Kobi Ifargan is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT hailing from the city of Jerusalem. When Kobi is not active in saving lives, he is busy running his hair salon in Jerusalem.

One afternoon, a couple of months ago, Kobi was tending to a customer when his communications device started ringing, alerting him to a medical emergency happening nearby. Kobi quickly dropped what he was doing and ran out of the store to his E-bike. The staff in Kobi’s shop are familiar with this frequent occurrence, as Kobi has been an active volunteer EMT for over five years. Whenever this occurs, Kobi’s assistants take over his customers allowing him to leave on call.

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Kobi on his emergency e-bike

Racing on his E-bike, Kobi arrived at the address indicated on his phone. The location was in an apartment building on the same street, and Kobi arrived in just under a minute. Kobi entered the building and rushed to a first-floor apartment where he found an agitated mother, holding a baby boy that was not moving.

The mother explained that she was feeding the baby a bottle when he suddenly began to choke on it and then eventually stopped breathing. Without hesitation, Kobi quickly flipped the newborn over and administered measured back blows, succeeding in getting the newborn to spit up a large amount of fluid. Kobi checked the baby’s airway, confirming that it was no longer obstructed, but the young boy was still unconscious. Kobi ran the child outside to an arriving ambulance and passed him off to the team of medics to rush the young patient to a nearby hospital.

The following Saturday morning, Kobi was surprised when during Shabbat services he was called for an Aliyah to the Torah. A man from his community, who he did not recognize, donated 150 shekels to honor him with an Aliyah. After the Aliyah, the man stood up before the congregation and spoke. “We all have seen Kobi, a quiet and unpresuming member of our community, running out of prayer services to respond to an emergency. This week, Kobi saved my son who was choking. Kobi, your quick response saved his life. Please accept this honor as a token of my family’s appreciation. Thank you.”

The shy yet grateful volunteer felt honored and appreciative of the man’s recognition of his actions and stepped up to embrace him in a big hug. Following the incident, the two men stayed in touch and became close friends.

“When someone does a good deed in life, the meaning of the deed gets transformed, when it is recognized and appreciated by someone else,” Kobi mentioned. “I volunteer with United Hatzalah as an EMT first responder because I know it’s the right thing to do, to give back to my community. That will never change, but it does get enhanced when my efforts and values are appreciated by others. It reminds me of why it is that I do what I do, and gives me a whole new purpose to go out another day, respond to another emergency, and save another life. Beyond that, it gets other people involved and inspires them to do good for their fellow man as well.”

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