We spent Saturday night in a motel in York, Pennsylvania, rain splattering the windows as I tracked Irene on my phone. Our summer sublet is in downtown Manhattan, just north of the evacuation zone, and my husband had graciously agreed to humor me and get the hell out of there, until the worst of the storm passed. I was terrified of losing power – a pregnant woman without a working toilet is a recipe for disaster. Mostly I was afraid of the fear – of the long moments sitting inside, uncertain if the next second would bring a Katrina-style flood or cut the electricity. I’ve been struggling with anxiety these past few weeks (hormonally fueled, although impending baby, a mice infestation and lagging renovations have certainly contributed), and I didn’t want to add anything to my stressed out nerves (which by the way, the fetus has taken up the occasional habit of squashing – so I can literally scold my child: you’re getting on my nerves! Which I, in my hormone -muddled brain, find hilarious).
Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, I left my Brooklyn apartment, news of the first plane crash ringing in my ears. White papers floated across the still blue sky as I wandered down the street. Where would I go? Who would I call? I felt unmoored. There were no people calling me to make sure I was ok. There was no one to call if things got worse.
In contrast, the most lovely thing about this storm, besides for its relative lack of damage, has been witnessing the messages flying back and forth across Facebook and email, between members of the loose “formerly frum” community, making sure everyone was ok. For all the arguments for and against a “formerly frum” community, in times like this, it’s beautiful to see how strong the bonds have become between us, to see people stepping up to fill in the gaps that negligent family and old community have left.Printable Version