When a Chassidic woman on an El Al flight suffered a gall bladder attack, the entire airplane and the Chabad Rabbi in Halifax galvanized to help her get to a hospital.
Last night, a packed El Al flight left Newark airport on the way to Tel Aviv, and at around 1:00 in the morning a Chassidic woman began crying in agony, according to eyewitnesses from Montreal who were on the flight.
The woman was quickly attended to, and doctors on the flight ascertained that she had a gallbladder attack and needed to undergo an operation urgently.
The pilot requested permission to make an emergency landing and was diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The woman, who was from Meah Shearim, did not speak a word of English and had no money. She had traveled alone to pay respects to her niece, who had just lost a family member.
When the pilot announced the reason for the emergency landing, passengers of all backgrounds elected to gather funding for the woman, and together raised over $2,500 to pay for the operation.
A young Chabad Chassid who was fluent in Hebrew volunteered to get off the plane and escort the woman to the hospital. He promised to stay with her until her release.
Meanwhile, the Chabad Shliach to Halifax, Rabbi Mendel Feldman, was also contacted. At 2:00 in the morning, he rushed to the airport with warm food, ready to take over and provide assistance.
An RCMP Officer helped the woman into a waiting ambulance. He commented on the generosity of the passengers and the pilot responded, “This is what Jewish people are like.”
By 4:00, the plane was back in the air. According to reports, El Al promised the woman and the volunteer who had stepped off the plane a free flight to Israel upon her release from the hospital.