(Submitted by Shimmy Green). Misaskim. It has become a household name. An organizational name people use when tragedy R”L strikes. They are reached out to whether it’s to prevent an autopsy, services needed to provide their “avodas hakodesh” at the scene of a tragedy, for their volunteers to “set up” a house for a family sitting Shiva, crisis intervention, Chevra Kadisha, or anything else a family might require in their time of need. Although no one wishes it ever happens, the reality is that tragedy does indeed strike, and as history has proved, tragedy strikes unexpectedly, and unpredictably.
Based on that reality, Misaskim is constantly striving to perfect their organization, and has proven themselves over and over to be the foremost organization which people reach out to when needed. From California, to Florida, from New York to Canada, Misaskim has been there for fatal car accidents, airplane crashes, helicopter crashes, people hit by trains, cars and buses, fatal fires etc.
This past Tuesday, a delegation of Misaskim personnel travelled to meet with high-ranking Federal law-enforcement government agencies in their Washington DC offices.
Attending the meeting were representatives of the NTSB, the FBI, and the National American Red Cross – who are the lead organizations who would be in charge of a crisis, should a disaster strike the country.
The agencies were eager to build a bridge between their agencies and the Jewish Community Organizations, and look forward to using Misaskim as a platform of communication should Chas Veshalom a major tragedy strike a Jewish neighborhood.
Government officials on a Federal level, fully understand the needs and sensitivities of the Jewish Communities across the United States.
During the meeting, time was devoted to discuss what procedures should be taken if there are Jewish victims involved in an aircraft collision / terrorist attack. It’s important to note, that in the Continental Airlines crash of 2009, and in the mid-air collision between a chopper and a small airplane over the Hudson River in the summer of 2009, the above government agencies were overly accommodating towards the sensitivity and needs of the Jewish victims, and worked together with Misaskim & various other volunteer Jewish organizations as well.
The agencies were highly-impressed that a volunteer organization like Misaskim, is so well-established, with mobile command centers, numerous rapid-response vehicles – all outfitted for any type of tragedy, and have hundreds of highly-trained volunteers ready to be mobilized at a moments notice.
Misaskim and the attending agencies committed to keep in touch with each other, and although everyone hopes their services are never needed, should tragedy R”L strike, pledged to work closely with each other if disaster strikes.