More than 40 people from Israel and the New York tri-state area, who were nearly all descendants of Harry and Jane Fischel, gathered in the Romema neighborhood of Jerusalem in December to dedicate three new lifesaving vehicles that were donated to United Hatzalah of Israel by the Harry and Jane Fischel Foundation. The vehicles, which will be used to save the lives of residents of Israel regardless of race, religion, nationality, or gender, will be active in the communities of Lod, Ashdod, and across central Israel.

Debby Stepelman, a board member of the foundation from Riverdale NY, stated “I especially want to thank New York Regional Director Jason Katz and Galit Sharon from the Israel office for their incredible effort and assistance in making this dedication possible. We’re celebrating the Foundation’s 90th anniversary with a donation to United Hatzalah of one advanced mobile intensive care ambulance, and two advanced ambucycles. Harry Fischel’s life story is one of an immigrant climbing from rags to riches. But he added to it by being true to his faith and began a tradition of being fired from his job every week due to keeping Shabbat before he started developing irregularly shaped real estate properties that no one else wanted. The Foundation grew out of his success and was founded in 1932 in order to establish and maintain the Machon Harry Fischel in Jerusalem.  Additionally, the Foundation supports and assists Orthodox Jewish educational and religious institutions worldwide. Fischel also donated the land on which Yeshiva College was built.”

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Two ambucycles donated by the Foundation

Debby, who is the oldest great-grandchild of Harry and Jane Fischel, continued, “Harry Fischel was also involved in supporting various medical institutions, including Beth Israel Hospital in NYC. He didn’t only volunteer his time when it was convenient for him, but very much like the United Hatzalah volunteers, Harry devoted a major portion of his day to various community activities and even spent years without engaging in business. He only returned to his business endeavors after a break in order to support his charitable and community-based activities. For these reasons, the 90th-anniversary committee felt that he would have been a natural supporter of United Hatzalah, as its vision coincides with his lifelong service. Therefore, we are so proud to be here this afternoon to unveil these lifesaving vehicles.”

Rabbi Hillel Reichel, Harry and Jane’s great-grandson and a board member of the Foundation said, “I am very moved to be here, and I was very impressed with the presentation here by United Hatzalah. I myself am a beneficiary of their efforts as I was helped by two United Hatzalah volunteers a year ago. So it is no surprise that I am very much in favor of this donation by our family’s Foundation.”

Batsheva Stepelman (16), a descendant of Harry and Jane Fischel who lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh and attended the dedication event, was very excited by the donation. “I feel honored to be connected to such a generous person,” Batsheva explained. “Now I need to follow the example of my great, great, great grandfather and do more mitzvot.”

Levi Yitzchak Ofen who serves as the chapter head of United Hatzalah in Lod and the Ben Shemen area is the recipient of one of the two ambucycles that were donated. Levi, who works in the hi-tech sector and is married with five children, spoke about what the donation means to him and to the people in his community.

“This new ambucycle will allow me to arrive at the scenes of emergencies that ambulances cannot get to. Over the years that I have been a volunteer, I have responded to many emergencies in the Ben Shemen forest and on dirt roads. While I have used an older ambucycle to arrive, now I can get there even faster thanks to the speed and durability of this advanced-level vehicle. This vehicle will assist me in saving many lives in the future and it is thanks to the Foundation for making this possible.”

About the Harry and Jane Fischel Foundation:

The Fischel Foundation was created for the purposes of establishing and maintaining the Harry Fischel Institute in Israel, and for supporting the advancement of Talmudic Research that will develop Jewish knowledge and present Orthodox Jewish contributions to society.

Additionally, the Foundation is intended to extend assistance to Orthodox Jewish religious and educational institutions throughout the world, thereby carrying on the Founder’s desire to perpetuate the Orthodox faith of his ancestors.

The Foundation also contributes to or maintains other charitable, educational, religious, and philanthropic activities.

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