January 13, 2005
Fly the Mitzvah Skies
El Al, Israel's national airline, is the only airline that keeps kosher, observes Shabbat and even gives out doughnuts on Chanukah, but recently it has been doing other mitzvot as well.
On Nov. 3 Edith Krygier boarded an El Al flight to Los Angeles in Tel Aviv because she wanted to visit her children and grandchildren who live here. The plane stopped in Toronto, and as Krygier was standing on the jetway waiting to board again, she suffered a stroke and collapsed just a few feet from the aircraft door.
El Al immediately called an ambulance and got Krygier to the hospital, and in the meantime it also called David, Irit and Karen Krygier -- Edith's children in Los Angeles, and helped them get on a plane to Toronto. In Toronto, the El Al staff sat by Edith's bed until her children got there, while other staff helped shuttle the children to the hospital. Stanley Morais, El Al's general manager in Toronto, even visited Edith in hospital just to see how she was doing.
"Even the doctor and the medical staff commented that they had never seen anything like it," David Krygier said.
Thanks to El Al's quick action, Edith was able to recover from her stroke quickly and without side effects.
But that's not all. In early December, some rabbis from the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) boarded an El Al plane in New York carrying some bulky but holy hand luggage -- Sefer Torahs. They were six torahs in all, the final installment of 100 torahs that NCYI brought to Israel over the past three years to donate to IDF soldiers. Not only did El Al not charge freight costs for the Torahs, but they allowed those carrying the Torahs to board first so that they could put them into closets, or on free seats if there were any available.
"From the beginning, El Al was unlike any other airline," said Sheryl Stein, El Al's U.S. manager of advertising and public relations. "It's an extension of the spirit of Israel."