Torres tells SAR grads: You do not stand alone


Rep. Ritchie Torres received a rock start’s reception at the SAR HS commencement on Monday night.

Torres, the pro-Israel Progressive Democrat whose district includes SAR’s Riverdale home, urged the graduates to “be the Maccabees of the modern world.”

“Never forget who you are and where you came from. Never be ashamed of who you are. Be proud of your Judaism. Be proud of your Zionism. Wear it as a badge of honor,” he said to loud cheers.

“Take pride in knowing that you are part of a people, a nation, who have endured for thousands of years.”

In the face of widespread public displays of antisemitism and Israel-hate, Torres counseled that “I’ve come to realize that it is better to be right than to be loved.”

“Integrity matters more than popularity,” he said. “So stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone. But I’m going to tell you that you do not stand alone. I am proud to stand with you.”

Torres went on to discuss the concept of gratitude, “the ability to see clearly the blessings in your life,” calling it “the greatest value in life.”

“Rather than complain about the things we do not have in life, we all should be grateful for the things we do have.

“Family, faith, community, education — when you see clearly the blessings in your life, you become blessed,” he said.

Torres concluded: “I take pride in telling the world that I represent SAR in the United States Congress. And that is a blessing for which I will always be grateful. Am Yisrael chai!”

Of SAR HS’ 159 graduates, 85-percent are heading to Israel for a gap year, the school said, with nine making aliyah, including some who are joining the IDF as lone soldiers.