'It feels like we are all still shaking': message from Japan

By Jennifer Lipman
March 14, 2011

In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, those with friends and family in the country understandably rushed to contact them and check if they had been affected.

One couple, who have visited Japan on several occasions, contacted Tokyo-based Rabbi Antonio Di Gesù. They kindly offered to share his response with JC readers.

“It has been quite a Shabbat: mostly quiet but with an underlying anxiety that made us all look at the cell-phones waiting for that earthquake alert message affecting Tokyo.

I’m good as are most of our congregants, as far as I know. I’ve found a few emails directly from them and I’ve spoken with some of them too.

A few months ago I had put on the [Jewish Community of Japan] home-page a link to a registration form aimed at Jews living outside of Tokyo and inviting them to let us know where they are. Of the couple of dozen people who responded none lives in the affected areas. Our building withstood the hits: it was scary to see it sway, but thank God, there are no damages.

We had a very low key Shabbat: one foreign visitor for Kabbalat Shabbat and three for Shachrit. And since the JCJ cook had not finished preparing any meal, and my fridge was completely empty, Arie, the person responsible for our security and me took out a couple of challot, some strawberries and a plate of cut pineapple and that was our Shabbat meal that we shared with the visitor. Same menu also at lunch…

I still don’t know what we could do as a community to help. My Japanese is not still at a level where I can interact freely on serious topics like this, so I will need to coordinate this with someone on the board, but it feels like we are all still shaking, so we’ll wait at least until tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers and your good thoughts."


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