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A Reflection on 18

The sky this morning is clear and bright just as it was eighteen years ago today. Impossibly, it seems, eighteen years have passed since the morning of September 11, 2001—a morning which changed the world.

So often, we remark on the power of the number eighteen. Eighteen, written out in Hebrew with the letters chet and yud, its’ Hebrew numerical equivalent calls us to life. Today, the world created by the ashes and broken glass of 9/11 turns eighteen years old. Each year, when this anniversary arrives, I am struck by this same sense of “before and after”. That crystalline September day birthed a world that never existed before, and for so many in our community, the experience is personal. How might this anniversary stand out from all the ones that came before? How might it matter that it has been eighteen years since those who lost their lives last hugged their loved ones?

Perhaps the answer is in the number itself. The power of eighteen as both symbol and metaphor transcends the Jewish tradition: in our country, when a person turns eighteen they are considered an adult. Eighteen brings new responsibilities, as well as new rights. Life, it seems, is an ongoing and evolving dance between privilege and responsibility. Perhaps this anniversary is a call to renewed responsibility to respond with love, just as so many were moved to do in the hours, days and weeks that followed 9/11. As our post 9/11 world turns 18 today, may we feel called to strengthen the fabric of our society by sewing threads of respect, compassion, and love.

At the Hand of Terror: A 9-11 Memorial PrayerBy Alden Solovy Creator of all, Source and shelter, Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace To those who died in the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Remember the works of their hands And the message of their hearts. Grant their families peace and comfort for Your name’s sake And for the sake of those who perished. Bring an end to violence and terror, Speedily, in our days. May their memories be sanctified with joy and love. May their souls be bound up in the bond of life, A living blessing in our midst. © 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

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