Natural disasters seem to affect all of us, if not directly, then as we think that it could have been us that it happened to. So I am in pain when I see the devastation in the US that was caused by the recent storms and tornadoes. I imagine how difficult it must be to lose everything and to have to start all over again.

I also feel pain when I see the pictures and hear the reports from China. We have been to Chengdu a number of times. We go there to see the panda breeding grounds where the Chinese have been highly successful in breeding pandas and keeping them alive and healthy– and recently, they have begun to work on releasing some into the wild. Chengdu is a booming metropolis with modern hotels, an old “Chinatown,” colorful markets, beautiful parks and temples, and a fabulous folklore show that includes the changing masks and shadow puppets.

The Chinese people have a long history that they compare to that of the Jews– two ancient civilizations surviving until modern times. They feel a kinship with us, and we with them. Both civilizations value children, education, hard work, and respect. We Israeli/Jewish groups are always greeted with smiles and kindness. My thoughts are with the Chinese people at this very difficult time.

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