23 Elul Marks Twentieth Yohrtzeit of 9/11 Victims, Hy”d

23 Elul Marks Twentieth Yohrtzeit of 9/11 Victims, Hy”d

Today, 23 Elul, marks twenty years on the Jewish calendar since the horrific attack on the World Trade Center—the twentieth yohrtzeit of the victims that we have so tragically lost, and whose families will never forget the loss that they suffered on that day in the most senseless and incomprehensible manner.

Anyone above the age of thirty remembers where they were standing on that beautiful-turned-awful Tuesday morning in the autumn of 2001. The sky was clear, with not a cloud in sight. Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov students had only recently begun a new year; everything was fresh, and new, and optimistic.

And in one moment, shortly after 9:00, the serenity of the morning—and the innocence of a United States that never believed that such an event could take place here—was shattered into tiny, unrecognizable pieces.

For the younger ones among us it began with Hatzolah first responders whizzing through our streets at rates and speeds that immediately told us that something was very wrong… and within a short time many of us watched in horror from the roofs of our buildings as the symbol of imagined security crumbled to the ground in a ball of fire.

Looking back at the images from that day, we are struck by so many things that have changed over two decades. In images selfless and heroic Hatzolah members in our community, we see them with much darker hair and more youthful faces. They have continued to serve our community with the same unwavering dedication in the two decades hence—with equal fortitude that propelled them into the disaster rather than away from it.

And, on their twentieth yohrtzeit’s, we remember…

We remember the victims; pillars of our Boro Park community who had left home early in the morning to learn and daven before heading to Manhattan where they expected to put in a hard day’s work, as they had done for decades—never fathoming in their wildest imaginations what was to come.

Reb Avrohom Nesanel Illowitz was a pillar of the Sfardishe Shul, and dedicated his life to the establishment of shiurei Torah. Shimi Biegeleisen, Hy”d, was a born-and-bred Boro Parker, a scion of the legendary seforim sellers with roots in Boro Park for century.

The images of that day are seared into our memories forever—despite the passage of time in a furiously changing world.

As we head into Rosh Hashana and the dawn of a new year, the memory of these terrible events will surely inspire us as we reconnect and coronate on the one King who will surely inscribe us for good life. 

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