Purim is a holiday filled with traditions that center on family and community-whether it’s baking and eating hamentashen, exchanging gifts of food with our neighbors, dressing in costumes, or reading the Megillah. But it is also an ageless story of perseverance, faith, and strength. It celebrates the victory of Esther and Mordechai over an evil opponent who wanted to eradicate the Jews. It reminds us of the strength that comes with unity and faith. That’s a timeless message-and also a timely one, both for the people of Israel in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, and for the people of New York as we continue to rebuild our great city.

This past summer, the world once again saw the ruthless face of terrorism. Anywhere that terror strikes-in the Middle East or in the streets of Lower Manhattan-it’s an assault on all free people. That is one reason why I traveled to Jerusalem in August, along with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Brooklyn Councilmember Simcha Felder, and former Mayor Ed Koch. We visited the Western Wall and then boarded the No. 2 Egged bus to ride a route that had been a recent target of terrorism. We lit candles at the site of the bombing on Shmuel Hanavi Street, to honor the memories of the 21 people who were killed in the attack, and spoke with the rescue workers who had acted so courageously. We met with the injured at Hadassah University Medical Center; one terror victim whom we visited was just one month old. Afterwards, we walked the streets of Jerusalem and demonstrated that the people of the City of New York stand united with the people of Israel.

Although the recent attacks took place halfway around the world, they brought loss and grief to many of our neighbors in New York City. As a city that has been struck by terrorists, we share the anguish and the outrage of our neighbors, and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones in the attacks. After the attack on the World Trade Center, offers of help and expressions of support poured into New York City from people around the world. That meant more to us than we can ever say, and we’ll never forget those who stood by us. Now, in the face of these barbaric crimes, it’s our duty to show solidarity, demonstrate our humanity, and proclaim our resolve to stop terrorism everywhere.

And so, while Purim is one of the jolliest of Jewish holidays, we cannot forget the people across the globe who have suffered from terrorism. Our hearts, once filled with sympathy for the struggle of our ally Israel, today well with empathy, as we face a common enemy. The special kinship New Yorkers feel with Israel is stronger now than ever. Like Israelis, we are members of a free society; we cherish our liberties. No matter what the terrorists do to shake our will, we will never let them win.