Seeds of September #1: 11 Days of Reflection

Seeds of September #1:
11 Days of Reflection

This is the first in a set of mailings called "Seeds of September: 11 Days of Remembrance, Reflection, & Renewal."

It includes both reports of what is being planned around the country as reflective responses to 9/11 , and suggestions for how to do this.

Some of these are major national efforts; others come from local communities and congregations.

Since this is the forst of the "Seeds" mailin gs, it has a number of different items. Others will focus on one or two.

I know that the previous memo many of you got, including a "Water/Earth/Air/Fire" pattern for observance, was long and needs digestion. We have now put it on our Website at the place noted just below. We suggest printing it out and using it to spark ideas at congregational committee meetings, etc.

And perhaps more useful, we will be taking pieces of thiat overview and "unfolding" them — with, for example, a suggested liturgy/ discussion pattern for "water" — etc.

Shalom, Arthur

Rabbi Arthur Waskow
For "11 Days in September" information, see

National Council of Churches —
Initiative for Christian Churches to open their doors to neighboring mosques in and around the anniversary of September 11 as many Muslims did in their mosques right after the 9/11 attacks.

Disciples of Christ:
We have designed a program called "9-11 Respond to the Call...Pray, Act, Unite" We are asking all Disciples congregations (and now other denominations are joining us) to be involved in hands-on service in their communities on or near September 11th. We are encouraging them to work side by side with their Jewish or Muslim Brothers and Sisters or congregations of other races. Our hope is to give people something to DO tangibly in response to their grief and fear and whatever they are feeling...and to connect with not-for-profits who are making a difference and bridging differences. We have a Web page that outlines the vision and thinking behind it. I'd love it if you'd look at it and see if you agree with me that this would work very well in conjunction with the 11 Days of Remembrance. (website:

We are the Carbon Hill Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) church in Carbon Hill, Ohio and we are joining in the 9/11 Call to Respond Day. We are planning a city wide garage sale on Saturday 9/11/2002 each at their own home. The church will be selling food and drink for those who come to shop. Then on Sunday we are asking everyone to bring at least 10% off the top proceeds to the eccumenical service to be donated to the local fire and police departments.

Global Exchange

Dear Friends,

Please help us commemorate the first anniversary of September 11 with a focus on peace and healing.

With the anniversary of September 11 coming up in the fall, we at Global Exchange, along with a number of peace and justice groups, are encouraging groups and individuals around the country to work with us to put together events in our communities the weekend before September 11 (September 7-8) that will focus on Peace and Healing as a way to build a safer, more just world.

These community gatherings for peace will help counter some of the official commemorations that will advocate US military campaigns as an appropriate response to terrorism.

We hope to have 30 cities/regions throughout the country working together on this, and need your help to make it happen.

The purpose of the local or regional events is to:

  • be pro-active and set a peaceful tone to the commemorations that will be taking place on 9/11
  • plug people into concrete activities they can undertake on behalf of peace and social justice
  • tie in the global issues (global peace/global security) with social justice issues in our own communitie
  • encourage the media to show that there is growing discontent around the nation with the Bush's military response to 9/11

Local variety and autonomy:

Each of the regional groups will organize its own activities according to local capacity and interests. Some gatherings will attract thousands, others hundreds. Some will have many activities: concerts, teach-ins, film showings, theater and dance performances, children1s activities; others will be simpler. Some will be weekend-long events; others one-day events. Some will be somber with candlelight vigils; others might focus more on the celebration of life.

In San Francisco, for example, we are planning a large event for all of northern California. We envision a peace concert on Saturday from 1-7pm, a possible overnight Peace Camp in our Civic Center, and then on Sunday a day full of activities organized by a wide array of local groups.

We are meeting with our City Council to ask them to declare the weekend of September 7-8 a "Weekend of Peace and Healing" and have the city to provide us with the venue for the activities.

While functioning autonomously, the regional groups will be tied together nationally through a common name, purpose, website and media strategy.

