2005_04_ask_ari.jpgWhen I'm in a taxi going over the Brooklyn Bridge from the FDR Drive, I always notice a sign proclaiming the onramp to be the "Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp". Who is this guy, and why did he get an onramp to a bridge named after him, of all things?

Ari Halberstam was killed on the Brooklyn Bridge on March 1, 1994 and former mayor Rudolph Giuliani named the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp in his honor. Ari was a 16 year-old Rabbinical student when a gunman, Rashid Baz, opened fire on a yeshiva van that Ari was riding in. He died 5 days after being shot in the head.

In addition to the ramp, there is also an Ari Halberstam memorial fund and sportsmanship award, and the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn has been dedicated to him as well. Rashid Baz was sentenced to 141 years in prison for the attack, and Ari's family convinced the Justice Department to reclassify the shooting as an act of terror. The family continues to work with government officials to try to pass gun-control laws and anti-terrorism laws.

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