Leaving My Kids To Save Another — Sacrificing My Time To Save A Life

One evening, a babysitter was looking after some children at their home in Bnei Brak. One little boy, who was severely allergic to milk products, was jealous of his siblings happily munching on pizza. The two-year-old child grabbed a piece of pizza from his brother before he could be stopped. The effect was instantaneous and his entire body immediately broke out in hives, swelling to drastic proportions. The alarmed babysitter called emergency dispatch which alerted the nearest United Hatzalah emergency medical service volunteers to the dire emergency.

Yaakov Borer on his ambucycle

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yaakov Borer was bathing his children when he received the alert. Leaving his kids with his wife, Yaakov dashed out of his house, jumped on his ambucycle and tore over to the address. Arriving in under 90 seconds, Yaakov sprinted into the home. He found the child swiftly losing consciousness from oxygen deprivation due to the almost complete constriction of his airway. He was moments away from stopping to breathe. Fortunately, this active medic carries an EpiPen in his United Hatzalah medic bag. Hands moving with lightning speed, Yaakov injected the lifesaving epinephrine into the child’s thigh. He then grabbed his oxygen tank and ambu-mask, administering assisted ventilation to the barely conscious child. Yaakov kept up the artificial respiration for almost ten minutes until the little boy’s condition stabilized. His breathing normalized and he regained consciousness.

Yaakov calmed the distraught babysitter and crying children as he monitored the young patient. Fifteen minutes later, an intensive care ambulance arrived to facilitate medical transport. Yaakov left the home full of exhilaration, excitement, and emotion. It was sobering to realize that the child had been minutes away from death, and Yaakov was filled with gratitude that he had the tools and ability to save his life. Returning to his freshly-bathed children, Yaakov kissed each one good-night, feeling the vibrancy of their lives and knowing that there was another child alive at that moment because of him.

To support the work of volunteers like Yaakov click here: 

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A Tractor-Trailer Crash and The Man Who Saved The Day

Bezalel Sebag lives with his family in Rehovot and works for Elbit Systems. Bezalel is a very devoted volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah and is always ready to respond to any medical emergency at a moment’s notice.

Betzalel (Middle) on an ambulance shift with other United Hatzalah volunteersRecently one Tuesday morning, a speeding tractor-trailer collided with a car just outside of Rehovot. Witnesses urgently called for help. Bezalel, who was at work when the call came in, quickly dashed outside and raced to the scene.

Despite the truck being significantly larger, the impact was so powerful that the trailer section had partially overturned. The smaller vehicle fared much worse and was almost completely demolished. Bezalel was faced with a grisly sight. The car driver, a 40-year-old male, sustained a horrific head wound and his left leg was crushed under the engine and was bleeding profusely. Without immediate treatment, the driver would have surely died.

Bezalel grabbed his medical kit, reached through the mangled car and began treatment. He quickly applied a tourniquet to the victim’s leg to stop the heavy bleeding and then bandaged the head wound. Other United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs arrived and they assisted Bezalel in applying a neck brace, starting an IV and administering high flow oxygen.

 It took 40 minutes for the fire department to extricate the trapped driver, and during those minutes that felt like an eternity, Bezalel and his colleagues used every tool at their disposal to keep the victim alive. After the firefighters successfully extricated the driver, Betzalel and his fellow EMS personnel carefully and quickly transferred the victim to a waiting ambulance to be rushed to the nearest trauma center.

 This accident could have claimed a man’s life. Bezalel’s prompt and expert treatment made all the difference.


To support the work of volunteers like Bezalel, please click here:

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A Day Off Turns Into A Day of Lifesaving

A couple of weeks ago, United Hatzalah volunteer Moshe Miller was at home enjoying his day off from work when he received an alert that there was a semi-conscious person on the street. The dedicated volunteer dashed out to his ambucycle and sped over to the location, arriving in record time.


An Ambucycle – Illustration (photo credit: Shira Hershkop)

An anxious man was hovering next to his friend, a man in his early twenties who was sprawled on the ground. Moshe checked the patient and discovered that the young man was actually not breathing and pulseless. Without a second to spare, Moshe clasped his hands together in the familiar position for CPR and began chest compressions. He continued performing compressions, single-handedly keeping the man alive, until additional United Hatzalah volunteers arrived to assist.


A defibrillator was attached and several shocks were delivered. Twenty minutes of intense toil passed before an intensive care crew joined the resuscitation effort. The EMS personnel worked together as a team in a determined battle for this young man’s life. Apparently, the man had been healthy and his sudden collapse came as a huge shock to his friend. After seven shocks and one hour of CPR, the first responders finally managed to regain a steady pulse and viable blood pressure. Moshe assisted in getting the man onto a stretcher and the patient was whisked off to the hospital in serious condition for further emergency treatment.


