I will never forget September 11, 2001. I was leaving first period at Nicolet High School, my senior year, when I saw televisions in the hallway of B-wing. “That’s odd,” I thought. I turned to watch along with many others as the second plane hit the World Trade Center. I froze-I had never been to New York at that stage of my life but I knew something terrible had occurred.
Since that time I lived in New York for 10 years out of a 13 year period, 5 on the Upper West Side and 5 in Jericho, Long Island. I’ve often considered myself a good luck charm: barely missing the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy, and devastating Tropical Storm Isaias in New York; the shooting of Gabi Giffords in Tucson; Hurricane Irma and the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Miami and Parkland. However, one’s luck eventually runs out-what does not run out is people being there for one another. No matter what natural or man-made disasters come our way, we stand together, tall and strong. Jericho lost Glenn Winuck, who went into work on September 11, 2001. He was one of the 2,977 who were murdered on that day. I know so many who were “near misses,” coming in late that day, and have heard of others who were in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
My first year in Jericho I asked that Craig Taubman’s “Holy Ground” be played for Friday Night Live, our musical Shabbat service, and we ran out of time. We have enough time this evening for this powerful piece. Just as Moses was on holy ground at the site of the burning bush, so too is each one of us on holy ground here at Bet Shira Congregation. So many of you lived through Hurricane Andrew, whose 28th anniversary was just over 2 weeks ago. You remember what happened those High Holy Days and with the Bat Mitzvah and wedding scheduled that weekend. Yet you didn’t give up and get out of dodge; you stayed and rebuilt this holy congregation. As we approach High Holy Days 5781, let us remember that each of us stands on holy ground and that each of us is holy-a force of good with the power to make a difference in our congregational family, our community and the world.