Atlanta Community Attempts to Break World Record and Save Lives in Israel

A new method of raising money to support Israel and put the country on the international world record map is being undertaken in Atlanta. The Jewish community of Atlanta has launched a campaign to break the world record for the creation of the largest cookie flag mosaic ever created. In addition to making the largest ever cookie-flag the project hopes to raise more than $1,000,000 and send a strong message of support to Israel.

“This project is about supporters of Israel around the world sending a giant hug to the Israeli people,” said Rabbi Yitz Tendler, the executive director of Congregation Beth Jacob, who is helping to organize the effort along with a diverse group of Atlanta Jews. “By setting this new record on their behalf, we are showing them that their celebration is our celebration, and by raising these funds, we are also providing them with real, tangible support which will enhance their society in so many ways.”

The current record was set in 2017  and is held by Pakistan who created a flag covering almost 2,500 square feet. The mosaic depicted the Pakistani flag in green and white cookies to commemorate that nation’s 70th anniversary. Now, it’s Israel’s turn.

According to the plan set down by Tendler and his community, the team is looking to build a cookie mosaic flag that is 3,000 square feet, which is almost 30 percent larger than it’s Pakistani counterpart. The flag is set to be comprised of some 100,000 blue and white cookies in the image of the Israeli flag. The date of the building of the flag is scheduled for Sunday, June 3rd, and will take place at Beth Jacob Synagogue at 1855 LaVista Road in Toco Hills, Atlanta, GA. In order to make the record official, a judge from Guinness World Records will be on hand to certify the achievement.

The cookies are being supplied by a kosher bakery in New York. Donors from Atlanta have taken upon themselves the expenses of the cookies in order to allow for all external donations to go directly to raising money for three Israeli charities. The charities that were chosen are United Hatzalah, a volunteer emergency response organization; One Family Fund, an organization that supports victims of terror; and a special project for the Jewish Agency that will help disadvantaged people in Israel’s north.

According to the rules set down by Guinness, all of the cookies must be distributed to be eaten. Therefore the project organizers will be helping local charities, homeless shelters and schools by distributing the cookies at various locations around the city of Atlanta.

Those who wish to support the campaign are being asked to donate $10 to purchase a cookie and all of the proceeds will go to the three aforementioned charities. Contributions can be made at By a quick arithmetic, in the event that all of the cookies get sold, some $1,000,000 will be raised and split between the three charities.

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Young Jewish Leaders Take Up The Mantle of Life-Saving While Making Waves at New York Gala

On Thursday night, May 3rd, L’ag Ba’Omer on the Jewish Calendar, more than 700 young leaders of the Jewish community gathered together at Sony Hall in the Paramount Hotel in New York City for a gala event in support of Israel’s national volunteer emergency medical services (EMS) organization, United Hatzalah. The Gala included a special performance by Café Shahor Hazak and an appearance by Rona-Lee Simon from Fauda. The event MC was Actress and Comedian Renée Willett, a United Hatzalah Global Ambassador. Capping off the evening was a special rendition of Hatikvah sung by Miss Israel 2012 Shani Hazan, who delighted the crowd with her talent.

A number of the organization’s volunteer emergency first responders from Israel were on hand for the event. United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Murad Aliyan and Gavy Friedson were both in attendance and shared their experiences with the crowd.

Aliyan, who began the organization’s Muslim chapter, now sits on the board of the organization supervising the Muslim volunteers. Friedson is currently the Atlanta and Washington D.C. area regional representative and had just returned from a week in Israel where he treated more than 120 people in less than 10 days.

Both Murad and Friedson, as well as the organization’s Founder and President Eli Beer regaled the crowd with descriptions of the organization’s effectiveness thanks to its network of more than 5,000 volunteer first responders and their average response time of less than three minutes across the country. Beer thanked the young leaders for their attendance and support.