Moshe was pleased to be updated that the individual survived and is recovering. Starting CPR so close to the cardiac arrest was the most crucial factor in saving his life. There is no doubt that without Moshe, this man would not be alive today. 


To support the work of volunteers like Moshe please click here:

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What and Why Does United Hatzalah Use Ambucycles?

An ambucycle is a motorcycle that has been specially equipped with all of the medical supplies and equipment that an ambulance carries, with the exception of a stretcher, bed, and stair-chair.   The purpose of the ambucycle is to circumvent traffic during medical emergencies and allow a trained first responder, EMT, paramedic, or doctor, to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency in the quickest possible time. The difference in minutes saved by an ambucycle as opposed to a car or ambulance in cutting through traffic-congested streets or narrow alleyways can mean the difference between life and death. 

100 Ambucycles Lined Up During a Driver Training Exercise Outside of Jerusalem, Israel

The ambucycle was created after a terror attack took place on the crowded one-lane street on Friday night in Jerusalem in 2002. As a result of the location of the attack, ambulances were not able to access the scene of the emergency for more than an hour and emergency crews had to proceed on foot to reach those in need of medical care. A motorcycle was seen winding through the burnt vehicles and injured people on the narrow road-way and one of the EMTs at the scene thought that if this vehicle could make it through, why not put a trained responder with medical equipment on it. Over the past 17 years, ambucylces have become a mainstay of emergency services in Israel, with both of the medical first response organizations utilizing them as well as the police and fire department.


One recent story, where rapid arrival was critical, illustrates just how effective these vehicles can be.


One morning, Aaron was sitting with a friend when he received an alert to an emergency at a building site. A 21-year-old truck driver had just gotten out his truck when he keeled over and collapsed to the ground. The dedicated volunteer jumped up and rushed over to his ambucycle. He sped along the roads and was the first responder to arrive at the location.


Aaron checked for a pulse and found the young man without any sign of life. The experienced volunteer immediately began chest compressions as he upgraded the call. Additional United Hatzalah volunteers arrived quickly to assist him in the strenuous resuscitation. A defibrillator was attached and the device advised a shock. The EMTs ceased touching the body and the man jerked as electricity coursed to his heart. Aaron quickly began the incessant compressions again, keeping blood flowing to the man’s vital organs.


Fifteen minutes and five shocks later, the intensive care ambulance finally arrived. They had just joined the rescue effort when Aaron felt a pulse return. The CPR had been a success. The young man was swiftly placed on a stretcher and whisked off to the hospital while Aaron returned to his friend, gratified to tell him that he had just saved a life.


Thanks in part to Aaron’s ambucycle, he was able to initiate CPR very soon after the moment of cardiac arrest. This intervention proved to be a crucial factor in saving this man’s life.


To support the work of United Hatzalah please click here:

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United Hatzalah Volunteers Take Over As Emergency Room Auxiliary Workers For A Day

On Monday, the medical auxiliary team from an emergency room (ER) in one of the hospitals in the Sharon region took a day to work on team building and left their duties in the emergency room. They were able to do this because volunteers from United Hatzalah’s emergency room assistance project took over their responsibilities for the day. The volunteers, each of whom is a trained EMT in their own right, underwent specialized training to allow them to work in the ER and additional training for working as an auxiliary worker for this day. The switch took place on Monday and lasted for the entire day. 

United Hatzalah volunteers switching out ER staff on Monday.v1

“One of the biggest difficulties in emergency rooms is being able to get the entire team together for specialized group training,” said Chani Levanon who heads United Hatzalah’s hospital E.R. assistance program. “One cannot simply leave the patients unattended and as many of the staff are working shifts, finding a day when everyone can take off is next to impossible. This is where our team came in to help.” 

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “Many of our volunteers, in addition to volunteering as EMTs, take specialized training that allows them to volunteer in hospital emergency rooms around the country. A group of our volunteers in one of the hospitals offered to fill in for auxiliary workers for a day allowing these workers to leave the ER and focus on team building and re-education as a group. This was a tremendous gesture on behalf of the United Hatzalah volunteers, many of whom took time off from work or spending it with their families in order to help with this project.” 

Levanon added: “United Hatzalah’s ER project is currently active in 17 hospitals around the country. The purpose of the project is to have EMTs present in the ER and alleviate the overload that the nurses and doctors feel with the number of patients they have to deal with on a regular basis. The EMTs assist in many of the basic procedures required to perform during patient intake and thus speed up the process so that the patients can receive the care they need faster and the nurses and doctors are not as overwhelmed as they would be otherwise. In this case, the team enabled the auxiliary workers in the ER to have a day of team building and education and recuperate a little bit from their intense workload. They worked in the ER from the early morning hours until 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.” 

