Every day Israelis engage in courageous acts. Usually the world does not get to hear about them. This week’s episode of “The ZOA Middle East Report,” the Zionist Organization of America’s weekly radio program, featured a son of the latest Israeli hero.
Joe Librescu’s father, Professor Liviu Librescu, was tragically killed Monday while enabling his students to escape from the Virginia Tech gunman by preventing the shooter from entering their classroom.
In an exclusive phone interview from Tel Aviv on ZOA’s radio show (1540 AM WNWR — Philadelphia) Wednesday, Librescu took time out from his mourning to recall his father and explain how his final act was so much in character in a life of heroism that was Liviu Librescu.
Librescu, a professor of mechanics and engineering, not only was fortunate to survive the Holocaust, but also escaped the persecution in his native Romania of the repressive Nicolae Ceausescu regime. When he expressed interest in Zionism he was stripped of his academic position. The family made aliyah in 1978.
“He was passionate about everything that he had done, passionate about his Jewish heritage (and) was proud to be an Israeli. He held the (Israeli) flag high while in the U.S. through the thing that he did best: his research and his teachings,” Joe Librescu says on the show.
The son noted that his father was an unofficial “ambassador” for Israel in the Virginia Tech community and other places he traveled, including Spain and Korea.
The family is being comforted through their mourning by emails from students he saved praising and thanking Librescu, his son related. “For me personally and my brother, for us, it’s been an immense source of pride; it makes us strong … respect his heritage and respect who he was — all his teachings that at times, we didn’t quite get it as children … but now I get it. Now I get it better. I feel proud to be the son of my father.”
In perhaps the most moving exchange, Joe Librescu noted that the family first heard that Librescu had been shot, and then that he was in critical condition before learning he had in fact been murdered. Still they were unaware of the circumstances surrounding his death.
But, Joe Librescu said, he visualized the way his father would have conducted himself during the incident. He felt he would have been jumping the gunman, or trying to talk sense into him.
“I knew he was going to do something — that’s what type of person he was.” He was all about “doing the right thing.”
To hear the interview, go to www.zoaphilly.org where it is also available as a Podcast.
Other guests on the week’s show included Knesset Member Dr. Yuval Steinitz and Philadelphia-area Zionist activist Darrell Zaslow.
The show was hosted by Steve Feldman along with guest co-host Roberta Dzubow. Dzubow was filling in for regular co-host Lori Lowenthal Marcus. Feldman is executive director and Marcus president of ZOA’s Greater Philadelphia District. The show is produced by ZOA’s Greater Philadelphia District and National ZOA.
“The ZOA Middle East Report” has been on the air for three years on 1540 AM WNWR Radio in the Philadelphia area and can be heard worldwide on the Web.
Guests have included Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, members of Congress and the Knesset, American and Israeli journalists and analysts as well as heroes and other newsmakers.
For information about the show, call 215-338-9188.