Subscribe to SLJ
Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters


The TV was on here all morning yesterday, we would listen in segments as family members read the names of relatives killed ten years ago. Marina and kept being surprised by our tears — it was not anything that someone said that caught us, just the basic humanity — so many lives, ordinary lives, scored by fate, by unexpected death, the fireman who saved lives honored by his grandchildren next to the businessman who just was at work that day recalled by the child is now 10 and wasn’t even born yet.

Sasha wasn’t home during much of the broadcast, it was the first day of his Hebrew School, where he is entering the Bar Mitzvah conveyor belt. When I got there the synagogue was jammed full with families — kids from kindergarten up — life, life, life. And that was the contrast, the school felt almost lush, every space filled with more lively, eager faces, versus the slow and somber reading – death and life, life and death — that which was attacked and that which was protected and sustained.

There are some excellent 9-11 materials for schools — here’s a review article about that — but for me, yesterday, there was a direct contrast, a yin and yang — death and life, and a moment to pause to weigh, and feel, both.