Jan 22, 2009 — When he heard about US Airways flight 1549 crash landing in the frigid Hudson River, Rabbi Gideon Shloush raced to the NY Waterways terminal to see how he could be of help. He met with survivors and offered them counseling and prayers as they arrived back on land.
“It was a surreal experience. The place was a fortress,” said the rabbi, the coordinator of professional rabbinic education, advisement and placement for the Center for the Jewish Future/Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Shloush also leads Congregation Adereth El in the Gramercy section of Manhattan, where many Stern College students pray. “I went up to the barricades, showed them my ID and explained that I am a rabbi here in midtown and they took me right in.”
Rabbi Shloush was featured on FOX NEWS with Shepard Smith on the day of the incident.
He was surrounded by survivors wrapped in blankets, detectives, police officers, people from the Mayor’s Office, community relations officers and people handing out American Red Cross blankets and food and water.
He met with two scuba-divers who were still head-to-toe in their full gear. “I thanked them for their heroic work and told them that they were messengers of God in helping to save lives.”
“To look someone in the face who just survived a plane crash is remarkable. You see their level of appreciation to be alive,” Rabbi Shloush said. “Their lives are forever changed. As that plane was about to hit the river they knew well that there was a good chance that they were going to die.”