Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Emergency Export

Eliyahu Ackerman

The Jewish state is known for its high-tech advances, but the world is intrigued by another Israeli innovation – cutting down response time in a life-and-death crisis. One city across the Hudson searched for a better way to deal with medical emergencies, and turned to the Jerusalem-based United Hatzalah: “If it works for you, why not us?”

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

It’s April 13, andEliBeer is standing before a TEDMED audience of thousands at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Just days earlier, terrorists had detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 200. The photos of the explosion,Beer tells the audience, take him back to his own youth in Jerusalem. One day, when he was six years old, he was walking home from school when he saw a bus explode. As survivors of the bombing staggered out, one elderly man saw littleEli and called for help. Frozen and scared,Eli ran away. The moment never left him, and when he was 15,Beer volunteered for Magen David Adom as an ambulance crew member. He wanted to save lives.  “I helped many people, but I also noticed that when someone truly needed help, we never arrived in time,”Beer told TEDMED, an offshoot of the popularTED lecture series. “We simply weren’t able to get there. Traffic in the streets was very heavy, and the distances were too great.” The consequences of the systematic limitations came to a head one day, when he received a call about a seven-year-old boy who was choking on a hot dog. Traffic was terrible and it took 20 minutes before his ambulance arrived. He and his partner immediately began resuscitation. “A doctor who lived nearby stopped next to us, checked the boy, and told us to stop trying to resuscitate him; he had already died,” Beer told TEDMED. “At that moment, I understood that the child had died in vain. If that doctor, who lived only one block away from the scene, had arrived 20 minutes earlier instead of leaving his home only when he heard the ambulance siren, he could have saved the boy’s life. It was so simple, and it was so frustrating.” That’s how United Hatzalah, an organization with 2,500 volunteers in Israel alone, was born. ThoughBeer wasn’t the first to create a volunteer emergency services force (a Williamsburg chassid is credited with the original insight) he has brought it further than anyone else. Ubiquitous in Israel, spread far and wide in Jewish communities across the globe, this latest Israeli innovation is now being exported to the entire world.   

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity