After a grueling twelve hours on the road, we came home hoping to grab a bite to eat and get some sleep. Just as we were about to settle in, the local rabbi told us that a member of the community was not doing too well; he asked that we go and visit him. He hoped that our Yiddish would serve as an icebreaker and help cheer him up.

We got on the trolley, got lost, snuck past some drunks, and finally made it to Igor’s apartment.

It was already past ten, but our Yiddish did the trick, and Igor invited us into his home.

A friend of his had just died. Neither the father nor the wife of the deceased were Jewish, and no one cared to arrange a Jewish funeral. We took down the address of the home and said we would meet him there the next morning.

We finally got home that night after one in the morning. We ate some much-needed bread and tehina, dropped off to sleep for a few hours, and found ourselves on the bus to the house of mourning.

The fifth floor walk-up was filled with friends and family. We asked that the coffin be closed and we lead the Jewish relatives in some traditional funeral psalms. We helped the Jewish men lay tefillin and, after ascertaining that there was a minyan, recited kaddish.

On the way to the cemetery, we telephoned Rabbi Moskowitz in Kharkov to see what we should do at the burial.

The relatives respectfully allowed us to help carry the coffin and cover it with earth. As we recited the Molay prayer, we thought about all of the unfortunate Jews who never had a Jewish funeral.

Afterward, the son of the deceased tearfully clasped my hands and thanked us for all that we had done to ensure that his father was afforded a Jewish burial.

In my mind, I thanked G‑d for giving us the honor to be His agents at this time of need.