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September 06, 2002 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-06

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This Week

Remembering 9-1 1

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9/ 6


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Jewish Home & Aging Services

Sept. 11
One Year Later

Rabbis strive for inspiring words after
a year of terror and tumult.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

one of the most traumatic years in
recent history.

New York City
ypically an outspoken polit- How To Respond
ical activist, Rabbi Avi
"Our best response to the injustice
Weiss struggles for the right and evil in the world is to personally
take responsibility for tikkun olam
words when it comes to
talking about Ground Zero.
[repair of the world]," says Rabbi
"I can't go down to that place any
Joseph Klein of Temple Emanu-El in
Oak Park.
more," says. Rabbi Weiss, spiritual
leader of the Hebrew Institute in
"If the world is broken, we can fix it,
Bronx, N.Y.
one piece at a time. If the world is bro-
On that fateful Sept. 11, the rabbi
ken, we can fix the world within our
walked many blocks into the suffocat-
reach. Singly, you and I may not have
ing dust cloud arising from the col-
great effect, [but] when we gather togeth-
lapsed World Trade Center, hoping he
er, standing upon the principles of our
could help.
prophetic tradition, our reach is.enlarged
His actions were "insignificant"
and our effort strengthened," he says.
"In the aftermath of 9-11, says
compared to firefighters, police and
rescue workers who, he says, turned a
Rabbi Klein, "we may not merely
wring our hands in sadness, or shake
place of evil into "a congregation of
holy souls."
our fists in anger. After 9-11 we must
But one year later, he sees a "rush of
take up the challenge to fix the world
within our reach."
politicians and others to be at that
Rabbi Barbara Penzner of Temple
spot," and while understanding the
need to see it, he won't go.
Hillel B'nai Torah in West Roxbury,
Mass., says she and many colleagues
Instead, Rabbi Weiss will mark the
anniversary of the attacks as well as
have "struggled" to address the issues.
Some rabbis she knows will be
High Holiday services by asking his
retelling stories of some 9-11 heroes,
congregation for a period of "nonver-
bal communication," like the moment while others are discussing the terror-
of silence that brings Israel to a halt on ism Israel still faces each day.
Memorial and Holocaust
Others are exploring how fear
Remembrance Days.
shapes our response to the attacks, and
some are simply asking where God
But they'll also recite psalms, read
was on that day.
names and stories of victims, and talk
"People are trying to find one aspect
about trust — "not only in each other,
of this tragedy in the past year and
but finding it in your soul to trust in
trying to give people inspiration and
hope," says Rabbi Penzner.
Rabbi Weiss is hardly alone in his
struggle to find a way to talk about 9-11.
"As Jews, we have a significant per-
spective, because we have lived though
Rabbis across the country are grap-
so many crises and calamities and we
pling with how to address a tumul-
can appreciate how to live through
tuous year that saw a sharp increase in
events and not let them overpower
terrorism in Israel and a resurgence of
-us," she says.
anti-Semitism around the world, even
as their congregants tried to recover
Rabbi Chaim Bergstein of Bais
from the shock and pain of 9-11.
Chabad of Farmington Hills sees the
need for loss of life to be compensated by
Most rabbis plan to use the High
Holidays — Rosh Hashanah and Yom
an increase in the way we live our lives.
"We must focus our attention
Kippur, which begin at sundown On
toward educating and inspiring the
Sept: 6 and Sept. 15, respectively, .
very young and the young in their edu-
bracketing the 9-11 anniversary — to
cation," he says. "We must infuse life
try to tackle what many say has been


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