Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The end of the mulberry tree

Jews have a way of  imagining that every random event that occurs is a personal gift from God, but the story described here (via VIN) takes the prize for most-self-centered display by an oblivious, but believing Jew. It tells the sad, and I do mean sad, stoty of the Jewish family that believes God sent the hurricane and caused all the attendant death and destruction, to spare them the bother of dealing with an annoying tree.

The fear of God kept an observant Jewish family from chopping down a despised fruit tree, so it took an act of God — Hurricane Irene’s winds of fury — to answer the prayers of neighbors on a small Midwood block.
On Saturday, Irene huffed and puffed and blew down a giant mulberry tree on E. 27th Street between Avenue I and Campus Road that for years had dropped sticky fruit on neighbors’ cars and littered the sidewalk with a tacky, dark-purple paste that made residents walk in the street to avoid stepping in the mess. 
“Everybody hated that tree,” said Ralph Davidson, 73. 
Including the people whose property it stood on, who for years refused to take the ax to the behemoth out of fear that god would smite them. 
“If you cut down a fruit tree, you can — god forbid — lose a family member,” said homeowner Daniel Roth. “It’s a Jewish thing. People don’t do it.” 
To some Jews, custom dictates they not chop down living trees that bear fruit. 
But no good deed goes unpunished, and when Mother Nature knocked the tree over, it downed the block’s power lines, leaving the neighbors without electric for 20 hours as the wires sizzled in the street. On top of that (literally) the tree’s remains blocked off their dead end street, pinning neighbors in — and when it tumbled, it took a piece of Roth’s foundation with it, and landed on a parked car in a final act of aggression against its embattled human foes. 
“Yes, we wanted it gone — but not this way,” said neighbor George Weill. 
On Monday, workers with heavy equipment labored to part the dead tree to free the people, who’ll be happy to see it gone. 
“This is the one last annoyance this is causing me — it’s [the tree’s] the last hurrah,” said Roth.
And it's also a finalist in the most pathetic faith in superstitious nonsense category. Cutting down an annoying tree might be asur, sure, but it can cost you a family member? Says who?

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