This past Thursday, Friends of United Hatzalah raised $5.5 Million at their annual 2nd gala dinner in New York City. The event brought 1,300 people from all over the city and surrounding areas in support of the lifesaving EMS work that United Hatzalah does in Israel and other countries around the globe.
The gala included an award presented to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who has been a strong supporter of the organization and was a former board member prior to his becoming Ambassador. Friedman spoke to the gathered crowd about how vital it is to support the work of the organization. The Ambassador was introduced by United Hatzalah Chairman and renowned philanthropist Mark Gerson. Other VIPs included Consul General Danny Dayan and Dov Glickman a personal friend of Eli Beer’s who surprised the audience with his guest appearance.
The event highlighted a number of innovations by the organization aimed at generating involvement by the younger generation of budding Jewish leaders including the inauguration of the Ezra Schwartz memorial award to honor young people who care about acts of loving kindness, charity, and supporting Israel. Ezra’s mother, Ruth Schwartz, spoke about the award named in honor of her son who was murdered in a terror attack in Gush Etzion on November 19th, 2015. Ezra himself had donated an ambucycle together with four friends for his own bar mitzvah. Since his death, two other ambucycles have been donated in his honor.
“The gala has been the most successful event that Friends of United Hatzalah has organized in the United States,” said Vice President Michael Brown. The organization held similar gala dinners in March in Los Angeles and another back in November in London, England.
“We are so thankful for the outpouring of support that we received this past Thursday from the community in New York,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer. “The community here in this city loves Israel and truly understands the importance of the work that we do in saving lives. We are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage the community here and get them involved. I want to give a special thank you to Stewie Rahr for matching 36 ambucycles. Stewie’s gesture no doubt inspired many young people who have never donated before to start getting involved and hopefully many more donations to come.”
Rounding out the night was the International Gala Chairperson Ami Pomeranc, New York City Gala Chair Mitchell Moinian, Rose Spiegel, President of Young Leadership, MC Rona Lee Shimon from the hit TV series Fauda, and performer Dudu Aharon who treated the crowd to a lively performance. The star-studded group wowed the attendees who showed their gratitude to the organization by donating 76 ambucycles, 2 ambulances, a special command center vehicle, 2 ATV Ambutractors, 20 Days of Lifesaving, 50 defibrillators and other miscellaneous donations.