Mar 11, 2018
Community Rescues Stranded Girls

42 young students from Beth Rivkah Montreal were stranded in last week's snowstorm while traveling to the Chidon in New York, so the Monsey community sprang into action.

By Liba Rimler

Early Wednesday morning, 42 young students from Beth Rivkah Montreal set out on a bus ride for what they thought would be a day-long journey to Crown Heights for the long-anticipated Chidon Competition. Little did they know what an ordeal it would become.

Snow was falling heavily due to the noreaster and highway patrol officers were not permitting commercial vehicles to pass, leaving the girls and their chaperones stranded with nowhere to go.

A woman from the Monsey Anash community, who wishes to remain anonymous, received a phone call from her friend Dina Lehr at a quarter to seven.

Theres a group of girls stuck near Newburgh, New York. Theyve been on a bus for twelve hours and the driver cannot go on. I know you have a lot of space, can you take them in for a few hours?

The friend agreed and began to prepare. She soon received another phone call.

Plans changed. These girls need a place to sleep over for the night. I know this is a huge favor to ask. Its really a lot, Ill understand if you say no...

She said yes.

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Meanwhile, the Monsey community sprung into action. A Whatsapp group was formed and people began volunteering to drive to pick up the girls.

It wasnt easy. The snowstorm was still going strong and several drivers were unable to dig out their cars or leave their neighborhoods where fallen trees and wires were strewn all over the place.

So someone reached out to a group in a non-Lubavitch Shul. The response was overwhelming. Within seconds, people were jumping up to grab the Mitzvah.

My first reaction was: wow! These people dont even know who these children are, where they are from, or where they are going -- and here they are, sacrificing comfort and personal safety to go out and help. said another anonymous member of Anash.

The woman who was hosting the girls made sure that everything would be comfortable for them.

I began pulling out blankets from all over the house to prepare 42 sleeping arrangements. As for food, it happens to be that my daughters Bas Mitzvah was just a few weeks ago, so I had these huge trays of cinnamon buns in the freezer.

When the girls arrived at 10:00 PM, I was pulling out yogurts, cheese sticks, and orange juice for them. They devoured everything! The poor girls had been without proper food for hours. They were so relieved and grateful.

Most of all, their resilience amazed her.

Here was a group of young girls -- some on their first sleepover trip away from home, to go through such an ordeal! -- and they were so upbeat. I was very impressed with how they handled everything with such grace and good cheer. They were singing Shema together, it was amazing.

What impressed everyone the most was how the girls were so intent on making the whole experience a positive one. One of the chaperones recalls how a van showed up and the girls thought it was coming to take them to Monsey.
It wasnt. But how did these precious students deal with their disappointment? They began saying the Twelve Pesukim on the bus, rally-style!

Hashgacha Pratis was really felt every step of the way.

At one point our bus was forced to move another few miles down to a different exit. We found out later that this had made the travel time from Monsey closer by half an hour! exclaimed one of the chaperones.

Shoshana Tova Amzallag, another chaperone, helped the girls maintain a positive attitude.

No matter what the situation was, the girls took it with such happiness and joy. They didnt let the negativity overcome them. They made a snowman, composed a song, and kept repeating the mantra of Tracht Gut Vet Zein Gut.

I overheard conversations where the girls were reassuring each other that its all really good since everything comes from Hashem. This is not something that an adult was preaching; this was coming out of their own hearts! I found that to be really incredible.

They also wish to thank Tzivos Hashem for being so accommodating, giving the girls pizza and fries when they arrived and ensuring that they would be taken care of, in the same vein that the Monsey community responded with such open, loving arms.

A parent expressed the following sentiments: When your nine-year old is stuck on a bus for hours and youre helpless to do anything since youre so far away, to know that Yidden really care enough to go out of their way to help others in need is truly heartwarming. Mi KAmcha Yisrael! We are beyond grateful to those who helped our girls.

Mi KAmcha Yisrael definitely takes on a new meaning for the dozens of girls who were involved in this situation. This snowstorm may have left many in the dark, but it has also generated a wonderful kind of light that will continue to inspire many. The girls may be pining for the coveted Chidon trophies, but these 42 girls won the real trophy of owning up to such challenge with Bitachon and a positive spirit.


