Jewish Journal


September 2, 2009

Los Angeles inferno: Who by fire?


I’ve yet to blog about the massive—MONSTROUS—fire raging in north Los Angeles County. But in recent years I’ve had plenty to say about the fires that perennially threaten our existence here in overpopulated and wildfire-suppressed desert. (See this and that and the other.)

The LA Times has been all over this story and has an amazing photo gallery here. I’ve seen little in the paper’s coverage of the religious response to the fire, which has consumed more than 127,000 acres and 62 homes. There was this one about mourners and miracles, but that has to do with evacuees returning to their rubble.

There, however, are a multitude of religious stories under the ash. What about the Unetanah Tokef? That’s the Rosh Hashanah prayer, and the Morethodoxy blog offers it as a prayer for relief:

The terror of fire has arrived at the doorstep of thousands of homes, and may change forever the lives of thousands of families. The terror of fire has already claimed the lives of two heroes, who responded to the Torah’s call to not stand idly by at a time of danger.

We pray before you God, Creator and Master of all nature’s forces, that You grant strength and comfort to those who fear losing their homes and possessions, and courage and protection to the fearless souls who are doing Your work on the firelines. And please open my heart, and the heart of everyone who sees and knows of the crisis of fire that is upon us, to respond to the calls for help that will soon come. Calls from relief organizations, calls from firefighting fraternities who need to support the families of the fallen. May our hearts be sensitive and our souls generous.

The shofar has awakened us. And we will not disappoint.

Read the rest here.

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