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Condo Collapsed in Florida

ק֣וֹל בְּרָמָ֤ה נִשְׁמָע֙ נְהִי֙ בְּכִ֣י תַמְרוּרִ֔ים רָחֵ֖ל מְבַכָּ֣ה עַל־בָּנֶ֑יהָ מֵאֲנָ֛ה לְהִנָּחֵ֥ם עַל־בָּנֶ֖יהָ כִּ֥י אֵינֶֽנּוּ׃

“A cry is heard in Ramah—wailing, bitter weeping—Rachel weeping for her children. She refuses to be comforted for her children, who are gone” (Jeremiah 31:15). The suffering in Miami is of biblical proportions. The waiting, not knowing, hoping and praying is torturous. Some sit silently in shock. Some weep. And some need a hug (15 months in the making) to be able to cry. As a Miami Beach Police Chaplain, I was able to visit the Surfside Community Center early this morning where families gathered to wait for news of loved ones lost in the rubble. Immediately, I saw the familiar faces of members of our synagogue. There were people of all ages and backgrounds. The Miami community is a tapestry of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Colombians, Israelis and more. Each one is a tribe within our Tribe; everyone is either related or grew up together. Despite the ample chairs, I noticed one woman sitting motionless on the ground. I sat alongside her when she told me that her 21-year-old son is missing. He is her “baby,” and out of her 3 children, her only son. Her husband wasn’t there with her because he insisted on remaining close to the collapsed building only a few blocks away. “I don’t know what I’m feeling,” she said as she shared some stories about him. Then she wondered out loud as she gazed at the sky: “If my husband loses his only son…” She gulped, unable to finish her sentence. It was unimaginable. I met a young woman who was waiting for news about her father. His ex-wife was there as well. Then I spoke with another young woman whose fiancé is among the missing. The wedding is supposed to be in 3 weeks. Then there was the grandson of Holocaust survivors who were long time members of our synagogue. His young wife was anxiously awaiting any information about her mother. I held her while she wept. Throughout the day, while speaking with many members of our synagogue, I would ask if they knew anyone who is missing. Often, they would detail a family tree that only a genealogist could follow, something like: “my second cousin’s wife’s sister’s ex-husband’s father.” But what I think they are really saying by that is this: we are ALL family, and when my family feels pain, I feel pain. The suffering here is profound, and it has rippled throughout the entire Miami Community. It no longer matters what language we speak, where we came from, what denomination we call ourselves or which shul we belong to. We are all connected. We are sitting in this dark pit of pain and suffering together. May all our lost loved ones be found alive. If not, may we then find a way through this devastation, somehow, together. At this time, they are no longer in need of items. They are overwhelmed with gratitude. If you want to help, here is the best way right now:

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