Misaskim’s Emergency Response – An Eventful 24 Hours

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misaskimTorrential rains, raving fires, downed electricity wires… It’s mind-boggling to consider how many times Misaskim answered calls for help within twenty-four hours this week.

It started minutes after Shabbos when Misaskim received a call from Teaneck, NJ, that a tree fell and 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 of the Teaneck Police Department, Rabbi Abe Friedman, stood in the pouring rain for hours to deal with the accident site al pi halacha. Afterwards, Misaskim arranged for the shemirah 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 kavod hameis. 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 Vitriol, who was there at the time to help Misaskim expedite the release of the niftarim, noticed two Jewish-sounding names – Ron Sandburg and Elliot Nissenbaum – of bodies scheduled for autopsies the following day. Upon inquiring, Misaskim was told that these were victims of a Motzoei Shabbos fatal fire in Fort Lee, NJ, and since no family member had objected to the autopsies, they were going to take place Monday morning. It was difficult to track down the next of kin and 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 Vitriol recalled doing a business dealing with those men in the 1990s and remembered the name of their real estate management company. After following 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 the Bergen County Coroner’s Office and signed the ID documents. Both bodies were released Monday afternoon to funeral homes, once again without compromising kavod haniftar.

That very same day, Misaskim received a frantic call from Telshe Yeshiva in Riverdale, NY. The electricity in the yeshiva was down due to the horrific storm. Besides for bittul Torah, the yeshiva had an event scheduled for that evening. Misaskim supplied a generator, restored the bais midrash‘s electricity temporarily, and earned the zechus of Torah learning of two hundred bochurim and a successful gathering.

To top off the eventful day, a family flying their ten-day-old newborn on an incubator from Eretz Yisroel to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York for emergency heart surgery called 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.    

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. This is indeed incredible – Misaskim is amazing and everyone should support them. The unsung heroes, however, are a remarkable group of chesed volunteers called CHAVEIRIM, who helped countless people during the weekend storm when stuck in their vehicles, and who help in many situations year-round. They deserve recognition for what they have done and continue to do, with mush less fan fare.


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