This past week, two members of the Jewish Latin American cycling group from Aventura known as Beitzim, visiting United Hatzalah headquarters to learn more about how the organization uses electric bicycles to save lives. Isaac and Tania Murciano, founding members of the cycling group participated in a special dedication of the newest electric bicycle in United Hatzalah’s fleet. The bicycle, according to Shai Jaskol who led the tour, will be used in neighborhoods where the terrain makes travel difficult even for ambucycles, such as the narrow pathways and staircases of the Old CIty of Jerusalem and the Old City of Jaffa.
“Most of our group comes from Venezuela and fled the country,” said Tania, who described herself and her husband as representing the larger group. “The group includes approximately 150 people and was formed 8 years ago. The group supports Israel and rides across the country in the Alyn bicycle ride once a year.” Isaac added that the group is looking to add a second race in Israel to their international docket. “Everyone wants to be involved, but people don’t know that much about the organization yet. Once they hear about what you do, they will all want to participate in supporting this organization,” Tania added.
Isaac noted how modern and rugged the EMS electric bicycle that was donated by the organization is. “It’s modern and looks like it can withstand a beating. It looks like it will be used and used well.”
The couple said that they spearheaded the donation of the electric bicycle because they were exposed to the compelling story of United Hatzalah at their own home when they were asked to host a fundraising event for the organization in March. “We have a large house and we often get asked if we can host fundraisers and events for different charities,” said Tania. “We didn’t know what United Hatzalah was, but we certainly found out. Danielle David, the Senior Development Adviser of American Friends of United Hatzalah organized the event and more than 180 people showed up. We met the President and Founder of the organization Eli Beer and after hearing his story we knew that we wanted to make a donation.”
Isaac added that “other members of the group were at the event and word spread that we should make a donation. We decided to donate an electric bicycle because it is something close to our hearts. We ride bicycles all the time and we encourage riding them. So donating one to help save lives in Israel was a really beautiful opportunity for us.”
During the event guest speaker Alan Dershowitz spoke to the gathered crowd. The event which was considered by the organization to be a huge success saw the spearheading of a number of donation campaigns, including the one undertaken by the Beitzim cycling group. “The group gathered the money and made the donation incredibly quickly,” said David. “They should be proud of their accomplishment their gift will save many lives.”
During the visit at headquarters, Jaskoll added that the electric bicycle “is the newest tool that the organization is using to decrease EMS response time and save lives. The bicycle, which carries a full complement of medical equipment in the rear carrier, is nimble, fast, and can help a volunteer arrive at an emergency quickly and safely in areas where ambucycles and cars cannot go.”
Isaac said that he felt the experience of seeing the headquarters, meeting with volunteers, and getting to dedicate the electric bicycle was a humbling one. “It is very humbling to be here and it is great to know that a little bit of effort on our part can make a big difference for other people.”
“This was just our first donation and our first e-bike. It’s number 0ne, and it’s 2017. Next year we hope to be able to donate more. We are a large group and we wanted to try it out. After seeing what we’ve seen and learning more about this organization, I can safely say it is just number one and there will be many more,” concluded Tania.