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Friday, July 10, 2020


Such Kind People

May 21, 2020

To the editor:
This past week we had a dilemma!
There is a special way that Jewish people prepare the body of the deceased for burial. It is done with much respect and care, and it is called a Tahara - meaning a spiritual purification. It is considered a most important tradition and law, that many who may not have been religiously active still insist on having a tahara done.
This past week, sadly, our community has lost a dear member who had Coronavirus. Since it was known that this was the cause of death, many were scared to volunteer for this great Mitzvah (good deed.) Note: This Mitzvah is done by community members as an act of love and care for others. It is the last deed that can be done to the deceased. They are not paid at all. They usually remain anonymous. The family does not know who they are. There are usually at least four volunteers. In this case though, most of our local volunteers were scared of participating, and some were away. We went to the neighboring communities of Monroe, Money and New Square.
They said that they will do it if we can transfer the body there for this preparation. The family objected to this move.
We called back the Monroe Community who said that the volunteers will gladly do it if we bring the deceased to them, so that it would only take them a few minutes to leave their houses in the middle of the night and then the 1 ½ - 2 hour process. He and his friend volunteered to do the twice 2-hour trip.
When I told them that this will not work with the family, he said that he will ask the volunteers again.
Amazingly these four “ladies” as well as their two drivers agreed to leave their houses at 10:30 p.m. and travel to Monticello, spend two hours with a lady whom they never knew before, and who came from another community whom they may not have known existed. At 1:30 a.m. they returned home arriving at 2:30 a.m. Of course they had all of the precautions necessary to work with a Covid person.
I am writing to express my amazement at such special people who out of concern that a fellow Jewish person may not have their “Tahara” left the comfort of their homes in order to help others.
I do not know their names and cannot thank them personally. The only thing I know is that they come from the Satmar Community of Monroe.
I am writing this in order to thank them publicly and in order to inspire myself and others to follow their amazing example in helping others that maybe we do not know, and lastly: If you should ever see or hear something negative about “their” Community, please realize that many of them are extra-ordinary, beautiful people.
They may not think exactly as we do, and may do things differently than we would, but in their own special way, they are amazing!
By the way, they also specialize in their tremendous help in the Bikur Cholim - help for the families of those who are in hospitals, but this is a full article of its own.

Rabbi Ben-Zion Chanowitz

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