El AL Announces Major Change In Transporting Niftarim To Eretz Yisroel


The following is an email that was sent to every funeral chapel in the NYC area on Tuesday morning. It was provided to YWN by El Al:

Dear XXXXX Chapels,

Please be advised that ELAL passenger flights recently suffered several departure delays due to late delivery of human remains and documents.

In order to stop this situation the new instructions would apply effective immediately, without exceptions.

All human remains along with the documents must be dropped at ELAL cargo 3 hours prior booked flight departure.

Any later human remains will be moved to the next available flight.

In case of any problem please contact elal cargo executive office

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Understandable and reasonable policy. With the abundance of NYC flights to Israel these days, it’s unnecessary to delay flights because a body hasn’t made it through cargo yet. Many on the flights might be attending a simcha, business trip, yeshiva, or God Forbid a funeral, or whatever- and their time should be respected.

  2. Why should there be any פשרה? El Al knows how long these things take and are entitled to make a policy that ensures their flights can be ready to leave on time.

  3. Not sure why there is a need for a פשרה. This is a reasonable accommodation. Many people making hespeidem at funerals are constantly reminded about what time the cemetery workers go to lunch or what time the cemetery closes. 3 hours prior the flight is plenty of time. If the niftar/nifteres is being drivrn from lakewood make sure to end the hespeidim with enough time to travel to JFK.

  4. Absolutely reasonable!
    Levayos can be shortened in deference to flight of niftar. An entire flight of people should not be delayed because another person has to be maspid. ElAl give immense accommodation and respect to niftarim.
    ומחה ה’ דמעה מעל כל פנים

  5. Of-course in some cases, this can be tipping point in missing last flight out before Shabbos V 1st flight after Shabbos [some 48 hour delay, even longer with Chaggim and 3 day Yomim-Tovim etc.] but if this bothers someone too much, 2 choices:- 1) Go to live in Israel before passing away; or 2) Plan to be interred locally here in NYC.

  6. While kavod hames is obviously very important, so too are the schedules of 300+ passengers waiting to take off for EY. Some of these passengers themselves may be rushing to attend a levayah the next day or be at the bedside of a critically ill member of the family or attend the chasanah of son or daughter. The new policy is both reasonable and necessary and should be administered uniformly so there are no “special exceptions” which are highly unfair to all.

  7. I’ve been there why should it take more than 30minutes to scan a box and load it they know it’s coming 3 hours is mightly inefficient. anybody , what am I missing?

  8. You are missing that JFK and EWR are both major international airports. It may only take 30 minutes to load a box onto the actual airplane assuming everything stops as soon as the box approaches the airport but that is not the way it works. The airport has other things to do except wait around for a niftar on the way to a kevura in Eretz Yisroel. When we push for expedited procedures to enable speedy kevura in America, that is a cheesed we can reasonably ask but to expect special treatment to delay kevura by shipping the body half way across the world is something else. Why is it that some Yidden simply cannot get into their heads that the world does not revolve around us and whatever our desires may be that particular minute?

  9. Folks – a bit of perspective here. in most cases (not including Israeli residents who died while abroad) the “human remains” are of a person who ACTIVELY CHOSE not to avail himself of the free-one way ticket in coach class offered to ANY Jew who wishes to fulfill the mitzvah of Yishuv Haaretz and all other mitzvos hatluyos baaretz in full. They generally CHOSE to make Aliyah in the cargo hold, which is much more expensive than flying coach – or even business class – and getting a free grave on account of the national security of the Jewish state. NO flight should be held up for this. It is tircha detzibura. And in addition to all of the other reasons listed above, there might also be passengers who CHOSE to make Aliyah in the passenger class and as such are misasek in a mitzvah which is equal to all other mitzvos.

  10. Meir G They need to make sure all the paperwork and permits are in order and that everything is done by the book. 3 hours might be too much but they need to know how to balance the baggage compartment of the aircraft. They may also want to load the aron first and it takes about 2 hours to turn around a plane.

  11. Meir G: Ask your Rav or local chevrah kadishah who have some experience in these matters. There is more to placing the body of a niftar on to an international flight, whether El Al or other airline, than “scanning a box”. There is paperwork that must be manually reviewed by an airline agent etc. and there is only certain areas in the cargo hold where the aron can be placed along with other cargo that must be loaded in coordination. Those are among the few items you are missing

  12. Paperwork and permits are so standard procedure they sound foreign to avg citizens these are done daily by the same 3 people . How many pages do u think it is ask mr orange who’s done this for 30 years. As far as loading go ask the forklift guys for them it’s a delicate box .