Seven years ago, in 2010, four childhood friends from Sharon, Massachusetts, Josh Hanau, Dani Lerner, Ariel Goldman, and Ezra Schwartz, and their families donated an ambucycle together to help support the work of United Hatzalah.
They raised the money needed to purchase an ambucycle, a motorcycle fully equipped with all the medical equipment necessary to provide a fast response to medical emergencies and terror attacks throughout Israel. For the next seven-and-a-half years, their ambucycle, together with its drivers Yossi Rafaeli and Daniel Cohen, was responsible for saving many lives. On average, the ambucycle responded to 4-5 calls per day over its prestigious life. The ambucycle stayed in service far longer than most ambucycles. Finally, in September 2017, the ambucycle was retired.
“Over the years, we were updated on our ambucycle’s driver and his lifesaving feats as a result of our ambucycle’s quick response time,” writes the families who donated the ambucycle on their new campaign page. “Our ambucycle made many calls and saved many lives over the years. Unfortunately, this past September, our ambucycle was retired due to mechanical issues.” The ambucycle had been the most senior and longest lasting in the entire fleet.
Ezra Schwartz was killed in a terrorist attack in Gush Etzion, Israel, on November 19th, 2015, during his gap year. He, together with his three friends, was spending the year in Israel studying. During that time, while Ezra was still alive, he and his friends would look for their ambucycle anytime they saw a medical emergency in progress, or an ambucycle pass by, in hopes that they would spot their own.
“We were all spending our gap year between High school and college in Israel,” the friends wrote on their new campaign page. “Following Ezra’s death, our ambucycle, with our names written on it, driving through the hills of Jerusalem and saving lives gave us comfort.
Losing Ezra in Israel, and in such a tragic way, made us even more aware of how important our ambucycle was to the people of Israel. We received the news that our ambucycle was going to be retired just months before Ezra Z”L’s second yahrzeit. His death has been life-changing for each of us and our families.”
But the families are not distraught at the thought of losing the ambucycle that carries Ezra’s name. Instead, the four families and three remaining friends are banding together once more to honor Ezra by donating another ambucycle in his memory.
Ariel Goldman, one of the four boys who made the original donation, said, “I still remember the day that we decided to raise money 7 years ago. To do it together, as friends, was so special. And now we have come full circle, and it’s not just the three of us doing it – Ezra’s with us, too.”
Dani Lerner, another among the quartet, added, “Losing Ezra has been an extremely painful experience. If I can prevent others from having to go through that same experience, I would raise as much money as it takes to do so. $36,000 is nothing compared to the lives that United Hatzalah will potentially save with this money.”
The last quartet member, Joshua Hanau, spoke about the special relationship he and Ezra had and the fun they enjoyed while “hunting” for their ambucycle in Jerusalem. “The ambucycle was something that Ezra and I bonded over for years. It always made me happy knowing that it was out there helping those in need.”
Ezra’s mother, Ruth Schwartz, recalled some happy memories involving Ezra and the ambucycle. “I remember Ezra telling me that he and Josh got very excited every time they saw an ambucycle during the summer of 2014. They were in Israel on their camp trip. He told me that they would run and see if it was their ambucycle. I can just imagine him happily flailing his arms and running with his wide silly gait in order to get everyone else around him excited. He really wanted to find their ambucycle. Finally, they found it and took a picture with it.”
She added that she believes her son would be proud of the renewed efforts of his friends and their families to donate a second ambucycle in his honor. “I think that this is something that Ezra would feel good about. He really loved the whole idea of the ambucycle. He was proud that he and his friends participated in donating one for their Bar Mitzvah’s. The terror attack that Ezra was killed in was a drive-by shooting on a highly traveled road with traffic. It occurred during rush hour. This is the exact situation where an ambucycle can be so critical and truly make a difference between life and death. In Ezra’s memory, and in honor of the boys from Sharon, Massachusetts, I would love to get this ambucycle on the road. Their new ambucycle, Ezra’s Ambucycle, will once again drive through the hills of Jerusalem and save lives.”
Please donate and support Ezra’s Ambucycle to be a part of sharing his memory and saving lives in Israel. The family is looking to complete this fundraiser by Ezra’s 2nd Yartzeit, November 25th -ז׳ כסליו