Misaskim’s Amazing Month of Chesed


misaskimThis has not been an easy winter, as we can attest from the snowstorm that hit our area earlier this month on a Friday. Hundreds of Shomer Shabbos travelers were faced with being stranded on Erev Shabbos. When El Al’s flight from Tel Aviv to Newark was late in arriving by nearly 8 ½ hours, Misaskim officials made arrangements for a special detail of US Immigration and Customs officials to help speed the passengers through the terminal. The flight, originally scheduled for a pre-dawn landing of 5:00 a.m. did not land until 1:20 in the afternoon, potentially causing many of the passengers to risk not being home in time for Shabbos. Misaskim was able to arrange for a detail of 13 extra agents who were able to process 371 passengers in record time, enabling all of them to reach their destinations before Shabbos. One of the agents even walked around the baggage carousel asking if there was anyone who was a Shabbos observer and needed help.

A family from Brazil suddenly found themselves stranded in Pittsburgh where a JFK-bound flight was diverted due to the storm. Flight personnel would not let the family leave the airport and only after the intervention of Misaskim were they permitted to leave. Misaskim contacted Duvy Nadoff who hosted the family for Shabbos until Sunday when they were finally able to connect to their original New York destination. The Nadoffs treated the stranded travelers like family, even giving them a tour of the city on Motzoei Shabbos.

Orthodox passengers on a JFK-bound flight from Los Angeles also endured a harrowing experience as their flight was diverted to Detroit where they were not allowed to deplane. While the plane ultimately landed at 3:20, it had to wait for a gate assignment until 8:00 p.m., well past the start of Shabbos. Misaskim contacted the Far Rockaway-based Achiezer organization who was able to arrange for delivery of the food. Non Jews working for Misaskim delivered a refrigerator as well as pillows blankets. The drivers ran into some difficulties contacting some of the stranded passengers.

Misaskim officials said that the organization had long since established contingency plans for such an eventuality. Its close contacts with law enforcement officials enabled the Jews arriving from Israel to avoid chillul Shabbos. Similarly, its ability to reach out to resources in the community came in handy for some of the other stranded passengers on the snowy Friday.

Misaskim Assists in Levaya of Reb Menachem Stark z”l

The murder of Reb Menachem Stark z”l plunged the entire community into mourning. The throngs that came to the levaya on Motzoei Shabbos in Williamsburg nearly a month ago were only a small expression of the shock and grief that were felt in the entire Jewish community. As it is apt to do at large levayas, Misaskim coordinated logistics with law enforcement officials as the levaya proceeded to Kiryas Joel for burial. Misaskim volunteers also set up light towers and the sound system. Misaskim maintains this equipment as part of its preparedness mission.

Manchester Misaskim Prevents Autopsy in Difficult Case

Manchester UK…It is almost unprecedented that an autopsy is waved for an apparent unexplained death. But thanks to Misaskim, a family of a distinguished 63-year old member of the community was at least comforted that an autopsy was prevented last week. For Misaskim, the story began when medical officials declared the man to be brain dead but had no explanation for why he had gone into cardiac arrest in the first place. The family contacted Misaskim officials who immediately made their way to the hospital and spent the rest of Shabbos discussing and exploring all possibilities with the Consultants and medical staff. Scans were sent to top neurosurgeons at Salford Royal and all the replies were the same: “there is nothing that can be done; the damage is too great.” Misaskim consulted with Rabbonim, and were told not to get involved in the decision making when to remove the ventilator. Misaskim stayed with the family throughout until he was niftar early Sunday morning.

The doctor at ICU informed the Misaskim volunteers that since the cause of the collapse was unknown, it would be referred to the coroner for investigation. Misaskim discussed the case at length with the coroner, and it was agreed that Misaskim would move the body from the hospital mortuary to the Jewish Mortuary, pending an MRI scan later in the day. But unless the cause of the collapse could be explained, a full autopsy would be necessary. But because the MRI was inconclusive, the Coroner insisted that the body be moved to the Central Manchester Mortuary for a possible autopsy. After consulting specialists and others, the break came when a local physician was able to verify that he had treated the patient and a case was made that the patient collapsed due to an epileptic seizure which lead to the cardiac arrest.

