Basketball Players in Israel reflect on 9/11

Today is the 18th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attack on America and on freedom and democracy as we once knew it. 18 is a number associated with Judaism and life as the numerical value of 18 in the Hebrew language is CHAI for the two Hebrew letter of ח (Chet) which equals 8 and for the letter י (YUD) which equals 10.

With that in mind, we must take what had happened back on September 11, 2001 and make the best of our lives and never take anything for granted. Live life to the fullest and help make the world a better place.

There are many stories from that fateful day and The Sports Rabbi spoke to some of the professional basketball players who are playing in Israel about their recollections.

Travis Warech who is now playing for Ironi Nahariya in the north of the country has vivid memories of the day:
I was in the 5th grade and we moved into a new house in New Jersey that day. I was confused because all of the kids in my class kept getting pulled out by their parents with no explanation. So I basically just sat in school that day with a few other kids while my parents did most of the “moving in”. If I recall correctly I think the attack was pretty early in the day, so most of the kids left around 10 or 11am.

Obviously there was no protocol for an event like this so the teachers didn’t tell us anything. I just remember being weirded out, even with no knowledge of what happened that day. After school, my folks sent me to a friend’s house and I just remember being in total shock, watching the news. CNN just kept it on a loop all day, and the lasting image I recall is one of the towers with a burning hole in it, before it collapsed.

No one in my class had a relative that was killed in the attacks, but there were definitely in the town. Lots of parents commuted into the city for work. There was someone in town whose father survived from the 25th floor. To this day, he can be seen every morning jogging at 6:30am around town. I’m sure he never took anything for granted after that day, including his health.

In fact, I also celebrated my Bar Mitzvah on September 11th in 2004.

It’s hard to believe that was 9/11 was 18 years ago.

Ben Eisenhardt is a center or Hapoel Beer Sheva which is known as the desert capital of Israel. He was living on the West Coast of the United States on 9/11:

My dad would occasionally have the TV in my parents’ bedroom on in the morning, but I remember that my parents had the downstairs TV on that morning, which never, ever happened when I was growing up. They turned it off while I was getting ready for school. The school district had called parents ahead of time (the first plane hit around 5:45am PT, so there was some lead time), letting them know that the school would communicate with the kids throughout the day. I like to think of my mom and dad as the people who always have the right words to say, but even they were pretty lost with explaining things to me and my brother, so they decided to let the schools deliver the message once we got there.

The father of the kid who would go on to become our High School Quarterback was entering the building as the first plane hit. Thankfully he survived but that incident forever affected his family.

When things began to settle down I do remember that afterwards, in the “where will they strike next?” hubbub, people were afraid that the ferries, the Space Needle, or the nearby nuclear sub base might be targeted.

Michael Roll who played the last two seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv and is now in Milan also shared a 9/11 memory:
“I’ll never forget driving to school in California listening to the radio thinking it was impossible someone flew a plane into a building. It didn’t make sense. I went home early from school that day as most everyone did, and watched the news feeling horrible for so many families.”