Within hours of her being shot in the face at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, a network of Chabad rabbis in Nevada and California began working to assist Natalie Grumet, as well as her husband, Jason Grumet, who had been trapped inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino during the rampage by a lone gunman that left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured.

“In the middle of the night, a fellow chaplain told me that he met the parents of a Jewish woman who had been wounded,” Rabbi Mendy Harlig, a chaplain at the Las Vegas police department, told Chabad.org. “There was so much chaos that I did not get her name.”

Ultimately, the connection would be made by the rabbi’s twin nephews, Rabbis Mordechai and Levi Harlig, who direct Chabad of Las Vegas Blvd. With the help of Rabbi Moshe Greenwald, co-director of Chabad of Downtown Los Angeles, they tracked down the Grumets, who were in a local hospital where Natalie was in critical condition.

Back home in California, the Grumets’ rabbi, Rabbi Mendy Paltiel of the Chabad Jewish Center of Laguna Niguel, Calif., was responding to a deluge of concerned text messages, WhatsApps, voice notes and other notifications about the Grumets.

“Jason is a very close friend,” says Paltiel. “He’s a police detective whose burly exterior belies a sweet interior. When I need to leave for Shabbat, he’s the one who reads the Torah in our congregation. I immediately called him to offer comfort and support. He was in utter shock.”

Meanwhile, with tefillin in hand, the Harlig duo made it to the hospital, where they sang Jewish songs together and tried to share words of encouragement.

Jason Grumet puts on tefillin at the hospital where his wife, Natalie, is being treated.
Jason Grumet puts on tefillin at the hospital where his wife, Natalie, is being treated.

Jason Grumet put on tefillin with them (he had purchased a pair of his own from Paltiel some time back) and said a prayer for his wife, who was undergoing a CT scan at the time.

In California, Paltiel was on the phone with Jason Grumet throughout the day, and Chabad of Laguna Niguel joined forces with Natalie Grumet’s sister, who was raising money to have her transferred to a hospital closer to home in California and to help with medical expenses. Paltiel sent out an appeal to the Chabad House contact list and posted a plea for help on Chabad websites. Thus far, more than $74,000 had been raised from 1,000-plus donors.

On Tuesday, the Harligs visited the Grumets again and were happy to learn that Natalie’s situation had stabilized. She was scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday afternoon. Family members said they soon hoped to fly her back to California.

“It was very meaningful for our community to know that the Chabad safety net is there, active and ready to help a fellow Jew—no matter where, no matter when,” says Paltiel. “We pray for Natalie, who has overcome so much as a cancer survivor, and thank G‑d that we were able to support her in this way.”