The head nurse of the ER wrote a thank you letter to United Hatzalah which said: “The volunteers were excellent. Thank you to the United Hatzalah volunteers who helped us tremendously.” 

To support the work of United Hatzalah and the Hospital ER project, click here:

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Shitsel Teams Up With United Hatzalah of Israel in Detroit To Save Lives

On Monday, September 23rd,  United Hatzalah of Israel brought the cast of Shtisel to the Greater Detroit community at a special event aimed at raising awareness about the organization  ​and how our innovative rapid response to those in need saves more Israeli lives.

The event inat Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield

The evening included a screening of NAS Daily’s video about United Hatzalah, Israel’s largest all-volunteer first response service that is completely free of charge.
The presentation wowed the audience, who were enthralled to learn that the work of the organization spans the entire country and is free of charge to anyone, no matter what race, religion or background.
The cast of Shtisel and United Hatzalah brought together over 450 people at  Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.  The evening featured moderators Joel Kahn M.D. and  Mimi Markofsky – Detroit’s own who runs the Shtisel-Let’s talk about it International Facebook Group. Representing United Hatzalah  ​of Israel at the event were Regional Director Cari Margulis Immerman ​and volunteer EMT and ambucycle driver Gavy Friedson.
The event saw the presentation of awards to two Farber students – Cobi Smith and Jaden Jubas – from Southfield who participated in the NCSY Summer Rescue Program and of course a wonderful session of clips and dialogue with the cast and producer of Shtisel, the hit Israeli comedy about the life of an Ultra-Orthodox family.

Farber students pose with the cast of Shtisel and their awards

The evening also gave members of the Detroit community the chance to support the organization by donating key lifesaving equipment including ambucycles, ambubikes – e-bikes, protective helmet sand vests, and defibrillators, to help our 6,000 volunteer medics save more lives.
Joel Kahn M.D. spoke to the gathered crowd about the regular email updates that he receives detailing the work of the ambucycle which his family had dedicated in memory of his father.  Just the other week the ambucycle and rider reached a young toddler, who had fallen into a bucket of chemicals. The ambucycle’s EMT was on the scene within 90 seconds to save this young child’s life.

Shtisel cast Talks to crowd

​Cari Margulis Immerman shared that “while all who came loved hearing from the cast of Shtisel the largest round of applause that night came after we showed the video produced by world-renowned social media star NAS daily, a Muslim Israeli.  It was exciting to watch the audience, many of whom have been long-time supporters of Israel, be informed and wowed as he shared of our innovative, fast, always free uber-like” EMS model that has Jews, Muslims, Arabs, men and women working side by side to help all in need. Besides acquainting so many with the good work of our volunteer medics in Israel, the evening was a great success as lifesaving equipment such as helmets and vests, defibrillators, and several rapid response vehicles were sponsored. “
To learn how you can get involved with United Hatzalah​ of Israel  please contact:  Cari ​Margulis Immerman at 216.544.3010 or cari@israelrescue.org
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Early CPR Intervention Saves Truck Driver

On a recent Sunday in Ramla, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Levi Yitzchak Ofen was alerted to an adult male with seizures.  Within seconds, Levi, who drives one of the organization’s iconic ambucycles, was racing to the location on the other side of the city.  Fortunately for the ill man, Levi was riding his emergency ambucycle. With red lights flashing and siren blaring, Levi carefully wove through the horrendous traffic and busy intersections. Arriving first on the scene, he found a 54-year-old truck driver slumped over in the cabin, exhibiting agonal breaths. Levi quickly checked the man’s pulse and finding none, enlisted a passerby to help him remove the man from the cabin and lay him on the ground.  The experienced EMT immediately began chest compressions, ensuring that critical oxygen would reach the man’s brain and vital organs.


Levi then attached the defibrillator pads to the man’s bare chest and the digital voice announced that a shock was advised.  After making sure that no one was touching the patient, Levi pressed the flashing button and the man’s chest heaved upward from the powerful electric jolt.  Two other United Hatzalah volunteers arrived and assisted Levi with the compressions and ventilation, which they administered via a bag-valve-mask and oxygen tank. Shortly afterward, another shock was advised.  After the second shock and a few more minutes of CPR, an ambulance crew arrived and joined the rescue effort.


