David Is Safe! (Or How the Nepal Earthquake Hit Too Close To Home)

1. Minneapolis-born David Rhein is a thinker, a dreamer, a yoga instructor, Thai body work guru, Harvard grad, and soon-to-be MBA at UCLA.  He’s also a serious hiker. And on Saturday night, April 25, he was in Nepal preparing to hike the Annapurna circuit.

David on Thursday, with the Annapurna Circuit he was planning to trek in the background.

David on Thursday, with the Annapurna Circuit he was planning to trek in the background.

2. Then a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. Its worst in 80+ years. With a death toll of 2400 with 5400 injured. And the numbers are growing.


(Photo: Krish Dulal)

3. So the Facebook posts began. Saturday night at 8:18pm Julie Rhein, David’s sister, first sounded the alarm.  His family couldn’t reach him. Hadn’t heard from him.  Please share the post, she said, in case you might know someone who knows someone who can reach him and find out if he is okay. Thousands, in Minnesota and beyond, sounded the alarm, with 676 shares of Julie’s initial post and unknown more shares of shares of shares of shares….

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.55.16 PM

4. The Minneapolis Star Tribune picked up the story – “Family of Minneapolis Man Uses Social Media to Try to Contact Him in Nepal.” And people shared that too.


5. Four hours later, still nothing. But the Facebook shares continued.  The family was trying everything, reaching out through all the official channels, and everyone who heard was doing what they could through their networks – from groups of Israelis to Chabad networks, to college buddies. Still no leads.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.22.09 PM

6. Nine hours later trickles of information were coming in. From odd places like a friend of a friend of a friend who saw the shared post on TC Jewfolk’s Facebook page. But still no news of David. As David’s mother Nancy said then, We’re “trying to keep breathing and stay calm. And optimistic. At least all the news so far is positive.” And so we were hopeful.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.18.40 PM

7. And then… DAVID IS SAFE!!!

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.35.05 PM

8. The Earthquake may have shattered our community temporarily, but as David’s mom Nancy says, now, “There’s a small flood over here. Happy tears of joy and relief!!! And gratitude. For so much. The power of social media is unbelievably strong!” And there was much rejoicing!


9. We are grateful because this wonderful young man who is loved by all who meet him (and for those who haven’t met him yet, now is your chance!) is safe and healthy (and still climbing!).  But many have lost their lives in this disaster, and many more are injured. Israel’s Red Cross, Magen David Adom (“MDA”) launched a Humanitarian Relief Mission consisting of 10 paramedics and 2 doctors with medical supplies on a specially chartered flight to Kathmandu. MDA has also commenced extensive fundraising campaigns to help the victims of the earthquake throughout the affected country in order to be able to better treat the thousands of victims left without shelter, food or water. Click here to donate here to support Israel’s humanitarian mission in Kathmandu.