By Gabriel Solomon
What goes through your mind as you read about a news event that occurs halfway around the world? On Monday evening, upon receiving an e-mail itemizing the news events of the day, an article about a gas explosion in Israel claiming three lives caught my eye.
Several Israeli news agencies reported that late Sunday evening, residents of a building in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo contacted their gas company, Supergas, to report a gas odor. The company sent a technician to the building. Residents said that the technician came twice that evening, shut off the gas, and promised to return in the morning, stating that the problem had been temporarily taken care of. When they complained that they still smelled gas, the technician reassured them that the odor would go away.
Just after 1:00 a.m. Monday morning, there was an explosion on the third floor of the building, instantly killing Avraham Tufan, 56, and his wife Galit, 42. Paramedics pulled their two-year-old son, Yosef Haim, from the rubble, but he died on the way to the hospital. Several apartments were heavily damaged, and 11 other residents were injured.
Though the specific details are still under investigation, we should take this as a reminder to be diligent to make sure that our homes are safe, our gas and electrical systems are properly maintained and in good working order, and that our carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are functional.
To many, this is just another tragic news event which occurred 6,000 miles away, claiming three lives, injuring dozens of people, and leaving many people homeless.
To me, Avraham Tufan was a cousin. I remember meeting him while visiting Israel almost 30 years ago. He was beginning his career in the hotel and hospitality industry. He was friendly and pleasant, often going out of his way to make sure that the people around him were happy. “No” was not part of his vocabulary. He loved his family and lived to please people. He made an effort to keep in touch with his family abroad and it was always a pleasure to chat with him when he came to visit.
His coworkers and guests will surely miss him, and his family and community will mourn the loss of Avraham, Galit, and Yosef Haim.
What does this newsworthy event have to do with us? Everything!
The underlying message of this and other tragic events resonates across the globe. They should remind us to appreciate our loved ones and not to take life for granted. We should look to prioritize our relationships in our lives, whether in our own neighborhood or over long distances.
Gabriel Solomon is the creative director of LifeCapture Images. v