The Sad, Human Side of Superstorm Sandy
Although I live across the pond, Hurricane Sandy has occupied my thoughts and constant concern for family and friends gave me little rest before, during and after the storm. I closely followed reports and watched Al Roker and others bend in the strong winds and get soaked from rain and waves on live stream coverage on the Internet.
There is something about an internationally publicized disaster that gets everyone involved. The funnier side is when people talk about something they know NOTHING about. Israelis are expert at exuding false confidence and evaluating things based on their limited scope. A local shopkeeper actually told me that Israelis need to understand the American culture to understand why the storm was called Sandy; that Americans live by movies and that the name Sandy comes from Grease’s leading lady! The absurd is that this man speaks a very nice English and knows many American songs but has never even visited the US. He cannot begin to know how diverse American culture is.
Israel is far from perfect and is working hard to correct many wrongs and organize many things that were overlooked in the haste of establishing a new, infant country that constantly fought ward for survival. Be that as it may, Israel has had no shortage of emergencies and when bombs and shells were falling, families in safer parts of the country opened their homes to those under fire and/or more in danger.
I spoke to a friend who recently returned from a visit to the US. She traveled to the wedding of her niece and she told me that in spite of the storm, she enjoyed the fact that much of the family was under one roof and they were okay and spent time together. I told her that I didn’t hear accounts of American families opening their homes to others. I mean, some friends did but not strangers. She told me something that I just can’t shake.
Her daughter is a juvenile diabetic and cannot live without insulin. She and her husband had no power in their home. Her husband had a friend who kept telling them that he had electrical power. Her husband told the friend that his wife needs to refrigerate her insulin and the friend didn’t offer them to store it in their refrigerator!* Some people are heartless and without conscience.
I will say that certain organizations have sent relief aid. There have been buses of volunteers who traveled to the New York and New Jersey areas to help clear out flood damaged items. May G-d reward those people with all good things.
*An emergency room doctor in NYC did tell me that insulin and other medications that required refrigeration could also be placed on a windowsill which, at 55°F is cold enough to prevent the medication from going bad.