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September 07, 2006 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Staff photo by Harry Kirsbaum

Neteta'School,
Nazareth Illit, Sept. 12,
2001

Coping Mechanism

Five years later,
those directly
affected by 9 - 11
react differently.

Harry Kirsbaum
Staff Writer

T

tually be, but his body was never recovered.
"Isn't that stupid?" the boy wrote.
Techner wrote him back and said,"Look,
what I hear your mom saying is that she
wants some historical record that not only
did your dad die, but that he lived. So put-
ting his name, his birth date and the day
that he died speaks volumes. You don't have
to ever go visit, and maybe she wont either,
but she knows that somewhere there's a
statement that your dad lived and then he
died."

he date 9-11 brings back tragic
memories for Bingham Farms
philanthropist Doreen Hermelin
Still Downtown
and her family.
Everybody treats grief differently, he said.
Just two days before the towers came
Ted Nevins, brother of Rabbi Daniel
crashing down, she was in
Nevins of Adat Shalom
California to celebrate the wed-
Synagogue in Farmington
ding of her nephew, Kevin Fisher,
Hills, evacuated his build-
son of her sister and brother-in-
ing on Wall Street on 9-11
law Reggie and Dr. Bobby Fisher
and waited on a subway sta-
of Santa Monica.
tion platform where smoke
Ian Schneider, 45, husband of
streamed into the air from
the groom's sister Cheryl, was
the first tower collapsing. He
one of 680 employees of Cantor
lost several acquaintances on
Fitzgerald Securities who died
that day, and says much of the
in the North Tower of the World
shock has worn off.
Doreen H ermelin
Trade Center.
Nevins, who works in corpo-
Many employees of the firm – friends of
rate affairs at American International Group
the groom's from when he also worked in
(AIG), and his wife, Sharon, have moved
that office — had attended his California
from Manhattan to Tenafly, N.J., not from
wedding. Hermelin says her niece
fear, but to raise a family
Cheryl has been in a "funk" for
"It's a different feel living
a very long time and "there's no
outside of the city, but I come
question there's a huge void in her
down to Wall Street everyday'
three children's lives:' •
he said. "I hit five terrorist tar-
"He was a really special guy ...
gets before my first cup of cof-
very much a hands-on dad, and a
fee every morning — Lincoln
coach to all their teams!'
Tunnel, Port Authority, Times
Five years later, 9-11 certainly
Square, Wall Street; and then I
has touched all of us, but its emo-
come up to the tallest building
tional ripples are felt most keenly David Te chner
downtown.
by those directly affected.
"We have disaster pre-
David Techner, funeral director at Ira
paredness drills in the building for nuclear
Kaufman Chapel in Southfield, drove to New biological chemical attacks in addition to
York with Hermelin and other family mem-
regular fire drills',' he said. "We have stay-in-
bers that day as commercial flights were
place drills and decontamination drills, and
grounded. He organized a memorial service
it's taken very seriously. We're reminded on a
for Schneider on the following Sunday, and
regular basis."
volunteered to help other people.
Techner said that although reminders
"I remember going down to the medi-
are everywhere, people, especially the grief-
cal examiner's office trying to get some
stricken, still have to move on.
information for people he said."It was just
"There are people that had spouses die
a sense of absolute organized chaos. I was
who are now remarried and have new lives','
there when people were still hopeful that
he said. "At some particular point, some
they would find someone. I developed some people decide I must move on — I must
relationships there, and I still have e-mail
move forward. And that's something that
relationships with young kids who lost their
everybody does differently
parents.
"I had a child that died [from illness]," he
"I got an e-mail from a kid whose mother said."The ultimate comment that I often
wanted to put up a stone for his father in a
make is,'You never get over it; you try to get
cemetery where his grandparents will even-
used to it."

Young Israeli Voices
Uplifted Me After 9-11

E

veryone old enough to
remember will remem-
ber where they were
on Sept, 11, 2001. For me, the
defining moment wouldn't hap-
pen until the following day, and
I wouldn't realize it until some
time passed.
Defining moments aren't
defined at that moment; they
need perspective.
It was about an hour after we
heard the news at a rest stop
somewhere in Israel's Central Galilee. We
were on the bus heading to Nazareth Illit
when photographer Debbie Hill's beeper
went off.
She read the news on the screen from a
colleague at the scene.
"They're dancing in the streets in East
Jerusalem',' she read aloud to me. "He's tak-
ing pictures of Palestinian women clucking
and throwing candy to children."
Great, I thought to myself, anger seeping
into me. I was covering the 81 Detroiters
who joined several hundred other partici-
pants from around North America at the
United Jewish Communities' Israel Now and
Forever Solidarity Mission.
We were there to show Israelis we sup-
ported them as they suffered through sui-
cide bombings and harsh economic times
because of the intifada.
And now we needed support.
We stepped off the bus and joined
in a solidarity walk with residents of
Federation's Partnership 2000 region. The
planned after-dinner dancing was replaced
by sorrowful speeches from the region's
leaders.
We didn't see the carnage on television
until We checked into the hotel late that
night; they set up a large-screen television
in the hotel lobby. No tears for me; just
anger and swear words.
I went to my room, filed my first story

and tried to sleep.
I turned on the television
Sept. 12 and watched the
update of the tragedy before
meeting 81 other sleep-
deprived Detroiters in the
lobby to continue touring
places we helped fund.
The first visit was the Netofa
School in Nazareth Illit. We
stepped off the bus, walked
through a guarded gate and up
a slight incline into a courtyard
to a scene I'll never forget.
Nine young Israeli schoolgirls stood in
a straight line in front of an Israeli flag at
half-staff.
Without introduction, they sang
"Hatikvah"; they sang "God Bless America"
and my tears finally flowed.
We lit candles and planted trees, then
toured the school. The kids painted pictures
of the tragedy the day before and left them
on a table.
I took a pencil drawing of two planes
hitting the tower. "I'm sori," it said. It was
signed Amin
When I think of 9-11, I'll think of those
students — hew different their minds were
than the kids in East Jerusalem jumping
with glee at all that candy.
No matter what one thinks about the
political situation in the Middle East, chil-
dren cheering over death and destruction
shouldn't even be in the realm of possibility.
I would hope that the Palestinian kids
were too young to realize what they were
"celebrating," but I wonder what they had
been taught since then.
For the next few days we toured Israel, and
a memorial service started every meeting.
Children performed for us, they hugged
us and they comforted us.
We went there to support Israel, but it
was the Israeli children who propped us up.
That's what I'll never forget. E

September 7 • 2006 13

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