The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, September 11, 2006

My 9/11

Normally I would have taken the 8:01 train to Penn Station and the subway to the World Trade Center.

But it was Tuesday, and on most Tuesday mornings I had a meeting with the contractors who were building my shul. I was the president of the shul at that time and I would meet with a couple of our people, the general contractor and representatives of the trades that were working on the building at that time.

So, after shachris I walked into the contractor's trailer only to discover that there was no meeting scheduled for that week. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to shmooze with Doug, the project manager and tour the project itself. I had started out knowing less than nothing about construction but now found myself discussing the intracacies of the project with Doug. I liked what I saw.

I decided to take a later train; something around 8:30 if my memory serves. I walked to the station, only a block away from the shul. As the train was pulling in, I realized that I had forgotten my overnight bag in my car. I was scheduled to fly to Atlanta that night. Angry at myself, I went back to the car and decided to wait for the next train, the 9:06.

A few minutes before nine I walked back to the train, overnight bag in tow. As I got to the track, I overheard someone talking about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Very peculiar. I had time so I ran back to my car and turned on the radio. When I heard what happened I realized I wasn't getting on any train that morning. My office was across the street from the WTC so I was sure they would be shutting down the area. Just as I was about to turn the car on and head back home, the radio announcer said that a second plane had just crashed into the other tower.

I sat in utter disbelief for a few minutes. The reports were sketchy and I didn't really know what was going on. The only thing I knew was that everything had changed.

I drove home and frantically tried to call MHW on her cell. For all she knew, I was downtown. No cell service. I called the kids' schools and asked them to tell my kids that I was ok.

MHW finally walked into the house at about 11:30. She, too, had been trying to reach my cell to no avail but had no idea that I was at home, safe. I also tried to reach work. No answer. I tried emailing everyone on my new blackberry but the email wasn't working either. I assumed that everyone had been evacuated and hoped that everyone was safe.

Like so many others, I spent the day following the news. I remember the sinking feeling I had when the Towers went down. The absolute shock. I worried about the many people I knew who worked downtown. I also thought about how fortunate I was not to have followed my regular schedule. I wondered what this all meant. I still do.



  • At 8:40 PM, Blogger Yolkut said…

    I was hoping that perhaps you might be able to help me with this. During the Aseres Yemei Teshuva immediately following 9/11, I went to a shiur in Brooklyn given by R' Moshe Weinberger that I had seen advertised. I realized upon arriving that it was actually l'ilui nishmas Shimon Beigeleisen, who had been killed on 9/11. while I felt that I might have been intruding, it wound up being one of the most powerful talks I had ever heard from him. It was actually Erev Yom kippur, and it powered my entire YK experience that year.
    Do you have any idea how i could get a rcording of that? I had bought a tape that night but have since lost it. Please contact em at
    (We once spoek years ago, when you had requested a copy of a collection of articles on Tefillah that I had put together, and i don't remember if I had. So, if i did not, I would love to be mesaken for that as well.)

  • At 9:10 PM, Blogger Uberimma said…

    Oh, your poor wife.

    My brother worked across the street from the WTC, and took the subway in from Brooklyn. He was laid off the week before but, feeling bad about it, hadn't said anything to anyone but my parents. So I had no idea that he wasn't there, and couldn't get through on his cell or his office phone. Eventually, I called his apartment to leave a message on his machine. He picked up. He was eating a bowl of cheerios in his kitchen.

  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    Rav Y, I remember you well. I still have the compilation.

    I will try to figure out how to get my hands on the tape.

  • At 9:46 PM, Blogger Yolkut said…

    Thank you. If you want I have one on Teshuva also.


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