Stretching a Jewish Vigil for the Sept. 11 Dead.
November 6, 2001 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Stretching a Jewish Vigil for the Sept. 11 Dead. The usual Jewish tradition of sitting shmira, keeping the dead company for the twenty-four hours before burial, has been going on outside the New York City Medical Examiner's Office since Sept. 11. Every soul has been given companionship and prayer. For me, this is a reminder not to forget the souls of the living as we get on with our daily lives.
posted by sierray (7 comments total)
Sorry, I forgot to add that this NY Times article requires a free subscription.
posted by sierray at 3:33 PM on November 6, 2001

Thanks for the link and good story.
posted by msacheson at 3:54 PM on November 6, 2001

That was beautiful. I have tears in my eyes.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:56 PM on November 6, 2001

it's a very profound custom, shmira - it comes from the word "shomer" or "guard" and is a traditional practice, though it's dying out among non-orthodox jews. i had wondered how/if it was being performed for the wtc victims.
posted by judith at 4:55 PM on November 6, 2001

What a profound act of kindness.
posted by kristin at 10:03 PM on November 6, 2001

I was riding my bike across the Williamsburg bridge on Rosh Hashana, which was shortly after Sept. 11th. At the top of the bridge there were two groups (men & women) of Hasidim from Williamsburg saying Kaddish facing where the world trade center used to be. I stopped my bike and stood some distance behind them, where a couple of other bikers and some MTA guys wo were working on the bridge were also standing. I stood there and listened to them pray for a while.

I don't think I have ever been so moved. Up until that point, I was so scared by all of this that I wanted to leave New York. But seeing that made me remember what a wonderful, diverse, amazing, FULL place NYC is, which is why I want to stay here.
posted by jennyjenny at 6:59 AM on November 7, 2001

Similar to how All Saint's Day is celebrated by Catholics outside the US.
posted by Witold at 8:59 AM on November 7, 2001

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