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October 8, 2015 / 25 Tishri, 5776
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It’s My Opinion: Be Calm And Carry On


The annual ritual has begun. Preparations are officially underway for Florida’s 2013 hurricane season. Weather forecasters air their dire predictions. Store shelves sag under planks of plywood, generators and other supplies. Many residents stockpile water, canned food and batteries.

Some newcomers to the area are in a nervous shvitz. Their fears of a bad storm are daunting. Some longtime residents are totally unconcerned. Their attitude is one of “been there, done that, so what’s the big deal?” Hopefully, common sense will prevail and a middle-ground approach of preparation without panic will win out.

Last year, a very active hurricane season was forecast for our area. South Florida was spared and Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast section of our country instead. This year, again, an active season has again been projected. We will see what happens.

I remember growing up in Florida and hearing the collective sigh of relief as the infamous Hurricane Betsy passed our shore and headed north. I also remember the shock as she changed course, made a U-turn, and came back with a direct hit on Miami.

The projection of storms, as is true of many assumptions in life, often are off course. However, it is human nature to believe we can rely on our expectations. We carefully choose a profession and assume we will have financial success. We carefully choose a mate and assume we will have a good marriage. We carefully choose our children’s school and assume they will get the proper education. The only accurate assumption, of course, is that we really cannot know.

Jewish tradition tells us that it is forbidden to rely on miracles. We must make our best effort and do our part.

Gather provisions. Buy insurance. Have an evacuation plan. Daven. Then follow the advice of the posters published by the British government during World War II: “Be Calm and Carry On.”

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.

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