Misaskim’s headquarters were abuzz on motzei yom tov. Less than an hour after the z’man, volunteers were already inundated with calls for assistance, as hundreds of aveilim began to sit shivah as soon as yom tov was over.
In addition to shivah chairs, the aveilim needed other basic supplies such as folding chairs, water coolers, siddurim, candles, and Sifrei Torah. Additional volunteers were called in to assist with loading the trucks and coordinating each individual family’s requests. Misaskim dispatched its fleet of vehicles to 45 locations throughout the tri-state area, and in less than four hours after the z’man all the shivah homes were set up. Misaskim’s Shivah Hotline was then updated, and information about the aveilim was relayed to local news agencies in order to notify friends, colleagues, and members of the community.
However, the incessantly ringing phones were not only related to Misaskim’s g’mach nechumim services. Some families needed assistance with arranging levayas and with handling situations that were even more complicated. Tragically, a young father died on yom tov after having been ill for some time. The situation required the involvement of the Medical Examiner’s Office and therefore, it became necessary for Misaskim to intervene so that the body could be released in a timely manner. In fact, Misaskim volunteers escorted the body to and from the Medical Examiner’s Office to ensure kavod hames. Since the niftar’s wife and daughter had been in Eretz Yisroel for yom tov, and were scheduled to land in New York shortly after noon on Sunday, Misaskim’s volunteers met them at the arrival gate in order to notify them, expedite arrival procedures, and thus ensure that the levayah could proceed as scheduled at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon.
It didn’t take much longer before Misaskim was summoned upstate to assist in the search for a missing 12-year-old boy. Misaskim immediately activated its Monsey and Monroe divisions, even as additional equipment such as light towers and the command post departed from Brooklyn.
These are only a few of the high-profile situations that the Organization tackled in the first 24 hours after yom tov. Misaskim volunteers extend themselves to the utmost to attend to the community’s needs. It is only because of the tireless efforts of such dedicated individuals that Misaskim is able to offer continuous support whenever it is needed.
Even though Misaskim has the infrastructure and logistical procedures in place to support grieving families, it has become apparent during the past few days that Misaskim’s g’mach nechumim is struggling to keep up with the rapid growth of our community. The stocks in its warehouses dwindled quickly and within only a few hours after the end of yom tov, volunteers had already distributed all available Sifrei Torahs and were unable to accommodate all requests. . Unfortunately, Misaskim will not be able to provide any more Sifrei Torah this week since all are already being used by grieving families. The Organization is asking anyone who is able to donate a Sefer Torah to please contact Misaskim – Tiszku L’mitzvos.
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