Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan Meltdown

Tokyo (CNN) -- A meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichi's nuclear power reactors in northern Japan, an official with Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told CNN Sunday.

"There is a possibility, we see the possibility of a meltdown," said Toshihiro Bannai, director of the agency's international affairs office, in a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters in Tokyo. "At this point, we have still not confirmed that there is an actual meltdown, but there is a possibility."

Source: CNN

Japan Live TV (in english)
Japan quake live blog: 15 more people exposed to radiation

Conflicting reports continue to come out of Japan.  Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has DEMANDED that Japan update Australia on the actual situation.

Live Updates: Intel Hub


Dovid Chaim said...

Why does japan get all this?

Devorah said...

Forwarded article: (Part 1)

In light of the earthquake off the coast of Japan, I am resending an article I wrote in the wake of the disaster in Haiti last year.

Rabbi Reuven Gross
Congregation Sha'arei Tzedek Mishkan Yair, Chicago , IL

Earthquake in HaitiThe Dual Response of a Torah JewBy
Rabbi Reuven Gross

One of the most basic tenets that a believing Jew lives by, is that everything that happens, whether it be to our individual lives, to entire countries, or to the whole world, is simply an expression of the will of Hashem. It is particularly important for us to remember this when a natural disaster occurs. What the world calls “nature” we call the yad Hashem. As we absorb the stream of tragic news coming from Haiti, we are challenged to process it through a Torah perspective.

The fist thing that we have to remember is that without a navi or clear direction from chazal we can never know why things happen. It is a dangerous game to play to try to explain why up to 200,000 people died in Haiti, why the Holocaust happened or why even one innocent child should ever have to die. For a Torah Jew then, the question is not why something happens but rather what are we supposed to do with it and how are we supposed to respond.

When dealing with a disaster, such as what has happened in Haiti, we need to understand that two things occurred; there was a “natural” event, i.e. the earthquake, and secondly, there was the human catastrophe that resulted from it. Each one deserves its own attention and its own response. When it comes to natural events, chazal have given us a great deal of direction by requiring us to say brachos in response to thunder, lightning and … earthquakes.

Devorah said...

Part 2

The Mishnah in Maseches Brachos says that the bracha for an earthquake is “shekocho ugevuraso malei olam”, “for His strength and His power fill the universe.” We are reminded that with all of man’s scientific knowledge and highly developed technology, there is nothing we can do to prevent an earthquake, with its sometimes dire consequences. We are humbled by the display of Hashem’s awesome might, and express our recognition of it with this bracha.

The gemora, in its comments on this mishna, gives us an additional insight into what lies behind an earthquake. There we are told, that earthquakes occur because, “when the Holy One, Blessed is He, remembers His children who endure in misery amidst the nations of the world, He sheds two tears that fall into the Great Sea, and the sound is heard from one end of the world until its other end, and that is what we perceive as an earthquake.” (Artscroll elucidation)

And so when an earthquake happens, we are to feel, not only Hashem’s might, but also His pain at our suffering and recognize that He too wants us to be redeemed and is waiting for us to act in a way that will allow Him to do so.

But in regards to the earthquake in Haiti, there is the additional dimension that demands our attention, and that is the human tragedy of epic proportions. Without the insight of a navi or chazal, we accept it as a mystery that happened for a reason that only Hashem in his infinite wisdom can understand. We can and must however respond with sympathy and compassion for the suffering of so many people, for that is essential to the Torah concept of tzelem elokim. It is for this reason that Orthodox organizations across the spectrum have directed their constituents as to how to donate towards the relief efforts. Indeed we read with pride about IDF soldiers and Zaka teams who are in Haiti helping with the rescue work, about the minyan they held on Shabbos amidst the ruins as locals came over afterwards to kiss their taleisim and about the Haitian woman who named her baby, delivered by an Israeli doctor, Israel.

Both the inspiration from the occurrence of an earthquake and the compassion aroused in the face of horrific human tragedy, together make up the Torah response. Neither one need take away from the other. We, as human beings, are sufficiently complex to be able to absorb both messages.

And so, as Torah Jews we feel the pain and suffering of Hashem’s creations and respond appropriately, as we continue to daven for the day Hashem will no longer have to shed tears for the suffering of His people…