KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
September 06, 2005 ב'
of More Than Just Possessions
About the Author
They saw each other at the airport and
sat next to each other on the airplane. Their destination was California.
Being that they were seat mates, they started to talk.
"Which city are you traveling
to?" he asked.
"To Los Angeles" she replied. "To join my family. They went
on an earlier flight and now I'm joining them. What's your
destination?" she questioned.
"Los Angeles, too" he answered. "Our home was destroyed,
and we don't have anywhere to go right now. I'm trying to make
arrangements for a temporary place to live."
"Our home was also
destroyed," she said, visibly upset. "I didn't want to abandon
my home. I lived in it all my life. Our business had to be abandoned, too.
I was told I had no choice; I was forced to leave."
"I understand what the loss of a
home means," he said quietly. "It makes no difference if the
cause is monetary, political or because of natural disaster, it's very
painful to lose a home. When I saw the images of the destruction in the
news I identified so strongly with the loss of personal possessions,
memorabilia, and family heirlooms, I was overcome with pain and
He stopped for a moment to compose
himself, and then continued, "We lived in the same town and the same
house for almost 30 years. We built the community ourselves. My family
feels displaced without the loving environment that was familiar to them
all these years. Our children were born into a warm and established
community; it's where their memories were formed. It wasn't just our house
which was destroyed, it was our home. It wasn't just bricks and mortar. It
was brotherhood and unity. Yet they forced us to leave. Our homes, our
businesses, our houses of worship and our cemeteries were all destroyed.
We tried to protect them but we couldn't."
"I know what you mean," she
said. "The people of our town were trying to be supportive of each
other knowing that everyone was struggling to prevent the same loss. The
clergy told us to have faith and things would work out, and so we prayed.
We tried to save ourselves, by moving from place to place and eventually
by climbing on the rooftops. We were ready to do anything to push off the
inevitable. We were sure that help would arrive and prevent evacuation. We
were so disappointed to be forced out." "Yes, we sat on the
rooftops too" he murmured. "We, too, were hoping and praying for
salvation, and tried not to despair."
from each family's personal loss the national monetary casualty is
staggering" she said. "Though I'm sure we'll recover, I can't
see it happening in the near future."
"It is quite terrible" he
said. "The economic future does look bleak - on a personal and
national level - but recovery is sure to come, even if it's slow. Not only
that, I heard it said that .0016 percent of the population was
" .0016? I heard that number,
too. Almost everyone I know was affected" she said. "What town
are you from?" she asked. "We all live in the Southern coastal
regions. Your town might not have been too far from mine." "I
did live in a Southern Coastal region. It was called Gush Katif" he
"Katif!" she exclaimed,
sounding quite surprised. "You're from Israel? What you described
sounded so familiar, I thought you lived somewhere near me. I'm from New
Orleans and we were hit by Hurricane Katrina."
"New Orleans? The home of the
Mardi Gras?" he asked. "From what I've read, for many people the
Mardi Gras meant promiscuity, lawlessness and lack of morals."
"Yes," she said. "To
our great shame that is exactly how some acted. Maybe that basic lack of
concern for others was the cause of the rioting and looting after the
storm. Even many rescuers didn't feel safe. A helicopter bringing food and
help was shot at, endangering the pilot and almost preventing the copter
from going to help others. The looting and pillaging were horrible. The
price gouging incredible!"
"There are those in the religious
circles that say that the destruction of Katrina was a message connected
to the destruction of Katif" she stated.
"I saw the coverage of the
evacuation of Katif," she continued. "I knew the residents
disagreed with the disengagement and were brokenhearted from the
destruction of the lives they knew, yet you could feel a sense of love and
brotherhood between the evacuating soldiers and the evacuees. When the
soldiers came the residents gave up their guns. There were unforgettable
pictures as the soldiers and the town residents cried together, sang
together, and prayed together" she finished.
"I can agree with you on
that" , he said. "When you equate the pictures of the aftermath
of each tragedy, I can only say that I am proud that I was part of the
tragedy of Katif and not Katrina. "
"Actually, if you compare the
tragedies, they do seem quite similar" he said as they got ready to
part their separate ways. "Both places suffered tragic and
irreparable destruction. Perhaps by viewing the pictures and reading of
the loss of both tragedies, many will realize that the tragedy of the Gaza
and the destruction of towns was a loss of more than just
more articles by Rabbi Hecht
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