Typically, the column that I would write between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur would talk about preparing for the day of fasting and prayer and apologizing to those I had wronged. Over the next week, Facebook and Instagram will have dozens of the ‘seasonal’ “blanket apologies,” and there are a series of emails that people will send out, some personal, some chain letters. For the sin I committed….. They are all meaningful and all sincere, yet…
…It’s hard to focus on teshuvah while watching what has happened and is still happening with Hurricane Ian. While Savannah had the equivalent of a summer storm with sustained winds, whole communities in Florida were uprooted, roads were washed away, homes flooded, lives lost. The pictures are devastating.
Many of us have some connection to the places and people who were so significantly affected. Last weekend we drove to Sarasota to spend Rosh Hashanah with our friends (and former Savannahians, Sheree and Larry Zaslavsky). At that point it sounded like the storm was going to go up the Gulf and we’d be fine. As the hours passed and the news kept talking about an apocalyptic storm that was going to hit Tampa Bay, we realized that “the best laid plans….” We spent 36 hours in Sarasota and 14 hours in the car as we returned to Savannah fleeing with much of the Tampa Bay area (the Z’s went to Miami).
We, here in Savannah were merely inconvenienced. Communities in Fort Myers, Sanibel, Capitva, and Naples (and who knows the damage in South Carolina) had life-changing damage. It will be years of rebuilding. Jewish Federations of North America has opened a mail box for those that want to help Florida Jewish communities that were affected by the hurricane. Please join me in providing support for the affected communities. You can donate online by clicking here. 100% of your donation will go to help with shelter, recovery, aid, and rebuilding. It’s another reminder of the value and importance of the Federation system…that we are one.
But for a cold front and some wind shear, it could have been us.