A moving ceremony took place on Sunday night in the central Chabad house of Kiev in Ukraine. 20 new volunteer EMTs graduated from their lengthy training program and will now be joining United Hatzalah’s worldwide network of EMS volunteers. The EMT first responders will provide first aid and EMS coverage to all medical emergencies that take place in the Jewish communities in and around Kiev and throughout Ukraine.

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New EMS graduates pose in Chabad house in Kiev

Among the attendees at the ceremony were the Vice President of United Hatzalah Eli Pollack, CEO of United Hatzalah Moshe Teitelbaum, Deputy CEO of United Hatzalah Lazar Hyman, Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman and other dignitaries.

Chapter Head of United Hatzalah in Ukraine Rabbi Hillel Cohen said: “I am happy and excited that volunteers from all of the different Jewish communities in Kiev have come together to participate in the course and graduate together to help all of the various communities in the city. They will be joining the ranks of United Hatzalah which now has more than 50 volunteers between Kiev and Uman. We are always working on expanding our reach to include all of the Jewish communities around the country and we are working on opening courses and having volunteers in each of the Jewish communities throughout Ukraine.”

On Monday evening, a graduation ceremony took place in Uman which saw an additional 20 EMS volunteers join the ranks of the organization in that city. In addition, United Hatzalah inaugurated a new ambulance that will be present at all times in the heart of the Jewish community in the city. It will be stationed next to the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the city. The ambulance was donated by Square Hatzalah from New York and funded by Rabbi Eliezer Kestenbaum.

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New EMS graduates pose in front of the new United Hatzalah ambulance in Uman

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “In Jerusalem and other Israeli cities our response time is 90 seconds. Throughout the rest of Israel, our average response time is less than 3 minutes. In Panama, it is less than two minutes. In Jersey City, it is likewise less than three minutes. We work hard to train our volunteers and provide them with whatever they need to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency and begin treatment within three minutes. In Ukraine, we are aiming to hit a similar response time in every Jewish community around the country. While I wasn’t able to be there in person, I want to welcome all of the new volunteers to the organization and wish them well in helping those in their communities receive the highest quality and fastest medical treatment available.”