On Sunday morning just after 8:30 a.m., a worker in a school on Shalom Sharabi Street told one of his colleagues that he wasn’t feeling well. He sat down on a bench and keeled over. His fellow staff members, having previously taken a CPR course, called emergency services for help, then proceeded to attach the school’s defibrillator to the man and begin CPR. The man received one shock from the defibrillator prior to the arrival of EMTs. 


United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Elchanan Witztom was at home drinking his morning coffee when he received the alert. He put the drink down and rushed out the door. At the same time, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Sariel Widawsky had just gotten to shul for the morning prayers. He left his prayer shawl and tefillin at the door of the shul and rushed back out to respond to the emergency. 

United Hatzalah volunteer father and son Sariel and Dovi Widawsky
United Hatzalah volunteer father and son Sariel and Dovi Widawsky

“Elchanan, myself, and a third EMT, arrived simultaneously at the school and took over CPR efforts from the staff, explained Sariel. “We continued compressions, provided assisted ventilation, and opened an IV line. When the mobile intensive care unit arrived, they administered medication through the IV line. It was a great team effort that resulted in a life being saved.” 


Elchanan who is a nurse at Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital added, “It was a very quick resuscitation and I was happy that the man’s pulse returned just six minutes after we arrived. We managed to bring back both his pulse and his breathing and the man was able to breathe on his own when he was put into the ambulance.” 


Sariel concluded by saying, “It was a great day to begin Yom Yerushalayim. I not only got to save a life but I made it back to shul in time for the end of the Hallel prayer. There is no better way to begin a holiday morning than by saving a life and then getting to give praise and thanks to God.” 

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