Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Earth Etude for 16 Elul

The Sound of the Shofar

Elul is the month of return when we gather our thoughts and think about what we did during the past year and how we can do better in the coming year. Many years ago, I went to Mexico City and when I first landed there, I immediately noticed the difference in air quality. In fact, it was so bad that when I got off the plane, there was a stinging sensation in my lungs. As well, when I lived in Los Angeles as a college student one summer, I remembered that they had smog alerts during the days that would be especially cloudy when the air quality would be very poor due to a combination of smoke and fog.

One week this summer, it was very rainy all week. I had picked up a cold and it settled in my chest. The dampness due to the extreme rain that we had got into my lungs and made it difficult to breathe. I have an 80-year-old friend who has COPD. She said I sounded just like her. She also told me that many older people in her building go around with oxygen tanks, particularly during rainy days when the air is bad. It makes me sad that the quality of our air is deteriorating and that few people are talking about it. What are we doing to our planet? Are we poisoning ourselves slowly and can we ultimately survive this process of gradual deterioration of our air quality? What kind of a world do we want to live in? The sound of the shofar reminds us to wake up before it's too late.

Joel Richard Davidson is a self-employed private attorney practicing social security, real estate and estate law in Quincy, Massachusetts. Joel also serves as organist for St. Brendan Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts and is taking courses towards his Certificate in Jewish Liturgical Music at Hebrew College. He serves as Cantor for the High Holidays at Congregation Keshet Yam in Manchester by the Sea, Manchester, Massachusetts under the direction of Rabbi Judith Epstein.

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