An ambucycle (illustration)

Curious spectators stood agape as they watched the team valiantly fight for the relatively young man’s life, right there on the side of the street.  After one more shock and numerous rounds of compressions, the man’s pulse suddenly returned. The CPR had been successful. When the mobile intensive care unit arrived, all that was left to do was to intubate the man and transport him to the hospital. 


Levi later heard that the man, who has a wife and children, underwent a successful catheterization and had suffered no neurological damage whatsoever.  The caring EMT and his United Hatzalah colleagues went to visit the man in the hospital for what was an emotional “reunion”. 


Levi starting CPR so close to the moment of cardiac arrest was absolutely vital in the success of reviving the patient.


To support the work of volunteer such as Levi click here

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United Hatzalah of Israel To Honor Local Floridians For Their Dedication To Israel and Saving Lives

Israel’s largest all-volunteer EMS organization will be honoring three local Floridians in an upcoming Gala for their dedication to Israel and to saving lives. The Gala will be the first annual event held by the organization in Miami. 


The 1st annual Miami Gala will be taking place during Art Basel week at Jungle Island in Miami on December 3rd, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. Israeli guests and celebrities who will be attending the event include world-renowned Israeli singer Dudu Aharon who will be volunteering his time, Fauda actress Rona Lee Shimon and American comedians Renee Willet and  Elon Gold. The Gala Chairman, philanthropist and businessman, Ami Pomeranc, has been appointed as the International Gala Chairman for all of the Galas run by United Hatzalah. The Local Co-Chair is Miami resident Nili Galbut. 

UH ambucycle at a previous Gala

The youngest honoree of the event will be Joseph Levi, a young boy who saw his brother falling off of the changing table, and with incredibly quick reflexes caught his brother before he hit the ground. Joseph was just nine years old when the incident occurred. Joseph is the son of Tila and Moshe Levi and the grandson of Duty-Free Americas owner Simon Falic and his wife Chana, as well as the former Chief Rabbi of Panama Rabbi Zion Levi. “With grandfathers who so proudly showed their support for Israel and for the work of United Hatzalah, Joseph could not help but be a hero in his own right. His life-saving actions solidified his place as the youngest nominee for an award by United Hatzalah ever. We look forward to seeing how Joseph develops and hope that he too will become an avid pillar of our organization in the future,” said Beer. 


Cherna Moskowitz is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her continued support for Israel in general and for United Hatzalah specifically. “Cherna and her late husband Irving, have been supporters of Israel for as long as I can remember. Their efforts on behalf of the people of Israel have been extraordinary. The Moskowitz’s donated millions in support of saving lives in the country and our organization’s technological advancements have been in a large part due to their generosity. They are a shining example of Jewish philanthropy for Israel.”


United Hatzalah’s Regional Development Director for Florida Danielle Elyse David, who has a close connection with Moskowitz said: “I am honored to know Mrs. Cherna Moskowitz. Not only is she a great role model with a warm and generous spirit, but she is also a true visionary. Thanks to her support and vision, United Hatzalah has been able to save so many lives in Israel. Cherna understood the importance of technological innovation then, and she understands the importance of it today.”


Paul and his wife Marian Kruss, are the third honorees. Paul is the owner and manager of Mo’s Bagel and Deli. He is being recognized by the organization for his continuing support of Israel and his community involvement. “Paul is a dear friend who does everything he can for Israel,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer. “He merited to be married to a wonderful partner who enables him to do as much as he can for the country and whenever Paul is asked to do something to help, he never says no,” Beer continued. 


“While United Hatzalah has other Galas in other cities, this gala is different because it’s an evening of inspiration and enjoyment for the people of Miami. We are coming to celebrate the community and the achievements of some of its local heroes. We will be having a mix of Israeli and U.S. talent putting on a spectacular show to honor them. United Hatzalah is about building communities around the joint goal of saving lives. It is time to honor those in the Miami community for their achievements in this field,” said David. 

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Unity In An Emergency – Serving Felafel To Save a Family

On Friday, November 15th, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Tal Cooperstein was on his way to a medical emergency on Mivtza Sinai Street in Bat Yam when a woman struck his ambucycle while driving her car. He was treated at the scene by his comrades before being taken to Wolfson Hospital for treatment. 

Eli Beer President and Founder of United Hatzalah serving felafel to a customer at Harel Felafel, Tal’s shop in Bat Yam

Tal was seriously injured in the accident and had to undergo a series of surgeries to save his leg and relieve a tension pneumothorax in his lung. Tal is the sole breadwinner of his family and supports his wife and five children from the proceeds of a felafel shop that he owns and runs in Bat Yam.  