Possible Points of Unity

1. Mourn the victims and condemn the attacks of September 11

2. Stand in defense of civil libertie

3. Oppose all forms of racial, ethnic, and religious violence and bigotry

4. Oppose military intervention and war

5. Seek global peace through social and economic justice

6. Work for justice not vengeance, through adherence to established principles of international law.

Ideas for events:

Concert with diverse local artist

Walk for Peace (Walk-a-thon from one significant point to another)

Peace Picnic

Silent vigil at symbolic spot

Multicultural bazaar to celebrate our diversity and commitment to "no hate"

Film showings on themes of peace and nonviolence

Interactive art projects, mural or tile project

Open mike for people to voice their concerns/idea

Interfaith service

Street theater and dance

Speaking event with famous speaker

Teach-in and workshops on most pressing idea

Press conference with diverse community leader


There are presently no funds for this. Each community will have to come up with its own funding plans. We would do some joint fundraising for overall coordination.

If you would like to work with us on this project, please contact Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange at or 415-255-7296. We look forward to working with you!

American Jewish Committee suggests:

A UN resolution establishes Sep 21 each year — beginning in 2002 — as a Global Ceasefire Day: a day when all peoples will be asked to observe a 24-hour ceasefire. Linked to that UN initiative, I understand that many faith groups will be observing a one hour period of prayer and meditation as well.

My recommendation is that your wonderful idea for "Ten Days of September" be observed — but commencing with 11 Sep, rather than culminating in it. If we begin as Americans remembering the attack on us on 11 Sep — and then begin events and observances for the next 10 days — we could culminate on 21 Sep, when we join with others around the world. And this year, we would have the added benefit of ending up with a 21 Sep that falls on Sukkot, with the perfect image of sukkat shalom....

I would be very interested in learning whether you think there is merit to this suggestion — and whether or not too many plans have been laid in place linked to your original idea to make a change. I have some AJ Committee chapters which would be thrilled to take part in the 11-21 Sep idea, linking America's memories to world dreams....

Best wishes,
and kol hakavod for all your work,
Arnie Resnicoff

National Director of Interreligious Affair
American Jewish Committee
165 E. 56th St.
New York, NY 10022


Here at Bet B'rachot, in Bellingham WA., we will be inviting the entire greater Bellingham Community (Jews and non-Jews) to join us for a day (Yom Kippur) of Teshuvah: Forgiveness, Meditation, Contemplation, ... in order to add Light to our Planet.

Philadelphia plans:

An interfaith committee of peace activists is calling on all communities of faith in the Philadelphia region to join together on the one year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks for a service in the name of peace and justice. Below is the call, and underneath that is the proposed schedule. We are currently compiling a list of endorsing congregations. For information on how your faith community/organization can become involved, please contact: 215-241-7003 or e-mail

Daniel Hunter, Baptist Peace Fellowship

Benjamin Waxman, Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting

Ahlam Yassin, Al-Aqsa Islamic Society

Rev. Roger Zepernick, Centro Pedro Claver

Frances Kreimer, Mishkan Shalom

Join us to affirm the following:

We were horrified by the events of September 11th. We are dismayed that even when the mourning had barely begun, the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. On the anniversary of the attacks, we wish to bring together people who have an alternative view, one of peace and justice.

After September 11th, the targeting of Muslim and Southeast Asian communities dramatically grew and thousands of immigrants have been detained without a shred of constitutional protection. Many are threatened with deportation, although they have no connection to any terrorist networks.

Internationally, the level of violence has increased, from the Philippines to the West Bank and Gaza. The war in Afghanistan has created hundreds of thousands of refugees while accounts of civilian deaths have risen to alarming levels. Under the pretext of a "war on terror," the United States has placed troops in dozens of countries and threatens to invade Iraq, although they have no proven connection to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

This military build-up threatens to drastically deplete resources needed to rebuild our cities, create jobs, and provide opportunities for youth.

We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion and violence. It was war that created Osama Bin Laden, and it is war which will recruit more people to his fanatical cause.

We believe that all persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have the same rights of due process. We believe that questioning, criticism, and dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be struggled for.

We call upon all people of conscience to join together and rise to this challenge. We applaud and support the questioning and protest now going on, even as we recognize the need for much, much more to actually create a shift in US policy. Peace and justice can be obtained, but they will not arrive without great effort. Another world is possible!

5:30-7:30pm — Interfaith Service at 4th and Arch Meetinghouse
7:30-9:00pm — Candlelight Procession from 4th and Arch to Love Park (17th and JFK)
9:00pm — Closing statement (most likely from someone who lost a family member on Sept. 11th)

The program has yet to be determined. We are hoping that each sponsor will contribute to it, either by having a short statement or artistic piece done by members. Once again, please contact or 215-241-7003 to get your group involved.

