Five Towns: Diary in the Dark – Day 5


darkBy Larry Gordon

Who would have thought that getting the power back on the 5 Towns would become a New York based political football? Someday—hopefully soon—the power will come back and the lights and heat will go on. At that point those in the position of influence and power should be called to account for this bumbling response to this increasing by the day natural disaster.

The first to call to account should be Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Reports surfaced over the last 24 hours saying that the mayor and the city virtually hijacked vital parts necessary to restore to service the substation that serves the Jewsih communities of the 5 Towns and Far Rockaway.

Things her are not just uncomfortable and inconvenient here but also terribly dangerous. Case in point is that traffic flow continues unabated, however, there are very few working traffic lights. It is not uncommon to hear the frightening sound of screeching brakes and on a occasion the an actual collision that bring traffic to a complete halt.

With Shabbos approaching the situation is even more acute. Neighborhood shuls have announced that mincha and Kabbolos Shabbos will be conducted prior to dark. People in these communities walk wherever they have to go on Shabbos and with the streets virtually pitch black the danger is dramatically increased..

Legislator Howard Kopel who represents the 5 Towns in the Nassau County Legislature expressed some ire about the cooperation of the local power authority. He told us this morning that LIPA says that about half the customers in the area have had power restored. That may or may not be so.

Shabbos will be a challenge for thousands sitting in the dark, and dealing with temperatures that are forecasted to drop into the 30’s at night. One of the questions that will have to be answered eventually is where was the human factor and consideration
For how people here are not just inconvenienced but also suffering.

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  1. I read your article with great interest. Are you saying that the this is a political football because other areas got power back first?

    While everyone sympathizes with your plight, what right do you have to say that you should have been first in line to get your power back? Jews and non-Jews all over the area are still displaced. Many still do not have power.

    With hurricane Sandy, HKB”H has shown that He is still in control. Obviously He is sending us a message. Maybe you should internalize it and be thankful that you are still alive.

    While conditions this Shabbos will undoubtedly be far less than “ideal”, I can only imagine that they will be far better than those that our brothers, sisters and ancestors had to face in places like Russia and Nazi Germany.

    Undoubtedly, everyone in our generation lives a far better lifestyle than the richest king did only 100 or 200 years ago. Perhaps, as we recover from Sandy, we can all step back, look in the mirror and contemplate how lucky we are just to be alive in America today and appreciate all the tremendous chasadim that Hashem does for us day after day.

  2. @whoshouldbefirst How about throw out your computer your posting from right now? We don’t want our power back before them! We want it back same time! Idk where you live but there’s other no other county in America that is taxed as much as Nassau county. So is to much to ask for to get what we pay for?

  3. to Who should be first?
    I agree (somewhat) with your mussar, but you obviously are not suffering as you seem so callous to others’ sufferings.
    I live in the Midwest so I am very far from the disaster area (although my family lives mostly in the NY/NJ area) but my heart goes out to all those who are in the dark and lost property. It doesn’t matter if one who lost his electricity and had damaged appliances, lives on a multi-million dollar oceanfront estate with a private yacht. He is still in pain.
    I am forever grateful to a frum doctor who taught me a lesson many years ago when I was ill and needed surgery. I haven’t forgotten his words. He asked, “Do you know what a minor surgery is?” I was waiting for him to provide a detailed list of outpatient surgeries, but none were forthcoming. He answered his own question. “A minor surgery is someone ELSE’S surgery!” I took it to mean about all pain.
    Do you know what is the definition of a minor pain? Someone ELSE’S as well!
    Let us emulate our Avos who had rachmanus on all and didn’t gloat or chastise when someone else was crying out.
    Yes, the Holocaust was terrible. But did you ever cry when you lost your keys or had a headache? Why should you if people in the past century died from hunger and were beaten daily? The answer is because MY pain still hurts!
    Let us use this time to empathize with others and have them in our tefilos, especially when we light candles today.

  4. One more note, I was not saying the man in the Five Towns lives on a multi-million dollar estate. I have close family in the Five Towns. I meant that it doesn’t matter that we all live richer than the kings did. Collectively we have to take that as a lesson, but rather right now in Nov 2012, what our sisters and brothers need is a little more of our empathy.

    Have a wonderful Shabbos.

  5. The mayor is using three generators for a huge tent which will be erected in the park during sundays marathon. Those generators could have been used to help those in need

  6. To #1
    Please go outside, where your satellite phone has good reception, and try to connect, say, to your local server for Youtube, Facebook, or Amazon Web Services. In the meantime, hospital ICUs get evacuated under the rain.

    PS I am not in NJ right now, but having been in more “natural disasters” that I’d have liked to, I am willing to forecast they all work quite alright.

  7. What is the message of the hurricane and its aftermath?

    Maybe, one lesson is to teach us that we are in Golus. However, sweet and comfortable life becomes we are still in Golus. Here in the US, we sometimes forget that. Maybe this is Hashem sending us a “gentle” reminder.

    This is particularly so in the aftermath, when many thousands of Jews from Lakewood, Monsey, Five Towns, etc. had to move out to friends and family to have a warm and lichtiger Shabbos.

  8. #1 Think you misunderstook L. Gordon’s piece…
    There has been inadequate services & incompetence throughout. Medical clinics and hospital highly unprepared and the lack of generators where needed, Mr. Gordon is echoing the feelings of many.