Remembering the Terror of 9/11, Confronting the Terror of Today

Rabbi's Commentary

Remembering the Terror of 9/11, Confronting the Terror of Today

September 12, 2014

Dear Friend of Israel,

It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, another into the Pentagon in suburban Washington, D.C., and a fourth into a field in rural Pennsylvania. The world was irrevocably changed that day, and not just for the thousands of families who lost fathers, mothers, sisters, husbands, or friends. That day changed every American the way we travel, the level of security we experience at public events, our sense of safety, the way we view strangers, and our collective understanding of the threat of terrorists and their ability to reach us even on U.S. soil.

For all that has changed since that day, it’s also staggering to note what has not: the terrible reality of Islamist terrorism. Today the news is filled with fear-inducing stories about numerous terrorist groups and their offshoots, including the Islamic State (IS or ISIS). This terror organization has scored quick victories in its murderous march across Iraq and Syria, and is now threatening much of the Middle East. Most notably to the U.S., members of IS have publicly beheaded two American journalists, displaying a level of barbarity that it is truly hard for the civilized world to fathom.

Just as the attacks on 9/11 were a wake-up call to so many of the dangers of Islamist terrorism, I can only hope that the swift growth of IS will serve as a similar wake-up call to a threat that demands not just our vigilance, but also our unity. We will not defeat this level of evil and defeat it we must through the efforts of individual nations. We will only stop IS when we all join forces as a united front against evil.

Considering the nature of this hate-filled organization, and its expressed goal of annihilating anyone who does not share their extreme Islamist ideology, it stands to reason that people of other faiths especially Christians and Jews must be on the front lines of this battle, combatting this culture of death with our culture of life. We must stand together to save our Western world and preserve Judeo-Christian values, which have been under attack from IS, as well as from Iran and from the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world today. We worship a God of life and light, and it is time for us to stand strong and united in these biblical principles.

Today, as we remember those who perished in the 9/11 attacks, let us again resolve to confront these dangers, and to fight tirelessly against Islamist terror, which threatens not just the U.S. and Israel, but the entire free world. And, through it all, let us never forget to pray, trusting, like the psalmist, that "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" (Psalm 145:18).

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Founder and President