Steven was a friend of mine.
We first met on our mutual aliyah (immigration to Israel) flight via New York City in 2005.
I remember that the El Al flight that we was used for our aliyah waited for him because his flight from Miami arrived 30 minutes late. When he finally arrived, he was happy and relaxed.
We sat together throughout the flight and got to know each other well. As the recent news reports mentioned, I can confirm that we spent most of the flight talking about sports and the Middle East.
We were the only people to make aliyah that day. We were both very proud of what we had done.
Our paths continued to cross through our time together at the IDC Herzliya (the Interdisciplinary Center) where we both were in the debate society and hung out outside of school. Steven was a bright, curious and approachable person. I always enjoyed being around him.
Like everyone who is currently mourning him, I am completely shocked by his absolutely tragic murder.
I did not want to mention his roots here in Israel throughout the past month for fear that it might somehow negatively affect his life.
Now it is my hope that the picture can speak for itself and the Times of Israel can offer its readers an outlet to understand a moment in time when he made the pro-active decision to make aliyah and to become an Israeli — on September 22, 2005.
May he rest in peace. Baruch Dayan Emet. (Blessed is the True Judge.)