One week. Three Niftarim. 1900 Miles.Date: January 01, 2010
When Mr. Richard Blau passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2009, he should've had an autopsy as part of the standard protocol for all residents in his institution in Buffalo, NY. When the staff Rev. notified the only known relative about the death, the relative was in a quandary. An elderly fellow with limited resources, the relative had neither the energy nor the finances to arrange a burial. Fortunately, an acquaintance directed him to Misaskim. Avrumi Friedman, a volunteer from Misaskim's Toronto division transported the body from Buffalo to Syracuse where it was transferred to Lazer Wohlner & Moshe Yaakov Tessler, volunteers from Misaskim's Kiryas Yoel division. They continued the transport to Kiryas Yoel. Shmulie David & Sruly Hyman, volunteers from Misaskim's Brooklyn division completed the transport from Kiryas Yoel to Brooklyn where Misaskim arranged for a levaye and kevurah. In an ironic twist of Hashgacha, Avrumi Friedman had stopped off at a rest area during the transport, where he met a Jewish family from Toronto with the same last name as the niftar: Blau. After a few moments of discussing Jewish geography, the family members realized that they may be related. They asked to be led to the car, where they recited Tehillim and were melave the aron for a few moments.
Once again, Misaskim did their share, and traveled 900 miles to bring an unknown mes mitzvah to kever yisroel and Hashem coordinated events to ensure that possible relatives, were there to partake in the levaye in a small way. The same week, a tragic car accident claimed the lives of 20 year old Pesha Leah Azoulah and 10 year old Avrohom Dovid Liberow. While traveling home from a wedding in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a tractor-trailer lost control and crashed onto their car at approximately 10 p.m. The accident occurred 35 miles from the Pennsylvania-Ohio border.
Family members contacted Misaskim, and several teams of trained volunteers were immediatley dispatched to deal with the many pressing needs, including chevra kaddisha arrangements, disaster recovery and the Medical Examiner's office. Misaskim worked feverishly throughout the entire night with the Pennsylvania State Police and the coroner assigned to the accident until the bodies were released to Misaskim at 3 a.m. Duvie Nadoff a volunteer from Misaskim's Pittsburgh division began transporting the body and was met en-route by Yossi & Heshy Maragaretten, volunteers from Misaskim's Monsey division, who continued to travel through the wee hours of the morning, so that the levaye could take place in a timely manner. Once again, Misaskim volunteers clocked another 900 miles to preserve kavod hames.
One bystander who observed the scene remarked, "It's amazing how far Misaskim will go - literally - to safeguard kavod hames. Receiving no monetary compensation and little acknowledgment for their effort, these volunteers are there because they care."