Home » Insights & Inspirations » 13 Years Ago: How I Reacted to 9/11

13 Years Ago: How I Reacted to 9/11

What follows are thoughts I expressed on Yom Kippur in 2001.

It is hard to imagine that if 9/11/01 was a child, he or she would now be ready for Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Indeed in the years since that day, terror has come of age.

 The connection I made between the events of that day and the Middle East was valid then, and I believe it is all the more valid today. I applaud President Obama’s resolve to fight the ISIS terrorists.There are those in this world whose only mission is death and destruction. Unfortunately, that is the only language they understand.

Why does it take the worst to bring out the best in us?

That is the question I hope we shall ponder intensively throughout this sacred day.

We are just beginning to absorb the enormity and the reality of the tragedy our nation has endured. Thousands and thousand of people whose only crime was that they got up and went to work will never come home.

Through our tears and our revulsion at the evil behind this terror, we have seen awe-inspiring heroism and examples of goodness and leadership that will inspire us as long as we breathe. Let us close our eyes and think of the firefighters, the police, the Emergency Medical Technicians, the doctors, nurses, and the chaplains of all faiths who did so much to comfort so many.

Let us think of the entertainers. They came from every corner of everywhere to donate their talent and time, and they raised 150 million dollars to aid the victims.

Ordinary people, too, rolled up their sleeves to give blood, unrolled their billfolds to give money, collected food, and clothing. The resolve and reaction of the American people to this tragedy is a proud chapter in our history.

 What we suffered in the United States on 9/11 is on a larger scale what Israel has lived with for all its existence. That point becomes even clearer when we realize that just days ago, Israeli security captured two Palestinians that had planned to blow up the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, the tallest building in the Middle East.

If the Palestinians cannot accept the reality of a sovereign Jewish Israel, then the prognosis is war and suffering and more war and more suffering. If the Palestinians cannot renounce terror, then reprisals and the deaths of innocent Palestinians will not end.

Why does it take the worst to bring out the best in us? I wish I knew. I do know, though, that this is the time for us to bring out our best –our best as Americans and our best as Jews; our best in support of the victims of terror in our country, and our best in support of our brothers and sisters in Israel.

They both need our love, our money, our time, and our presence.

Let terror not paralyze us but mobilize us. As Americans let us conquer the fear that gives terror its victory, and let us face the future with courage.

3 thoughts on “13 Years Ago: How I Reacted to 9/11

  1. I was counseling so many families during the time, that I never had time to mourn my own. I had to harden my heart to do commemoration services almost daily with our governor and a priest. We had the reminder of a grey dust that flowed and covered Westfield, NJ. You could not breathe the air. There were special ops officers on the synagogue roof spread out like a flag moving in the wind. Officers in the street. I will never forget 9/11 and the months that followed, holding so many family members, watching people put holes in their walls, children who could not understand, holding a woman whose husband had died during Rosh HaShannah services as she collapsed when services began. Just holding her and absorbing her pain and tears, both of us rocking together through the service. Accepting the weight of everyone’s pain, unable to let it go. A crier afraid that if she began crying, she would never stop.

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