Michigan – Chesed Shel Emes: A Kiddush Hashem In St. Ignace

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    Chesed Shel Emes working at the crash siteSt. Ignace, MI – Located 426 miles from Chicago in Makinac County, Michigan, St. Ignace is a popular vacation destination with an area of only 2.7 square miles, almost half of which is covered with water. While for many, the name St. Ignace conjures up visions of beautiful scenery, for Jews worldwide, St. Ignace will forever be known as the scene of one of the most catastrophic plane crashes ever to hit the Jewish community.

    While Jews worldwide are reeling after Tuesday’s tragic plane crash, which claimed the lives of 73 year old Moshe Menora and his three teenage granddaughters and left 13 year old Yossi Menora badly burned, it provided numerous officials and agencies in the Midwest an opportunity to see the Jewish community doing what it does best: joining together to help those in need.

    Just hours after the horrific accident, Chesed Shel Emes flew a team of five volunteers from Brooklyn, Queens and Monsey to the crash site, arriving in Michigan at 3:15 AM, Wednesday morning. CSE was cleared to work the accident scene at 12 noon and they worked tirelessly for over three hours, collecting the remains, which were sent to Israel for burial along with the victims.

    Zvi Gluck of Chesed Shel Emes was amazed by the countless agencies in Michigan who worked tirelessly to clear the accident scene, while at the same time allowing Chesed Shel Emes the opportunity to do their best to recover the remains.

    “Dr. Carl Hawkins, Chief Medical Examiner of Makinac County was extremely helpful and graciously agreed last night not to do an autopsy. This morning, Dr. Stephen Cohle, Chief Medical Examiner in Grand Rapids also fought very hard to prevent an autopsy. The Chevra Kadisha of Detroit was present and both the Medical Examiners and the Chevra Kadisha complimented each other on how well they worked together under these tragic circumstances. The Medical Examiner himself requested that we wait to do our work until he got there, so that he could understand what we do and be able to assist us. He was able to show us exactly where they were and helped us with our work.

    Both the Makinac County Sheriff and Undersherriff were present at the scene, as were representatives from the NTSB, the FAA and the Michigan Department of Transportation, who graciously provided cold water to the volunteers at the scene who were working during the heat of the day.

    Local authorities asked the media to interview us to show the local people how impressed they were with the response of the Orthodox Community. These people have never met a Jew in their lives. It is unfortunate that it took such a tragedy to make a Kiddush Hashem.”

    While Chesed Shel Emes was impressed with the professionalism and thoughtfulness shown by the various people they encountered on their recovery mission, the local parties involved had words of praise for the team of New Yorkers who showed up to help four people they had never even met.

    Andrew Keller, reporter for 7 and 4 News in Michigan, told VIN News in an exclusive interview, “I arrived at the scene not knowing what to expect after hearing that the four victims were Jewish, three of them being from Israel. I have a lot of Jewish friends, I am not myself, but I know the importance of burying the body as soon as humanly possible. I thought it was unbelievable that these men, volunteers, great individuals in helping preserve Jewish tradition and law, were ready to collect any remains, jump on the plane, and work quickly so these bodies could be laid to rest. In a time of bereavement for the family, these gentlemen probably made it a little easier by preserving the customs. Those guys were great people.”

    Tim Ahlborn, Chief Corrections Deputy at the Makinac County Sherrif’s Office shared his thoughts on Tuesday’s tragedy as well.

    “Being here for over 23 years with the sheriff’s office, you get to get to see various incidents, you hear about different types of accidents. This is the first I’ve heard where the community has been involved with so many resources and so many private citizens who responded right away to the accident in an attempt to rescue the individuals.”

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    26 COMMENTS

    1. It’s terrible that it takes an horrific tragedy to make a Kiddush Hashem. It would be so nice if we were so impressive in good times, b’simcha. But again, we always come together in times of pain. These guys are incredible…just by “being” they make a Kiddush Hashem every day.

      • PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE CHESED AND MAASIM TOVIM THAT WE IN KLAL YISROEL ARE DOING EVERY DAY. Chesed surrounds us … we just have to open our eyes.

      • STOP WRITING COMMENTS HERE AND START WRITING CHECKS.

        It is very nice that you are complimenting the work they do from the comfort of your home. Please read the article again to see what lengths these tzadikim went to to do this great mitzvah. Don’t you want to be a part of it? The easy part?

        The people are volunteers. The airline tickets and everything else costs money. Please stop complimenting them and waiting to hear “gitta b’siros”. make then possible!

        So please! Get up from your computers for a moment, get your checkbook, and be part of this obvious kiddush hashem and obvious great mitzah.

    2. Tzvi Gluck and the entire chesed shel emes family are just one bog great amazing organization. These people always do things without bragging, making headlines and refuse attention. The only reason why they made headlines this time is because people out west were amazed by their proffesionalism.

      It’s organizations like Chesed Shel Emes which make everyone proud to be shomrei torah umitzvos. This is what life i s about. Helping one another in a time of need. There is a saying that if you do a good deed and more than two people know about it then the deed wasn’t lshem shomayim but CSE has done so many things without anyone knowing what went on behind the scenes.

      Keep up the great work and we should only hear of simchas and good news on this site.

    3. this is a solid kiddush hahshem, i would like to also point out, the chevra were dressed repectfully neatly, and conducted them selves in a professional way. i think thats why the authorities were so impressed. yasher koach to all the chevra at chesed shel emes. may these acts of total selflessness bring brochos and yeshua’ s to all yidden. amen!

    4. Boruch Day emems. The Real kiddush Hashem is when yidden behave correctly to each other under regular every day events. I wish I could go to a supermarket and say, ah what a kiddush hashem.

    5. how come only vin news is reporting this report, where are the others, something smells fishy here, kol haboreach min hakavod, kavod boreach acharov, chesed shel emes people are very special, lets hope all others will learn from their midos tovos & charactor

    6. Look at the yidden who came together – in the 9 days, there was cooperation between all different streams of Jews. A yid who died tragically, being buried by different yidden who range from Chassidic to far from it, helped by a Lubavitch Shliach from Grand Rapids. Mi KiAmcha Yisrael!

    7. reminds me of why I am so proud to be frum yid. wish the world saw the 100 of these and not the 3 of bad. i am all for “outing” bad behavior, but it is nice to read about Friendship Circle and this in same afternoon.

    8. its amasing the work the cse does when my mother died it was in the winter the short friadys and raabi rosenberg him self came over keep up your great work and we realy need mosiach now

    9. Mayer Hersh, I have to tell you, you & your people never cease to amaze me, time & time again. Keep up the great work!!!!!

      Vinsht,
      Your neighbor across the street. 😉

    10. Thank you Rabbi Isaac Leider of CSE, and of course Mrs Leider for standing by him so loyally. May Hashem take you both from now on to see and experience only simcha’s!

    11. As in the past the present and hopefully the future we are one and that has been the reason for the strength of the Jewish people and has maintained as through out all of time and shod and we’ll do sow in the future amen

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