Following the deadly attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday that killed 26, including 20 children, President Barack Obama joined grieving families gathered yesterday at Newtown High School. “I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation,” he declared.

Acknowledging that words “cannot match the depths of [the survivors’] sorrow, nor can they heal [their] wounded hearts,” the president told the grieving relatives and community, “I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight."

“You must know,” Obama continued, “that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown — you are not alone.”

Rabbi Yisrael Deren, regional director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Western and Southern New England, spent all day Sunday in Newtown counseling grieving families alongside Rabbi Sholom Deitsch, director of Chabad of Ridgefield, Conn. The rabbi said he was impressed with the president’s comments and felt that they hit the right tone. “I think that he stepped up to his role as leader of this nation, in calling for a response that speaks to the very best in who we are as human beings and as Americans,” he said.

“The president’s genuine sentiment and care for the victims and their families showed clearly,” Deren observed. “It felt like he was bringing the whole country’s support and love to the families.”

Families met with Obama one-on-one ahead of the event, including the family of six-year-old Noah Pozner, who was laid to rest today. The president dropped nearly to his knees to talk with Noah’s twin sister as he admired something she had made for him. He also autographed a picture of the twins, recalled Deren.

Aviva Deren, who was put in touch with the Pozner family by a mutual friend after learning of Noah Pozner’s death, shared her husband’s sentiments.

“I found his speech stirring and, even more than that, heartfelt,” she wrote in her reflection on the meeting, published on “There was an authenticity in this speech that one does not often encounter in public life. In my opinion, [it] was simply magnificent. I hope that every classroom in our country will study those words and figure out how to translate them into real life.”

In her essay, Aviva Deren wrote that as she was thinking of the name of the slain boy, Noah, “the themes of the Biblical story kept playing in my mind. All of humanity are considered to be his (Noah’s) descendants, bound in a covenant with G‑d, to partner with Him to create a world of peace and harmony, of justice, goodness and kindness.”

In contrast to the Biblical flood, “what we need is a good flood” she wrote, “a flood of kindness, of caring, of compassion, of goodness, of warmth, of benevolence, of support, of reaching out."

"There are, thank G‑d, enough of us on this planet to make sure that not one human being ever feels lost," the acclaimed educator wrote. "We need a Flood of connections. Not just the trickles that come from time to time, but everywhere, all the time."