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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2001 / 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

E-mails from the end of the world

By Jonathan Mark


Andrew Zucker
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Ground Zero guardians for vanished friends


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Andrew Zucker was 27 years old with 21 nights left to live. He was expecting a new baby and had just started work as an attorney on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center. He had a spectacular view of the end of the world.

On the hot night of Aug. 21, at the end of America's endless summer, terrorists were already planning a 21st century death camp in Lower Manhattan. It was a night when most of us were less conversant about the Taliban than about Chandra's vanishing. Andrew Zucker, who was soon to vanish, e-mailed an Internet petition among his friends: He could see the end of the world. The United Nations had to do more to contain the Taliban, he wrote. They were destroying Buddhas and making Hindus wear a yellow cloth. It reminded Zucker of Hitler.

The e-mail added, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

I did nothing. I deleted it. Wait, did I say he sent that e-mail to friends? I flatter myself. We barely knew each other. I was never in his home, except in print. He never came to our office, except via e-mail. We met last autumn in the Riverdale Jewish Center, our neighborhood shul, after a concert of Jewish music. Andrew was in the corridor, raising his voice as the music blared, encouraging people to sign up to monitor the media's coverage of Israel. It was biased, he said.

Andrew was a severe critic, and I disagreed with him by half, but that soon gave way to tenderness. What was he really saying? It was less about any particular article but that he couldn't bear Jewish death and Israel's vulnerability and appeasing terrorists: "So two totally innocent [Jews in Israel] are shot in cold blood with machine guns," he e-mailed last December. "A 4th-grade teacher and a driver. Let's see what CNN and The New York Times have to say about this one."

Or he'd only ask that I say Tehillim (Psalms). Someone was sick. Another died young and left children. As the world seemed more fragile, his e-mails became more personal: "It was good to see you the other day ... thanks for the bracha [blessing.]"

Andrew admitted to needing a blessing. His widow is expecting his baby and, back in the spring, his first baby, Abigail Bayla Rina, died at birth: "[In] the short time that we knew her, in some way she touched all of us. Dayenu - that joy, the smiles she brought, the time we had. Somehow, even that was enough. It is excruciating for us to imagine that only having Abbe for the short time that we did is enough, but Hashem obviously had a special plan for her neshama [soul]."

Who can fathom a child's burial? He asked then, and so many ask it now. He e-mailed, "At our age, burial plots couldn't have been further from our minds. ... May we celebrate many simchas together."

On Sept. 16, e-mail from another reader contained a clip from OnlySimchas.com, a site requesting help in identifying the whereabouts of Jews who vanished on Black Tuesday. One item among many: "We are looking for information on Andrew Zucker. He is married to Erica (Konovitch). He is 6'1", about 300 lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes and a 4" scar along his lower back from surgery. He works at Harris Beach, 85th floor in 2 WTC." Zucker was still written of in the present tense. Where was he?

How many times did Andrew e-mail about CNN? Now CNN had their say about Zucker: "Searching for a loved one - and hoping, praying."

According to CNN on-line, "As her sister desperately wandered the streets of lower Manhattan, Erica Zucker spent Wednesday [Sept. 12] making phone calls. Hoping. Praying. It's been nearly two days since she last spoke with her husband, a frantic call placed moments after the first jetliner careened into the north tower ... It was a short conversation. He reassured his wife. 'He said, 'I'm OK. I'll call you back,' Erica recalled. 'And he hung up.' Moments later a second jetliner crashed into the south tower - Andrew Zucker's tower."

Family and friends went from NYU Medical Center, to Bellevue Hospital, to Beekman Hospital. Then they looked to gather hair samples from his brown hair.

All these weeks later, souls hover in the night over Lower Manhattan. On 30th Street near the East River, three trucks from the Medical Examiner's office are loaded with body parts.

There is the sweetest of mitzvas (religious acts that make one G-d-like) known as shmira, in which a dead Jewish body - in whatever condition - is never left unattended before burial. The Jewish Community Relations Council approached Rabbi Allen Schwartz, spiritual leader of Ohab Zedek on the Upper West Side, to organize the shmira, but his group was having trouble finding shomrim to stay for Friday night and Shabbes (Sabbath) day.

Stern College is near the trucks, so Jessica Russak, a Stern senior, put together a team of 10 Stern women within an hour of hearing there was a problem. In turn, they sit by the trucks, whispering Psalms through the midnight hours. "An immense number of Jewish souls were comforted by our prayers," Russak says. Is Zucker among those souls?

Perhaps Zucker is still at Ground Zero. I sat as Zucker's shomer on a milk crate on Maiden Lane and Broadway on a recent weeknight into the wee small hours. The death camp at Ground Zero was flooded with brutally harsh light, creating its own perimeter in the blackness. Smoke was rising, made all the eerier by the illumination. Gnarled metal beams hung in midair like a frozen waterfall in the remains of the day. On Broadway, soldiers in camouflage rolled by on lorries. The smell of incineration and death wafted through the air when the winds blew east.

On one of the nights of watching, students from the Isralight educational group came by. They stood around a blue wax candle in a glass that shielded the flame from the wind. As the group's leader, Rav Binny Friedman, played Shlomo Carlebach and Breslov songs, young Barnard College freshmen rested their heads on each other's shoulders. Neshama Carlebach, Shlomo's daughter, listened to the old songs with her arms around a bride-to-be. They all came for Andrew Zucker, even if most didn't know him.

Rav Binny said, as he strummed his guitar, that Andrew was a friend of his. "He was an amazing person, Andrew Zucker. Chaim Zalman ben Zusha v'Sara." He told how Zucker raced into the mailroom, grabbing two clerks by the arms, dragging them to safety, then racing back into the office to save another.

"The incredible thing," says Rav Binny, as he calls himself, "is that he was only working in that firm for six weeks. He didn't really know most of the people. And we can tell a story like that every day for the next 5,000 days."

As the group dispersed, a woman from Borough Park who had come on her own said Sodom must have smoldered like this. Another said no, there were righteous people in there. Rather, it was a havdalah candle, two flames, the end of an endless Sabbath.

Neshama Carlebach said Jerusalem must have looked like this on the 10th of Av, with one small wall standing.

"Did you have any friends in there?" she asked. "We hardly knew each other," I said, before remembering that Andrew Zucker ran through fire for people he hardly knew.

I would have sent a final e-mail with a prayer I'm sure he knew: "I am yours and my dreams are yours. I have dreamed a dream and I don't know what it means."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



JWR contributor Jonathan Mark is Associate Editor of the New York Jewish Week. Comment by clicking here.

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