Yossi Morad was skydiving in Florida earlier this month and tried to avoid a swamp full of alligators. He ended up surrounded by a room full of rabbis.

In between, the 32-year-old had fallen on June 5 without protection from 30 feet and suffered a fracture in the lower part of his spine.

Word quickly spread over WhatsApp and Facebook about an Israeli who was traveling in the United States by himself and alone in a hospital in Brevard County. Rabbi Zvi Konikov heard about the accident and headed over the next morning to visit Morad. When he arrived, his son-in-law Rabbi Motty Rosenfeld was already there, as were several other Chabad rabbis from the area. There had been little to no coordination among them.

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“Each of us heard from different sources,” said Konikov, co-director of Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts in Satellite Beach, Fla., with his wife, Shulamit. “We all just managed to come at the same time. It was really, truly, a heartwarming, very emotional experience for all of us.”

Morad has since flown back to Israel.

‘Care for One Another’

Morad had been training to become an instructor at a school in Sebastian, Fla. During the jump, at about 800 feet, he realized he was out of the zone in which he was supposed to land and headed towards water. As he tried to maneuver his gear to redirect the drop, he soon entered a free fall.

In addition to the social-media messaging, the Chabad rabbis received calls from others around the United States and Israel. They coordinated volunteers while Morad was hospitalized so that he wasn’t in the hospital by himself. A doctor affiliated with Chabad also worked with the director of the hospital to coordinate his long-term care and allow him to return home with the proper medical reassurances.

There was an outpouring of concern for Morad as soon as the news became known. Rabbi Konikov said that he never got so many requests to visit a person.
There was an outpouring of concern for Morad as soon as the news became known. Rabbi Konikov said that he never got so many requests to visit a person.

While Morad was being treated for his injuries, the rabbis brought tefillin and kosher food. They saw that he had not eaten much of the hospital fare, and after some prodding, Morad requested avocados and beets, reported Konikov, which they promptly got for him.

“It was amazing,” said Morad, sounding weak over the phone a few days after the accident. “They were very nice.”

His recovery is expected to take at least three months. Konikov urged people to say prayers for the speedy recovery of Yosef ben Ariella.

The rabbi shared the following text that Morad sent from Israel:

Thank you, Rabbi Zvi Konikov, for the caring and prayers. I feel much better and stronger than before. I commit to putting on tefillin, and being grateful for life and everything surrounding [me], and to speak the good before other things. I am grateful for all the love and the help and the support and the caring of all who came to visit me.

Konikov said he had never gotten so many requests to visit a person. Even he was taken aback, he noted, by the fact that a call goes out for a Jew in need, and so many respond, like an Israeli woman in his community who immediately posted the young man’s plight to a Facebook group of some 5,000 Israeli members.

“There is such a buzz, such a feeling of immediate care for one another,” he said. “Of ‘Am Yisrael Chai’—that we are one nation, one family.”

Itai Arrous, an Israeli member of Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts, with Morad, who is now back home in Israel.
Itai Arrous, an Israeli member of Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts, with Morad, who is now back home in Israel.