New York City and Hebrew University were each chosen as terror targets because of their openness and embrace of diversity, City Council leaders said Tuesday as they renamed a street in memory of Janis Ruth Coulter.
The Massachusetts native, who converted to Judaism and moved to Brooklyn, was among nine people murdered last summer when a terrorist’s bomb destroyed the cafeteria at the University’s Mount Scopus campus.
"New York City has always stood as a vision, an example of a place where people can come together from all over the world," said Council Speaker Gifford Miller. "On Sept. 11 we were attacked … because that’s what we stand for.
"Hebrew University was attacked for exactly the same reason. It stood out as a place where Jews and Arabs and people from all over the world can come together and study as a symbol of hope for the future."
Coulter was an administrator with Hebrew U.’s Rothberg International School. She was guiding a group of American students beginning their yearlong program at Mount Scopus last summer when she was killed just short of her 37th birthday.
Miller and Councilman Leroy Comrie of Queens presented a proclamation to Coulter’s family renaming the stretch of East 69th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues (where she worked at the American Friends of Hebrew University offices) Janis Coulter Place. The proclamation noted her "extraordinary contributions to humanity," and ability "to absorb and incorporate the ethical dimension of religion into every aspect of her life."
Diane Coulter Albert, right, said her sister Janis had long been "intrigued" by Jewish history, and decided to convert after pursuing a doctorate in Judaic studies at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1998.
"Never could we imagine that his kind of honor would be bestowed on her," said Albert, joined by her father, Robert Coulter Sr., center, and brother, Robert Jr., left. "This is a sign that she was respected by her peers. Our family will always treasure this little street in Manhattan."
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Lancry, noting that he had lost a niece in a recent terrorist bombing, said Janis Coulter Place would serve as a poignant reminder to everyone that "terror can come close to us" and that "the United States and Israel are one family completely united in fighting terror."