Our sages wrote the famous line that the Israelites were redeemed from Egypt based on the merit of the women of that generation. Jewish women have always played an important role in the development of our unbelievable and challenging history.

In fact, part of the victory of Hanukkah came about through the heroism of a woman- Yehudit. Yehudit was the daughter of the High Priest Yochanan. She rescued her town by cutting off the head of a Syrian-Greek general Holofernes who was known for his violence and lack of mercy when conquering cities. Yehudit surrendered herself to him, fed him salty food, and gave him wine to drink. When he got drunk and passed out, she took his sword and cut off his head. When she displayed his head to the Greek commanders outside, they fled in fear, thereby saving the people of her city.

Today, women are contributing more to society than ever before. This is especially true in Israel. Over the last few years, United Hatzalah has had an unprecedented surge in the number of women who have chosen to become emergency medical service volunteers. Almost 1,000 of our 6,000 volunteers are women, from across the country and all parts of Israeli society.

In an effort to recognize their contribution, United Hatzalah launched our Women’s Initiative which highlights these remarkable women and the work that they do in helping others. As this is our fourth installment of the annual Korenvaes Miracle Awards, we wanted to bestow these awards on some of our most active and self-sacrificing women.

Every night throughout Hanukkah, United Hatzalah will award one highly dedicated woman volunteer with one of the prestigious Korenvaes Miracle Awards. These women have shown tremendous dedication and spirit in their volunteering, and represent all of the women that interrupt their personal lives, on a daily basis, and give of their time, to help others.

We thank these 8 special heroines, as well the thousand women volunteers whom they represent. As a small token of our thanks, we hereby award this honor to the following women.

Sunday First Candle Honoree: Rachel Leff

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Rachel Leff Honoree 1st night

Rachel Leff is 32 years old. She is married and the mother of 4 delicious girls. Her favorite activity in the world is turning up the music and dancing with her girlies! She lives in Kochav Yaakov and works in the Binyamin regional council as the Recruitment Coordinator. Rachel is a new volunteer, still in her training period but she has been part of the United Hatzalah family since she got married 13 years ago. Her husband Menachem has been a volunteer since before they were married. Their entire marriage, Rachel has been a powerhouse, supportive, behind-the-scenes wife to one of the most active medics in United Hatzalah, who also is the head of his regional chapter. She had wanted to become a medic for some time now and was finally able to take the course last year. We are so happy she did!

And the 2nd Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to…… Reut Gian!

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Reut Gian

Reut is 36 years old and married to Avi, who has been a volunteer for United Hatzalah for 12 years. Reut was always holding down the fort in order for Avi to run out and save lives, but it wasn’t easy every time he disappeared in the middle of dinner or bath time. So her husband found the perfect solution. He registered Reut to become a medic – without her even knowing! She did the course, graduated, and now she runs out on calls, and he holds down the fort! They also go on calls together for date night. The couple has five amazing children and lives in Har Shmuel, Givat Zeev. Reut absolutely loves being a volunteer, and we love her too!

And the 3rd Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to…… Tanya Kuchar!

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Tanya Kuchar lives in Ra’anana and is a mother of 4 kids, all under age 8. She runs her own real estate law firm but goes to work every morning either by car or with her United Hatzalah electric bike which has her medic bag and equipment. The medic always keeps flat shoes under her desk ready to switch for an emergency. Her colleagues all know that she can disappear at any time without notice! Her husband, Elisha, is very supportive and her kids love that their mommy is a superhero. Tanya is also the deputy regional manager for her area and helps manage the Ra’anana chapter. And if that is not enough, she also volunteers in the ER twice a month and is finishing up her final training shifts so she can drive an ambulance on her own. Naturally, Tanya doesn’t sleep much. Tanya- keep doing your thing! 

And the 4th Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to…… Einat Kauffman!

