Once upon a time, I thought a quintessential feature of being Jewish involved asking questions. But I learned early on that challenging the Modern Orthodox rules of my upbringing meant I would be considered a rebel and a troublemaker. Maybe I was born into the wrong tribe, or at least the wrong family, but 613 commandments just about brought me to my knees. And I was supposed to be grateful.
Late last month, the New-York Historical Society opened a unique exhibition dedicated to the September 11 attacks, called “Elegy in the Dust.” The installation’s focal point is the Chelsea Jeans Memorial, a downtown retail store turned shrine filled with the ash-covered apparel that was on sale that tragic day.