Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood

Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood
Celebrating Havdallah

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hope for the future

This is the first 9/11 since 2001 that I have spent in New York. The feelings and the somber nature of this day are so palpable here. Here in New York, everyone knows someone who was affected, or who saw the buildings go down, or who saw the smoke from the devastation for weeks afterward. Everyone has a story of that day, and that story is as fresh in their minds as though it were yesterday.

The senior rabbi I work with, in Queens, was one of the many chaplains that worked tirelessly for months with victims of the attacks - families, witnesses, rescue workers, etc. who were in need of emotional and spiritual support. To hear him talk about these events and the way in which it affected their lives is so difficult - but so important to hear. New Yorkers were shaken in a way that they had never been affected before - and it changed their lives, and ours, forever.

I think that history will categorize this time in our nation's history as being "post 9/11" when America feels a perceived (or real) sense of insecurity in a way that hadn't been felt for decades before. I think our nation is scared and doesn't always know whom to blame - the economy is down, morale is down, security is threatened and our fear is up. I think this was true in 2001 and, sadly, I think it is still somewhat true now.

But I am hopeful. I am hopeful that rather than continue to war with our neighbors, we will try to drop our "arms" and open our arms to embrace them. I'm hoping that we can continue to promote peace and understanding and harmony in our lives (check out the cool stuff Jazzrabbi is doing in Indiana). I'm hopeful that we will remember the past with reverence and tears, and look to the future with optimism and hope and laughter. Yes, living in New York in 2010 and experiencing 9/11 for the first time here - I am sad when I think of the past. But I am hopeful for the future.

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