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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Statement from Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, 9/13/2001

Statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
September 13, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011 was a unique day in American history.  The date commemorated the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Everywhere in the country there were commemorative services with the most important symbol of our county, an American flag.  The diverse programs included memorials to the victim in all forms, including the themes of tolerance and the inclusion of invocations and the reading of religious texts from many traditions
As a national event, Sunday was a day of unity, as we contemplated the horrific events of  9/11/2001; it was a day to mourn those whose lives were taken and a day to mourn those who lost their lives heroically assisting others.   Any event that touched upon this seminal event in our history, required the display of the symbol of American unity, the possession of every American, the American flag,on this very American day. 
In representing the secular Jewish community in Des Moines, the Des Moines Jewish Federation had endorsed an interfaith commemoration of the tenth anniversary of September 11th, organized and directed by the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, in coalition with other organizations.  The commemoration, entitled "Common Ground," was held Sunday afternoon at Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium.  Our Federation's Director of Community Relations, Mark Finkelstein, attended this event to represent the Jewish Federation. Upon entering the auditorium prior to the program's beginning, he noted to the program's coordinator, the absence of an American flag on stage and offered to provide a small flag for display The offer was rejected by the program's coordinator. Considering it inappropriate that the Jewish Federation would endorse a September 11th program without the flag's symbolic presence, the Federation's representative, out of conscience, departed the auditorium. 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines proudly stands with all Americans in reflecting on September 11, 2011 .  We assert that our American flag is the only appropriate national symbol of our grief and our hope for a better, more tolerant world.  
Barbara Hirsch-Giller,  President 
Elaine Steinger, Executive Director 
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
33158 Ute Avenue
Waukee, IA  50263
This statement is being distributed by the Jewish Community Relations Commission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines.  For information, contact JCRC at (515) 987-0899 x 212,