September 11, 2006, - 8:48 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Well before 9/11, my cousin Arnie Schlissel started a project, “All Schlissels are linked,” creating a family tree of all Schlussels, Schlissels, and Schlessels from around the world. We are all related to one man in Poland in the 1700s, Yoska the Holy One (a righteous, heroic man, who was murdered by the anti-Semitic Countess Tarnowski).
Even though many of my relatives were wiped out by the Nazis, the Schlussel/Schlissel/Schlessel family remains strong and numerous. This past summer, we had a family reunion in the New York City area. One of those who never had a chance to attend was my cousin, Jon Schlissel, murdered on 9/11. He died when the second plane hit his office in the South Tower. He worked on the 87th floor. Jon is survived by his sweet mother Ruth Schlissel, age 85, and his brother, Larry Schlissel.
Jon was also a hero, perhaps on 9/11 and definitely during his life. A fitness devotee, he regularly worked out and was very muscular. On 9/11, everyone in his office got out and survived–everyone except Jon, a man in a wheelchair and a heavyset woman. Jon’s brother, Larry, said he believes Jon didn’t make it because he was trying to assist the other two in getting out.
Jon, who grew up in Long Island, was exactly the type of man Muslim extremists hate–exactly the type of man who could live free in America, but not in any Muslim nation. He was a Jew. And he was gay and a gay rights activist–a regular attendee at the Pride March in New York and a vocal voice and pot-stirrer in New Jersey local politics.
And in fact, lest we forget, some Muslims in America, are happy Jon was murdered in the towers. Bassem Abulhassan, the 27-year-old brother, of TracFone suspect Osama Sabhi Abulhassan, sent me this repulsive e-mail:
— Bassem Abulhassan firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 17:06:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bassem Abulhassan email@example.com
Subject: Dropped Charges
By the way, how is your cousin Jon doing these days? Ouch. Did I hit a sore spot.
(Scary that Bassem Abulhassan is attempting to become a member of the Michigan Bar.)
Jon bought a Victorian home in a bad neighborhood of Jersey City, New Jersey and restored it to the most minute detail. As a result, others moved into the neighborhood, restored homes, and it is now a gentrified area. Jon’s home of 7 fireplaces and 14 rooms is a regular stop on home tours. Jon was a community activist who restored a local park and movie theater, Loew’s Jersey Theatre, in Jersey City. He gave a lot of money to charity. He was an ACLU member who believed in equality for everyone, his brother, Larry, told me.
You would never know Jon was gay, unless he told you. He used to tell gay activists at the Pride parade, “Why would you wear a dress?” He told gays they needed to act normal to get respect and equal treatment, not act or dress like freaks.
Jon worked for the government, as an accountant for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. He was a supervisor for corporation tax and audited some of the world’s largest corporations. Contrary to outrageous Muslim assertions, Jon and many others with Jewish surnames who worked for the Department, did not get “the memo” for Jews not to show up to work on September 11. All of these people–Jews and others–showed up and were murdered by Islamic terrorists.
Larry Schlissel told me:
9/11 is not a special day of remembrance of my brother for me. I remember all victims today. But I miss Jon every single day, no more or less than on 9/11. Every day, I think, ‘I should tell this to Jon.’ But I can’t because Jon isn’t here. He was the sweetest nicest guy you ever could meet. He extended himself so much to his friends, his community, even people he barely knew. He convinced a guy who was fed up with his job to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor and going to medical school. That person is now a happy doctor. That is the kind of guy Jon was–always friendly, always smiling, always helping others.
As my cousin, Bruce Miller, wrote:
For as long as the Schlissel Family and its extended family exists, Jon will be remembered by all on each and every anniversary of 9-11. May his name always be remembered as a blessing.
Amen to that.
Read the New York Times profile of Jon, a remembrance from Jon’s friend, Ron, and statements of others who knew him well. Articles about Jon from the Jersey Journal, here and here.
Never forget the attacks of 9/11 and who committed them. As we frequently note on this site, it wasn’t the Samoans who murdered almost 3,000 Americans.
Jon Schlissel, Zichrono LiVrachah (Blessed Be His Memory).
An e-mail from one of this site’s readers, Michael F., who was Jon’s friend:
Subject: hello from texas
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 10:55:55 -0500
From: Michael F.
I just found your website via a link from elderofziyon.
Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you do…and also…I knew your cousin Jon when I lived in NYC.
He was a nice and kind person and I was shocked when I got e-mails from mutual friends telling me the horrible news from that horrible day.
Sometimes it seems as if this world is getting crazier every day.
Thanks again and good luck to you.
Tags: accountant, ACLU, America, Bassem Abulhassan, Bruce Miller, community activist, gay rights activist, Jersey City, Jon Schlissel, Larry Schlissel, member, Michigan Bar, Muslim, New Jersey, New York, New York City, New York State Department, New York Times, NYC, Osama Sabhi Abulhassan, Poland, Ron, Ruth Schlissel, South Tower, supervisor, the Jersey Journal, The New York Times