“Today on the Jewish calendar we celebrated a respite from mourning, mourning that was caused by senseless death. The young leaders who attended this gala event are helping us prevent more senseless deaths in Israel by helping us reach patients faster and save more lives. I wish to thank everyone who came out to the event and supported us in this most important mission,” said Beer.

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Saving My Neighbor – EMT Responds To Serious Motor Vehicle Accident Only To Find His Neighbor is the Victim

Two weeks ago at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Yehuda Hess received an alert to a serious road accident on the highway near Kedumim. Jumping on his ambucycle, Hess raced to the location. He quickly spotted a car in the shrubbery at the side of the road and pulled up right next to it.

Hess was dismayed to see his neighbor and friend slumped in the driver’s seat, his face covered with blood. Together with two additional United Hatzalah medics who arrived at the scene, Hess extricated the man from the wreckage and examined his injuries. The victim had sustained serious head and facial wounds. As the first responders stemmed the bleeding and bandaged the man’s head, they performed a field neurological assessment, asking the man questions and conversing with him. The disoriented man had no idea where he was, what time it was, or what had happened. His incoherent speech was further indicative of brain trauma.

An ambulance arrived 15 minutes later, but the disoriented man refused to be transported to the hospital. Hess pleaded with his friend, explaining that his confusion was precisely the reason that he needed to go to the hospital. The three United Hatzalah volunteers spent some time convincing the injured man until he eventually acquiesced to get into the ambulance. He was transported to the hospital in moderate condition.

Hess was gratified that he and the other volunteers were there, both to treat his neighbor and to ensure he received the definitive follow-up care he so desperately required.


“After 11 years of working as a first response EMT, and responding to thousands of calls, there are still some emergency calls that leave you with a different feeling afterward. Obviously, the ones where you actively save a person’s life leave more of an impression than those where you are simply called upon to help take someone’s blood pressure and bandage a small scrape. We navigate these emergency calls in our minds. I have been at hundreds of motor vehicle accidents over my career and most haven’t left a major impression. However, when you respond to a car accident and see that the person injured behind the wheel is your neighbor and friend, who is covered in blood, you go into a panic, a personal panic because you know the person,” said Hess.  

“This situation got worse when I realized that he was confused due to his head injury. I saw the signs of intense kinematics involved in the accident that pointed to a head injury and I understood that my neighbor’s confusion was coming from his head injury. He was speaking to me but it was clear that he wasn’t all there. At first, he didn’t recognize me. I had to convince him to get in the ambulance because he didn’t want to get in for fear of being charged for the ride. However, he was moderately injured and he needed an ambulance to take him to the hospital and get himself checked out. I was there for my friend and my neighbor and I am thankful that I was able to respond to this incident and convince him to get the help that he required. He is a dear friend of mine and had he not gotten himself checked out and treated in the hospital, which he wouldn’t have done had I not been there to convince him, then the damage would likely have been worse. Therefore, I am more thankful today than most others that United Hatzalah gave me the tools necessary to be there for my neighbor and friend.”


After hearing about the story, Eli Beer said: “Our volunteers answer thousands of calls each day, many of them respond to the emergencies of their neighbors and friends. It is by helping those around us that we strengthen our communities and each other. It is these acts of helping those closest to us that leave us with the biggest impact and push us to race to the rescue each and every time our emergency alerts sound.”    

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Two International Flyboys of EMS Saving Lives in 90 Seconds

Gavy Friedson and Dovi Meyer are two United Hatzalah volunteer responders who currently live abroad. Friedson lives in the United States and works for the organization in the Washington D.C. area as a local representative there. Meyer currently lives and works in Sydney Australia and volunteers for the Sydney Hatzolah at the same time that he continues to dispatch for United Hatzalah in Israel from afar when called upon.

Gavy Friedson (left) together with Australian-Israeli EMT Dovi Meyer posing near an ambucycle in Jerusalem during a recent visit.

