Special assembly covers 9/11 tragedy and Jewish High Holidays traditions

Students and faculty gathered together for a chapel service on Friday to honor the Jewish High Holidays and the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.


Theology teacher Rachel Bundang tells the community of her memories of the aftermath of 9/11. After Bundang’s speech, students lit yahrzeit candles and placed them on the nearby piano as a commemorative gesture.

Kristina Cary, Managing Editor

Students and faculty commemorated the 14th anniversary of 9/11 in a special chapel service, which began with a speech from theology teacher Rachel Bundang on her experience living in New York City at the time.

“For me, walking around the city in the days and months afterward, you couldn’t escape the memorials, since the memorials were everywhere,” Bundang said. “It got me thinking a lot about the way which we remember things — especially people that are lost to us — and about how violence and suffering mark us as a community, and how we rebuild from that.”

After Bundang’s speech, students and faculty listened to prayers and religious excerpts in observance of the Jewish High Holidays, which begin Sunday. The readings were accompanied by history teacher Michael Stafford’s playing of a shofar, which is an instrument made of ram’s horn associated with Rosh Hashanah, which is part of the High Holidays.

“There is always a portion of the High Holidays where we remember everyone who has died,” theology teacher Kathryn McMichael, who organized the service, said. “Today what we did had a lot to do with Yom Kippur, the day of the atonement.”

At the end of the service, students and faculty were invited to participate in a call and response prayer centered on asking for and receiving forgiveness.

“I went searching for a prayer that would work, and I didn’t think any of them fit quite well enough,” McMichael said. “I ended up creating more of it myself — not that all of it was mine — but I wanted it to fit us a little bit better. I wanted it to be something that could touch all of us in some way, whether it was the remembering those who have died or the taking communal responsibility and supporting one another in seeking forgiveness.”

The observance was meant to convey the themes of healing and forgiveness, and to re-energize the community, according to McMichael.   

“It was really touching because Dr. Bundang talked about her experience with 9/11,” sophomore Star Hooper said. “I also really liked the effect of the horn and the call and response prayer.”