Union City Hatzolah to the Rescue
On Erev Shabbos Vayeilech, October 7th, at approximately 4PM, all traffic entering and exiting the Lincoln Tunnel ground to a halt as the Port Authority Police Department investigated what was later identified as a bomb hoax. The closing of the Lincoln Tunnel created a commuter nightmare, and even more so for the many Passaic residents trying to get home in time for Shabbos. With Shabbos fast approaching, those still in New York City made arrangements to stay there for Shabbos. There were many who were stuck on buses in the tunnel and on the Rt.495 Helix, who had nowhere to go. In desperation, many of them called local Rabbonim for advice, and Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton EMS was also called for help. Since there was no time for a trip to the Lincoln Tunnel and return to Passaic before Shabbos, Avi Koplowitz, Hatzolah Coordinator, put in a call to Yanky Askal, Director of Union City (UC) Hatzolah for assistance. He advised Mr. Askal that many were stuck on buses with drivers who would not let them get off, and to prepare for the very high likelihood of hosting stranded travelers in Union City over Shabbos. UC Hatzolah, with assistance from Rabbi Yanky Meyer, Chaplain of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD), contacted NJ Transit to ask the drivers to permit passengers to disembark the buses. UC Hatzolah with the cooperation of the PAPD, immediately began sending buses and ambulances to pick up the stranded passengers. Many were brought to Passaic in time for Shabbos with minutes to spare. Many others enjoyed the gracious hospitality of the Union City Kehilla over Shabbos. It is imperative that we recognize the Mesiras Nefesh of Mr. Yanky Askal who together with UC Hatzolah and other dedicated residents of Union City, ensured that most, if not all, were able to enjoy Shabbos in a most meaningful way.
New Executive Director
The Board of Directors and the Rabbinical Board of Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton is pleased to announce the appointment of George Matyjewicz as Executive Director, effective August 1. 2008. George brings with him a wealth of business management experience having served as an executive and as an advisor to many organizations worldwide. He will apply his formidable skills learned in the business world to managing Hatzolah, helping us grow and continue to focus on serving our community. We would like thank the outgoing interim Executive Director, Heshy Cohen, who, at the very beginning, volunteered for the position and gave Hatzolah the management it needed to get off the ground. Heshy will now focus his skills as a valued EMT with Hatzolah. On behalf of the Hatzolah Rabbinical Board, Executive Board, Operations Committee, First Responders and Dispatchers, welcome to the Hatzolah family.