And let us light a second candle to symbolize hope. Hope for the safety of America and Israel, of Jews everywhere, indeed, of the entire world. In the warmth of these two flames, let us pray for peace.
Thanksgiving links American and Jewish values that enrich our lives. This holiday commemorates the Pilgrims' first New World harvest. Its inspiration comes from the Hebrew Bible and the festival of Sukkot.
Echoes of Sukkot resonate this year. Simple, temporary huts, open to the sky, recall the shelters that protected desert wanderers. They remind us how fragile is even the sturdiest building, indeed, life itself.
Protected under God's canopy, the sukkat shalom, and inspired by acts of courage and glimpses of our common humanity, we are prepared to face the future's uncertainty with renewed confidence.
The story of Jews fleeing persecution and seeking religious freedom is an American story. No country in history has so enabled us to flourish, create, and contribute to the national life as citizens and as Jews.
This autumn of memorials and obituaries has sharpened our appreciation for the blessings of our lives and connected us to the lives of others:
... to the aspiring actress whose passions were caring for animals and teaching children through theater;
... to the 28-year-old rookie firefighter who was covering for someone else at his ladder company;
... to the stock trader whose last moments on earth were spent calling home to say, "I love you and tell the kids I love them, too."
These are but a few of the people we honor now as we pause in silence.
Night fell suddenly on that warm September morning, obliterating the azure blue sky in turbulent clouds of dust and ash.
Our landscape dimmed. Sturdy columns of steel, which seemed as solid and invincible as America itself, were destroyed. Stunned, we mourn the loss of people and place.
New York, Washington, Pennsylvania. Not here. Not in America! This is the promised land of our pilgrim fathers and mothers. Terror, long endured in Jerusalem, has invaded our shores. All the landmarks of our lives seemed to collapse, and in this flattened terrain we felt again like wanderers.