Every day this week, every email I exchanged, the opening line was consistent: “How did the storm effect you? Are you ok?” Our area of New Jersey, west of New York City, certainly felt the storm. Some of the most persistent and damaging flooding in Northern New Jersey has been in our area. While  my family feels extremely lucky to have not lost power and not suffered flooding, many of our friends and members of our community have not been so lucky. Some, now four days post-storm, are still without power, and some are out of their homes so they can get by. Many stories of flooded basements abound, and some people’s businesses have been swamped with water and mud.

We are all concerned for each other. We have helped each other in a number of ways and we are anxious to know how we can be of service to others whose needs have not yet been apparent.   It is a time when the best in us rises to the surface and submerses all the negative or apathetic behaviors of ordinary and everyday times.

Along the way, we have now punctuated our sharing of storm stories with huge doses of concern for those whose lives have been more severely impacted than ours.  Folks in upstate NY and Vermont who have endured absolute catastrophe are in our hearts. We await news on how we can help them, and in the meantime, our prayers are with them.

“How did the storm effect you? Are you ok?” This week’s salutation is a reminder of our connectedness and interdependence. I pray that it’s expression of caring extends well beyond this week.

It’s the second day of Elul, a time to reflect on how our ordinary and everyday can be as filled with concern for others as this week has been.