Yep. Their cup is overflowing alright.

Once again, disaster is hitting home for this Jew. The trauma in New Orleans is very personal, as my family lives there – or I suppose I should say, lived there.
My folks are safe and sound in a crappy hotel room in Jackson, Mississippi, but as anyone who has checked the news in the last 24 hours has seen, everything else is lost. As I go to sleep tonight here in California, floodwaters are rising at about 5 inches every half hour – the levees have been breached and the Army Corps of Engineers has of yet failed to fix anything.
Happily, our Esteemed President has cut short his vacation to take some meetings on the matter tomorrow. Great. By then, our house will be underwater.
Anyways, Jews are Jews, and they’re helping out.

Three Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries remained in New Orleans to help residents who couldn’t leave the city.
Among them was Rabbi Yossi Nemes. Nemes had received a panicked phone call from a visiting Jewish family that had been evicted from their hotel, which was shuttering up against the storm, a Chabad spokesman told JTA.
The family couldn’t make it to the Superdome quickly enough to miss the storm and was concerned for its safety. Nemes decided to stay in his own home and take in the visitors.
Nemes could not be reached by telephone. Thirteen people are now staying on the top floor of his home, where water is running through the roof. The first floors have been flooded and toxic water is coursing through the taps, the Chabad spokesman said.

Jewish Federations, the Union for Reform Judaism, Bnai Brith and tons of other orgs are taking donations already for the relief effort.
Full story (the Jewish part of it anyway)

24 thoughts on “Yep. Their cup is overflowing alright.

  1. sarah, my sympathy to your family and all those who have lost family and/or homes; but please don’t despoil a great national tragedy by politicizing; all are doing their best, whether jew or gentile, republican or democrat – this is not the time for petty partisan politics.

  2. what does criticizing the fact that bush has spent 20% of his time in office on vacation have to do with being partisan? you seizing on to that is what’s petty!

  3. sarah, you may be perfectly right: but right now i dont want to think or talk politics in connection with the hurricane. ive friends who are involved with tulane, they are distraught, this is one of the biggest disasters ever to hit us, i just want to talk about what can be done to help, how the victims are, how the jewish community is helping – the last thing on my mind is to start critquing bush, edwards, clinton, barbor – isnt there something about there being a season for everything – this is a season for help and care, not scoring cheap political shots.

  4. i am not thinking or talking politics. i made sarcastic reference to the fact that it took the worst natural disaster in american history to roust our president from his vacation, and that in my opinion his team is doing embarassingly little. you have no idea what my politics are, who i voted for, or anything else. please remember that it is not always partisan to criticize your leadership when they are doing a BAD JOB.
    and for what it’s worth, my father is the provost of tulane and in charge of the freshman evacuation. i am heavily involved with what’s going on there. don’t try to play like you’re more concerned than i am. for crying out loud it’s a DISASTER, not a freaking opportunity to show how holy you are.

  5. To the person asking about Sarah and Yochanan Rivkin- they are safe in Florida, the rest of the family is in TX. The Nemes’s are on their way to Tennessee. If you do want to help, please go here:
    https://www.mychabad.or g/templates/articlecco. html?AID=306225&site=ww w.chabadneworleans.com
    This is the Chabad website. Please help them out. I am a Tulane student, and I have no idea where I’d be without the help of the Chabad on campus and the Rivkins.

  6. I agree, Bush needs to stop wasting time on all those pointless meetings and go help out. Engineers need his help fixing all those worthless levies and after he is done there he could use his National Guard training to stop all the looting.
    Now to more important issues, I received this e-mail from a friend.
    “I just spoke to the president of University of Houston. University of Houston has offered to accept college students from Tulane and Loyola for immediate admission. In fact, U of H is currently making an offer to accept the entirety of Tulane, students, professors, sports teams and all, into the university until Tulane can reopen. If anyone knows an affected student, they can contact me and I can make sure they will be immediately enrolled. “

  7. “this is a season for help and care, not scoring cheap political shots”
    What a joke. If I read one more comment implying negative connotations to “using distaster for political gain” I’ll flip. Tell it to the President the next 80 times he pulls 9/11 out of left field.
    “Political” means “people”; citizens; a smoothly running system of government. What better use of disaster and tragedy can there be than for “political gain”? It beats the hell out of irresponsible policies that ultimately weaken national unity in general, and distaster mitigation in particular, for the sake of personal gain and narrow special interests. The most recent budget alotted only 20% of what the Army Corps of Engineers requested for levee repair and maintenance. Wetland mitigation has been deregulated in favor of shoreline development. The people of New Orleans are now living the brutal consequences of a myopic conservative domination of political discourse since the Reagan era. My family has so far contributed to the Red Cross and Operation USA, so stuff the dittoheaded, self-righteous demands for what I’ve done ahead of time.
    More political gain and less cynical opportunism, please.

