Friday, September 9, 2011

Blogging Elul 5771: On the 10th Remembrance of 9/11

9/11 Memorial, World Trade Center Site, NYC
As the attention of millions is brought back to events of 9/11 ten years ago, there are countless voices offering their commentaries, their explanations, and their analysis. Our world is turned upside down by acts of hatred and violence, whether the scale be as large as the events of 9/11, or it is the experience of one individual family whose lives are forever changed when a loved one is violently taken from them.

We find ourselves torn from the ordinary, everyday, where we have an unconscious expectation that one day will proceed much like the one before.  The sense of certainty and security we have about the existence of the next moment of our lives is shaken.

There is certainly a time and a place for conversations and actions designed to restore our sense of safety and security again.  It is not psychologically healthy to live in a state of anxiety about what might be around the next corner.  But we might also be reminded that, living in a state of humility, we must accept that the only moment we can ever really know is this one, right now.

There is a time and a place for analysis of what took place on 9/11, and the responses that followed - at an individual, national, and international scale.  But there is also a time for silence.  A time to stand with individuals and a country remembering those who died.  A time to remember the acts of giving and bravery by so many in what turned out to be their last moments.  A time to face the monster that is a face of humanity too - our ability to commit great acts of violence against each other.

In this moment I do not seek meaning or explanation.  But I am spurred to respond.  I am reminded, as I so often need reminding, to live each day fully, to love as fully as I can, to never leave the words that I could say today until tomorrow.  I forget this all the time.  We all do.  We don't need acts of terror or national tragedies to remind us; this month of Elul leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - two days that symbolize birth and death respectively, with only 10 days between them - these are part of the rhythm of the Jewish year so that we can pause and consider what we are doing with this gift of existence that we have been given without needing trauma to help us remember.

May the memories of all who died on 9/11 be a blessing in the hearts of all who mourn.

Join us at Congregation B'nai Israel on Sunday morning, 9:45 am, for a morning service of prayer, remembrance and reflection.
We will then join with many other communities of faith, including local Christian and Muslim communities, for an Interfaith outdoor service at The Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road, at 3pm.  The names of all those who died on 9/11 from Connecticut will be read as part of this ritual that will include readings and music.  All are then invited to join Sacred Listening Circles inside the museum to share memories, reflections, and hopes with other local residents in facilitated small groups.  The museum also has a photo exhibit on display in remembrance of 9/11.

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