This event is being organized with the national United for Peace days of actions, which was initiated by Global Exchange. For more information, visit

How to Observe September 11th By Carolyn Cavicchio

With the one-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon just three months away, I've been getting many calls from corporate grantmakers wondering how best to mark the anniversary of this tragic event. Should cash contributions be made? If so, to whom, and how large? Is anyone collecting funds for the planned World Trade Center memorial? Should executives or employees travel to New York, D.C. or Pennsylvania to participate in ceremonies marking the anniversary?

The media will undoubtedly cover the anniversary extensively, and feature commemorations prominently. Two of the three major networks have already announced plans for their coverage of the anniversary. ABC will set aside its normal programming for a full day and evening on September 11th to observe the first anniversary. NBC News plans a prime-time special on September 10th and will have extended coverage of commemorations the following day. Other plans are still being formulated. CBS has made no announcements as yet regarding its September 11th plans.

However, except for these media announcements, surprisingly few plans have been announced for formal ceremonies to mark the date, given how little time is left before the one-year mark.

While many companies have already set aside funds to make cash contributions to mark the anniversary, some are questioning the value of such gifts, given the huge sums — well over $2 billion — that have already been given to September 11th charities and related relief efforts. My advice to those who have not yet designated their gifts is to take the time to do a bit of research into current unmet needs, or anticipated needs arising from the terrorist attacks. Look for ways to tie an anniversary gift to the company's existing giving focus, rather than to a more general purpose or charity.

Corporate America has received kudos for the low-key manner in which many gifts were made in response to September 11th, with few overt marketing or public relations tie-ins. Any anniversary gifts or participation in commemorative events should be undertaken in this same spirit.

If you are looking for a way to make a suitable contribution, keep your eye on a number of initiatives that are in the planning stage, which could present corporations with opportunities to commemorate the anniversary in a meaningful way.

Events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania:

  • Although the City of New York will have a one-year memorial ceremony, no detailed plans are as yet in place. Instead, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has invited the public to submit suggestions on how the City should recognize the anniversary. To leave suggestions by phone, call 212-788-7799 during normal business hours. To correspond by mail, send suggestions to September 11th Memorial Anniversary, City Hall, New York, NY 10007, or visit the City's Website at Suggestions must be submitted by July 31, 2002.
  • Washington, D.C. will mark the anniversary with a ceremony at the Pentagon on September 11, 2002. The managers of Project Phoenix, as the Pentagon rebuilding effort has been dubbed, have resolved to have the damaged part of the building rebuilt to the point where workers within the building's outermost corridor, or E-ring, can be at their desks watching a planned memorial service from their office windows.
  • The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the agency charged with overseeing the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and creation of a suitable memorial, has not finalized its plans for the anniversary. "We're working with our Family Advisory Council to create a memorial process, which is likely to include a fund to pay for a memorial," says Matthew Higgins, a spokesperson for LMDC. The organization will announce plans for the memorial in mid-July.
  • The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center will open a commemorative exhibition, "September 11: Bearing Witness to History." The 5,000-square-foot exhibition opens on Sept. 11 and closes Jan. 11, 2003. The temporary exhibition will contain artifacts, images and personal stories that reflect the events of Sept. 11. A companion Web site for "September 11: Bearing Witness to History" will be available beginning September 11 at The Web site will focus on the museum's collecting efforts to document the events of September 11 and will include personal interviews with curators. A full complement of public programs will be offered during the four-month run of the show and the complete schedule will be posted on the museum's Web site in August. The Museum is accepting donations to support the exhibition. For more information, contact John McDonagh, at 202-357-1742 or
  • Somerset County, Pennsylvania is planning a two-day ceremony to remember the victims of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, PA killing 40 people. On September 10th, a private ceremony for the family members of those killed will be held. On September 11th, a public memorial event will take place. "We're expecting 25-30,000 people on September 11th," said Susan Hankinson, Somerset County's Flight 93 Coordinator. The County is seeking corporate support to help defray the costs of the memorial event; for more information, call Hankinson at 814-445-1408.

Think Nationally, Act Locally Some corporations and corporate foundations have already made commitments that will commemorate the anniversary, and also make an impact on local communities. For example, this week, volunteers in 12 cities took part in the nationwide kick-off of the Unity in the Spirit of America (USA) initiative, a volunteer program created to help Americans remember those lost on September 11th, respond to the attacks in a positive and uniquely American way, and rebuild communities through volunteer service. The Points of Light Foundation and the Volunteer Center National Network are the principal sponsors of the USA Initiative. Lead partners of the initiative include DisneyHAND, Worldwide Outreach of the Walt Disney Company, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. Both have committed financial support to the initiative, as well as use of their marketing resources and channels for raising national visibility of the USA.

The USA Act was sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) and Jon Kyl (R, AZ) and signed into law by President Bush on January 10, 2002. The Points of Light Foundation and its national network of nearly 500 Volunteer Centers will oversee the initiative, in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service. Cities that are currently participating in the project include Arlington, VA; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; San Jose, CA; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Seattle, WA.

The Unity in the Spirit of America Web site, will enable visitors to search biographical data of those lost on September 11th (provided by participating families), explore volunteer project ideas, and register their volunteer projects for consideration as official USA projects. A Web-based scrapbook, including project photos and highlights, will be updated regularly and serve as an online living memorial. All USA projects should be registered by September 11, 2002 and largely completed by December 31, 2002.

We'll continue to follow these developments and keep our readers informed as more plans are announced.

Editor's note: the writer has assisted the Twin Towers Fund, which provides help to the families of uniformed personnel killed in the disaster, since its inception.

Carolyn Cavicchio ( is President of the Philanthropy Division of Changing Our World Inc.


Dear Arthur,

We're still in negotiation on this, but we're going to do:

(1) some integration with High Holy Day liturgy (I'll do a 9/11 inspired talk around Yom Kippur Yizkor), not all of which has yet been determined;

(2) I've got a call into the Unitarian Church where we meet, which cosponsored the interfaith service we had last September. We'll invite the same group (Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha'i, Muslim, Native American, Unitarian) and use 11 Days focal themes that appear on your Web site; and

(3) I'm writing a piece of our newsletter (tentatively entitled "The Big Teshuvah") tying the themes into the HHD.

Arlene Goldbard, Eitz Or, Seattle

Here at Bet B'rachot, in Bellingham WA., we will be inviting the entire greater Bellingham Community (Jews and non-Jews) to join us for a day (Yom Kippur) of Teshuvah: Forgiveness, Meditation, Contemplation, ... in order to add Light to our Planet.

FYI: There is an interfaith coalition (including long-time peace community activists) forming in San Jose, CA to commemorate/meditate upon the Sept. 11th attacks. The community observance will likely be the Wednesday between Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur (i.e., 9/11). Shalom! Warner S. Bloomberg III

Philadelphia-area organizer writes:

I can see 2 problems immediately:

1. it's damned hard to organize anything for the beginning of September which, from an organizer's point of view, is just around the corner

2. there will be enough state-sponsored and civic-run events marking 9/11 that this will appear to be in conflict.

I just don't feel energy coming out of the concepts of earth/air/fire/water. Several of the components "grabbed" me — most particularly the Heschel story — powerful!

Rather than bring us together around earth/air/fire/water, I think we need to come together as human brothers and sisters who don't know each other, who could discover in the other a new face of God.

How could we meet each other? Let me pick up on your idea of gathering at riversides on 9/8. Let me suggest a gathering on the Delaware at Yardley, involving Imam Azhar Haneef, a profoundly loving and insightful Ahmaddiya Muslim (African-American with a mixed Afr.-Amer and Pakistani congregation) Christians I could find, the (American) Buddhist sangha (which meets in Yardley Friends' Meeting), and possibly Rabbi Howard Cove(Reconstructionist — I don't know him yet) or Glenn Jacob. [Yardley/Lower Makefield is the area in Penna. with the highest no. of WTC dead.] I would also involve the Iraq-concerned people around here.

Al Krass (215) 547-2656

I could see the event starting with a seminar-type setting, exploring the topic as you suggest, ending with letting something go into the Delaware, as we used to let candle-lit toy boats float off during Hiroshima Day observances.

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, NYC

Already, there are many ideas for coalition activities around the time of 9/11/02. This yahrzeit date falls in the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

So, to both strategize about the ways that JFREJ wants to project an alternative and progressive response to the war on terrorism and the backlash against immigrants, and to think about what kind of tashlich or other high holiday event we want to have, we are holding a
JFREJ Alternative 9/11 response and high holiday planning meeting —
Wednesday, July 24th at 6:30pm
JFREJ Office
140 W. 22nd St., #302, between 6 and 7 aves.
C/E/F/R/N/1/2 to 23rd St.