When Circumstances Overwhelm, from Jerusalem to Charlotte


This past Friday, thousands of Scouts from the US and abroad spent more time than they expected to at the American Airlines’ Terminal in Charlotte, NC. Delays at an airport are no surprise; it happens to just about anyone who uses air transportation.

What made this particular situation newsworthy–although I’m not sure how newsworthy–was social media; Twitter, to be exact. A mother of a Scout sent a taunting tweet to the airline, suggesting “that (the Boy Scout motto), ‘Be Prepared’ didn’t apply to American Airlines.” They may not have been as prepared as they could have been, but that’s not the point.

As someone who was at the World Scout Jamboree and aware of the difficulties of getting 12,000 scouts (just in our base camp) onto charter and shuttle buses in pouring rain with thunder and lighting, I have some sympathy for the airline, which was already backed up because of weather issues the evening before.

As we begin the book of Deuteronomy, whose Hebrew title is Devarim, which means “words,” I feel that the universe gave me a gift with this news article. Words matter; not only what words we say, but when and to whom we say them. Engaging in this war of tweets did nothing to get these scouts home any more quickly, or to alleviate an already difficult situation. Going only by what was published online, it seems that whoever controls the tweets at American Airlines responded appropriately and professionally, and I applaud that. As Dale Carnegie once said, “it takes two to have an argument.”

Tisha B’Av, when we remember the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem, comes on the heels of reading Devarim, and some of our sages connect these destructions and the ensuing exiles of the Jewish community with improper use of words among the people.

There is, however, a positive side to this, and that’s called resilience. These scouts who were delayed at the airport, possibly missing flights or connections, learned some new coping skills. They learned how to take what was happening in stride, and to make the best of a difficult situation. At least I hope some of them did. Had the Israelites in 586 BCE and 70CE, when Jerusalem was destroyed, simply tweeted that their armies couldn’t protect them, there would be no Jewish people today. We learned from adversity, and I pray that years from now, once the scouts have had hot showers and slept in their own beds, that they will look back on this experience as one that helped shape their lives.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Sermons

Shoftim: Can Destruction be Just?
Shoftim: Can Destruction be Just?

Photo: Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The spotted lantern fly has arrived in our area, and we’re being advised to squash them if we see them. This bug has no natural...

VaEtchanan: Until His Final Breath
VaEtchanan: Until His Final Breath

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/maltin75/6278446183 “Observe God’s laws and commandments, which I enjoin upon you this day, that it may go well with you and your children after you, and that you may long remain in the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you...

Parshat Pinchas: Looking For the Good
Parshat Pinchas: Looking For the Good

Photo: COSV from Wikimedia Commons. Women Gathering Wood, South Sudan My friend Sylvia (who says I’m her favorite female rabbi) is almost 98–may she live and be well–and is often troubled by the harsher judgments and more problematic passages in the Torah. And rightly...

Latest Midrash HaZak

Ekev: Standing on their Shoulders
Ekev: Standing on their Shoulders

  Credit: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buff_Bill's_Circus Parashat Ekev Rabbi Arnie Samlan Ekev, the third reading in the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy), is a continuation of Moses’ farewell address to the Israelite nation poised to enter the Promised Land....

VaEtchanan: Rav Lach, It Is Enough For You
VaEtchanan: Rav Lach, It Is Enough For You

Photo by Rabbi Susan Elkodsi Va’Etchanan: Rav Lach, It is enough for you Rabbi Janet Madden, Ph.D Parshat Va’Etchanan opens with Moshe’s recounting to the new generation of Israelites that he pleaded with the Holy One to allow him to enter the Land of Israel. He...

Massei: The Journals of the Journeys
Massei: The Journals of the Journeys

Parashat Massei: The Journal of the Journeys Rabbi Ron Isaacs In 1960 I spent the summer at Camp Ramah in Canada. Advertised as a Hebrew-speaking camp, it was my first summer away from home. I decided to document my 8-week summer by keeping a diary which I still have...

Latest Personal Blogs

Blessing My Bended Knees-A Poem
Blessing My Bended Knees-A Poem

This past week, I participated in a Ritualwell class with Alden Solovy on "Writing From One Word of Torah." I distilled 3 stream-of-consciousness prompts on the word "Baruch/Berekh," the root of which can mean "blessing' and "knee, into this poem. Blessing my bended...

The Eshet Hayil In Our Lives
The Eshet Hayil In Our Lives

Photo: publicdomainpictures.net The Eshet Hayil In Our Lives An email from My Jewish Learning about “A Woman of Valor” prompted me to pivot the next evening’s planned adult learning session to looking at these 22 verses from Mishlei, the Book of Proverbs. These verses...

Live Long and Prosper?
Live Long and Prosper?

By Oklahoma Heritage Association, Gaylord-Pickens Museum - Author, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25656727 Live Long and Prosper? January 5, 2022 began the third year of the seven and a half-year cycle of Daf Yomi, the practice of...

Pin It on Pinterest