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Einat lives in Rishon Letzion and is not only an active medic at United Hatzalah but also a psychotherapist, psychology supervisor and lecturer. She practices EMDR, CBT, and Biofeedback as well as other family therapy techniques. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, bereavement, and post-trauma in disaster and emergency situations, both in Israel and around the world. She is also the professional director of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma Crisis and Response Unit. Einat flew with the Psychotrauma team from Israel to Houston when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, and to Pittsburgh when there was the horrific shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018. Einat also helped direct the Miami mission from Israel when the team flew to Florida this past June to triage in the wake of the Surfside buildings collapse. The medic is the mother to two wonderful daughters, both in the medical field. But how she has time for her seven cats, we will never know! 

And the 5th Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to……Debbie Ankava

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Debbie Ankava

Debbie Ankava lives in Adam in the Benjamin region. She is married and a mother to two children – Israel and Rafael. She has been a volunteer for 5 years and is learning to become an ambulance driver. Debbie became a medic for several reasons; she was always attracted to the field of medicine and her two children both have special needs. Her eldest has autism and her youngest has a rare genetic disease, with only 150 cases known worldwide. In addition, when her late father contracted cancer and was terminally ill, he asked not to be in the hospital for the end of his life and requested that his family take care of him at home. After he passed away, one of the first things Debbie did was enroll in a medic course. The EMT is constantly helping people and even when she is dealing with her own challenges, her volunteer work gives her great fulfillment in knowing she is able to help someone…or even save their life!


And the 6th Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to…… Ruthie Shusheim

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Ruthie is married to Ariel, a veteran paramedic and long-standing volunteer for United Hatzalah. She met her husband 25 years ago at an intensive care course! She and Ariel live in Ramot, Jerusalem, with their children. Ruthie is an ICU nurse and worked for many years in the ICU at Shaarei Tzeked hospital. She is proud to be part of the women’s unit and goes on 2-3 ambulance shifts a week with United Hatzalah volunteer women medics. In addition, twice a month she goes on an ICU ambulance with her husband and Professor Amir Alami, a well-known heart-transplant surgeon with whom she worked for 30 years. She has treated many sick and injured people and also assisted at many births! These days, Ruthie is running a playgroup in her home with kids from 3 months to a year old and is enjoying the change of pace! 


And the 7th Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to……Sanaa Mahameed

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Saana Mahameed is 34 years old, single and the only Muslim woman ambucycle driver in United Hatzalah! She is a medic, an ambulance driver, and works at the Elnor Umm al-Fahm Medical Center, which is in her village. She has been volunteering for 4 years and absolutely loves running out on calls and saving lives. She trained to volunteer after her aunt died in front of her eyes because the ambulance took so long to arrive. It was extremely disturbing for her that she had been helpless. After the tragic passing, she immediately googled where she could learn to be a medic and found United Hatzalah. After training and graduating she decided to become an ambucycle driver so that she could arrive at emergency scenes as quickly as possible. She is a firm believer that Jews, Arabs, Druze, and Christians should all work together in unity to do the holiest of work: saving lives! Fun fact: Saana is the woman sitting on the ambucycle in the big framed picture you see on the wall when walking to your flight at Ben Gurion Airport!


And the 8th Korenvaes Miracle Award is presented to……Avigail Beer- Ben Haroush 

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Avigail is the daughter of Eli and Gitty Beer but that has (almost) nothing to do with why she is truly remarkable! She got married to Aharon just a few months ago, and he too is a medic in United Hatzalah. They live in Givat Zeev, not far from Jerusalem. She is a nursing student and doing her period of residency at Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Rishon Lezion. For now, Avigail is mainly training in the ER, and that is in addition to being an EMT volunteer and ambulance driver. Avigail has worked with hospital patients as well and has been volunteering at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital for the last 5 years with kids who have cancer. The wild thing about Avigail? She is a baby magnet and has delivered 58 babies at unplanned home births! She is very busy in school and volunteering but one day, she hopes to travel the world! We know that wherever she travels, she will end up delivering a baby in that country too! 


Happy Hanukkah to all and may these women and all women around the world keep spreading the light of kindness and love!