Following the accident, United Hatzalah volunteers from around the country gathered together and began to volunteer to take shifts working at the felafel shop to make sure that Tal didn’t lose any money. Taking the matter one step further, they initiated a campaign for people to be able to buy felafel meals online and donate them to soldiers and first responders. 

Eli and another United Hatzalah volunteer who helped at the shop stand outside the store on Menachem Yekuel Street.

The fledgling shop, Felafel Harel, is only three months old and is located on Menachem Yekuel Street in the industrial section of the city. Cooperstein’s family was very worried about how the business would survive and how they would put food on the table after Tal suffered his injury. The answer came in the form of dozens of fellow United Hatzalah volunteers from all across Israel who signed up for a shift during the peak hours of the store’s operation for the next few months.   


President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer, also joined the cause and signed up to staff the store on Tuesday afternoon. Beer said: “We are a national network of EMS volunteers that is made up of wonderful people who not only help the ill and injured, but also one another. It is heartwarming to see how fast volunteers from all over Israel signed up to do a shift here at the store and keep it running until Tal is back on his feet. It really shows that United Hatzalah is more than just an organization, we are a family. I am proud of every single one of these volunteers.” 


Beer then added, “We are inviting the general public to help as well and have opened an online option to buy felafels and donate them to soldiers and first responders. What really amazed me was that after just two hours someone clicked on the link and purchased 1,000 portions to be donated to soldiers.” 


The International Chairman of United Hatzlah Mark Gerson and his wife Rabbi Erica Gerson opened a matching campaign that will match the first 2,000 portions of felafel purchased and add an additional 2,000 portions to be given out to soldiers or first responders. 

Eli stands in between Tal’s son (right) and the store manager (left)

“Each portion costs 20 NIS, which means we have the opportunity to raise for Tal and his family 80,000 NIS  and help out hungry soldiers and first responders at the same time. This is an amazing opportunity for giving,” said Beer as he was standing behind the counter serving customers. “We have volunteers from all over the country who are helping out, one volunteer who owns a felafel store in Holon close his own shop to come work at Tal’s for the day. This is what the idea of family means to United Hatzalah volunteers.” 


Cooperstein, who is recuperating from surgery and looking at a lengthy rehabilitation process said: “Thank you to all of my friends and fellow responders. We help each other on a daily basis to go out and save lives. Now, they are all banding together to save my business. I am so grateful to each and every one of them and to the organization as a whole.” 

Tal on his ambucycle before the accident.

To support the campaign to help Tal and purchase a Felafel click here: https://www.myofficeguy.com/p/n37k6/vbcop/

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Religious Muslim Woman Ambucycle EMT Saves Children From Trapped Car

One recent early afternoon, Sanaa Mahameed, a religious Muslim woman who volunteers with United Hatzalah, was at her home in Umm al-Fahm when the dispatch center alerted her to a car accident that had occurred on the road to the nearby town of Barta’a. Despite the fact that she was tired and not feeling particularly well, Sanaa darted out the door, jumped on her ambucycle and sped to the scene. 

Sanaa Mahameed on her ambucycle

The accident had brought traffic to a standstill, but Sanaa was able to agilely navigate past the congestion, reaching the scene in a matter of minutes. She arrived to find a car, tha, after hitting another vehicle, had careened off the road and crashed into a tree. The driver of the car was still stuck inside but witnesses to the accident had managed to release her two children from the back seat. 


As the fire department’s special rescue unit and additional medics arrived to extricate and treat the driver, Sanaa led the children out of the hot sun and into an air-conditioned ambulance. One of the children, a 10-year-old boy, had cuts on his face and his 6-year-old sister had lacerations to her arm and leg. As Sanaa and her colleagues cleaned and bandaged their wounds, they talked calmly with the children, reassuring them that their mother would soon be out of the car and taken care of. One EMT waited with the children while Sanaa immobilized the now freed mother to a backboard and transferred her to a second ambulance. The entire family was evacuated to a regional hospital for further treatment.


“There are so many stories where people need help,” Sanaa said. “But I am not fazed. I continue to leave work, my house – morning, evening, the middle of the night, whenever someone needs help – it could be 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., and I will go. I have helped many people and I hope to continue helping. There is so much violence and so many accidents here and I feel it is my duty to help others no matter what time of day or night it is.” 


Sanaa was the first religious Muslim woman to drive one of the organization’s iconic ambucycles. “I know it is dangerous, but I am not afraid. I am brave. Driving an ambucycle helps me get to an emergency scene faster and I want to be the first one there to help,” said Sanaa who also works in a local medical clinic. “My family supports me and is very proud of what I do. Even though some people I meet think that this may be a job for a man, whenever I arrive to help them they always say thank you.” 

To support the work of volunteers like Sanaa please click here:

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