On Wednesday evening, Teaneck residents Cynthia and Abe Steinberger hosted a parlor meeting at their home in an effort to encourage their friends and neighbors to take up the cause that has inspired them for the past eight months, saving lives in Israel. According to Cynthia, the couple was first exposed to the idea during a similar parlor meeting that they had attended last November.

At the earlier meeting, the Steinbergers were introduced to Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization United Hatzalah and the organization’s President and Founder Eli Beer together with one of its most active volunteers Gavy Friedson.  

Jason Katz speaking at the parlor meeting at the Steinberger's house
Eli Beer speaking at the parlor meeting at the Steinberger’s house

“Last November, a friend of ours had a parlor meeting, which I went to, but as we have so many of these events I wasn’t the most excited about it,” Cynthia explained. The evening would play out in a way that very much surprised Cynthia, and inspired her to not only donate a significant amount to the organization but to work towards getting others to contribute as well. “Eli Beer spoke at the event together with Gavy Friedson and I was so blown away by the presentation that when I left the meeting I immediately knew that this is something I wanted to donate to in honor of my parents,” she added.  

Cynthia identified with the lifesaving work that the organization does in Israel and the selflessness that its volunteers show. “Hearing about how much effort this organization puts into trying to help people as quickly as possible and seeing the organization traverse the spectrum of the populace in Israel and include everyone from different backgrounds, showed me that this is the model that all of us should strive for. We should all want to help each other as much as this organization and its volunteers do.” Cynthia added that there is a Zionist element of the work that this organization does that helped her solidify her decision. “It is so impressive to see this coming from Israel. From a moral and social perspective, it is something that should be copied in many cities and countries around the world. One of the most remarkable things is seeing Arabs, Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox and Secular Jews working together in the same room every day in the dispatch center. I think that room is something that everyone should see when they visit Israel. It is simply remarkable.”

Following last year’s parlor meeting Cynthia spearheaded the donation of an ambucycle on behalf of her own family, her two brothers and their families, in the honor of their parents. This past week, when the organization was looking to hold another parlor meeting in Teaneck, the choice of location was obvious as the Steinbergers graciously agreed to host and were honored by the organization for their continued support and effort on its behalf.

Jason Katz, the Regional Development Officer in New Jersey, organized the event and spoke highly of the support that has been received by the Steinbergers. “I’ve been with the organization for three years and I love every minute of it. This organization hinges on how well we can all spread awareness throughout our communities to support saving lives in Israel. Teaneck is an amazing community and Cynthia and Abe are such great friends and supporters. I can definitely say that we are honored having them as representatives for our lifesaving work in Israel.”

Jason Katz speaking at the parlor meeting at the Steinberger's house
Jason Katz speaking at the parlor meeting at the Steinberger’s house

Following the meeting, which was considered a success by all involved, Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah said;  “The Teaneck community is one of the most Zionist and tight-knit communities that I’ve been too. It is unique in how warm and friendly it is as a community. Being able to share my story and the story of our volunteers with everyone here gives me such a great feeling that it is difficult to explain.”

Other V.I.P.’s in attendance at the event were philanthropists Mark Gerson and Chani and Michael Barenholtz as well as Ruthie Levi, the head of the Teaneck Shuls yahoo group.  

The organization dedicated the evening to its 3,500 volunteers who drop whatever they are doing at a moment’s notice in order to rush out and save lives. Cynthia added that she was ecstatic that the evening met its goal of raising awareness in the community. “I thought the event was great and  we did well financially and people generously gave at the event and pledged to it.”