Fifteen months ago, with Lower Manhattan engulfed in ashes, the idea of building a Jewish community center here might have seemed like a bizarre joke.
Jewish parenting classes, arts programming (maybe even a swimming pool) within blocks of the most horrific scene of Islamic fundamentalist-inspired destruction?
But, ironically, momentum is now building for a Jewish center below Canal Street: and it is because of, rather than in spite of, the Sept. 11 attacks.
Tamara Charm had a watershed experience when she chanted the Torah portion at Yom Kippur services last year at Drisha, the women's Torah learning academy, for a congregation of both women and men.
"It was incredible to daven in a way which conformed to traditional halacha but felt like the women's section was participating as well as the men's," said Charm, 29. "It was very spiritual."