Shalom friends and family,
11 years ago today, I was woken up very early in the morning by Batya. "Get up, Erin, you need to see this..." What I was about to spend the next 5 hours watching (really glued to the TV) was something that seriously affected my life then and continues to affect my life every day. You see, I had a sister who was supposed to be campaigning about a block or so away from the Twin Towers. And my brother? He was supposed to be in NY (with my sister) for a meeting and some campaigning. "Oh my God," I thought. "What about Bekki and Jason?"
Clearly, every single person in the United States (and outside as well) who knew someone in the NY area was trying to call or make contact with someone/anyone to check and make sure they were ok. Well, this assured that no one would get through. Telephone lines were jammed for hours, days, or what seemed like forever. Fortunately, I was able to get through to my Mom in Columbia, SC. She told me she had spoken to Bekki and Jason. She described for me in great detail the story Bekki had told her of running as fast as she could away from the Twin Towers. She relayed a story of New Yorkers uniting and walking together for miles and miles to get to their homes or away from the destruction. What about Jason? For some reason, Jason never made it on the train to NY - so he missed being in harm's way.
For Americans, this was the first time or first realization that no one was completely safe from the effects of terrorism. 11 years later, we have increased our security - anywhere and everywhere. And, while we certainly live in a "safer" world...it is truly not possible for us to know if we really are safe. We hear and read of stories every week of new acts of terrorism or destruction on our soil and around the world. One major effect of the September 11 attacks was that Americans finally were able to know what it felt like to be in a state of desperation. Americans united together eventually...but many of us felt helpless, maybe even hopeless. Truth is - we did unite together. We did come together as a community and we did support each other. I thank God every day that I live in a country that was able to respond the way we did...we had the resources. We had the community to do so...we had the infrastructure...
As we remember those that perished in these attacks...as we continue to support those families who still feel the effects today, let us also continue to work toward a world in which every one of us can be an equal partner in this world wide community. A prayer for the 11th Anniversary of those terrible attacks:
Eloheinu v'lohei Avoteinu v'Imoteinu,
God of mothers and fathers,
Help us in our attempts at understanding,
Help us in our coming together as one community of brothers and sisters.
God of our brothers and sisters,
Help us in our support of each other,
Help us in our working toward a better world.
God of our friends and acquaintances,
Teach us what we need to know,
Teach us how to accomplish Your will on Earth.
Baruch Atah Adonai,
Blessed are You God,
Blessed are the people on this Earth,
and Blessed are those that have come before us.
May each of us be blessed in our comings and our goings.
Rabbi Erin Boxt