Misaskim: 24hrs Of Non-Stop Chesed Following Wicked Storm


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Torrential rains, raving fires, downed electricity and emergency landing – it’s mind-boggling to think how many times Misaskim answered calls for help within twenty-four-hours.

It started minutes after Shabbos when Misaskim received a call from Teaneck, NJ, that a tree fell and R”L killed two people coming home from shul. When all of humanity huddled indoors and complained about the howling winds outside, twelve Misaskim volunteers and the Chaplain from the Teaneck Police Dept. Rabbi Abe Friedman, stood in the pouring rain for hours to clean up the accident disaster site al pi halacha. Afterwards, Misaskim arranged for the shmira overnight and in the morning a Misaskim team was dispatched to the morgue in Bergen County to have the bodies released in a timely manner, without comprising the kavod hames. B”h, Sunday night, one aron was on the 7:30 flight to Eretz Yisroel and the second levaya took place on Monday morning.

While in the morgue, the Director of Public Safety for Kiryas Yoel, Rabbi Moses Witriol, who was there at the time, to help Misaskim expedite the release of the niftarim noticed two Jewish-sounding names of bodies scheduled for an autopsy on the following day; Ron Sandburg and Elliot Nissenbaum. After inquiring, Misaskim was told that these were victims of a Motzei Shabbos fatal fire in Fort Lee, NJ, and since no family member had objected to the autopsy they were going to happen Monday morning. It was difficult to track down the next of kin. The police department refused to share the information, due to privacy laws. Numerous other law enforcement agencies were asked to help, but these efforts yielded no result. By sheer coincidence, Rabbi Witriol recalled doing a business dealing with those men in the 1990’s and recalled the name of their real estate management company. After many more leads, Misaskim heard that they recently closed a mortgage deal with a prominent mortgage firm, and the firm’s president connected Misaskim with the sister of Mr. Ron Sandberg from Brooklyn, NY and the sister of Mr. Elliot Nissenbaum from Boston, Massachusetts. Both women came down to Bergen Counties Coroners Office signed the ID documents and objection for the autopsy. Both bodies were released Monday afternoon to the funeral homes, once again, without compromising the kavod haniftar.

On that very same day, Misaskim received a frantic call from Telshe Yeshiva in Riverdale, NY. Their electricity was down due to the horrific storm. Besides for bittul torah, they had an event scheduled for that evening. Misaskim supplied a generator, restored the Bais Midrash’s electricity temporarily, and earned the zechus of two hundred bachurim’s torah learning – and a successful gathering.

To top off the eventful day, a family flying their ten-day-old newborn on a incubator from Eretz Yisroel to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York for emergency heart surgery called out to Misaskim to help them transport the baby to the hospital from the airport. Misakim, once again, found the heart, time and resources to answer this plea for help. All this in just a mere 24 hours.

(Dov Gordon – YWN)


  1. There’s an old saying: Nothing Hakadosh Baruch Hu does is for nothing. On Shabbos, I was wondering what caused such a hurricane-like weather in the middle of March and far away from the storm season. I was even more baffled when I saw The Yeshiva World on Motzei Shabbos declaring “Two People Killed by Fallen Tree on the way home from Shul”. I asked myself: Why has Hashem done this? I’m still left without an answer, but with an clarification of some sort. Perhaps Hashem wanted us to see what others do in such times.

    To all of you Askanim at Misaskim: May you always be so busy, but not with such uneventful events. I was happy to learn that one episode that took place that day was “L’Beis Mishte”. I, for one, has been speechless by this account and this article might make be look at Chesed somewhat different next time it comes to my door.

    Thanks again to Misaskim and to YWN for inspiring us.

  2. What about all the other organizations especially Chaverim that are still out there working for people no thanks to them ?!?!
    Well here is your official thanks for every car stick every house with out electric every basement that got flooded thank you thank you Chaverim for your selfless dedication !!!!!!

  3. ….and of course ALL the other volunteer organizations and ALL volunteers in general who band together in times of crisis to help one another. Modern, Chasidish, Yeshivish, even Frei, whatever….MI K’AMCHO???

  4. Rabbosai
    We all know that misaskim is always there for the entire klal yisrael no matter who or when. we have to be there for misaskim as well. Please go to their website, http://www.misaskim.org and donate! Their expenses are huge and they have to rely on community support.