9/11 -- St. Petersburg Times Special Report

Sunday, Sept. 1
  • Florida: Terror's launching pad
  • The 19 plotters and their day of terror
  • Remembering

    Monday, Sept. 2
  • When tragedy meets capitalism
  • '9/11 fatigue' is natural, mental health experts say

    Tuesday, Sept. 3
  • Coping as a kid
  • Eric Deggans: 9/11 documentary asks troubling questions about religion
  • Sept. 11 photograph exhibit opens

    Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Millions in new funding don't guarantee security
  • Donations to local charities slow in months after attacks
  • Sept. 11 donations swamp charities
  • Bush to visit three attack sites on 9/11

    Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Attack anniversary is living history lesson
  • Trading fallback system improved
  • Future of site still beset by debate

    Friday, Sept. 6
  • Senate approves plan to allow armed pilots
  • Dream job becoming demoralizing
  • New plane doors would withstand gunfire
  • What ever happened to ... Those patriotic paint jobs?
  • The other 911
  • Consolidated for the cause

    Saturday, Sept. 7
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • A year later, it's the home fires that burn brightly
  • Flying the flag

    Sunday, Sept. 8
  • 125 Cedar Street
  • The drama in Sarasota
  • Cautious, yes, but still traveling
  • As security increases, fervor fades
  • Rising risks
  • Finding lessons in rubble of tragedy
  • Public loss, private grief
  • Duty calls; he goes; they wait
  • Riled residents show true colors
  • Keeping her distance
  • Which way leads up?
  • For the record
  • 45 Questions
  • A lexicon of terror, post-9/11
  • Before attacks, this was the news
  • Other events on Sept. 11
  • Voice mail delivers, retains final words
  • Keeping us rolling
  • 9.11
  • How we'll view it

    Monday, Sept. 9
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines

    Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • Multitude to gather to wave U.S. flags
  • Pictures evoke profound feelings
  • Attacks haven't boosted sales of cell phones
  • Schools discover ways to reflect on attacks
  • Flags still wave, but sales fall from peak
  • Three fathers lost
  • Telemarketers easing up on 9/11
  • Nuclear plant adds security layers to prevent terrorism
  • Cough, stress hinder emergency workers
  • Families of missing sit in limbo
  • Places of importance after the attacks

    Wednesday, Sept. 11
  • Remembrance and renewal
  • Flags Along the Bayshore: Tampa Remembers 9/11
  • Ways of remembering
  • A piece of paper . a blue and white truck
  • Is America ready for another attack?
  • Nation to honor victims in silence
  • Poll: Compassion remains
  • The war so far
  • Terror update
  • Attack on Iraq would test headquarters at MacDill
  • 09-11-01 Perspectives
  • Those who died in the attacks
  • Myriad rescue agencies trust their link won't fail
  • Photo gallery
  • (This Flash gallery requires the free Flash Player 5+.)

    Thursday, Sept. 12
  • Emotional service honors those who died selflessly
  • Elements of pride
  • Echo of 9/11 empties airport
  • A day full of tributes, flags and questions
  • Prayer, fellowship pull many through agonizing anniversary
  • Tributes great and small
  • Children in a changed world pause to reflect
  • Citrus recalls 9/11 with its heart
  • Marking the imponderable
  • Ministers assure that God was there that sorrowful day
  • Chime recalls a nation's losses
  • For law officers, day passes quietly
  • Residents gather to heal, remember
  • In big and small ways, our community pays tribute
  • Cities somberly mark Sept. 11
  • Patriotic display greets drivers
  • Day of grief, resolve
  • At county schools, remembrance resounds
  • Travel lags on attacks' anniversary
  • They were us
  • Americans worldwide cautious on anniversary
  • Radical Muslims discuss 'positive outcomes' of Sept. 11
  • Amid grief, Bush gives warning

  • printer version

    09-11-01
    SPIRITUALITY

    Life has the right-of-way

    photo
    [Times photo: Thomas M. Goethe]
    The Albert family, from left, David, Josh, Debbie and Dan at their home in Tampa. Last year the family had to decide if they wanted to cancel Josh’s bar mitzvah that was schedule shortly after Sept. 11, or proceed with their plans. And although the Alberts lamented the national tradegy, they decided to go on with the celebration and not let the terrorist attacks ruin their plans.

    By SHARON TUBBS, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 9, 2002


    Last Sept. 11, a Tampa boy's bar mitzvah was days away. A teaching from the Talmud helped him and his family decide to go ahead with their celebration.

