“On Sunday, I traveled to Jerusalem early in the morning to participate in the Shiva Minyan for my grandfather who passed away on Shabbat. He was 92 years-old and was an incredible inspiration to me and my entire family. The Minyan was full of attendees from wall-to-wall. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. My grandfather was well loved. He was an eight-generation Jerusalemite, a true scholar and man who performed great deeds of loving kindness.  

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Ovadiah with his ambucycle

On Monday morning, I was unsure whether I should head to Jerusalem once again for the morning Tefillah, or stay and daven locally. In the end, I decided to stay in Efrat and pray in the Yishuv.

While I was on my way to Shul, at 7:50 in the morning, I received an emergency alert that there was an unconscious person in the next synagogue over from the one I was heading to. I arrived at the scene in less than two minutes and I was the first EMS responder on the scene. I found a woman in the synagogue who had come to pray the special prayers for Rosh Chodesh and collapsed while she was mid-prayer. She lay in front of me, unconscious, pulseless and not breathing.


I quickly informed the dispatch center and the other EMS volunteers in the yishuv that I was beginning CPR on the patient. I immediately attached a defibrillator that is always by my side, in the hope that it would revive the woman’s heart. This, of course, has to be done in the first few minutes after a person’s heart stops working. Luckily I was in that golden window.  


After a few seconds, the defibrillator advised a shock be given and I pressed the button to deliver a shock to the woman’s heart. I continued CPR protocols, and after five minutes of a full CPR, the woman’s pulse returned and she was taken to the hospital in stable condition with good vital signs.


We don’t always see or understand why things happen the way they do. We get frustrated when plans fall through and things don’t go the way we wanted them to. It was clear to me that I had stayed in Efrat for a reason that I couldn’t fathom. That reason now became clear. I had stayed to prevent another family from sitting shiva over a loved one of their own. A loved one who had only wanted to go and pray on Rosh Chodesh that fell on Chanukah. Chanukah is a time of joy, and to help this family maintain their joy is something that my grandfather would have most assuredly wanted me to do. I dedicate the act of loving kindness that I was able to perform to the memory of my dear grandfather, Yitzchak Ben Yaakov Leib Levin, may his memory be a blessing.”


  • Yonatan Ovadia, Volunteer EMT in Efrat and Chapter Head of United Hatzalah Gush Etzion