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  • January 16, 2004

    Into The Void At Ground Zero: Contemplating emptiness and loss, from Birkenau to Lower Manhattan

    Jewish Week

    Some holes, frankly, are not meant to be filled or tampered with. Indeed, while equally empty, not all holes are the same. Natural geologic formations are one thing, man-made atrocities that claim human lives are quite another. One is a landmass of spectacle and curiosity; the other a burial ground and, therefore, especially sacred. Ground Zero is such a place. The deep impression of loss that it left on this island cannot be re-imagined as a symbol of our larger freedoms and aspirations. The twin cavities where 3,000 citizens once labored in the misperceived comfort and security of skyscrapers are not now opportunities for architectural wonderment. Ground Zero is about mass death, not crass commerce. The fact is, after Sept. 11, the former World Trade Center complex forever ceased to be a mere parcel of Manhattan real estate. It is now, inexorably, an immense crime scene of mass murder, a smoky, ashen reminder of our collective grief and loss.

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