Days of Remembrance

National Council of Jewish Women 9/11 commemoration.

Courtesy of National Council of Jewish Women.

It seems fitting that in the midst of our own Jewish time of reflection, we encounter a day of reflection for all Americans.  Twelve years ago today, our nation was struck by an unparalleled tragedy.  As an organization that is dedicated to the sometimes painful art of remembering, we pause to reflect.

When we think back on that harrowing day, our sadness at the loss of life is buoyed by the memory of people coming together, reaching out with acts large and small.  Our challenge is to preserve the legacy of that day as one not framed by terror and tragedy, but one that regularly reminds us that even in the worst of times, we each have something to offer and we each can make a difference by acting on our best natures.

We recall the words of Kate Frucher speaking at a JWA event several years ago: 

Our actions—no matter how big or small or visible—do matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice."

After witnessing people jump from the 109th floor of the WTC, Kate stopped practicing law and started working with the NYC Fire Department to help implement reforms that would prevent that scale of loss from happening again.

On days like today we are inspired by women like Kate whose words and actions ensure that the memories of those lost will indeed be a blessing. 

We encourage you to share your own stories in the comments below, whether they are stories of loss, moments of courage, or your own reflections during the Days of Remembrance. On days like today it helps to know that we are part of a community dedicated to both remembering and repair.

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I arrived at work a bit late because of an appointment. I heard something on NPR about a plane going into Tower 1. I raced into the office and we turned on the TV in our lunchroom as the 2nd plane went into the tower. No words..... no words from anyone. I knew that my brother traveled a lot for work and my sister was going into Manhattan from Brooklyn for a job interview and I needed to talk with each of them to make sure I KNEW they were safe. My brother in law, an artist, collected many pieces of paper that blew across the river to the top[ of his building. He made a piece of art from those buy sell agreements and so many other pieces of paper. The next morning, David and I biked down (we live in Bethesda, MD) to get as close to the Pentagon as possible. It was still smoldering. Where were you when......I will NEVER forget.

My story is nowhere near as dramatic as many others; it is innocuous in comparison to the losses that others experienced that day. Still, I remember the day vividly. The air was crisp, the leaves had color changing on their mind, the weather a perfect fall day. I didnÌ¢‰â‰ã¢t lose anyone personally, but I, like the rest of the nation, lost some sense of security and sense of peace. The Days of Remembrance are already a time of reflection, and as such, itÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s not such a stretch to fold these thoughts and reflections into an already heady time. This is, perhaps, reflective of a great fear that I haveÌ¢‰â‰۝that September 11th will roll around each year feeling more and more normal.

I woke up this morning feeling like I had been punched in the stomach, like I do every 9/11 since 2001. On that day, I lost my close friend Karen Klitzman, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the WTC. Karen was my closest friend in graduate school; she was smart, funny, loved good food and was a terrific tennis player. She spoke Chinese, lived in Macau for a time, and introduced me to my future husband. We lived in San Francisco when the planes hit the towers. My mother called us at 6am to turn on the news. I started checking the Cantor website just after 9:30, thinking they must be posting updates about their employees. I must have hit refresh hundreds of times, not conceiving the loss of life abounding. Friends called from all of the country to check in, to see if I heard from Karen. We soon gathered at our synagogue preschool as a community to talk to each other while the kids played. We needed to be with a community, and share in our collective grief. My son, who was born 2 months after the towers fell, is named in her memory (Chaim - she was Chaya). I feel bad sometimes, b/c while the pain of this day is still primal and fierce, my life continues to flourish. I still have her picture on my bulletin board, after I gave birth to my eldest daughter, she was in my hospital bed with me, cradling Maya.

How to cite this page

Jewesses With Attitude. "Days of Remembrance ." 11 September 2013. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 24, 2021) <>.

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