Friday, March 25, 2011, marks the Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City which took the lives of 146 workers, most of them young Jewish immigrant women. The factory was located on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of a building just east of Washington Square Park. Many of the workers were trapped or fell to their deaths. The fire became a catalyst for the international labor movement, and many of our current fire safety laws were created in response to this event.
At 4:45pm--the time when the first fire alarms rang out--schools, churches, & firehouses across the City will begin to ring in memory of the victims. The bells of the General Seminary will begin tolling a slow, solemn series of 12 rings followed by one refrain of Shema Yisrael. Traditionally the Shema is the last prayer said by faithful Jews before they die. We offer this prayer on the chimes especially in remembrance that most of the victims were Jewish immigrants.
You may learn more about the Triangle Fire here: http://www.ilr.cornell.
Please take a moment when you hear the bells and offer your own prayer of remembrance for the victims of the Triangle Fire.
Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, The Lord is One.