On Wednesday night, at least three tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts, destroying over 200 buildings and killing four people. We don’t get many tornadoes up here, and I sat glued to the TV, watching the purple and red digital clouds move across the screen. I worried I might have to wake the baby and take her and the toddler down to the basement. We don’t have tornado sirens around here. How would I know when to go, and perhaps even more importantly (given the current state of our basement), when it would be safe to come out again? Fortunately, the worst we got was rain, lightning, and thunder, and the girls slept through it all.
As it was all happening, I couldn’t help but think about the residents of Joplin, Missouri*, and the tragedy they recently endured. I thought about those who lost everything they owned, and I began making a mental list of what I would want to save. Obviously, the girls and my cat were at the top of the list, but beyond that… our wedding album? The photo of my grandfather and his new father-in-law sitting on a bench in Northern Italy during World War II? Our ketubah? My jewelry?
It turns out I’m not the only one asking these questions. A new website called “The Burning House” asks readers to post pictures of what they would take with them. Unfortunately, Jews are no strangers to this terrible reality, and I have to imagine I’m not the only one who has thought about this. So, I ask you now – if your house was burning down, what (beyond kids and animals) would you take with you?
*As we move into Shabbat, I have given this week’s tzedakah to the residents of Massachusetts who were impacted by the storm. If you are interested in doing so well, there are a number of options for helping them, as well as the residents of Joplin, MO.