April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Campaign to Replace Destroyed MDA Ambulance Exceeds Expectations

Donations enable purchase of two ambulances; one is dedicated to the memory of MDA Senior Medic Aharon Chaimov, HY”D.

Rabbi Tomer Ronen with Rabbi Yosef Chaimov and sons on the day of the shloshim of Aharon Chaimov, HY”D, after their “chance meeting” in Ofakim.

The graciousness and generosity of the greater northern New Jersey and Jewish Link reader community rose mightily to the match challenge by Davidi and Natalie Jonas to fund the purchase of a new ambulance for Magen David Adom. As many readers are aware, Aharon Chaimov, HY”D, an MDA senior medic responding to the calls for help on Oct. 7, was attacked and killed in the ambulance he was driving. Ironically, the ambulance was the very one which had been donated by Teaneck Deputy Mayor and life member of Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps Eli Y. Katz and his family in 2022.

As reported in two recent previous articles, a “chance meeting” in Ofakim between Rabbi Tomer Ronen, head of school of Yeshivat He’Atid, and Rabbi Yosef Chaimov of Ofakim, father of Aharon, resulted in a visit of Rabbi Chaimov to New Jersey, when he learned from Rabbi Ronen that a new ambulance would be dedicated in memory of his son. Plans are pending for whether Katz and/or the Jonases will travel to Israel for the dedication or whether the Chaimovs will come to New Jersey.

The Chaimovs sent recorded video messages to the northern New Jersey community expressing their appreciation for the ambulance dedicated in memory of their son.

Rivka Chaimov, mother of Aharon Chaimov, HY”D, shown with a photo of her son in the foreground, thanks the community in a recorded message.

Rivka Chaimov said, “From the depths of our hearts we thank you for sponsoring an ambulance whose whole purpose is to do many good deeds here in Israel for the sick and wounded, and that you are connected to us and feel our pain.”

Rabbi Chaimov shared his thoughts, “We’d like to thank Elie Katz, his family and everyone in the kehila of Teaneck for donating an ambulance in Aharon’s memory. Thank you very much and besorot tovot.”

According to Katz, one of the new ambulances from this campaign will not only be dedicated to the memory of Aharon but will also be stationed in Ofakim, where the Chaimov family resides. Rabbi Chaimov is the rav of a shul there that lost six members in the attacks. The other ambulance will be based at the discretion of Magen David Adom.

Katz expressed his astonishment with how resoundingly and quickly people responded to the campaign. “There are so many great, important and competing causes in Israel and here and we are so fortunate to have an amazing community that comes out and gives and gives and gives. There were dozens and dozens of donors, mostly smaller donations that added up. What made this campaign so successful was the generosity of the Jonases and people knowing that they could double their donation impact. I’m not sure we could even have been successful with funding one ambulance without them, never mind two!”

Davidi Jonas offered his poignant perspective on what inspired the Jonases to offer a donation match. “The Jewish response to destruction is to increase goodness. As a result, we will never be vanquished and any efforts against us will lead to our salvation.”

Rabbi Yosef Chaimov, father of Aharon Chaimov, HY”D, expresses hakarat hatov in his recorded message.

Katz continued, “I also want to give a shout-out to our liaison at MDA, Laurie Meltzer Bandremer, who personalizes how the ambulances are benefiting people and their families in Israel every day. She texts me when a baby is born in our ambulance; she texts when it responds to a car accident, so I get to see the ongoing impact of our ambulance. Laurie texted me several hours after our ambulance was destroyed and the driver Aharon, HY”D was killed.”

Katz felt inspired to donate the first ambulance because he understood first-hand, via decades of experience as a TVAC volunteer, the direct impact on people and their families of having highly qualified, competent and dedicated ambulance professionals and excellent equipment in service for the community.

Katz also gave a generous shout-out to the public exposure provided by The Jewish Link toward his campaign because he feels that it’s been pivotal in motivating people to also give to other causes they learn about by reading the paper. “The power of your pen, the way you couch or present information can really change or save someone’s life.”

Thanks Mr. Deputy Mayor; we greatly appreciate your kind words, and we share in the hope that it makes a good difference. It takes a village … and we have some really good ones!

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