My Wedding and the Terror Attack
It’s two weeks before my wedding. I am lying in bed fully awake at 6:30 AM, an hour earlier than usual. Weird. I don’t remember ever waking up earlier than was absolutely necessary before…
I wander into the living room and turn on my roommate’s TV. My heart plunges into my stomach…a bus bombing just a few minutes before. The 18 bus, next to the Central Bus Station.
That afternoon, Josh calls me at 5 PM.
“Did you hear who was killed in the terror attack?”
“What do you mean?”
“Stay right where you are, I’m coming over now…”
I stand outside my building, crying, my teeth chattering even though I’m not cold. A few minutes later I see Josh running up the street…
Josh looks at me and says, “I’m so sorry…Sara Duker and Matt Eisenfeld were on that bus…”
Sara was my classmate at Pardes, and Matt was her boyfriend. I had just seen Sara at shul that Shabbat. I had just delivered both of them wedding invitations.
Sara, the sapphire blue-eyed idealistic environmentalist from Barnard. Matt, the passionate rabbinical student who was found with 2 gemaras in his backpack.
The night of our wedding, it was like there was a black hole in the wedding hall. Sara and Matt’s absence as tangible as the 200 guests who were still alive to attend our wedding…
The strange thing was that this black hole didn’t make it a sad wedding.
Sara and Matt’s deaths somehow made us dance and sing harder and longer. It was after midnight, and we were still going strong… The bandleader said he had never seen anything like it, and even asked us for a copy of the wedding video.
You can threaten us and hurt us and even kill us. The whole world can be against us.
But we’re Jews, and we’re going to continue to sing and dance and live…
Am Yisrael Chai.
Avraham Avinu was on one side and the rest of the world was on the other.
And it’s still that way…
This week, 2 articles appeared in the New York Times about observant Jews as a growing and thriving American counterculture.
“Orthodox Fringe: Moshiach Oi! Merges Orthodox Judaism and Punk Rock” discusses Orthodox Jews who become alternative rock musicians…
The director of the “Punk Jews” documentary explains, “…Jews have been involved in counterculture since the beginning of history. So there’s always an inherent element in Jewish culture, where you’re obligated to do what you think is right, even if the world is against you. That leads to counterculture… you often see that essence in Jewish culture.”
In “The Orthodox Surge,” Columnist David Brooks describes his visit to a kosher supermarket called Pomegranate which leaves him awe-struck by the moral and communal strength of the Orthodox community:
Brooks writes: “The…Orthodox are rooted in that deeper sense of collective purpose. They are like the grocery store Pomegranate, superficially a comfortable part of mainstream American culture, but built upon a moral code that is deeply countercultural…
All of us navigate certain tensions, between community and mobility, autonomy and moral order. Mainstream Americans have gravitated toward one set of solutions. The families stuffing their groceries into their Honda Odyssey minivans in the Pomegranate parking lot represent a challenging counterculture.
Mostly, I notice how incredibly self-confident they are. Once dismissed as relics, they now feel that they are the future.”
That’s us, just like Avraham Avinu…
And we’re going to continue to sing and dance and live…
Am Yisrael Chai.