The coroner was called and agreed with the cause of death and signed the release. Misaskim then coordinated with lightening speed the registration, all the coroner paperwork including the out of England burial order, collection of the body from the mortuary, Tahara and at 9PM the levaya left from his house to Eretz Yisroel. A large crowd gathered in the cold weather to say their final goodbye to this well loved and well respected individual.

The Manchester case was a further example of the worldwide network of Misaskim who are on call whenever needed.

A Toddler’s Death on Shabbos Successfully Tests Misaskim’s Diverse Capacity

The crib death of a 5-month old toddler is an unbearable tragedy in itself. But when the Boro Park child died on Shabbos it created many complicated circumstances that had to be dealt with. At Misaskim headquarters, the Shabbos emergency procedures went into effect, including the case being handled by a non-Jew working for Misaskim. Any such death triggers an automatic investigation by law enforcement that in this case lasted nearly five hours. It involved eighteen different investigators including agents from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). In the end, the body was removed after Shabbos for burial.

The final effort was with the Medical Examiner’s Office, which again proved the extreme value of Misaskim’s far reaching program to maintain a constant relationship with medical examiners in the region and beyond.

In Just 4 Hours a Whirlwind of Activity at Misaskim

A Monday evening in January was anything but routine for the volunteers of Misaskim, although by no means unprecedented. It began with a diabetic man living alone who was found dead in his apartment. As is common in such cases, police were called in and, of course, the medical examiner. Thanks to Misaskim’s exceptional relationship with law enforcement and the office of the Medical Examiner, he was brought to kever yisrael after Misaskim located his family. Shortly thereafter, Misaskim volunteers dealt with the death of a Russian Jew in Brighton Beach. Even as Misaskim was tending to the emergencies already at hand, it soon found itself dealing with a Mes Mitzvah in the Philippines who after much effort will be brought to kever yisroel. Almost simultaneously came a phone call about a Jew who had gone missing in Sheepshead Bay and who was ultimately found dead and once again Misaskim took care of bringing him to kever yisroel. Meanwhile in Toronto, while volunteers were searching for a missing Jew in Toronto, Misaskim was contacted and helped and guided them with the search. He was found in the early morning, all this activity in just four hours.

At Misaskim headquarters, staff and volunteers were in emergency mode, keeping tabs on all of the situations that needed attention. It was once again a vivid illustration of why Misaskim’s motto of preparedness for any eventuality is so important.

42 Shiva Pickups and Deliveries on an Ordinary Sunday

Misaskim’s ability to serve multiple homes of Shiva has often been put to the test after a long Yom Tov or a 3-day Yom Tov. But earlier this month, it was for all practical purposes an ordinary Sunday in January that Misaskim volunteers crisscrossed the New York/New Jersey area to deliver and pick up Shiva furniture from 42 different locations. It is for days like these that Misaskim must maintain a large inventory of furniture. This is addition to furniture which must be replaced or taken out of use for repairs. It is a tribute to the volunteers of Misaskim that they are indeed prepared for any eventuality.

Misaskim Steps in to Bake Challahs for Shabbos

The extreme cold took its toll on the 3 phase electricity on the second level of Shloimy’s Bakery in Boro Park. The result was that the ovens fell silent during the heat of challah baking at 3 am on a Friday. The only salvation would be a generator to power up the ovens. When Misaskim was called, it immediately dispatched one of its fully charged generators that it keeps for emergencies. The ovens ignited and the challahs for Shabbos were baked without any further hitch.

{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. It is the dedicated and selfless individuals like Danny & Motti from Misaskim Manchester, that give Klal Yisroel Zechusim and Shemira.