Close this search box.

Misaskim Emergency Shabbos System Proves Invaluable

The Misaskim organization, most famous for the daily services that it provides to grieving families, has recently expanded its services by implementing a Shabbos Hotline, staffed by especially-trained non-Jews, to help coordinate any situations regarding k’vod hameis that should arise on Shabbos. This past weekend, true to the Misaskim slogan that reads “Im Hachaim …,” the emergency system played a vital role in a different way. Just hours before the onset of Shabbos, Misaskim was overwhelmed by calls for help involving three separate planes which had been diverted from Newark Airport due to inclement weather.

Several hours previously, a yungerman in Eretz Yisrael had received a chilling phone call informing him that his mother had become critically ill and requesting that he return home to Brooklyn immediately. Frantically searching for an appropriate flight to get him back to the United States as soon as possible, he found one that was scheduled to arrive four hours before Shabbos – which would usually ensure more than enough time to travel from Newark to Brooklyn. Before the flight was about to land, however, the pilot was told to change course and land at a military base in Bangor, Maine. What was the yungerman to do? Once Misaskim received the call, volunteers immediately began phoning their contacts at Continental Airlines and attempting to reach other air travel officials. 

At just about the same time, another call came in about a flight from Chicago to Newark that was being diverted to Hartford, Connecticut. It was easier to make arrangements for that flight since it was domestic, but while Misaskim worked to resolve both situations, volunteers were notified of a third flight from Toronto that had been diverted to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Although the management of Continental was very accommodating, and Misaskim’s friends in the Customs Department tried to be helpful, there was no way to allow the young man who was arriving from Israel to disembark at Bangor, since there was no customs official on hand at the military base. Misaskim convinced Continental management to tag the flight as a priority and it soon left again, heading towards Newark.

Misaskim then received word that the couple who had been diverted to Allentown were allowed to leave the plane, and that they would be able to obtain transportation home just in time for Shabbos. The individual on the Hartford-bound flight did not need special intervention to be allowed off the plane before others, but Misaskim did set him up for Shabbos at the Chabad House in Hartford.

Although everyone had been hopeful that the plane from Eretz Yisrael would arrive in Newark before Shabbos, it soon became evident that this was not to be. Quickly, volunteers contacted the specially trained non-Jewish workers who are involved in the Emergency Shabbos Initiative, and requested that they meet the plane as it landed. One Misaskim volunteer packed up as much food as anyone could want (and more!) for the whole Shabbos and sent a Shabbos worker, and the package, to the airport, as well. When the plane landed, customs officials and Port Authority Police Officers were standing by to whisk the young man off the plane. Misaskim’s Shabbos workers obtained the luggage and brought it, together with a siddur, chumash, and other Shabbos essentials, to the Marriot hotel in the inner circle of the airport, a location to which the yungerman could walk. Although there was no vacancy at the hotel, Misaskim arranged with the management to allow the young man to stay in the lobby for the duration of Shabbos.

Misaskim’s team of non-Jewish Shabbos and Yom Tov assistants are fully trained under the direction of Harav Yechezkel Roth, shlit’a, regarding all of the ways in which they may (and may not) help Shabbos observers deal most effectively with issues of k’vod hameis. The Misaskim Emergency Initiative has now proven itself to be an invaluable resource in other ways as well.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

6 Responses

  1. 1,

    While that’s certainly true, in this case, it appears that many, many, many non-Jews went above and beyond what they needed to, often for no monetary gain, in order to help complete strangers adhere to religious beliefs that they did not share or probably even understand. Really that’s worth noticing too.

  2. And the reason the goyim acted that way is only because of the achdus shown and the amazement that someone would go through all that trouble for a complete stranger.

  3. REPOSTED from someone’s post,but B”H the word and proper understanding is spreading along!
    misaskim im HA’CHAIM…. says:
    June 19, 2011 at 11:26 pm
    unfortunately misaskim is spoken about amongst our people and media only after tragic instances, those heartrending tasks are only a fraction of their services. As their mission statement verifies “understanding tragedy with compassion. COORDINATING CRISIS WITH EXPERTISE”, the latter is where 24/7 of their time is occupied and as Rabbis Meyer and Weill’s personal mission is to stay out of the limelight more than possible, we and the media will NEVER know the quiet crisis situations that are constantly occuring in communities and by individuals across the globe, yes across the globe that come directly to misaskim’s hands.
    R’ Yanky and R’ Meyer forgive me but this is where i disagree with your mission of staying out of the limelight, and feel the people should know and APPRECIATE ALL your efforts that go unrealized by the masses.(just realize you’ll rarely find their name and pics out there, they honestly pass the credit onto their volunteeers fully as if it is ran by a board of 25 members, while in truth every breath of these 2 individuals is misaskim)
    to list a few: When a flight was delayed and being held over shabbos in Rome with plenty of yidden it was misaskim that got all shabbos arrangements and food taken care of.
    When 3 families were involved in an accident coming back from Toronto the night of motzei pesach last year misaskim was the helpline that was called and coordinated it all.
    When a brooklyn family’s member was injured in yerushalayim in a shooting it was misaskim that handled the crisis upto driving family until the plane yes literally skipping the checkin process and directly onto plane.
    When officials have issues with individuals from frum communities it is the misaskim expertise that they learned to trust and confide in, and therefore misaskim wil get the call from all governmental agencies that someone from a jewish community has gotten himself into trouble. and unfortunately these are occurences that happen around the clock at different points of the world. ranging from correctional facilities to local police departments across the US, from border contol to custom officials, “you name them, they name misaskim”.
    When they couldn’t bare watching a family in a time of simcha where a member would’nt attend due to illness, misaskim opened their gemach and did live hookups to hospitals and homes(then correctional facilities as well), over time they gave the job to mekimi to run, for the obvious reason of no time in their hands unfortunately due to greater impacting crisis that come to their door, not because more fatal accidents.
    Then there are the unfortunate tragic stories.
    The reason for this lengthy comment is not because I’m involved, but simply have tuned into their efforts and have tuned into the ignorance that dominates amongst my fellow friends about misaskim’s services as well, the only reason these 2 selfless individuals allowed their name to get out was for fundraising purposes and people that have been serviced by them have spread their name as well, that said, I’m a simple citizen b”h never needed them and only afforded a $36 raffle ticket which is currently during campaign, may this post help raise some more for them and we should not need them throughout klal yisroel

  4. 2, what makes you think the ayno yehudi wasnt paid for his services? I am sure they are taken care of and that is fine with me!

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts