Today was something else again. Thousands of people again gathered, this time on Wall Street. They didn't fly in today, but they did crowd subways and buses. And it wasn't the wonderful cross section of Judaism and others. It was, however, a cross section of New York Orthodoxy, including groups that didn't go Monday. And yet, you could hear people comparing the crush in the subways and in the streets to how it felt on Monday, so you know they were there.
Monday's program consisted mainly of speeches, and many people could not hear and came late and wilted in the heat. Today's program was prayer, pure and simple. And everyone could hear because no one said anything else.
We arrived during the afternoon service. Thousands of people saying "amen" to the prayers at the same time. There were too many people, so there was only a rudimentary attempt to separate the men from the women, although they tried their best. It didn't matter. The service was said or repeated in unison - thousands of voices as one.
And then we said psalms. The reader read each line, and then the crowd repeated it - everyone had a book of psalms with them, as we'd been asked. It wasn't perfect unison, but it was close enough. We read through seven psalms in all, chosen carefully to reflect the prayers in our hearts. And then we said some more penitential prayers at the end, as if it were a fast day, or even Yom Kippur. It took about an hour, all told.
And then, quietly, we dispersed. Most went home, some went shopping, some went the few blocks to see Ground Zero - we just noticed that there was ... something missing.
We went to the Strand and bought books. :)
The newspapers are reporting 50,000 people. I am *amazed*.