Today is the 29th of Cheshvan on the Jewish calendar, the day signifies the holiday of Sigd. Sigd is an Ethiopian-Jewish & Israeli national holiday which marks the renewal of the covenant between the Jewish people, God, and the Torah. Today, and every day, we honor the important contribution of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israeli society. Therefore, as part of the Year of the Volunteer, we are highlighting a few of our volunteers from the Ethiopian-Israeli community for the work they do and the lives they have saved.
Amarch Simani – “Helping others does good for the one receiving the assistance but better for the one providing it.”
Amarch is a religious single woman who lives in the town of Lod and works as a real estate agent. She chose to become a United Hatzalah volunteer out of a deep desire to want to give back to her community and volunteer to help others.
“I always loved volunteering and helping. A few years ago I was looking for an organization to get involved with that would allow me to help others. I found a short first-aid training course being offered by United Hatzalah in my town, and I asked the teacher Eli Almoznino, how I could get involved and if there was an opportunity to volunteer. He referred me to a full EMT training course and I began to learn. Then Covid hit and our course got interrupted. But we finally finished in September of 2020 and now I have been an EMT for more than a year and I love it since it allows me to help others. It has become such a big part of me that I don’t think I could ever give it up.”
Amarch said that she enjoys providing comfort to patients in distress, especially those who feel more comfortable with a woman first responder. “As someone from the Ethiopian-Israeli community, and as a woman, I see my volunteering as an opportunity to provide comfort to those patients who may feel more comfortable with me treating them. This especially holds true for other female patients, who prefer a woman treating them rather than a man. I am happy to provide treatment and comfort and help them through the difficult situation that they are in.”
Amarch relayed an incident where she learned just how important it is to always approach a scene with an open mind and to never discount the severity of a call for help, even if the emergency scene doesn’t appear to be as serious as one may expect.
“I respond to a case of a suspected emergency, where a lot of the responders who arrived felt that it was a false alarm. The door to the apartment where the emergency had come from was locked, and according to protocol, the police and firefighters had to gain entry before the scene could be cleared and we would be released to return home. It took two hours to get into the apartment. We found an elderly man who had passed away a while ago and was in advanced stages of decay. He was lying on the couch.
One of the police officers did a quick search of the rest of the apartment and found another man lying on the bed in one of the rooms. He was alive, but barely. All of his vital signs were dangerously low and he was unresponsive. I remember him being as thin as a skeleton.
The neighbor had called us, told us that she heard a scream three days prior and since then nothing and she called because she had gotten worried about the man living there as no one had seen or heard from him in a few days. We treated the second man at the scene and then rushed him to the hospital. He survived. I remember finding out later that other volunteers from my team in Lod had performed a successful CPR on the man’s son a month before this event took place and that he too had survived. The feeling I had afterward was unlike anything I ever felt before. The man we found was moments from death, had we given up and left, and not spent the time making sure we got into and cleared the apartment, this family would have suffered a double tragedy. I helped prevent that and I feel stronger because of it.”
Molat Ziamer – “Everyone can and should know how to help in case of an emergency.”
Molat is married and a father of three children. He is a municipal worker in his hometown of Ramle and has been volunteering with United Hatzalah for the past eight years. The veteran volunteer said that he chose to volunteer as an EMT due to the many instances in which he witnessed medical emergencies but was unable to help.
“A number of years ago, I was on vacation in Eilat and I saw a boy choking,” Molat recounted. “I called for help but beyond that, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to help him but I couldn’t. This was just one of the many times I felt I could help if I only knew what to do. When I found out about United Hatzalah and the courses they were offering to become an EMT, I immediately signed up.”
As an EMT, I feel that I am able to give back to my community and that I can give back something to others. I think that taking a course and training to become a first responder is something that many people can do and should do. Everyone should take at least a basic course so that they know what to do if an emergency occurs near them.”
Molat said that he feels a sense of leadership because of the choice he made to become a volunteer EMT. “I feel that I am a role model for everyone, not just people from my own community, but people of all backgrounds. I help everyone and anyone no matter who they are and I think that is something to emulate.”
Molat shared a story of a rescue that made an impression on him and helped him see just how much of an impact he was making in his neighborhood. “A few years ago, one of my neighbors told me that her son wasn’t feeling well. The child went to sleep and the next morning I went to check on him and I found that the mother was sleeping and the son, a boy only four years old at the time, was in a really bad state. I woke the mother up and told her that her son needed help. I gave him oxygen and called for an ambulance. He was about to lose his breathing entirely. Had I not been there I’m not sure if he would have survived. This left me with a feeling that I was making a difference. The mother knew I was an EMT and that is why she specifically came and told me so that I would check on him. This is what saved his life. I have responded to many emergencies, that without my intervention, the outcome would have been very different and tragic. This is why I do what I do. Over the eight years that I have been volunteering, I have been blessed to help many people and that is what being a part of United Hatzalah is all about.”
To support the lifesaving work of Amarch, Molat, and all the other volunteers of United Hatzalah during the Year of the Volunteer please click here: