The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy is upon us. As some rabbis are no doubt fashioning High Holy Day sermons for the month of Elul, now begun, the rest of us are wondering about forgiveness. For some Bostonians who have lost loved ones, forgiveness is far away, because the mourning is not yet complete. Nor are they whole enough to complete it. Sometimes the shock and sorrow, especially for children who have lost a parent, or for parents who have lost a child, is so deep, it is hard to climb out of the hole.
And I am now beginning to wonder if these sentiments are not fueling all the paranoid movies like Contagion, and the endless horror or machines or apes overpowering us, the residents of planet earth. We seem to be in a scary cinematic morass, which multiplies exponentially with every given year. Witness how Hollywood gives terrorists ideas in this Huffington Post article called “Filming the Unfilmable: Hollywood’s Attempts to Chronicle 9/11.” ”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/911-september-11-movies_n_954149.html?1315573857&ncid=webmail16
The theme of the Hebrew month of Elul is quite the opposite. This is the month that begins the period of letting go in the form of forgiveness before the High Holy Days themselves. The ritual here is to ask forgiveness from those we have hurt, intentionally and unintentionally; then on Yom Kippur we ask for forgiveness from the Embodiment of Forgiveness, who grants us another year of life. This can be a healing activity, or that seems to be the premise of planners at The Jewish Community Center at 333 Nahanton Street, Newton, MA. (www.jccgb.org/) Note how the following activities for the entire family attempt to honor the tragedy and use it to help others. For directions and more information go to: (http://www.jccgb.org/)
Visitors are invited to share their thoughts, wishes, and personal pledges to repair the world on a Wall of Pledges posted in the Lobby and for the TV cameras. Events include:
· A spinning activity at 8:30 a.m. will benefit a nonprofit to support Afghan widows
· 10am-11am • “Superheroes of Kindness” crafts activity beginning at 10 a.m. for children will teach them about social action resources.
· Family sing-a-long at 11-11:30am will include presentations to to local firefighters and police
· Film screen at 11:30am-1pm of “Beyond the 11th,” features an award-winning documentary on Afghan widows with discussion to follow.
The City of Boston features “Interfaith at the Hatch Shell” on the Charles River with a concert by the Boston Pops Brass Ensemble and Boston Children’s Chorus beginning at 3 p.m. This includes a tribute to the heroes, the fallen of that tragic day, and the American men and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2-hour tribute will include: readings, poems, prayers and a time for reflection and remembrance. Gates open at noon for attendees will blankets and tarps smaller than 8′ x 10’and folding beach-style chair. Details at: http:// http://massremembers9-11.org/
At the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, MA from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.suburban leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian-Universalist religious traditions will participate in an interfaith 9/11 memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Rev. Fred Moser, rector at Church of the Holy Spirit in Wayland and convener of the Wayland Clergy Association, has scheduled talks by religious and civic leaders from Wayland as well as interfaith prayers. Among the speakers for the event are Rep. Tom Conroy (D-Wayland), Rabbi Neal Gold of Temple Shir Tikva, Rev. Ken Sawyer of First Parish Unitarian-Universalistand Ghiath Reda of the Islamic Center of Boston. Light refreshments will be served following the service. For directions go to:
These events, and the continual efforts of the organizations listed above, are attempts to heal the fright and hype that resulted from one the worst tragedies in American History.