Sep 10, 2017
Dramatic Rescue of S. Martin Shluchim

After many obstacles, S. Martin Shlucha Sara Chanowitz and her 5 children were evacuated from the devastated Island in a dramatic rescue mission; Shliach Moshe Chanowitz stayed behind to help others.

After many obstacles and work in many countries, the wife and children of the Chabad Shluchim on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, stranded in treacherous conditions after the devastation by Hurricane Irma, were airlifted to safety.

Rabbi Moishe Chanowitz, his wife Sara, and five children under age 8, remained on the island to offer assistance to others during Hurricane Irma. During the storm, they sheltered in the Mikvah of the Chabad Center, while their home and the center were damaged by the wind and torrential rain.

Hurricane Irma had flooded St. Barts, devastating that island and nearby St. Martin. All power went out, taking with it Internet access and cell-phone towers. The Chanowitz family soon found themselves stranded with a small generator and food supplies for only a few days.

Rabbi Chanowitz contacted Chabad Headquarters in New York, requesting help in evacuating his family from the island whose sea and air routes were closed.

Through the tireless efforts of the Chanowitz's extended family and Chabad Headquarters - Merkos, the family was finally rescued by a plane which arrived to bring humanitarian aid to the area.

The pilot finally agreed to pick up the stranded family, and Sara boarded the plane with her five children just before Shabbos and were flown to Puerto Rico.

The Chabad Shliach decided to stay on the island to help others who are stranded and in desperate need of assistance.

Mrs. Chanowitz and her children are currently being hosted by the Shluchim to Puerto Rico, Rabbi Mendy and Rochie Zarchi.

To assist the Shluchim in their relief and recovery efforts, click here.



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Opinions and Comments
1
Baruch Hashem
So happy they are well and all how collaborated did not give up!
(9/10/2017 7:11:57 AM)
2
BH from England
We were all davening for this safe recovery!
(9/10/2017 7:42:08 AM)
3
Mea k'amcha yisroel!!!
The answer is nobody!
we are the most incredible nation. Thank you to all of the volunteers out there who make the impossible possible
(9/10/2017 7:53:17 AM)
4
Thanks for sharing!!!1
I can't stop crying.
So happy for the family!!!!
May Hashem protect this curages shliach Rabbi Shanowitz
Hashem, what a people and nation you Have
(9/10/2017 7:54:26 AM)
5
boruch hashem - truly inspiring!
so inspiring that the Shliach too, could have run to safety, but he still remained to help others. what an inspiration and true mesiras nefesh. i'm in tears.
(9/10/2017 10:24:08 AM)
6
Big Z Schapiro
Branch Heshem keep up the good work and keep it going
(9/10/2017 10:45:22 AM)
7
Royalty
They will be treated like royalty by Rochie and Mendy,incredible people.
Hope not too much damage in Puerto Rico, from last week ..
(9/10/2017 10:47:24 AM)
8
Wonderful but
The wife and children should have left earlier. It's not heroism and probably left the children traumatized. Also the vast cost of the rescue could have been used elsewhere
As someone who evacuated from my Florida condo I hope this doesn't encourage other Floridians to endanger their children in the name of "shlichus"
(9/10/2017 11:07:41 AM)
9
To #8
What makes you think that they didn't try to get a flight out beforehand?
Have you ever considered the difficulty of evacuating from a small island with limited flights?
How about giving the benefit of doubt to this family? Do you know the circumstances?
Very easy to sit back and Monday Morning Quarterback.
May everyone stay safe in these challenging times. Let us judge others favorably, as we wish to be judged.
May we all be inscribed for a year of goodness and kindness, with the coming of Moshiach Now!
(9/10/2017 11:41:55 AM)
10
To wonderful but
There was nowhere to run. They were stranded on an Island which the flights were sold out in no time. It wasn't like why couldn't they load the car and go. I'm sure the Shliach forgives you for your ignorance. I'm also sure he loves his children more than you love them. Take care
(9/10/2017 11:44:47 AM)
11
To Number 8
A deaf man once walked by a wedding happening in the village and did not hear the music playing, he saw people jumping and dancing around and thought everyone was crazy around him. Nebach.......Ashrenu Rebbe and his Shluchim.
(9/10/2017 11:47:14 AM)
12
Response to #8
When such wonderful values and traits are brought out by the shliach and his family, it is a great merit for other people to be able to support and be part of it.
One can bask in the glory of this incident, while not noticing reasons for complaint.

A poshute yid
(9/10/2017 12:20:48 PM)
13
Answering #8
Staying to help people. You don't abandon ship. Even after wife and kids left on shabbos, the shaliach remained to help others. I guess he is probably trained in providing medical assistance or psychological trauma counselling to those who require it to survive. Surely he did not stay just to sing a niggun with other survivors.
(9/10/2017 12:28:45 PM)
14
imho
This beautiful story of love, devotion and mesiras nefesh should be powerful enough to tip the scales in favor of the entire Jewish People for a Kesiva V'Chasima Tova, L'Shana Tova Umesuka!!!
(9/10/2017 12:33:44 PM)
15
to number 8
the "vast cost of the rescue" was in nerves, not money. the plane was there to deliver food etc. to those stranded on the island, it was not actually commissioned to rescue the shaliach's family. kudos to the pilot for taking them on board. the pilot then flew them to puerto rico where they are being hosted by fellow shluchim - who are more than happy to be of help.
few were able to predict the degree of devastation on the island, and shluchim are trained NOT to run and leave others behind. get it?
(9/10/2017 2:07:48 PM)
16
We are all waiting
We are all waiting to be rescued out of this galus. We are all in dire need of it. Hashem, ad mosai????
Hashem, don't leave any Yid behind and rescue us all!.
(9/10/2017 2:49:17 PM)
17
Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky
Thank you for your tireless work in securing the safe traval of the chonowitz family and everything that you do for all Shluchim
(9/10/2017 3:55:37 PM)
18
To #8
Irma was originally supposed to be a cat. 3, and was upgraded to a Cat. 5 within 24 hours. At that point it was too late to make it out safely.
(9/10/2017 8:25:59 PM)
19
Thank god
Yay finally must have been so stressful!
(9/10/2017 11:20:23 PM)
20
To all the commenters above.
Enough of this, children. Let's focus on what's important and keep the comments positive.
(9/10/2017 11:23:35 PM)
21
Some actual facts
Weather reports had the storm as AT LEAST a category 4 three to four days prior to it's arrival. Category 4 Luis had devastated the island 25 years before, so knowing that much should have been their exit from the island. St Maarten is not a small time island with a couple flights a week - they definitely could have found a flight out even if they'd have to go through Canada first. Their post-storm escape occured with a couple other hundred people on Saturday and not by special convoy; this flight was at no cost. Rabbi Moishe has been given an apt and continues to work in clean up efforts along with a group of amazing individuals. Plenty of aid now coming in via planes and cruise ships.
(9/11/2017 5:45:47 PM)
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