friday night

What Would You Save?


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
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.

Carla Naumburg

Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and writer. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Huffington Post,,, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Psychology Today. She is the author of two books, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Parallax, 2014) and Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family (New Harbinger, 2015). Carla grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Bay Area of California, and she currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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