When word began to spread of the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night, the city’s Chabad rabbis mobilized to help, support, counsel, and comfort those affected. As of Tuesday, the death toll numbered 59, with more than 500 people wounded in the attack.
When Rabbi Levi Harlig of Chabad Las Vegas Blvd. with his twin brother and fellow rabbi, Mordechai Harlig, saw social media reports of a Jewish woman among the wounded, he immediately began work trying to discover her identity, according to Chabad.org.
With the help of Rabbi Moshe Greenwald, co-director of Chabad of Downtown Los Angeles, he finally tracked down Natalie Grumet from San Dimas, California, who had been shot in the face and was admitted to a Las Vegas hospital.
Grabbing a few supplies, the 26-year-old twins hurried there together.
“As I entered the hospital, I saw the governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval,” says Harlig, “but I was on a mission with a mitzvah to do, so I continued walking. When we got to Natalie’s room, we met her family members, including her husband, Jason Grumet. We sang Jewish songs together and tried to share words of hope.”
Harlig says Grumet gladly put on tefillin and said a prayer for his wife, who was undergoing a CT scan at the moment.
As the rabbis exited the building, they noticed the governor was still there waiting to begin a press conference. They knew Sandoval from his attendance at Chabad’s annual public menorah-lighting and other Jewish events, and approached him to offer their sympathies and assistance.
Using an English adaptation of the blessing for healing in the Amidah (“Silent Prayer”), Harlig led Sandoval in a short prayer right before the press conference began and was then asked to read the same text again, this time for the benefit of the reporters and public officials who were present at the time.