During this year’s annual fundraising concert for United Hatzalah, Hassidic singer-songwriter Lipa Schmeltzer donated one of his first ever paintings during his performance. The entertainer, who is studying Creative Writing and Visual art at Columbia University, donated the painting to the Srulie Beer Campaign, in honor of Srulie’s recent Bar Mitzvah.
Srulie Beer, son of United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli, donated all the gifts for his Bar Mitzvah to United Hatzalah to help raise money for a new trauma ambulance and a Torah scroll, and therefore the painting was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Robert Book, who was presented with the Ambassador for Life award at the concert due to his sponsoring over 100 volunteers from the organization this year, purchased the painting for $18,000. Book then gifted the painting to Gitty Beer, Srulie’s mother and the wife of President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.
Another notable donation made over the course of the evening included a donation by esteemed philanthropist Jay Schottenstein, who sponsored tickets for 150 lone soldiers, enabling them to attend the event. Schottenstein is a known supporter of both United Hatzalah and the IDF and wanted to honor soldiers as well as Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization for the great work that they do.
“Every year I can’t wait to do this because it brings so many people together from all different walks of life in Israel, and it is really inspiring for all of us to see this each year. The outpouring of kindness shown by our supporters really is music to the ears of our volunteers, and we could not run this organization without the faithful help of our donors,” said Eli Beer.
Srulie’s campaign to raise $180,000 to purchase a new ambulance and Torah scroll for the organization succeeded in achieving and surpassing its goal. So far, the campaign has raised close to $400,000 and those close to the family say that they expect to raise close to $500,000 before the campaign ends. The Bar Mitzvah itself was well attended, with 13 bars set up, each celebrating a different biblical commandment complete with hands-on experiences and instructions by educators who were on hand for the event. Many volunteers, as well as staff members of the organization, were in attendance, including a number of EMTs, paramedics, and doctors who responded to a car accident outside of Sacher Park while driving to the celebration.
The Torah scroll is being used by the organization to facilitate a new lending library, wherein those organizing prayer services in houses of mourning can call United Hatzalah and ask to borrow the Torah scroll to use in their homes. It is customary to pray inside the home of the departed during the seven days of mourning when a loved one passes away and read from the Torah scroll on Mondays, Thursdays and fast days. As Torah scrolls can be expensive to rent and insure, a lending library of Torah scrolls for this purpose will alleviate the financial hardships involved with this aspect of maintaining a proper house of mourning.