Tuesday, January 17, 2006


At post-Minyan breakfast this morning, I heard a strange tale of intertwined destinies.

Debbie is a regular at our Thursday night Minyan. A group of us meet at the shul, we do a ma’ariv service – the daily evening worship service, for all y’all who are Judaically Impaired – and then go out as a group to have dinner. Debbie’s mother passed away last Friday, alas, and she returned to town yesterday after flying to New Jersey for the funeral. We’ll be holding evening services in her home the rest of the week as she observes the remainder of shiva, the traditional seven-day period of mourning.

But this morning, she came to Minyan. At breakfast, she was describing her flight to Newark, a bumpy affair thanks to high winds enroute, with a fearsome last-second dip of the left wing just as the plane was dropping down onto the runway.

At the funeral home, she was telling one of her cousins about the landing. He’s a pilot for Northwest; scary landings are part of his training regimen, and she was sure this one was one he would have enjoyed.

Said cousin has a twin brother, and therein lies a most peculiar tale.

The brothers, being twins, were always close while they were growing up. Like peas and carrots, you could say. They were never apart from one another until they reached that age when it was time for each of them to strike out on his own.

Cousin One wanted to be an airline pilot, so he enrolled in a flight school in Vero Beach, Florida. At the same time, his brother - let’s call him Cousin Two - ended up working for Smith Barney in lower Manhattan. His offices were in one of the buildings at the World Trade Center complex, albeit not in one of the Towers themselves.

Cousin Two was at his desk the morning of September 11, 2001. He saw the plane hit Tower One, the flames and debris raining down. When the tower collapsed, it buried his building, but he managed to get out alive.

Cousin One, it turns out, had been attending flight school with a number of taciturn Saudi Arabian men, men who generally kept to themselves. Men who, as it turned out, had a grisly mission.

Strange, isn’t it, how the brothers’ lives were tied together by the threads of Fate, despite their geographic distance? What mysterious connection did these twins share? And who knows what secrets are woven into that Mysterious Tapestry o’ Destiny?

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