ivka, call Hatzolah!” Mendy cried out as he helped the two agents lower his cousin onto the nearest sofa. “Gedalya! Gedalya! What happened?”

There was no response from the children’s father. His face was deathly pale and his breathing was rapid and shallow.

A knock on the front door brought two Hatzolah volunteers rushing into the house. Mendy recognized them both from shul. The tall blond was Chaim and the older man was Eliyahu.

“Please give us room to work,” Chaim requested, dropping to one knee to check Gedalya’s pulse and blood pressure while Eliyahu connected the patient to an IV line and started fluids.

Gedalya’s eyes fluttered open and closed. “Mr. Neiman!” Chaim addressed the prone man, squeezing his shoulder hard. “Can you hear me, Mr. Neiman? Talk to me, please.”

The older children in the house woke up from the commotion. Rivka was kept busy keeping them away from the men. Tzipi tried to push past her, but Rivka caught hold of her waist and held tightly. “Not now, Tzipi,” she warned. “Let them take care of your father. They’re professionals.”

“What happened to my Tatty?” Tzipi wailed, struggling to free herself.

Benny stood behind his sister, shaking badly. “Chaim, Moishe, take Benny back to the bedroom before he faints. Keep him there. Shoshy, take Tzipi back to your room. As soon as we know something I’ll come and tell you. Say Tehillim!” Rivka ordered.

Gedalya moaned softly and tossed his head to the side. “He’s regaining consciousness,” Chaim informed the others with satisfaction, adjusting the oxygen mask. “Mendy, I hear the ambulance. Go down and show them where to come.”

Minutes later Mendy led two men from MDA into the house with a folding stretcher on wheels. Gedalya was awake now and trying to argue with Chaim, “Not the hospital,” he insisted in a weak voice, falling back from an unsuccessful attempt to sit up. “It’s over already. It’s not necessary. Let me rest a few minutes. I’ll be fine.”

“It’s just a precaution, Mr. Neiman.” Chaim spoke soothingly, while signaling to the men from the ambulance to take over. “I’m sure they’ll release you after they do a few tests.” He turned to Mendy. “You’re coming with him?” he asked.

Mendy nodded. Before he followed the MDA men down the stairs to the ambulance, he grabbed the arm of one of the agents. “What happened?” he demanded.

The two agents exchanged glances before one replied, “He heard some bad news.”