It started out as a fun summer day, with 750 children from numerous Boro Park day camps travelling to Sahara Sam’s Water-Park for a day of fun. Down the slides, riding the waves, campers ran around happily under the sun.
As the children prepared to leave, a camper getting dressed noticed a boy at the bottom of the pool.
Hearts are broken.
Spirits are shattered.
Horrified, shocked, lost. What happens next?
Within a few moments, Misaskim stepped in. A volunteer from Misaskim Baltimore was dispatched to the Hospital in Vorhees, N.J., to establish contact with the staff at the water-park and simultaneously arranged for a minyan from the Cherry Hill community to join the victim bedside and say Shema Yisroel for him.
A Jewish Emergency Room doctor sent this email to Misaskim Volunteers involved in last night’s tragic drowning.
To the chevrah, a heartfelt yashar koach on a true act of chessed last night. Not only did your group help a Jewish soul in need, but the sheer volume of support left such an impact on the medical staff at Virtua, it truly made a shem tov for the Jewish people.
Sadly, it’s not the first time that emergency department has seen similar tragic cases, but so many of the nurses, doctors and staff commented to me that they had never before seen such an outpouring of love for a complete stranger. One told me they recently had another drowning of a child from a different religion, and they spent hours trying to track down a clergy member to be with the family.
CHOP is very familiar with Chasidim and frum Jews from the large Lakewood population that goes there, but those who work at Virtua almost never interact with visibly Jewish people. The chessed shown last night left such a positive impression on the medical staff that I wanted to pass along these sentiments, especially to a group that does a thankless job and does so with such enthusiasm and love.
A special yashar koach to Uri who got in his car and drove to the hospital having simply heard that a Jewish boy from out of town was in a serious medical condition and might be headed by ambulance to Virtua. Through his proactive thinking, so much was done to support a Jewish soul and a Jewish family in need.
Thanks to all who dropped everything and came out late at night to form what I believe is the first minyan in the history of Virtua Voorhees Pediatric ED. And thanks to those who joined in spirit. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of such a remarkable group of people. May we continue to go from strength to strength and may this be the last time something like this is needed.