  8. contrast the posting by thh (which i hope reflects reality and is not an urban rumour) with the partisan ones: one gives us hope as to the basic human spirit and our prognosis for the future; the others pull us down in the muck. thank you houston!

  9. Speaking of muck, how many EPA superfund cuts are responsible for the toxic soup New Orleans is sloshing through today?
    It’s called accountability, avi….
    “I’ve been here over 30 years and I’ve never seen this level of reduction,” said Al Naomi, project manager for the [Army Corps of Engineers] New Orleans district. “I think part of the problem is it’s not so much the reduction, it’s the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It’s the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.”
    “I can’t tell you exactly what that could mean this hurricane season if we get a major storm,” Naomi said. “It would depend on the path and speed of the storm, the angle that it hits us. “But I can tell you that we would be better off if the levees were raised, . . . and I think it’s important and only fair that those people who live behind the levee know the status of these projects” (June, 2004).
    So FEMA is sacrificed for Homeland Security, but one of the first items on Homeland Security’s agenda was to implement interoperable radio communications. We are nearly four years into the program and there still is no radio interoperability between first responders… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
    How many people without the means to flee ahead of Katrina’s landfall could have been evacuated by Amtrack if conservatives weren’t at war with public services?
    How quick could National Guard units have been deployed (or better yet, prepositioned), if they weren’t necessary to beef up the depleated military in Bush’s war in Iraq?
    The state of the union: taxes bad; greed good; every man for himself.

  10. I am North of Houston, I signed up online w/ Chabad to take in a young Jewish man ages 13-25 if you know of anyone, I have a spare room with twin bed and a nice house with a pool. If you know of any young man , college student etc that needs help, please have them contact Chabad and they will help you! I asked for young man as my house is all boys except me.
    THIS IS NOT the time to make this political.In a few weeks yes, now no. And btw, I only take Amtrak, I don’t fly and New Orleans is the station we always go out of.

  11. Also to add…many of us want to do more than get our credit card out..we want to help directly with a family etc. But many of us are terrified to open our homes because all we see are looters and who would want a looter in their house? So the fact that we might get a person with a reference from Chabad is very comforting when you are opeing your home.
    Let’s remember Abraham opened his tent …so should we..

  12. I can’t believe what is happening in the area hit by the hurricane. Chaos and anarchy. Even in the movies, the army always comes in to fill up the streets, but where are they now? It’s like ‘escape from new york’ or mad max.
    Blaming this on having over a hundred thousands troops in Iraq is ignorant. The US has a standing army of about 1.5 million personnel, I don’t think this includes reserves. Where the hell are they? Can you guys get your act together over there?
    Another thing that bothers me is that ‘life goes on’. At this instant, there are tens of thousands of people roaming American soil helpless, hungry, thirsty, and perhaps even hopeless, but life seems to go on in the rest of the country.

  13. You’re a good person doing beatiful things, Rebecca. But with all due respect, it doesn’t get any more political than what’s goig on in the delta now. For the most part, the powers-that-be rose to their positions on the mantra of destroying the liberal big government nanny state, and that kind of leadership has had us all headed for what we see now in New Orleans and Biloxi. We have had five straight years of diminishing funds for public services for the sake of tax cuts, and Republican leadership now wants to exploit Katrina to eliminate the estate tax so there will be even bigger deficits, and fewer funds for public services and comprehensive preventative programs (like SELA). Because that’s what big government nanny states do, and that’s just not a hip philosophy among our current crop of leading thinkers. We’re on our own, it’s every man for himsef, but the folks in the Delta get it stronger than the rest of us.
    If anyone is in the Midwest, like an easy drive from Madison, Wisconsin, there is a drop off for a supply run of equipment taking off this Sunday, Sept 4, for Mississippi organized by Wisconsin Aviation and Brett Favre’s Fourward Foundation. They’re looking for practical gear like saws, work gloves, tarps, ropes, chains, first aid kits and the like. No food or drinking stuff. More info at http://www.officialbrettfavre….

