Thursday, September 13, 2001

Jews seek normalcy

Classes, services back

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Confident in their security but wary of the implications of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Cincinnati's major Jewish institutions resumed classes and worship Wednesday.

        A day after the worst attack on their country, students at Yavneh Day School came together in assemblies to share their feelings and decide what they could do as a community.

        “One fourth-grader suggested we collect tzedakah and send it to New York,” Mitchell Flatow, interim head of the Jewish school in Kenwood, said on Wednesday.

        Tzedakah — a word derived from the Hebrew for righteousness or justice — is the expression used for money donated to help others. Collections began after the opening assembly.

        Theirs was among the Jewish institutions that closed Tuesday after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

        Mr. Flatow said it appeared to be a “good attendance day” and students returned to Yavneh after being sent home early on Tuesday as a precaution.

        Youngsters reported talking with their parents about the attacks and remaining “glued to their televisions.”

        Cincinnati Hebrew Day School in Golf Manor closed early Tuesday at the suggestion of police and reopened Wednesday, abuzz with students' stories of family “miracles” in New York, spokeswoman Lori Phillips Young said.

        Students with relatives in New York recounted how unexpected delays saved their lives when relatives failed to reach their offices in the World Trade Center on time, Mrs. Young said. Others described calls from relatives “who made it out alive.”

        Colleagues were doing what they could on Wednesday “to allay the childrens' fears” and to “reassure them that their lives in Cincinnati are secure,” she added.

        Across the street, RITSS, the Regional Institute for Torah and Secular Studies, stayed open on Tuesday and anxieties eased as students reached families in New York on the Internet, the principal, Rabbi Nechemiah Kibel, said.

        He brought the 41 students, all girls in grades nine through 12, together to watch CNN about 11 a.m. Tuesday and then classes resumed. Wednesday, he said teachers used the Enquirer as the basis for discussions on terrorism.

        Now, 16 of his students are concerned about flying home to New York for the High Holy Days which start at sundown Monday. “If they can't, that's no problem, because families here will open their homes to them,” Rabbi Kibel said.

        Hebrew Union College, which also closed on Tuesday as a security precaution, reopened in Cincinnati and Los Angeles. However, its Washington Park campus in Manhattan remained closed.

        In Amberley Village, police came by frequently Wednesday, according to Rob Festenstein, administrator of Adath Israel Synagogue at Galbraith and Ridge roads.

        Tuesday, he said, Amberley posted an officer at the synagogue, and the evening service added special prayers.

        Saturday's morning service will add healing and memorial services for people affected by the terrorist attacks.

        At the Jewish Community Relations Council, director Michael Rapp said “We are not defining this as a Jewish issue. It's an American tragedy.”


At a glance
Attacks are topic No. 1 in classrooms
Body recovery part of work of NYC crews
Constituents' emotions unmitigated
Different faiths, all drawn to pray
Family clings to details of missing woman's fate
- Jews seek normalcy
Local firefighters on task force joining rescue efforts
Muslims urged to give aid
No date, time for nation's air travel to resume
Outpouring of donations keeps blood supply steady
Relatives wait for word, pray
Stranded travelers find help in Florence
Tightened air security will be norm
Travelers wait, pray in deserted airport
Work resumes, but life is different
Wright-Patterson medical personnel join effort
PULFER: Cell phones
RADEL: Tristate sprouts flying flags
Reports bring sweep of river
Court upholds stay for Byrd
Luken suggests raises for cadets
Luken unused to second place
Primary results
Council halts bid for road-extension vote
Superintendent's contract extended
Tristate A.M. Report
Woman shot outside school as it lets out