After the Storm, Part 1
Superstorm Sandy swept out of the region as quickly as it descended last week, but the destruction and despair left in its wake are still reverberating.
The Philadelphia region was relatively lucky. For most of us, downed trees, closed schools, water-filled basements and prolonged power outages proved inconvenient and often uncomfortable — but not devastating.
The Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia was quick to set up an assistance hotline (1-866-532-7669) for people who need help navigating FEMA and insurance claims or finding food and a warm place to stay.
But we have to keep things in perspective when we see the suffering that continues to grip the parts of New York and New Jersey that fell directly in Sandy’s most savage path.
That’s where we can help. A wide array of civic and religious organizations, inside and outside the Jewish community, are mobilizing relief efforts. Synagogues are collecting food, clothing and other supplies; the American Red Cross is conducting emergency blood drives; local fire companies are packing up items to ship to their counterparts in affected areas and national Jewish organizations have launched fundraising drives. Already the UJA-Federation of New York dispensed $10 million to its local agencies serving thousands of distressed families who lost homes, businesses and more. Now is the time to fulfill the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam. A list of places to donate can be found at jewishexponent.com.
After the Storm, Part 2
There’s another storm whose wake we’ll need to quell now that Election Day has come and gone. We’ve just come through the longest, most expensive and arguably most contentious campaign season in the history of U.S. elections. The attacks, rumors and lies that filled our airwaves, inboxes and blogosphere were even more brutal than we anticipated when the race for the White House and Congress began.
Now, no matter who you supported or how you feel about the winners and losers, we should all breathe a collective sigh of relief that the battles are over. In a democracy such as ours, we accept the results and we move on.
And in our community, it is time to put the politics of division behind us and remind ourselves what unites us. Here, too, we have a lot of cleaning up to do.