Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization has added another feather in its proverbial cap with the addition of renowned rabbinical figure Rabbi David Wolpe to its International Board this past week.

Rabbi Wolpe has been previously named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine. He was also listed as being one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post. In his rabbinical post, Rabbi Wolpe leads the congregation of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. Other accolades include a teaching stint at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and UCLA. Wolpe has authored eight books, including the national bestseller “Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times”.

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United Hatzalah volunteers at work

Rabbi Wolpe, has become very familiar with the organization through his numerous missions to Israel and in hearing about their life-saving activities from a myriad of other sources in the U.S. Rabbi Wolpe led his third mission to Israel in July 2006, at the height of the Second Lebanon War, the same war that caused the founding of United Hatzalah as a national organization. In bringing Rabbi Wolpe onto the International Board, the organization is hoping to galvanize support and further spread the word about the tremendous life-saving efforts that they undertake each day. The 3,500 volunteers that form the national network of EMS responders answer 800 calls per day and have treated more than 2,500,000 people since the organization’s inception. Their work is entirely donation based and all of the money that they receive goes directly to saving lives. Their work is one of the main reasons that Israel boasts the fastest EMS response time in the world, with a national average response time of under 3 minutes, and in large urban centers such as Jerusalem, that response time is less than 90 seconds.

Rabbi Wolpe is no stranger to philanthropy and activism when it comes to raising money for good causes. In the past, he raised three million dollars for victims of terror in a single morning at his synagogue. Rabbi Wolpe also led the largest American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) delegation ever assembled from one synagogue to the AIPAC conference in Washington in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 with numbers ranging from 230-300 delegates.

When asked why he decided to join the board of the organization Rabbi Wolpe answered: “It is an honor to be associated with the creative, passionate, lifesaving work of United Hatzalah. They enact the highest mitzvah of pikuach nefesh, every single day and I am excited to now become a part of it.“

Rabbi Wolpe joins a prestigious group of individuals on the International Board of United Hatzalah, with Jewish leaders such as Professor Alan Dershowitz and Chilean Philanthropist Leonardo Farkas as well as many other notable individuals. Former members of the board include U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former Director of the Mossad Meir Dagan.

Chairman of the International Board of United Hatzalah, Mark Gerson said: “We are deeply honored to welcome Rabbi David Wolpe to the Board of United Hatzalah.  He is a great institution builder, a brilliant Torah scholar, and teacher whose insights educate and enlighten on seemingly every human subject and an acting representation of the best in Jewish leadership.  He has been a great friend to United Hatzalah for many years and we are delighted to deepen our partnership with Rabbi Wolpe — a true Kiddush Hashem.”

Founder and President of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “Having such a prestigious public and rabbinic figure as Rabbi Wolpe join our board is a huge step forward for our organization. With Rabbi Wolpe’s support, United Hatzalah will be able to open many doors that will allow us to save more lives and cut down the length of our response times across the country. He has been a big supporter from afar in the past, but now Rabbi Wolpe is joining our ranks in order to take a more active hand in helping save lives in Israel every day.”