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Opinions and Comments
1
amazing
kol yisroel areivin zeh lazeh

moshiach NOW
(3/11/2018 2:55:07 PM)
2
Bless you all. Everyone who had a part in this is really amazing!
Don't know who won the prizes at the chidon, but thanks to the wonderful Monsey community, these girls won a life lesson that will inspire them for years to come! Maybe they will still be telling it to their granddaughters the first time they set out for the chidon!
(3/11/2018 2:58:18 PM)
3
Mi KAmcha Yisrael
Heartwarming!!
(3/11/2018 3:06:08 PM)
4
mi k'amchah yisroel, indeed!
Children that are imbued with yiddisheh and chassidesheh values will rise to the top when the occasion necessitates it. Thank you, Monsey community and the shul whose members are not Lubavitcher chassidim, but simply wonderful, caring brothers and sisters of fellow Jews. thank youi, Bais Rivkah of Montreal for imbuing your students with the right hashkofos.
Thank you, wonderful parents for raising your children with yiddisheh and chassidesheh values, and for rolling with the punches when it became necessary. Above all,thank you Hashem, for introducing the girls to an important lesson in life while cushioning them from what could have become a decidedly negative experience.
p.s. Thank you Liba Rimler, for writing this up and COL for publicizing this Tracht- Guht- Veht -Zein- Guht happening.
(3/11/2018 3:06:14 PM)
5
Unbelievably beautiful story,
Thank you girls, Monsey community, etc. I'm in tears & totally overwhelmed by this!
(3/11/2018 4:20:14 PM)
6
Im in tears!!
Truly caring!! Were ready for Moshiach!!
(3/11/2018 4:29:52 PM)
7
You were amazing!!!
Go
Shoshana Tova!!!
(3/11/2018 4:53:47 PM)
8
BR Montreal
the one and only!
thank you Rabbi and Mrs. Minkowitz for everything you do to build such an amazing school
(3/11/2018 5:19:16 PM)
9
Bh for the wonderful people in Monsey !!

(3/11/2018 6:33:49 PM)
10
A friend
Go shoshana tova and aviva!!
(3/11/2018 6:40:03 PM)
11
heartwarming
BRM does something right!!!
What great girls, you are lucky to be part of such a wonderful school!
(3/11/2018 8:58:05 PM)
12
THANK YOU FROM RABBI MINKOWITZ
A big, big yasher koach to: Rabbi Yisroel Kahn, for coordinating this special mission; to the wonderful people of Monsey, who left their warm homes, dug out their vans and drove in a massive snowstorm to bring the girls to Monsey; and to the special anonymous woman who opened her home and her heart to accommodate and feed the children and their chaperones.
This was a true expression of Ahavas Yisroel, as the Alter Rebbe says in Tanya (chapter 32 ) that all yidden are because one big family!
Special thanks to Chava Freundlich, Tzivos Hashem and Chidon coordinator in our school, Beis Rivka of Montreal. She herself was in Detroit for her brothers wedding and was stuck there after her flight was canceled due to the snowstorm. From there she contacted Gadi Hershkop and successfully arranged to help our stranded students and kept the anxious parents informed via Whatsapp.
Thank you to Aviva and Shoshana Tova Amzallag for being amazing chaperones and transforming this into a positive experience.
To all of our students who attended the Chidon: Mazal Tov on your tremendous achievements on your own, and for keeping your spirits high in a very upbeat manner throughout the ordeal. The people in Monsey that I spoke to, emphasized that you were all very polite, grateful and helpful, and acted in a mature way. Were very proud of you!
Thank you parents for your patience, understanding and cooperation.
Yasher koach Tzivos Hashem for the great Chidon and everything you do for our students and all the Rebbes kinder all over the world.
Rabbi Y Minkowitz
Principal
(3/11/2018 10:08:45 PM)
13
AMAZING!!
thank you for posting this article!! i myself am one of the BR girls stuck outside of monsey. We learnt so much by staying in monsey 1) the importance of hachnosas orchim. The lady hosting us really showed us what pure hachnosas orchim is. Even though she didnt know us at all, she opened her house for us and would not go to sleep until she was sure that we were comfortable. 2) Hakaros Hatov: I would like to say thank you to the monsey community for springing into action to help us girls even though they didnt know us, they knew that we are fellow Yidden and that's what matters most. 3) Think good and it will be good: A 10 year girl on the bus with us decided to compose a song ''On a coach bus we were stuck at least by lightning we were not struck, we danced around in a storm that was bad, but boruch Hashem we weren't stuck. Lots of cars got stuck in the snow but boruch Hashem our bus no,no,no! All our thoughts should be only positive and that will help the situation. All our thoughts should be only positive and that will help us reach our dcestination!!'' I never knew we had it in us to think good when we were stuck in the middle of nowhere. A big thank you to our chaparones for always keeping us thinking positively throughout the trip. Since we had alot of younger girls on the bus, the older girls, 7th and 8th graders, were making sure that the younger girls werent scared. We said the 12 pessukim and sang niggunim!!
(3/12/2018 4:23:16 PM)
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