Friedson, who often speaks all across the United States about his experiences as a volunteer EMT with the organization, was very active with the relief missions to both Texas and Florida following the hurricanes this past summer. Recently, he visited Israel for the 70 ambucycles for Israel’s 70th birthday which occurred on Israel’s Independence Day. “It is always important as an EMT to continue to see patients and respond to emergencies, that way you keep your skills fine-tuned. When I’m in the United States I help promote the organization as well as the sister organization in New Jersey, United Rescue, and tell their stories to the public, as well as my own. So I need to keep up with what is happening in Israel as well. Thus it is a very important trip for me.”


When Friedson and Meyer were both living in Israel they often rode together on the same ambucycle. Now that they came back at the same time, the situation was no different. “I have already treated more than 70 people in just a week together with Dovi,” Friedson said. The pair would go on to treat more than 120 patients over the course of Friedson’s visit. At all of those calls, the duo arrived in less than 90 seconds. Meyer stayed a bit longer than Friedson and treated even more patients. “We’re kind of partners for life in more ways than one,” Friedson quipped. “Not only do we save people’s lives together, we work well as a team and hence go on as many calls together as we can.”


Meyer is involved on a whole different level of the organization. As a first responder who also trained with the organization to be a dispatcher, and has the extra added bonus of being in a time zone that is 10 hours ahead of Israel, Meyer, through the use of advanced technology, was able to dispatch local Israeli responders to emergencies from Australia over Pesach and Shabbatot during the times when the holidays had already ended there. Thus, he and the organization were able to cut down on the amount of desecration of the holy days required by dispatchers in Israel.


“I think one of the greatest things that we are seeing with modern day technology is how you can instantly be anywhere and help people without even being there at all, which is an amazing concept. For me saving lives is something that I have in my blood. It is an urge to run and do and help wherever we are. While I was at the airport in Sydney, I was still dispatching calls to my local team in Israel. And once I landed, the first thing that came out of my bag was my radio and smartphone and I clicked that I was available to help. I am very fortunate to be in an area of the center of Jerusalem, which is, unfortunately, an area that has emergencies all the time.”

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A Cinematic Rescue

United Hatzalah of Israel is a nationwide network of volunteers who provide emergency medical services across Israel to people of all faiths, backgrounds, genders, and races. The average response time of the volunteers is less than three minutes across Israel and in certain major cities such as Jerusalem, less than 90 seconds. The following is a story of one of the recent rescues performed by a United Hatzalah volunteer.

Recently one evening at a Jerusalem cinema, a boy was munching on some snacks as he watched a movie when he began experiencing a severe allergic reaction. His friends immediately called the emergency hotline for help.

United Hatzalah emergency medical services volunteer Yaakov Kaminetzky, who hails from Jerusalem was nearby at the Machane Yehuda shuk when he received the urgent alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. Kaminetzky ran to his ambucycle (a hybrid of an ambulance and a motorcycle) and raced off through the evening traffic towards cinema. He arrived at the scene within just 60 seconds.

Yaakov Kaminetzky and his family

Kaminetzky, who is himself a father of one found the 13-year-old boy red and swollen, struggling to breathe amidst a full-blown anaphylactic reaction. Recognizing that the situation could quickly turn fatal, Kaminetzky swiftly administered a full dose of epinephrine from his EpiPen. The experienced EMT then provided high-flow oxygen, as he took the young patient’s vitals. By the time the Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) arrived, 4 minutes later, the boy was already breathing unassisted and his overall condition had improved markedly.

“An allergic reaction is one of the medical instances in which a person’s condition deteriorates rapidly and the first medicine is given makes the biggest change. As a responder, you see the dramatic results immediately and that makes a strong impression on anyone. The people around him were all in a state of heightened agitation and once we arrived and provided the treatment then entire crowd calmed down significantly. It was simply amazing to behold.”  


