Gemara class with rabbit rabbi bill-et (bum pum, ba-dum pum), 5th or 6th day of high school (e.g. I was a freshman), in Flatbush (Ave J area in Brooklyn). Rabbi Levy made an announcement after the first plane hit, and I was in hysterics for a second or two. I mean, what a dumb f*cking pilot!? The Twin Towers are really frakkin’ tall, I mean how do you miss that????
Of course, then the second announcement came. Some time before that I remember David Blumenthal, school ‘administrator’ and EMT, rush out of the building to get to Ground Zero… People were trying to get the TV to work in the library or in a classroom somewhere. My next class was on the 4th floor, from which the smoke and ash emanating from Lower Manhattan were clear; my classmates who managed to get into regular gemara with Rabbi Prag and were on the top floor saw the smoke earlier.
Everybody was dismissed early. My dad, thankfully, worked and works nowhere near Lower Manhattan, and eventually managed to get home, somehow. Rabbi Rosenblum’s brother, a trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, was not so lucky.
School was cancelled the next day, but soon returned. I remember giddy, foolish, idiotic 13-year-old Eli asking a somber Rabbi Billet the next day, with relish! “Are we gonna go to war with Afghanistan?” “Yakhol lih’yot” was all he replied.
What happened? Is it really 09/11/11 today? Where did all that time go?