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Is it the Start of Summer

Traditionally Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer.  I know the vernal equinox in June is the actual date the season really begins. But let’s face it the long weekend at the end of May kind of kicks off the summer attitude. Lots of people go away this weekend and the first real cook-outs take place.  Besides isn’t there some old fashion rule-that after Memorial Day you can wear white again?

For the beaches on the Gulf Coast this weekend is hardly the start of summer.  Traditionally lots of people would go to the Gulf Coast to play in the warm coast waters on Memorial Day weekend. I remember growing up in Memphis there was always an exodus to Biloxi, Gulfport and New Orléans over this holiday weekend. But this year with oil still streaming forth from earth and an oil spill now larger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska covering an area some say now larger than the state of Pennsylvania, there is little reason for summer beach celebrations.  Already the tar balls are washing ashore on some of the gulf region’s shoreline and beautiful beaches. 

My heart aches.

So even if you are enjoying this holiday weekend somewhere. Take a moment to pause and reflect on the tragedy in the gulf and perhaps donate the cost of a meal to those whose livelihoods will be forever changed because of this tragedy. Not just those who work in the tourist industries but the fisherman, charter boats and entire economy of this region (the 29th largest) will be devastated.

The Jewish Funds for Justice is collecting funds for the Gulf Coast victims of this spill.

 JFSJ Gulf Coast Disaster Recovery Fund online at or; by phone at (212) 213-2113, Ext. 3; or mailed to JFSJ, 330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001.