The team of paramedics expressed their gratitude to the United Hatzalah volunteer for his rapid, professional response. Kaminetzky then assisted the team as they transferred the now-stabilized boy out of the cinema and onto the back of the ambulance. The patient was whisked off to the hospital for further observation and definitive care.


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United Hatzalah Mobilizing National Volunteer To Provide Assistance To Israel’s Northern Front in Case of Escalation

Following last night’s missile attack on Israeli soil by Iranian elements in Syria, United Hatzalah has begun mobilizing its network of close to 5,000 volunteers across Israel. Our volunteers in the north of the country number some 550 men and women from all segments of Israel’s population. Jews, Arabs, Christians, Druze and Bedouin alike are working together to make sure that anyone in need of medical assistance in these tense times receives the care that they need in as short a time as possible. As the only completely volunteer and free first response organization in Israel, we are preparing to serve wherever there is a need.

In order to ensure the safety of the volunteer first responders who give up their time and energy to rush out and save others, we need to provide the responders in the north with a protective bullet and shrapnel-proof helmets and vests. Another requirement is that all of the volunteers currently in the north, as well as those who are prepped to head north on a moment’s notice, should be equipped with our new Bluebird communication devices. The north of Israel is one of the areas where the 2G network is non-functional in most regions. Hence, the volunteers who live there as well as those preparing to head that way are in dire need of access to direct two-way communication with our national Dispatch and Command Center. Another 200 devices are needed urgently in order to meet this demand.

The organization is putting all available resources to work to fully equip and prepare for any eventuality that may transpire in the north in order to help the communities who now live under the threat of attack from Syria and Iran, as well as Iran’s proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “When we created United Hatzalah back in 2006 following the Second Lebanon War, we did so in order to rise to the occasion and answer the needs of the population during a time of national crisis. Another crisis like the one we faced then may very well be approaching in the coming days, weeks or months. It is our obligation to be well equipped and prepared for such a crisis.”


Beer added, “Over the past 12 years, we have grown in size by more than 500 percent and we have developed new technologies and new techniques to help those in need during such a crisis. One of the major developments has been the creation of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, which has been instrumental over the past two-and-a-half years in helping the citizens of Israel as well as first responders and security personnel deal with the emotional and psychological after-effects of shock and trauma. This unit may be especially busy in the coming days. To prepare for this possibility, teams of our Psychotrauma Unit responders in the north of Israel met this morning and underwent special briefings regarding how to act in the event that they are needed for intermittent or mass-casualty incidents.”


The organization is maintaining a watchful eye on the developments on Israel’s northern front. Should the situation require it, United Hatzalah will deploy dozens if not hundreds of its volunteers in the north to provide assistance in whatever form it is needed. From medical treatment and aid to psychological and emotional aid, to search and rescue operations, as well as simple humanitarian requirements, the network of volunteers of United Hatzalah is at the ready. With your help, we can adequately equip all of the volunteers who require it in order to protect both them and the resident of the north.  


You too can help by clicking here to donate:

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Making Israel a Safer Place One Patient At a Time

One morning a couple of weeks ago, United Hatzalah volunteer Netanel Samich received an emergency alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center that someone was convulsing in the street. Samich rushed to his ambucycle and raced to the location, arriving in under one minute.

A 15-year-old boy was sprawled on the sidewalk, his entire body jerking with his intense seizures. He was frothing wildly at the mouth, and the experienced medic immediately realized that the boy was in imminent danger of choking to death. Moving quickly, Netanel grasped the boy and suctioned his airway, clearing the fluids that were blocking his throat. He tilted the boy’s head to ensure maximum access to oxygen and protected him from hitting his head as the violent convulsions continued. A small group of concerned spectators had gathered and Netanel asked one of them to keep track of the length of the seizures for future assessment.

Netanel and his son.

After almost 4 minutes, the boy’s body finally relaxed. Netanel took the boy’s vital signs, seeking to determine the cause of the sudden attack. He was concerned to discover that the teen’s blood sugar level was at a dangerously low 35 mg/dL! Such extreme hypoglycemia can quickly lead to death and Netanel immediately administered GlucoGel, smearing it under the boy’s tongue and inside his cheeks.

The boy remained in serious condition and Netanel administered a further 4 doses of GlucoGel, bringing the boy’s blood sugar level up to nearly 80 mg/dL. He was close to relapsing in convulsions, and Netanel also set up an IV line for fluid provision. Eventually, almost half an hour later, the ambulance arrived and the boy was immediately transferred inside for transport to the hospital.

The boy’s family later tracked Netanel down and made contact with him. Netanel went to the home, where the grateful family expressed their deep appreciation. The boy, who had been discharged from the hospital with no long-lasting effects, hugged Netanel emotionally. It was hard to believe that this healthy 15-year-old would have likely lost his life if not for Netanel’s rapid, expert intervention.

Following the incident, President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “It is because of volunteers like Netanel that so many people are alive today. Netanel is a loving father, a kind neighbor, and a hero. This young boy would not be alive if it wasn’t for Netanel’s selfless act to leave whatever he was in the middle of and rush out to save his life. Not all the calls that our volunteers get are lifesaving, the majority have to do with helping sick or injured people and are not life-threatening. But it is the kind acts of volunteers just like Netanel that make Israel the type of place where I feel safe raising my own children, because I know that there are thousands of people, just like Netanel all over this country.”  

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EMS Crews, Israeli Military and Fire and Rescue Department Conduct Collaborative Drill Mimicking MCI Missile Strike on Military Base

On Monday, United Hatzalah together with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel’s Fire and Rescue Department held a combined training drill which mimicked missile attack on a military base that resulted in a mass casualty incident (MCI).


The drill was held in the live fire shooting range of Mitvach 24 near the town of Rishon LeZion and included evacuation by IDF helicopter and logistical and practical cooperation between all organizations.

During the drill, the teams collaborated to treat some dozen injured people inside the base, whose level of injuries differed from person to person. Simultaneously, a serious head-on collision occurred between two cars wherein five people were moderate to seriously injured and trapped inside the vehicles, which had caught fire.

United Hatzalah first responders operated under their MCI protocol and worked to triage the victims in the field, provide treatment and then, together with the IDF medical teams, airlift them to the hospital.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene began extinguishing the flames around the vehicles and those that erupted due to the missile strike. They then extricated the injured from the vehicles utilizing specialized tools to cut open and pry the vehicle parts away from the passengers. At which point United Hatzalah EMS volunteers as well as paramedics and EMTs from the base began treating the injured. Some of the injured were evacuated via helicopter due to the seriousness of their injuries, while others, whose injuries were less serious were evacuated via IDF medical ambulances and jeeps.

Director of Security Relations of United Hatzalah Shmuel Avraham said: “The training drill was one of our most successful ever. We are always thankful that our partners in the field, both the IDF and the Fire and Rescue Department are equal partners in our training exercises. Our volunteers learn a tremendous amount from these collaborative drills, especially with regards to working under extreme conditions that we don’t see every day but are unique to our region. The scenario which was designed for this drill was something that we have had to deal with in the past, and unfortunately, we may likely have to deal with again in the future as many of Israel’s enemies look to attack our civilian populations and military installations with missiles. It is our hope that we will not need to use the lessons we learned in this drill, but it is better for our volunteer first responders to be prepared for all eventualities.”  

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Realizing You are 30 Meters From Disaster

Dovi Meyer has a lot of accreditation to his name. Among the many volunteering activities which he takes upon himself is being a volunteer EMT and dispatcher in both Israel and Australia. Meyer, who is currently staying in central Jerusalem for a visit, has been responding to emergency calls with his fellow United Hatzalah first responder volunteers non-stop. In the past week alone he has responded to close to 70 emergencies in his area.


“I believe that helping people is something that I have a responsibility to do and thanks to United Hatzalah I have both the knowledge and the tools to do so,” Meyer said.

Dovi Meyer on scene in Jerusalem

As a volunteer responder Meyer himself goes on calls in his vicinity, as a dispatcher for both countries, he helps notify other responders of emergencies in their vicinity by utilizing cutting-edge technology on his smartphone and bluebird communication device.


On Tuesday afternoon, Meyer received notification of an emergency in Jerusalem and was going about dispatching the location when he realized that the address was some 30 meters from where he was standing.


The emergency took place when a man was offloading a safe from the back of a truck. The safe fell off of the loading ramp of the truck and knocked the man unconscious while also causing severe internal injuries.

“I rushed over and arrived in less than a minute. I gathered some bystanders to help me leverage the safe up and off of the man using the back of the truck for support. It took the ambulance 20 minutes to arrive. We were very lucky that advanced life support volunteers from United Hatzalah who live in the community responded to help stabilize the patient. While he has a very long road of recovery ahead due to some very serious internal damage, at least we were there to help stabilize him and make sure that he was no longer in life-threatening danger.”


Meyer has been a first responder for some six years since he was 16 years old. “I have never before seen anything like the situation which we dealt with on Tuesday. It was one of the cases where had we not been there with immediate intervention, the person would have died. While I have aided in life-threatening situations before, the level of severity of the crush symptoms in this case, was something I have never seen prior.”


Meyer set a goal for himself of responding to 70 calls in a week and dedicating the acts of loving kindness and help that he provides to Israel’s 70th birthday. In the end, he responded to far more than 70. “I don’t believe in simply visiting somewhere or going on vacation and putting everything behind me and relaxing. Wherever I go I try to help the people around me. Like many other first responders, volunteers as well as medical professionals, it is in my blood and has become a part of who I am. At this point, it is a need that I have to help people however and wherever I can.”


On Passover, Meyer, who was then in Sydney, Australia, was contacted to help United Hatzalah in Israel with a special project. “As I had gone through dispatcher training with the organization they asked me to login as a dispatcher from Australia over the festival and Shabbat in Israel. Due to the large time difference, I was able to perform the duties of a dispatcher when it was before and after the festival from where I was and thus cut down on the amount of desecration of the Shabbat and holiday in Israel. It is truly amazing what we can do now with the advanced NowForce and Bluebird technologies that the organization possesses. I saw the emergencies on my screens here in Australia and was able to dispatch people in real time in Israel. It has become a much smaller world than before.”


Meyer is also a registered EMT in Australia and volunteers with the local Hatzolah organization in Sydney. “Growing up in Sydney and seeing the local Hatzolah going out to emergencies all the time I was fascinated by the field of emergency medicine. When I turned 16 I began to take training courses and volunteer and ever since then it has been a part of who I am. I owe my love of this field to Hatzolah Sydney. It is a terrific organization and one I am happy to be a part of.”  

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Daughter of Nazis Awarded for Services in Saving Lives in Israel

On Erev Yom Hashoah (Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day), at the commemoration ceremony held by the Regional Council of Hof HaCarmel, a volunteer first responder named Tina Berkovitz was awarded a citation for her continued dedication and devotion for saving the lives of her fellow Israelis. But Tina isn’t a regular Sabra Israeli. The 67-year-old grandmother grew up in post World War II Germany and is the daughter of Nazis. For her, receiving the award on the eve of Yom HaShoah was an exceptionally emotional experience.


Berkovitz was born in the city of Bochum near Dusseldorf. In 1973 she began a 45-year-long career of lifesaving and working in the medical profession when she volunteered as part of the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace organization whose aim is to confront the legacy of Nazism.

Tina Berkovitz

Berkovitz came to Israel as part of one of the projects of the organization and took three months to learn Hebrew before she began volunteering as an EMR and nurse’s assistant with the Red Cross. She began her volunteering just as the Yom Kippur War broke out. “I volunteered in Shmuel Harofe hospital that had been converted during the war to house and treat Arab POW’s. I was working as a nurse as part of the Red Cross and we had an agreement with the Nurses Union in Tel Aviv which engaged her to serve in the local hospitals. I’ve always had a passion for helping others and for the field of health and I felt this was the perfect way to help others.”


Following the war, Berkovitz was transferred from Shmuel Harofeh to Assuta in Tel Aviv. There she met the then Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Rabbi Yitzchak Yedidya Frankel, who heard her story. “Rabbi Frankel invited me to learn about Judaism, not to convert per se, but just to learn and understand it better. In the end, I converted and we learned together for a time before he found me a tutor to study with. It was just him and me in the lessons and it is because of him and his approach that I converted. He told me: “It doesn’t matter how you look or what you wear, but if you are a good person and you honor your parents then you should join us”. He didn’t come from a place of forcing me to do anything but rather from a place of love and from the value of human life, and that is something that I really connected with.

Tina Berkovitz in action

Since then, Berkovitz built a family of her own and settled down in the Artist’s Colony of Ein Hod. She has three children and two grandchildren, most of whom live in Tel Aviv. Berkovitz currently volunteers as a First Responder and EMT with United Hatzalah, Israel’s national community-based volunteer EMS organization.


“I provide EMS coverage as a volunteer for United Hatzalah for all of the events in Ein Hod and many others events for the Regional Council of Hof HaCarmel. I have the honor of working 24/7 as an EMT since my passion also turned into a profession and I work as an EMT in local establishments that require medical security such as the Dor Habonim beach,” Berkovitz said.  


But that is just the most recent example of Berkovitz’s medical background and training. She is also a doula, a naturopath, and even started an emergency medical clinic for Israeli tourists and travelers in the Goa province of India. “I’ve always felt that it is a great honor to be able to work and volunteer around the clock in a position that saves lives all the time. That is one of the things that pushes me to continually volunteer and serve my community. It is thanks to organizations such as United Hatzalah that allow and inspire me to keep helping others no matter what,” said the EMT who also currently volunteers in the Emergency Room of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. “As an EMT, I see every type of scenario in the field, but as a volunteer, in the E.R. I see everything on the other side in the hospital as well.”


Explaining why she has always felt connected to the field of medicine and first response, in particular, Berkovitz said:“I have always believed that when a person knows what to do and has the tools to make a difference, it is simply a waste to not do everything he or she can to help others.”


Adding to her accolades, Berkovitz also worked at Kfar Izun psychological and drug rehab center. “I began helping the patients there with natural medicine and now it is one of the few places in the world where natural medicine and traditional medicine are used hand in hand to treat patients who are suffering psychological conditions due to drug use.


Shortly after the award ceremony on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, Berkovitz praised the organization, that over the past decade has given her so much and enabled her to treat and save the lives of those around her. “I have really found a home in United Hatzalah. I’ve taken all the courses and training classes that I can and I am currently waiting for a paramedic training class. I don’t look at my life and think, “Wow I’m doing a lot. I think that I was given talents and if I don’t use them then it is a crime. I was given the opportunity to give to others and that is what I do. Anyone who has been involved in EMS knows this. I believe that everyone should learn medicine and that in every town or neighborhood there should be ten or twenty EMS personnel, however many are needed and more so.”


Berkovitz concluded by saying: “I come from Germany, the land that the Nazis once called home. My parents were Nazis. Here, in Israel, I get an award of recognition on the eve of Yom HaShoah,  from the regional council where I live, for saving the lives of Israelis. I don’t think of this award and say to myself that now I can now sit back and relax, rather it pushes me forward to do more and to help more people and that is what I want to do. While my parents were not happy with my choice to come to Israel and with my conversion, the one thing that they couldn’t argue about was the importance of saving lives.”  

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