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Bringing Light To Israel’s Elderly On Chanukah and All Year Round
Hundreds of emergency medical service volunteers from United Hatzalah visited with elderly or sick patients in hospitals and elderly people in their homes across the country. The volunteers made these visits in order to share a little bit of the light of Chanukah with those who are in need of an extra bit of joy.
The volunteers are part of the organization’s Ten Kavod (giving honor) project and the Hospital Emergency Room Assistance Project, both of which are aimed at building more resilient communities in Israel.
On Tuesday night, dozens of volunteers teamed up with representatives from the local Chabad House and visited patients in Assuta Hospital in Ashdod to celebrate the holiday by lighting candles, singing songs, handing out sufganiyot and playing dreidle with children. They brought patients together for a joint candle lighting celebration. Local Spokesperson and United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Avi Amar said: “In addition to celebrating the holiday with many of the older patients and helping them light Menorahs, our volunteers brought their children and instruments to play and dance together with the patients at the hospital. The idea was to create a festive atmosphere for the patients at the hospital and bring them joy.”
On Wednesday evening, EMT students from the area of Rishon LeZion and Be’er Yaakov joined EMTs and paramedics from United Hatzalah at the Yitzchak Shamir Medical Center to light candles for patients in the hospital. Local Spokesperson Amir Bokovza said: “The volunteers and trainees went from department to department and passed out Chanukah blessings and gifts and lit candles with patients who could use some extra cheer.”
The hospital visits came in addition to hundreds of private visits carried out by Ten Kavod volunteers from the organization. “Our Ten Kavod Project volunteers were asked to take extra time away from their own families and go to light the candles with the elderly person they visit on a weekly basis,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.
“Each volunteer, who already visits an elderly person in their community once a week to socialize with them and provide them with a free in-house medical checkup, was given a Menorah and candles as well as a special blessing and gift to give to the person they visit to help lift their spirits on the holiday. Many of these people live alone and don’t have anyone to visit them during the holidays, which can be particularly hard. It is incredibly important to show them that they are cared for and give them someone to spend at least one night of the holiday with,” Beer added.
Over 600 volunteers across the country took part in this initiative over the holiday.
Beer concluded by saying why so many volunteers felt it imperative to undertake such a worthy endeavor: “At United Hatzalah we believe in more than providing emergency medical care, we believe in helping communities. This initiative, undertaken by our volunteers in the Ten Kavod project as well as in the Hospital Emergency Room Assistance Program are two jewels in the crown of how we fulfill this mission and I am proud of every single one of them.”
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