Vaad Harabonim Of The Five Towns Paskens To Leave Radio On For Shabbos


The following email was sent from the Achiezer Organization to residents of Far Rockaway and the Five Towns on Thursday evening.

Dear Resident of Far Rockaway and the Five Towns.

We understand that many in the community may be scared, concerned, or simply unsure of what should or should not be done in anticipation of the predicted Hurricane Irene which potentially might hit our neighborhood this weekend.

We have been working over the last several hours with community leaders exploring all possibilities which we may face during this storm.


Below are some the key points which were discussed on an emergency conference call with participants from Achiezer, Hatzolah, 101 Precinct, Nassau County Precinct, JCC, Office of Emergency Management, and local Rabbonim.

Over the next few hours, once the significance of the storm is further clarified, we will announce potential evacuation procedures and other urgent advisories.

1) Please identify any elderly or handicapped people in your vicinity who may be unable to move on their own, should an evacuation be ordered. Once we have a roster of these individuals we can work together with community agencies to ensure that this population is cared for.

2) Although the storm is not projected to hit until Sunday morning/afternoon, those who will feel more comfortable avoiding the storm should make plans to be away for Shabbos. This is the safest measure which can be taken in the event of a real Hurricane.

3) The Vaad Harabonim of the Five Towns has paskined that it is permissible, and strongly encouraged, that you leave a battery powered radio set to a news channel over Shabbos.

Again we stress that the foregoing is a conglomerated effort of the Office of Emergency Management, the Police Department, Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County, Achiezer, The Vaad of the Five Towns, the JCC, Local Rabbanim & many of the community organizations who will decide the best course of action to ensure that community members are safe and informed as developments occur.

We wish to reiterate that these plans are preliminary and precautionary.

As soon as we have a more clear directive of the forecasted path of this storm, we will immediately pass this information along.

Mark Gross
Hatzalah of the Rockaways & Nassau County

Rabbi Boruch B. Bender

Rabbi Tzvi Flaum
Vaad Harabonim of Far Rockaway & The Five Towns

Richard Altabe

Natan Mandelbaum & Alex Glucksman

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Mechilas Koividcha everybody – but does this not seem a bit exaggerated? this is a cat 2 hurricane – this will come and pass – a few broken windows and vayter…the world is not coming to an end because of this

  2. well, since we live near the water…I can look 5 blocks away and see the ocean…and if it really rides way over and comes down beach 9th…well…by then its sorta too late…

    …and I dont know about you, but if I hear all gehenom is breaking loose….well guess what…I’M HEADED OUT OF TOWN!

    Don’t worry…I’ll wash for Shalosh Seudos when I arrive at my safer location!

  3. Here we go again, with foolish folk making uneducated remarks….I guess they weren’t privy to attend this meeting.

    Simply put, one can NOT predict the sudden change in path of a storm. There is NO CHILUL shabbos involved in leaving a battery powered radio on for shabbos. Obviously, it should be kept in an area where it will NOT provide entertainment, rather in an isolated room where one can enter and listen in the event that things seem to be getting close.

    This radio MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE. If I remember correctly, one may be mechalel shabbos to save his or another’s life.

    Let’s all hope that we will iy’h not need to resort to these measures.

    Gut shabbos

  4. I live in Miami Beach and I can tell you this hurricane is not a joke. It is not ‘just a simple storm’ that will pass with little damage and injury. It is a major hurricane with the potential of severe damage and there will unfortunately be injuries, many severe. Do not attempt to go out during the storm, even if the clouds seem to clear, during the eye of the storm. Many are injured by going out during the eye, when things are calm, only to be caught when the other side of the storm catches them by suprise. I urge you to find a ‘safe’ room in your home, with no windows, in which you can take shelter if necessary. Prepare that room with food and water. Keep your radio on. Have extra food, water, batteries (solar cell phone chargers are great, and extra cash. If power is out ATM’s will not work (neither will gas pumps-fill up now). It’s not just a storm, it’s the aftermath. You may be powerless for days or even weeks. Tap water may be contaminated, grocery stores empty, restaurants shuttered, gas unavailable, and emergency services overwhelmed. Trust me. It will not be fun, I’ve been thru it before.

  5. Tina Mechilas Koividcha its people that thoght like you that died in Katrina and Rita. this i agood time to borrow a quote from the chofetz chaim Chabdehu v’ chusdehi.
    prepare for the worst and suspect a big nothing….

  6. “Mechilas Koividcha”

    Sorry Tina, for some reason these Rabbonim neglected to consult with you and instead sought guidance instead from the g’dolim of our times.