  14. Sorry…, if anyone in easy driving distance TO Madison, the address is at the website linked above. Happy Trails.

  15. josh: “Blaming this on having over a hundred thousands troops in Iraq is ignorant.”
    Josh, 40% of the Louisana National Guard and 35% of the Mississippi National Guard are overseas. Not just personnel, but equipment that is sorely needed to move around in a disaster area. We are well beyond simple “blame.” This is unforgivable, to the point of having to change our whole attitude about government.

  16. Rebecca: “THIS IS NOT the time to make this political.”
    It always was…
    “It gives us cover,” said one House Republican strategist, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the disaster. “Now everything is going to be about putting together a relief package quickly.”

  17. so who would you rather lead your group: rebecca or the politicists? who is more likely to produce greatness, rebecca or the politicists? just wondering.

  18. I never said it was NOT political…I said that it was NOT the time to discuss it now. NOW is the time to spend this forum to offer help to ANY fellow Jew that you can. I live in and grew up in Houston.There are GOBS of Baptists here. There are so many churches to help and shelter. But there is no shelter at a shul. So Jews need help finding a place. That was what I meant by the politics can wait.
    Last night at shul it looked like there were about 250 displaced people from LA. They were served a lovely dinner, but fortunately most Jews have financial resources and family to stay with. I spoke with a Rabbi who said he is more worried about 2 weeks from now when the credit cards are maxxed.
    If you want to get really upset about something:
    We volunteered to go serve food, cook etc at the dome. September 28th is “jewish community” day at the dome. Here is the horrible part: you have to take a class for 2 hours to learn about food safety! You have to drive to one of the most congested parts of town to take this class, otherwise you can’t help! Give me a hairnet and a spoon…I don’t need a class.
    Our UPS driver said the Astrodome area looks like night of the living dead.
    If I was the leader, I would have had those choppers dropping food on Tuesday.
    However the LA. officials, ALL of them, need to stop crying, cursing and realize what their poor leadership has done. LA. politics is all crooked anyway…has been for decades.
    My fav restuarant in New Orleans, Mothers, was a few building away from the bldg. on fire. That was tough to see armed men in front of a place I have so many fond memories of.
    BTW, bit of history: many Southern Jews’s relatives came to America through the port of New Orleans. My grandfather came here from Romania by way of that port and lived on Carondelet. My sister in laws relations did too.Many Jews are burried in New Orleans above ground so we wonder about them too.
    We have seen the lack of help the red cross gives in two floods here in Houston. The red cross help is : a bucket, a mop and a bottle of bleach. So if I gave any money , give it to the Salvation Army. They actually have been the only ones I have seen giving people food.
    In the end…our bickering about political parties does not get a person fed or housed….this is what I meant about giving the political spin some time.
    If you missed Shep smith and Geraldo last night putting it to Bill O’Reilly ( that out of touch idiot) and Hannity ( I can’t stand to look at him) it was the best TV I have seen in years.
    My bro and I are sure Shep Smith will be fired as he has had it and it shows…and he is one of the few reporters, reporting it like it is.

  19. Some facts:
    This “vacation” crap doesn’t enhance your credibility. Anyone who thinks that the president doesn’t do as much work in Crawford as in Washington is naive. Being POTUS is a 14/7/365 job.
    Bush declared NO a disaster area before the hurricane hit, and also told the mayor of NO to order the entire city evacuated.
    The ACofE has said that the levee which broke had actually been reinforced within the last 5 years, and that they are not hurting for funds.
    If you want to see natl funds refused to NOLA for flood control see the Clinton admin.
    The Natl Guard and military (fo whom plenty are trying to help) could do much more if roving gangs weren’t roaming around shooting at people.
    NO has been a disaster waiting to happen for 100 years. The city and state depts responsible for flood control are labyrinthine corrupt overlapping bureaucracies, and the ecology of the area ensures that massive flooding will occur sooner or later.
    The rightwing and centrist blogs are all about organizing relief efforts. The leftwing blogs are for the most part snarking about Bush. The partisan bashing is going to hurt the Democrats more than the Republicans.

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