On Sunday evening, Friends of United Hatzalah of Israel (www.israelrescue.org) honored Adele and Dr. Joel Sandberg and Dr. Ari Ciment during their Miami Gala for their dedication to Israel, their community, and to saving lives. Also in attendance were the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and his wife David and Tammy Friedman, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, and Mark Gerson the Chairman of United Hatzalah and Co-Founder of the Gerson-Lehrman Group.
The event was the 1st of its kind for the organization since the onset of the Corona pandemic and took place at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Aventura, Florida. The event featured an inspiring speech by Keynote Speaker, COO of Meta, and author of the best-selling books Lean In and Option B, Sheryl Sandberg, daughter of Adele and Dr. Joel Sandberg. In honor of her parents, Sandberg and her fiancé Tom Bernthal made a donation of $5 million to the organization to name the Adele and Joel Sandberg Women’s Unit.
More than 500 people attended the event, which adhered to strict Coronavirus protocols, and succeeded in raising $18 million to help support the lifesaving work done in Israel which is undertaken by volunteers around the country around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In addition to the address by Sheryl Sandberg, the event, which was chaired by Tila Falic Levi, also featured performances by Gad Elbaz, Chico Castillo, and DJ Aviel.
The Gala also included a Host Committee of Miami community leaders, and was chaired by United Hatzalah Global Events Ambassador Laura Schwartz. United Hatzalah Board member Rabbi Erica Gerson introduced Sheryl Sandberg, following a special tribute to her parents, Adele and Dr. Joel Sandberg. United Hatzalah Board Development Chair Amy Korenvaes gave a special introduction to Adele and Dr. Joel that their work helping Soviet Jewry.
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “A strong relationship exists between the people of Miami and United Hatzalah, and myself personally. After I got sick with Covid-19 the Doctors here in Miami University Hospital saved my life. My good friends Adele and Dr. Joel Sandberg were a major part of my recovery, thanks to them I made it through my ordeal. The relationship became stronger during the collapse of the Champlain Towers, a tragedy that affected the entire community of Miami, when United Hatzalah volunteers from the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit rushed to assist the family members, neighbors, community members, and first responders, who were affected by the horrible tragedy that took place here.”
Beer continued, “Now we have come together once more to strengthen the bonds of friendship and life-saving even further. It is because of the women and men who drop whatever they are doing and rush to help others, no matter what time of day or night, and where the emergency may be, whether in Israel, or right here in Miami, and likewise because of the people who come out to events like this to support them that we are able to save as many people as we can. Together, we are a force for good in a world that needs each and every one of us to help and support each other, especially in times of crisis.”
United Hatzalah’s Development Director Danielle Elyse David said: “The powerful bond between the volunteers and the people whose lives they save is one of the most touching human connections I have ever witnessed. Our community in Miami has played both of these roles over the past two years. Tonight, we come together to honor the achievements of the saviors and celebrate together with some of those who were saved. Together we are building a brighter future.” David continued: “I am lucky that I get to work with Eli Beer, a true hero, and miracle worker. I am also lucky that I get to connect with the wonderful donors and supporters that make Eli’s miracle work possible.”
United Hatzalah is the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization that provides the fastest and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel. United Hatzalah’s service is available to all people regardless of race, religion, or national origin. With the help of our unique GPS technology and our iconic ambucycles, the average response time is less than 3 minutes across the country and 90 seconds in metropolitan areas. In 2021 amid the Covid pandemic, the organization responded to 675,000 medical emergencies in Israel and has a budget of $35 million all of which comes entirely from donations. In June 2021, a seven-member delegation flew from Israel at a moment’s notice and spent a week providing psychological first aid and emotional and psychological stabilization to those who were most adversely affected by the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside Miami. Together with the IDF Search and Rescue team, the members of the United Hatzalah delegation played an important role in the relief efforts for the people of Miami during the crisis.
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