A group of Chidon participants from Montreal got caught in yesterday’s powerful nor’easter storm and were stranded on the highway. Residents of Monsey mobilized and helped rescue the stranded children.
Though New York City was spared the worst of yesterday’s nor’easter, much of the surrounding areas got pummeled with nearly two feet of snow and high winds which downed trees and power lines, forcing the closure of many roads and highways.
A bus carrying a group of 44 children, on their way from Montreal, Canada to New York City to participate in this weekend’s Chidon Shabbaton and competition, was forced off the roadway by police due to the dangerous and treacherous weather condition.
The group was stranded in the Ramapo rest area, just 25 minutes away from Monsey, New York.
After being stuck for a while, a chaperon for the group reached out to Gadi Hershkop of Crown Heights Shomrim to ask for advice and to arrange food for the kids. He in turn reached out to Rabbi Yisroel Kahn, a local askan and liaison to Rockland County police departments.
From his experience, Kahn knew that it would be better to have them transported to homes in the Monsey area rather then bring them food. So starting at 8:30pm he mobilized members of the Monsey community and with over 10 SUV’s they began ferrying the kids off the bus.
“We got a WhatsApp group together and had volunteers join in,” said Rabbi Kahn. “We had to dig out cars, and people from both the Chabad community and the general community joined together.”
of Rockland County was so busy, that they were unable to spare resources.
“They were stranded around 25 minutes away from Monsey, but you need to travel all the way [to Monroe] around 45 minutes just to get to where they were.”
In all a caravan of over ten SUV’s, from small Toyota Rav4’s all the way to massive Ford Expeditions, they were able to transport all the girls and staff to the Goldstein family’s home in Monsey where they stayed overnight.
“When I travel to China or Germany there is always a Shliach there ready to help Jews, so it was nice for a change to be able to reverse the roles and be the Shliach,” said Rabbi Kahn.
This morning the girls learned that their bus ended up getting further stuck due to the snow and were lucky to be in a warm home, rather than remaining stuck overnight in a cold bus.