    TAMPA -- Josh Albert's dad frequently has a camera in his son's face, begging for a smile -- a slight curl of the lips would be nice -- but smiles don't come easily. Josh likes his poses straight-faced and serious. Despite a 4.0 grade point average, he'd rather call himself jock than genius.

    Among the biggest disappointments of his life:

    Not making the Bayshore Little League all-star team last year. Bummer. He tried to take it "like a man" but couldn't hold back the tears.

    Hey, he's 13.

    No wonder, then, that as he sat in Wilson Middle School last Sept. 11, watching TV clips of planes flying into the twin towers, it didn't initially dawn on him that the national tragedy might affect his bar mitzvah celebration, which was a few days away. It was Tuesday, and Josh was supposed to lead some prayers during services at the synagogue Friday evening. Then, on Saturday, he was to give a speech and gather with friends and family for another service and a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in Tampa.

    His parents picked him up early from school. The terrorist attacks could change things, his dad, Dan, told him. The nation was in crisis, and a celebration might not be appropriate. Besides, Dan Albert's relatives in New York and on the West Coast would not be able to come because of the attacks.

    But Josh's mom, Debbie, had a different take on things. The bar mitzvah would be the first time Josh was allowed to read a portion of the Torah in the synagogue -- one of the benefits of a Jewish boy coming of age. She did not want the acts of terrorists to delay what was to be an important time in her son's spiritual life. Josh had studied hard and had known enough Hebrew to read the Torah since he was in the third grade. She believed the party should go on.

    Terror: The residue of terror
    Its swift, sudden onslaught freezes the will; its lingering shades darken the imagination.

    Patriotism: More than just emotion
    Shared ideals unified us after Sept. 11; misplaced zeal cannot be permitted to splinter commitment to those ideals.

    Security: The nightmares return
    "I thought I was through having nightmares about that case," Pat Johnson says.

    Spirituality: Life has the right-of-way
    Last Sept. 11, a Tampa boy's bar mitzvah was days away. A teaching from the Talmud helped him and his family decide to go ahead with their celebration.

    Heroism: Free to disagree
    Americans appreciate their freedoms more than before -- including the right to protest.

    In many respects, Josh was still a boy, a seventh-grader who liked being with his friends. But in the midst of national turmoil, turning 13 would give him more responsibility and privileges afforded to adults. Besides reading the Torah, he would be responsible for fasting on Yom Kippur, like grownups. He could be counted in a Jewish minyan, the quorum needed to conduct a service.

    To celebrate or not to celebrate? The Alberts consulted their rabbi at Congregation Schaarai Zedek, and he reminded them of something in the Talmud, a collection of writings of Jewish civil and religious law. If a hearse headed for a funeral meets a wedding party on the road, the wedding party has the right of way, the Talmud says.

    "I started thinking about it, and I still wanted it to go on," Josh said. "Why am I going to let terrorists ruin it?"

    On it went.

    For his mitzvah project, which coincides with the celebration, Josh had planned an awareness campaign at Wilson. He had made posters and had students wear paper clips of different colors to protest hatred and highlight the need for tolerance. The activity was modeled after a project staged by Norwegians who protested Nazism during World War II.

    Perhaps it was beshert -- fate -- that Josh's weeklong campaign began Sept. 10, the day before a national tragedy that led to discrimination against Muslims in the United States.

    Josh said he has never been the target of anti-Semitic remarks at school, noting that he's bigger in size than some of his peers. But one of his friends was called "a stupid, dirty Jew."

    With the bar mitzvah celebration days away, Josh sat down at his computer and made some changes to the 10-minute speech he was to give that weekend. He realized that his disappointment over not making the all-star team was minor in the scheme of things, he said. "Fortunately, I have avoided having to face the disappointment of severe discrimination, yet as the events of this past week have so vividly shown, hate is on the rise."

    Tropical Storm Gabrielle complicated things further. The synagogue canceled service Friday night. The Alberts lost the power in their Davis Islands home in Tampa and booked a room at the Crowne Plaza.

    Josh was ready but nervous at first on Saturday, until a joke from the rabbi loosened him up. After years of preparation in Hebrew school, Josh Albert read from the Torah. Afterward, he enjoyed the luncheon with about 175 guests. The theme was the All-American pastime, baseball. Josh and a group of his friends stayed at the hotel that night for a preplanned sleepover.

    A year ago, during his hectic time of preparation, Josh didn't really grasp the significance of his rite of passage, he said. He turns 14 on Friday. And thinking back on it now, "yeah, it's a pretty big deal," he said. "I study my religion, and it means a lot to me."

    - Sharon Tubbs covers religion for Floridian.


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    Related coverage
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines