Every night throughout Hanukkah, United Hatzalah will be awarding one highly dedicated volunteer with the annual Korenvaes Miracle Award. Tonight’s recipient, on the second night of Hanukkah, is Yaakov Mizrachi from Kfar Saba.
Yaakov Mizrachi is 39-years-old and lives in the city of Kfar Saba in central Israel with his wife and six children. He is a Chabad emissary (shaliach) in the city and does whatever he can to help others whenever he gets the chance. In addition to running and managing the local soup kitchen, he also manages a free loan society and volunteers as an EMT and electric bicycle driver with United Hatzalah.
“I saw the activity of the volunteers and I knew I had to join,” Yaakov said. “My cousin and brother-in-law are both volunteers. I saw them, and their friends, continually rushing out to help people, so about three years ago I decided to join as well and I took an EMT training course. I felt that I wanted to be a part of this, to be a part of the good work that the volunteers were doing.”
Yaakov was born and raised in Israel and grew up with a very strong work ethic. “I was raised to believe in the idea that if I do something I do it with all of my heart. That is how we were raised in Chabad. My father was the Deputy Health Minister of Israel for a while, but that wasn’t so inspiring for me. What inspired me was how much these volunteers gave of themselves to help their own community.”
Yaakov runs the chapter’s equipment warehouse which he set up with the help of members of the municipality right next to his soup kitchen. “The work of United Hatzalah goes hand-in-hand with the ethos that I was raised with. Helping anyone who needs help for no fee. It is something that I truly believe in, giving for the sake of giving and not getting anything back in return.” (5:10)
Yaakov rides one of the organization’s emergency electric bicycles (e-bike) and brings it with him to the soup kitchen every day. He is one of the few first responders in the neighborhood during the day time hours and thus responds to numerous medical emergencies each day. “I have the e0bike with me and I park it right outside the soup kitchen. Whenever there is an emergency, I drop everything and rush out to help. Then I come back and pick up where I left off. It works for me,” Yaakov said.
“One of the more memorable emergencies for me recently was this past Tisha B’av, the Jewish national day of mourning, I was called upon to assist a new mother in delivering her baby. It was the second delivery that I took part in but the first I ever participated in on Tisha B’av. A few weeks later I performed a successful CPR on a person who collapsed right outside of the soup kitchen. I am thankful that with regard to the CPR the man is alive and well and back with his family. I see him from time to time and we chat a bit. It’s a good feeling to know that I helped make sure that he is still here.”
Yaakov also said that he very much appreciates the sense of family that permeates United Hatzalah across the country, regardless of who the person is or what background they come from. “One of the reasons that I wanted to come to the city, and I decided to join the chapter here is that it is a mixed chapter. It has Religious and secular people together all of whom want to give of themselves and give from the heart and that is something that I identify with. It is a winning combination when people from different backgrounds can come together and give to others from the heart. That is what I try to do, I try to spread that message with everything I do.”
He concluded by saying, “I believe that every act of kindness that we do can help us bring redemption for all of us together as a people. Every little act. Even big acts such as saving a life are big steps to helping one’s fellow man. But every single emergency, no matter what it is, an emergency that comes through as a light injury can turn out to be a CPR. That happened to me last week. I rush to every call with the same inertia. It is my honor to be part of this wonderful orange family.”
Yaakov has been selected as the 2nd recipient of the Korenvaes Miracle Award this Hanukkah. We will be posting other recipients nightly. To send Yaakov a Hanukkah card or to make a donation in his honor that will help save lives in Israel throughout the next year, please click here.