Jerusalem—A very special gathering took place this month in the offices of Israel’s national pre-ambulance emergency medical services organization, United Hatzalah of Israel. The first cousins of an entire family dedicated a life-saving ambucycle, a medically equipped motorcycle, in honor of their grandparents, who suffered atrocities at the hands of the Nazis just before World War II broke out.
Phil Goldschmiedt, together with his brother, Danny, and all of their first cousins, dedicated the ambucycle because they felt it would be a good memorial to their grandparents, who lost their business in Germany during Kristallnacht before being forced to flee for their lives. The cousins dedicated the ambucycle so that it will be used to save lives in Israel, after so many lives were shattered in the Diaspora.
Goldschmiedt told The Jewish Link, “My brother and I got all of our first cousins together and we agreed to make the donation in their honor to United Hatzalah, because we wanted to save lives in Israel. I’m hoping that other people hear about what we did and get involved with United Hatzalah and follow in our footsteps and also become partners in saving lives.”
Phil explained how his family, who is now very involved with the organization, first heard about the work that it does. “We first learned about the organization at the AIPAC conference two years ago, when we heard Eli Beer, the founder and president of the organization, speak. He told the conference about his personal story where he, as a young boy, began an organization that has saved tens of thousands of lives in Israel over the years. That blew us away!”
What further impressed the family was how much of an effort the organization makes in order to shave off minutes from responding to life-saving emergencies. “The concept of arriving at the scene of an emergency quickly, in some locations in under 90 seconds, is something that is just unbelievable, that we can really visualize. This is especially true in Jerusalem, a city known for its narrow streets. In such a place, an ambucycle that could easily navigate around traffic is a very important tool to help save lives more quickly than a conventional ambulance. So we were also impressed by that. We’ve also had the opportunity to come to Israel and see the organization in action.”
Phil’s wife, Rochelle, is a personal trainer who, as an EMT, was formerly part of Hatzalah Staten Island, one of the few Hatzalahs in the United States that accepts female volunteers. “We had a personal experience with the idea of Hatzalah already, even though it is a very different organization. We already knew how important such an organization is. It runs in the family, one might say. Our daughter-in-law is currently enrolled in the EMT course for women in Jerusalem,” he added.
Rochelle is teaming up with Moshe Klyman of Underground Training of Tenafly to have a bootcamp event open to the community on September 25, whereby participants will be raising funds for United Hatzalah. In addition, in November, Rochelle will be running the New York Marathon under the United Hatzalah banner. The combined goal of both events will be in an effort to raise money for another ambucycle for the organization. “As Eli says, with a little chutzpah and a little will, you can save people’s lives.” For more information about her run, visit https://israelrescue.org/RochelleGoldschmiedt.
When asked why the family specifically wanted to donate to United Hatzalah in memory of their grandparents, Phil answered by saying, “A person can donate to lots of worthy organizations, but there are very few that can guarantee that the donation they make will save a person’s life. Here it is very clear that everything is being used to save someone’s life. Another thing that really inspired us is the fact that the organization is “united.” Whether people are Haredi, secular, Dati or otherwise, the medics will come and help no matter who they are. The medics themselves come from a wide variety of backgrounds and represent a unity within Israel, something that we all can learn from, especially during the period of The Three Weeks that we are currently in.”
Beer said, “Our organization is entirely donor-based. Being inclusive, developing a personal relationship with all of our volunteers and donors, and gaining the support of like-minded people who want to see unity in Israel based on the common goal of saving lives, is what United Hatzalah was founded upon, and what it thrives on. Once like-minded people, such as the Goldschmiedt family, see what we are doing, they cannot avoid becoming a part of the organization. We are ecstatic to count the Goldschmiedts as a part of our large family.”
For more information, please contact Jason Katz, regional development officer of Friends of United Hatzalah, at 646-833-7108 or www.IsraelRescue.org.