On Sunday, we opened religious school with a short 9/11 memorial. We used the following reading, which I based on a prayer from the Reform Movement's Religious Action Center: "Reflections on September 11, An Elul Reading." The moment found meaning and inspiration in its music and intergenerational participation.
On this 15th anniversary of 9/11, on this 8th day of Elul, may the blast of the shofar help us remember ten important things:
1. The 2,973 people taken that day.
2. The sirens of brave firefighters, police officers and first responders and the sacrifices they made.
3. That we cannot take our blessings for granted, especially life itself.
4. That our actions as human beings sometimes make our world less peaceful and open-minded.
5. That our actions as human beings can make our world a more kind and compassionate place.
6. That we must do our part to heal the world by comforting others and celebrating diversity.
7. That when we hurt others we say "I am sorry" and really mean it.
8. That we stand up to bullies and other wrongdoers.
9. That we we practice the teaching: "Tzedek tzedek tirdof" and pursue justice even when it's hard to do.
10. That we practice the Golden Rule: "V'ahavta l're'ackha kamokha: Love your neighbor as yourself."
As the year 5776 draws to an end, we reflect on our past year and what will come to be. During these days of Elul, let us begin to repair whatever we have broken this year. And may our acts of teshuva, may our acts of turning back to our very best selves, help us make our world a more just, tolerant and peaceful place. And as we seek God's face, may God be our light and our help. May God give us strength and good courage. Amen.