It is 6:00 in the morning. You know that a certain family you are acquainted with is sitting shiva and you want to be there for the shacharis minyan but you don’t know the address of the availim and the schedule for davening. It’s too early to call anyone, yet if you wait any longer, chances are that you will have missed your opportunity. Instinctively, you look up a number that responds to such inquiries twenty-four hours a day. You dial 718-854-4548.
Ring…Ring…Ring… “Thank you for calling CCR Misaskim. Press one for the Shiva hotline. Press two, if this is an emergency not during business hours. Press three, if you are calling during normal business hours to reach the secretary.”
You press number one on the receiver of your telephone.
“Your call is being transferred,” a voice says. Then, “You have reached the Misaskim Shiva Hotline. To hear Shiva locations and schedules, dial the first five letters of the family you wish to hear about. If the family you are inquiring about has less than five letters in its last name dial the letters and then press the pound sign. If you wish to add a listing to the Shiva Hotline, dial the Misaskim number during normal business hours…”
You dial the five letters associated with the family you wish to hear about and are given the correct address and precise times for Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv. Shacharis is at 7:30 a.m. You know that will not miss the minyan now only because Misaskim was there for the information you needed at the right moment…
Misaskim, the legendary organization dedicated to the mitzvah of kibud hameis, has demonstrated its true character once again by adding this much- needed information service to its long list of chesed. Known particularly for arriving swiftly at the scene of (lo aleinu) a fatal accident and performing all the functions of a chevra kadisha with sensitivity in such tragic occurrences, Misaskim also provides low chairs and tables, sifrei Torah, siddurim, and chumashim for the shiva house.
The new information hotline about shiva locations and davening and shiva schedules still does not end Misaskim’s mission, however. With vision and an extraordinary drive to ease the burden and pain of the loss of a family member, Misaskim plans to add a new service in the near future – facilitating a telephone hook-up of a levaya for those family members who find themselves in distant places and are unable to travel or cannot make it in time to attend.
May Mashiach come very, very soon so that Misaskim and its holy activities will no longer be needed among klal Yisroel. In the meantime, the new Shiva Hotline can be reached twenty-four hours a day at 718-854-4548.