Monday, September 12, 2011

Blogging Elul - Day 13 a 9/11 Commemoration

I was honored to participate in a Baltimore Community Interfaith 9/11 Commemoration as the representative for the Baltimore Board of Rabbis. Joining me that evening were Maryland Senators Ben Cardin, whom I met for the first time earlier in the day at our welcome back picnic as well as Senator Barbara Mikulski. Governor Martin O'Malley spoke as well. There were many distinguished elected officials present including Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rowlings-Blake and members of Maryland's General Assembly. And of course there were many of my wonderful colleagues of faith in attendance as well.

I would especially like to thank Rabbi Ron Shulman of Congregation Chizuk Amuno Congregation for inviting me to participate. I was truly honored and humbled.

The month of Elul is both about reflecting and looking forward. This seems appropriate especially tied to our 10th Anniversary 9/11 commemoration. Earlier in the day I was with the Har Sinai Congregation's religious school. One of the interesting things I have come to realize is that the members of our religious school were three or younger when the Twin Towers fell. For most of them, they have never known a world when the Twin Towers stood.

Thus even as we commemorated the solemn and tragic events, I feel we must strive to find new meaning in 9/11 lest it become a historical mention like December 7, 1941 or November 22, 1963 or January 28, 1986. Whereby those who witnessed still feel the pain of those events to this day, but those who were not yet conscious of it or in existence, do not have the same emotional connection.

Thus 9/11 needs to continue to be a rallying cry. As Rabbi Shulman mentioned, it should remind us if nothing else, to be kind. Or as I spoke about, if we are to take a lesson away, it is to fight the evil in our own hearts.

So even though we will never make sense of 9/11, we do have the capacity to rise above the horrors of our past. They do define our history and they will forever be a part of the American soul. But they are not the entirety of the American soul. Life does continue on. In a sense we are all 9/11 survivors who can testify to the notion that love between neighbors is possible, not easy, but possible.

And in this way, the memory, the legacy of those whose lives were lost, will continue to live on.

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