Finding a deeper connection to 9/11

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Remembering 9/11I have always had trouble feeling connected to 9/11. Like every other American, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I found out about the attack (high school band class), but the wave of nationalism following 9/11 affected me more than the actual event, and my memories reflect that distinction. I did not know anyone that was killed, lost a loved one, or helped in the rescue or cleanup efforts, and every year I struggle to find a personal connection to that day.  This year Rabbi Irwin Kula's haunting recording of 9/11 voicemails set to Eicha trope gave me that connection, and left me holding back tears in my office.

Rabbi Irwin Kula took the last messages of 9/11 victims, recently released in a book, and set the voicemails to Eicha trope, a chant that reminds me of shul. The result is overwhelmingly emotional.  The chanting, which is at once familiar, comforting, sorrowful, and spiritual, adds a certain depth to the already heartbreaking last words of 9/11 victims.  Not understanding Hebrew, it was always the trope and sound of Hebrew prayer that connected me to my feelings of Judaism and spirituality. Today, that same trope connects me to 9/11.

If you choose to listen to the recording, be forwarned that it is incredibly heavy, and keep some tissues on hand. 

Click here to listen.  (Via Mixed Multitudes and Jewschool.)

Photo courtesy of deleepgeorge via Flickr.

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