Mother and Daughter Saved after Last Minute Ticket Change

A Saratov Airlines jetliner crash in the area of the village of Argunovo, 50 miles outside Moscow, claimed the lives of all 71 people on board. A mother and daughters last minute ticket change to attended an extra day of a Chabad conference saved their lives.

Today, Monday, a series of nine seminars on Judaism came to a close in nine different regions throughout Russia, including Birobijan in the far east of Russia. Each regional seminar had participants from neighboring cities.

The seminars were organized by “YaHaD”, the umbrella organization that helps thousands of Jewish youth throughout Russia. This round of seminars included hundreds of participants and brought in the best Russian speaking lecturers from all over the world. The founder of “YaHaD”, Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, participated personally in the seminars that took place in Moscow and in Siberia.

Mrs. Talya Samanina and her adolescent daughter Malka, flew especially to Moscow from their city of Orsk, in order to participate in the seminar that took place at the Machon ChaMeSh Institute. They arrived with Saratov Airlines and were scheduled to return to their city of Orsk yesterday, Sunday, on the only flight for that day.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Wilansky, who heads “YaHaD”, asked them to postpone their tickets by one day in order to stay until the end of the seminar, which will also include a tour of the Jewish Tolerance Museum in the Marina Roscha neighborhood. The mother and daughter agreed, and new tickets were immediately purchased for them. A few hours later they heard the news, and understood that this decision  had saved their lives. The flight that they had originally been scheduled to fly with crashed a few minutes after takeoff from the Domodedovo airport of Moscow, and all of its 71 passengers were killed.

Even before the names of the victims were published, a command room was opened at the Shaarey Tzedek Jewish Charity Center in central Moscow to clarify the condition and names of the passengers, as part of the regular contact with needy families and the adult Jewish population in Moscow.

The rabbi of Saratov and Chabad Shliach Rabbi Yaakov Kubitchek immediately appealed to the management of Saratov Airlines to track down the names of the victims and to help their families.


  • 1. Chanan Feldman wrote:

    connecting the circles..
    As I read this breathtaking story, another memory came back to me. I have an acquaintance living in the city of Orsk, with a daughter who attends the local public school. Some years ago, the Moscow Jewish community organized a series of Mitzvah tanks to visit different cities in Russia and one of them stopped in Orsk. The young shluchim met with local Jews and somehow acquaintance, who had not been religious, met and were very taken with the Mitzvah tank activists. Ultimately, they began to observe Shabbos and their young daughter, who continued to study in the public school, started growing close to Yiddishkeit.

    At one point, the public school scheduled an exam on Shabbos – public schools in Russia still have classes and exams on Saturdays – and despite my family’s pleas, the principal would not budge and wanted to force her to take the test on Shabbos or risk failing the class. Shabbos did not interest the school. The family did not know what to do and wrote to me to see if I could somehow help. I turned to my old friend David Rozenson, who had lived in Russia, who in turn contacted Rabbi Lazar.

    Rabbi Lazar wrote to the Minister of Education and to everyone’s surprise, the school not only permitted her to take the test on another day but rescheduled all of the exams so that they would never take place on Shabbos or Jewish holidays.

    If not for the family’s desire to keep Shabbos, who knows if the young girl would have avoided that flight. A complete miracle. Who would have imagined that one mitzvah tank, one act, would go on to save this now Jewishly-proud girl?

    Chanan Feldman, Crown Heights

  • 4. BB wrote:

    Thanks Chanan

    Please clarify the following
    “If not for the family’s desire to keep Shabbos, who knows if the young girl would have avoided that flight”

    Seems a little esoteric


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