continues to share her unique insight into the ongoing struggle victims of terror face in Israel and around the world.
On March 17, 2016, Sarri was one of the featured panelists at a United Nations’ Department of Public Information/Nongovernmental Organization Briefing, held in parallel with the 60th session of the Committee on the Status of Women. During the session, entitled “Women and Girls: From Adversity to Hope,” Sarri told the audience her story:
The daughter of a New Jersey state senator, Sarri had overslept the morning of September 11th, when those two planes struck the World Trade Center, killing thousands. Her office was only blocks away from the blasts. She watched with horror on television as her colleagues were evacuated and ran towards safety.
“I knew I could not sit idly by and just brush off the events of 9/11 as if nothing had happened,” Sarri says. So, in December 2001, she quit her job to move to Israel and volunteer with organizations that directly aided families who had been impacted by terrorism.
And then, in 2003, Sarri, herself, became a terror victim, one of over 100 people injured by an 18-year-old suicide bomber, dressed as a religious Jew. It has been 12 years since the attack, but Sarri says the memories are still with her every day.
Burned, bleeding, and frightened, she had been pulled from the bus. Her clavicle was broken, her ear drums were blown, her face was burned and bruised, and two pieces of shrapnel were lodged in her mouth–shrapnel that remains in place to this day, since it was not possible to safely remove it. And, yet, she relates, she was the lucky one because she learned later that those sitting and standing around her did not survive.
When people ask Sarri if she is filled with hate and the desire for revenge, she answers emphatically, “Absolutely not.” As she explains, hate only breeds more destruction. “I only have control over how I live my life going forward. Life is too short to repay destruction with destruction.”
Her answer to terrorism is Strength to Strength, which brings together people from all walks of life who are bonded by their experience of terror, but want to help build a global culture of peace. “It is only in a room of survivors,” she notes, “that everyone understands the wounds we wear are our badges of courage.”
Hear Sarri’s panel presentation at http://webtv.un.org/watch/woman-and-girls-from-adversity-to-hope-dpingo-briefing-csw60-side-event/4805455564001#full-text Click to minutes 38-45.