The trajectory of each of our lives has been altered. The tremendous effect it has had on our lives is felt when we travel and when we are at home. There is scarcely and area of politics or international relations that are still not being directed by the realities of the tragedy, or the fears of a similar attack. Fifteen years on, we are still calculating the losses emotionally, physically, financially, psychologically and spiritually.
Immediately after the tragedy in 2001 our congregation held a community-wide memorial, represented by every member of our Interfaith Council. The following year, on 9/11/02, beginning at dawn, the names of every victim were read in an extremely emotional ceremony.
For the first five years after the tragedy we held a morning service every 9/11 to reflect and honor the victims. Over the last decade we have held memorials and special programs on 9/11 or on the nearest Shabbat. This year on Sunday, September 11th we will be holding an Open House and religious school. On that we will also be lighting memorial candles at 10 am, and enabling anyone who would like to visit during the 10 am-1 pm to light a candle as well. Anyone who would like to receive a yahrtzeit candle at the Kabbalat Shabbat night service can do so Friday Sept. 9th.
When we pause to reflect on loss, we are simultaneously reminded of all we possess. By looking back, even in mourning, we are able to direct our energy into preserving the positive in the present, and strive towards protecting our values for the future.
This is also the goal of the High Holidays, which we prepare for during this period. Our tradition instructs us to be in a similar frame of mind each year, even if that specific tragedy hadn't happened.
Anyone who has attended Yizkor service understands how important it is to remember the lives that were lost in the last year, as well as previous years. Many people also visit graves of their parents and of other loved ones during this period, recalling those who have made an important impact on us in the previous years, and whose memories we cherish as a source of inspiration for the coming years as well.
As we prepare ourselves for the coming High Holy Days, we wish each other in person and in writing shanahtovah -- a good New Year or Le-shanahtovahtikatevu (May you be inscribed for a good and sweet year").
Whatever blessings this year brings you, may you accept them with gratitude, whatever challenges, may you face them with courage.
LE-SHANAH TOVAH TIKATEVU -- MAY YOU BE INSCRIBED FOR A GOOD YEAR!