On Monday evening at around 8:00 p.m., a man in his seventies lost consciousness during a Gemara lesson in a synagogue in Kfar Chabad. He fell over sideways onto the person sitting next to him. When the man tried waking him and received no response, those in the class called emergency services for help.

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United Hatzalah volunteers transporting patient into ambulance (illustration)

Luckily, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT was in the same shul when the incident occurred. Yitzchak Shif was learning in a spot closer to the back of the synagogue. When the man lost consciousness, a bystander who knew of Yitzchak’s status ran over to the EMT in a hurry. He informed Yitzchak of the emergency and asked him to come help.


Without a moment’s hesitation, Yitzchak rushed over. He started by taking the man’s vitals. He found none and realized that although he did not have any equipment with him, he was going to have to start CPR. Yitzchak spoke to the emergency dispatcher who was still on the line with the man who phoned when the incident occurred and explained the situation. The dispatcher assured him that backup was on its way.


A bystander helped Yitzchak lower the patient to the floor. At that moment, another EMT who was in the area at the time, and who was also without medical equipment, ran into the synagogue. He was ushered over to the unconscious man and together the EMTs started to perform chest compressions. 

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Yitzchak Shif

“After the first round of compressions, we saw the patient start to react. He regained consciousness momentarily, and it seemed as if he was going to throw up, so we moved aside for sanitary reasons. Nothing happened, so I checked for a pulse, which was weak and unstable.”


The duo continued CPR after the man lost consciousness again. Additional volunteers showed up at the scene. One of the volunteer EMTs was Chaim Fridman, the head of the United Hatzalah branch in Kfar Chabad. Chaim placed an IV in the patient to administer medications as a defibrillator was attached. 


“After three electric shocks from the defibrillator, the man regained a pulse and consciousness,” Chaim related, “However, he blacked out once again, and we continued CPR for several more minutes. It was miraculous when all of a sudden, he took a deep breath, opened his eyes, and moved around. We stopped performing CPR when we saw that he finally regained full consciousness. I was told that the patient was brought to the hospital and straight into the catheterization lab.”

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Chaim Fridman

Yitzchak said after the incident, “Whenever there is a successful resuscitation, I believe that each person who helps merits from G-d. Every person who saves a life of a human being, merits from g-d. I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time and helped resuscitate this man.”

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