Paul Kurzberg, an Israeli from Pardess Hanna, was in the office of his New Jersey moving company on Sept. 11, 2001, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
Like many Israeli movers in the New York area, Kurzberg, who was in his late 20s, was not legally authorized to work in the United States. But on Sept. 11, that thought was distant from his mind as he and his friends piled into a company van after the second plane hit the World Trade Center to find a better vantage point to photograph the historic terrorist attack.
It proved to be a critical mistake.
Survivors are suing the commission on Nazi-era insurance claims, a commissioner has called for the resignation of its chief and Jewish officials handling the claims acknowledge serious problems.
But they also say there probably isn't a better way to dole out the claims.
The anger and frustration some lawmakers and survivors feel toward the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims peaked last week when several survivors filed suit, claiming the organization was delaying payments.
California's insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, a member of the commission, later joined the suit and called for the resignation of the commission's chairman, former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.
The city of Los Angeles has been hit with claims of more than $58 million, stemming from the deadly shooting rampage last July 4 at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al check-in counter.
Killed in the attack were two Israeli Americans, Yaacov (Jacob) Aminov, a 46-year-old owner of a jewelry distribution company, and Victoria (Vicky) Hen, 25, who had worked as an El Al ticket agent for less than two months.
They died in a hail of bullets fired by Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian immigrant, who opened fire on passengers waiting in line. He was killed within seconds by an El Al security guard.
Claims by the Aminov family and companions total more than $38 million, while the parents of Hen are asking for $20 million.
Art has a wonderful way of bringing us back to our roots. Take that controversial modern-art exhibit now showing at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It's making monkeys out of everyone concerned.