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November 07, 2003 - Image 87

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-07

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Words Of Comfort

Web site features sermons delivered in
the aftermath of 9-11 attacks.


orth American rabbis rep-
resenting different streams
of Judaism have con-
tributed texts of their
2001 High Holiday sermons — given
just following the 9-1 1 attacks — to
an Internet project co-sponsored by a
Conservative rabbinical student from
metro Detroit, Jason Miller.
"Torah from Terror: The Rabbinic
Response to September 11, 2001"
was created through the
Jewish Theological
Seminary of America
(JTS) to preserve the
words of Torah written
and spoken in the days
following 9-11. Rabbi
Neil Gillman and Miller
have collected more than
100 sermons, which are
posted at
"While the tragic
events of 9-11 cast a dark
shadow on the Days of
Awe 5762," Miller said,
"many rabbis eventually
found their voices and
were able to construct the
appropriate words to
bring a sense of consola-
tion. Rabbis drew on the
wisdom of the Jewish tra-
dition — the Torah — to
find their words of heal-
Rabbi Gillman is the
Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H.
Rifkind Professor of Jewish
Philosophy at JTS in New York. He
is the author of several books, includ-
ing The Death of Death: Resurrection


and Immortality in Jewish Thought
(Jewish Lights Publishing).
At JTS, Miller is a senior in the
rabbinical school and the Gladstein
Family Rabbinical Fellow.
Contributors to the Torah Terror
project include rabbis David Wolpe
of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles,
Bradley Shavit Artson of the Ziegler
Rabbinical School at the University
of Judaism in Los Angeles, Richard
Hirsch, executive director of the
Reconstructionist Rabbinical
Association, Debra Orenstein of
Makom Ohr Shalom in Los Angeles,

and locally, Daniel Nevins of Adat
Shalom Synagogue and Paul Yedwab
of Temple Israel.
The database also includes the
Rosh Hashanah sermon delivered by
Rabbi Marla Feldman, then of the
Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit, at Temple Beth
El in Flint.
Sermons continue to be received
for consideration. The Web site
includes a list of care
groups to which you can
donate to help support
9-11 survivors and fami-
lies of victims.
In the first week,
Torah From Terror had
1,500 visitors, Miller
"In the wake of the
horrors visited upon us
on 9-11," Rabbi Gillman
said, "people had many
questions for God.
`Where was God on
Sept. 11?' 'What kind of
God lets this happen?'
They looked to their rab-
bis to help them explore
these questions of faith."
Miller is working
toward a master's degree
in Jewish education from
the William Davidson
School of Education at
JTS, where he is presi-
dent of the Rabbinical
School Student Organization. He will
be ordained next May.
The Michigan State University
graduate is serving as a rabbinic
intern under Rabbi Alan Silverstein at
Congregation Agudath Israel, in
Caldwell, N.J. He is also serving the
Loudoun Jewish Congregation in
Leesburg, Va., traveling there month-
"Most rabbis had already written
their Rosh Hashanah sermons by 9-
11," Miller said. "They quickly put
those aside and began the process of
creating new sermons that would
address what no one could articulate.
"So many rabbis rose to the occa-
sion, presenting words of comfort
and consolation, words culled from
the pages of our Torah." El

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