Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Local religious centers respond to terrorism

In Evanston, shock and indignation from last week’s tragedies nurtured cries for solidarity and strength.

Local churches and synagogues called special services and prayer meetings as early as the night of Sept. 11 in remembrance of more than 6,300 Americans confirmed missing and presumed dead after hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade towers and one into the Pentagon that morning.

Rabbi Michael Azose of the Sephardic Congregation, 1819 W. Howard St., said about 30 people attended a special service the night of the attacks. Earlier this week, members prayed for the nation and its leaders during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.

Rosh Hashana is typically “a time of contemplation,” Azose said. This year’s services had new meaning.

“The tragedy is so horrific it’s hard to put into words what we’re thinking,” Azose said. “Our way of life is changed.”

But Azose said to remember that innocent people die every day in faraway nations, including Israel.

Terror is “no longer something far in a distant land, but on our shores, and I think we understand what Israelis are going through,” Azose said.

On Sept. 11, about 50 people came to pray at Belden Regular Baptist Church, 7333 N. Caldwell Ave., said church secretary Eleanor Wright.

Despite the questions and uncertainties — one sermon was titled, “What Is God Doing?” — Wright said church members have united during the past week. Sunday’s service was more crowded than usual, she said.

“We’re stronger, if anything else,” she added.

Rabbi Azose said his congregation has been encouraged by the country’s solid response to the tragedy. “Unlike Vietnam and Somalia, here we see an enemy. We see the face of (Osama) bin Laden. This man is using religion in the wrong way, and it is a good thing that so many Islamic leaders have come out to clarify that his is the wrong interpretation of the Koran.”

Aside from the religious response sparked by the tragedy, the Evanston community also is trying to raise money for the relief effort.

Today is the last day for the Evanston Fire Department’s Boot Drive. Firefighters will be stationed at intersections, El stops and sidewalks around Evanston collecting money in their boots to send to New York City rescue workers.

“We all feel a sense of sadness for our brothers that we’ve lost,” firefighter Mike Spillane said.

The fire department also is holding a benefit golf outing Oct. 2 at the Peter Jans Community Golf Course, 1031 Central St. All proceeds also will go to rescue workers in New York.

Sign-in for the event begins at 10 a.m., and golfing starts at 11 a.m. All-you-can-eat food and drinks will be provided at noon. It costs $50 to golf and eat, and $20 for food only. Call Fire Station 1 at (847) 866-5910 to register.

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Local religious centers respond to terrorism