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Menachem Wecker

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Perhaps the Best Hurricane Sandy (Religious) School Cancelation

Posted: 10/30/2012 2:00 pm

Although Hurricane Sandy hasn't exactly unleashed flood waters of biblical proportions -- or at least those that Noah encountered -- some are drawing upon religious terminology when they discuss the storm.

Writes Brendan O'Neill in The Telegraph:

"[T]he impulse behind both forms of finger-pointing, behind both the Bible basher's harebrained claims that deviant people brought this disaster upon mankind and the environmentalist's insistence that the disaster is actually the fault of industry and pollution, is the same -- it's about doing that very Medieval thing of finding someone or something to blame for scary natural occurrences. Only where Christian zealots blame sinning mankind, green zealots blame industrious mankind."

Katrina destruction in New Orleans. Credit: ShutterstockOne preacher, for example, blamed gay people for the hurricane.

Others sought different religious -- and political -- meanings. "I am a religious man and believe all to be providence. There are no coincidences. A freak storm, hitting New Jersey of all places, in late October, is so rare as to seriously raise eyebrows. And just a week before such momentous elections that will determine the future of our nation and who will be our President?" wrote Shmuley Boteach in the Algemeiner.

On a lighter note, the recording that a friend provided from Yeshiva Tiferes Torah (Hebrew for the School of the Beauty of the Torah) in Lakewood, N.J., has a more playful response to the hurricane. The audio follows (or can be accessed here). Here's my transcript:

"Monday. The weather bureau is reporting that at 9 a.m. gusts of wind will be at 38 miles per hour, but at 11 a.m., gusts of wind will be at 51 miles per hour. I'm therefore calling off yeshiva [religious day school] today. Call back tonight, and see what will be on Tuesday. But [Torah] learning never ends! Please make sure that your son learns [religious texts] at home [in] a very geshmak [tasty] and warm atmosphere. [Singing, from Isaiah 12:3] 'U'shavtem mayim b'sasson mimaynei ha'yeshuah. U'shavtem mayim b'sasson/ mimaynei ha'yeshuah. Mayim, mayim, mayim, mayim--mayim b'sasson.' [You will draw water joyfully out of the wells of salvation.]"

This post first appeared on the website of the Houston Chronicle. Image: Several Houses destroyed in the 9th Ward New Orleans/Shutterstock.

 

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