Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I don't know how to respond to the recent catastrophe, so I am going to pass the buck. Below is a list of links to posts on the subject by Jewish bloggers. (Feel free to mention any that I missed in the comments.)

The Fourth Rabbi has a story from a relative in Thailand and some reflections on the fragility of human life.

Strange_Selkie has a characteristically moving theological post.

Chayyei Sarah shares some thoughts on hester panim (God "hiding his face") and tikkun olam ("repairing the world"), as well as a poem by a friend.

Out of Step Jew muses on monotheism and natural disasters and references a collection of responses by other religious bloggers.

Allison Kaplan Sommer reports on Israelis vacationing in Sri Lanka, shares an incredible personal account of the disaster, and gives us the depressing (though unsurprising) news that Sri Lanka has refused to accept an Israeli aid delegation. She also reminds us that donations to help the victims can be directed to the American Jewish World Service.

Rachel Barenblat has some more details on the AJWS emergency appeal, as well as other organizations offering aid.

Reb Yudel has a post on the same topic.

Miriam Shavit reports on a telling error in the Vatican newspaper.

In case that isn't enough for you, Judith at Kesher Talk has a few more links.

And now for something completely different...

The Christian Science Monitor is running a poll on whether U.S. based churches should divest from companies that do business with Israel. The anti-Israel position currently has a significant lead. Companies' overall perception of public opinion is likely to affect their decision-making, so your vote may make a difference. (All right, so it probably won't, but it only takes a minute to vote. What's the harm?)

For the sake of the technologically illiterate, I'll make this simple: Click here to vote.

(I realize that I'm making an assumption about the opinions of my readers. Needless to say, which side to vote for is up to you.)

UPDATE: One more post from Allison Kaplan Sommer on Israeli aid to South Asia. This one's more lighthearted. (Very funny, actually. And sad.)

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: The Vatican's rebuke was not directed at Israel but at Sri Lanka, for refusing to accept Israeli aid. I've read bad translations before, but this is ridiculous.

UPDATE 2: Bloghead discusses responses to the disaster by religious Jews. Gil Student cites Psalm 46. Allison Kaplan Sommer has an update on Israeli aid efforts. Hatshepsut bashes the media for failing to notice.

UPDATE 3: Andrew Silow-Carroll has an excerpt of a fax from the Sri Lankan government, apparently distributed by the Israeli Consulate. The government of Sri Lanka thanks the "government and people of Israel" for their assistance and explains that their earlier rejection of an Israeli rescue team was "due to the lack of accomodation available in the country at this point and skilled manpower required for medical attention becoming adequate for the present in many areas." I think that means that they didn't need or have room for any more helpers. I'll believe that when I hear about the rejection of rescue teams from other countries.

Be that as it may, the Sri Lankan government is clearly trying to undo its earlier decision, and that sounds like good news to me.


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