May 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

TVAC: So Much More Than Saving Lives

It is Monday evening at 6:45 p.m., with darkness already well underway now that the clocks have changed, and like it or not, winter is here. My daughter, Yaffa, walks proudly down the steps with her TVAC shirt bleached white (courtesy of dad), her black cargo pants and steel-toed shoes. With her penlight, stethoscope and other necessary items in hand, she is ready to take on her accepted responsibility of serving the people in need in the Teaneck community. She is in the midst of an EMT course that is 12 weeks long, giving up 8 hours of her Sundays (starting at 7:30 a.m., no less!), with Tuesday evenings sprinkled in. The course is quite grueling. There are four tests, a number of quizzes and a final exam all before taking the “official” state exam. Halfway through the 12 weeks, the EMT student drop-out rate is 20%. I am nothing short of amazed at the dedication of my daughter and her fellow “probies” (probationary volunteers until being an EMT).

When she joined TVAC just one year ago, if I had asked Yaffa what piqued her interest two years down the road for college, she admittedly didn’t have much of a clue. Fast-forward a year later after being involved with TVAC, almost done with her EMT course, and a few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy under her belt (thank you Netflix!), she now has her sights set on going into medicine.

When I hear the rumblings of “Why isn’t Hatzalah in Teaneck?,” as a very proud dad of a TVAC volunteer I respond with a general answer of, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” We don’t have issues of an ambulance taking 20 minutes to fight Manhattan traffic, or the many double-parked vehicles of Brooklyn. The response time is awesome. But then I give the lesser-known details. If I were living in one of the communities where Hatzalah provides services and my daughter wanted to join, she would not be allowed. Period.

Not for one or two reasons, but three separate reasons…1) She is under 18 years old. 2) She is not married (at 17 I’m kinda glad, to say the least), and the creme de la crème 3) She is female. Yup, Yaffa cannot be a Hatzalah volunteer because she is female. Apparently, one of the most fundamental beliefs of Judaism, saving the life of another, doesn’t apply to the Hatzalah/female mix. Enough said.

TVAC is so much more than about saving lives…it is about bringing out the best in our youth and others, who have the dedication, passion, devotion and time, to serve this wonderful organization.

Howie Dimenstein
Teaneck
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