Sarah Aronson

The morning of September 11, I was sitting in my office at the religious school in Hanover, NH, talking on the phone to a rabbi from Manchester. We were planning a program to make shofars with the students later that afternoon, and he needed directions. It was the first day of “tuesday school,” and I was excited. It was the first tuesday school ever in my temple. It was my second day as religious educator for the small community.

I heard someone call to the rabbi, “Rabbi, come quick.”

Moments later, he told me to check my TV. I ran upstairs to find out that the first plane had hit the Tower. My rabbi and I watched in disbelief and horror. Soon after that, the police arrived at the temple and the Torahs were taken away and hidden.

This might seem over the top, but there’d been threats made at other Ivy League colleges. Our building was fairly new. We feared that somehow, Israel could be blamed. We were in a house of worship, but we did not feel safe.

We acted quickly. We called off that first day of Tuesday school. It was my job to call each family to let them know–so they could make sure to pick up their children. A week later, we led the first of many discussions with all the students. We talked about fear. And our country’s responsibility. And all the ways we could honor and mourn for the victims. We talked about compassion. We talked about the importance of community.

At home, I made a big decision. I told my children that I didn’t think they were ready to see the images on TV. Since they didn’t watch more than a few select tapes, this didn’t seem too hard to control. We covered the TV with a blanket. We didn’t buy the newspaper. I didn’t want to shelter them. I just didn’t think they were ready.

A few weeks later, Time for Kids put out a story about 911. In our school, all the fourth graders were set to receive copies. (My daughter was in fourth grade.) Luckily, we found out before the teachers handed out the magazine. At the time, I knew there had to be another way to .explore the tragedy with young readers.


This book will be the start of so many important conversations. This book will give kids a way to think about that day without looking at the pictures.

We may live in a world where we see every atrocity too soon. Too fast. Too accessible. But this day deserves more than that.

Thank you!

1 Comment

  1. Beautifully said.

    Thank you for sharing your memories – and specifically the memory that you were afraid of being targeted. I don’t want to be ignorant of others’ (especially justifiable) fears.

    Your words reminded me of a relative’s. Her husband is from Iran, and that morning as the news trickled in, they were clenched with fear that it might be his family’s country attacking.

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