United Hatzalah will hold its 10th annual concert over the Passover holiday featuring top-name Jewish singers. The emergency medical response organization based in Israel will honor Leonardo Farkas, a philanthropist from Chile as well as its more than 2,000 volunteers.
The concert will feature two of the most well known cantors in the world, Netanel Hershtik and Yitzchak Meir Helfgot as well as young-up-and-coming Israeli cantor Shlomo Glick who is also a Hatzalah first-response volunteer.
Eli Beer, the founder of United Hatzala spoke to Arutz Sheva's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast about the event.
For full podcast click here.
"When I was 15-years-old I was a volunteer in an ambulance," he stated. "I saw with my own eyes how many people were waiting for help to arrive," Beer said. This experience prompted him to start Hatzalah 22 years ago.
"It was just fifteen of my friends, and today we are up to over 2,000 volunteers," Beer explains. United Hatzalah today exists in numerous countries where volunteers use "ambucycles" to reach emergencies. "We still have a long way to go but I see the progress every day," Beer stated.
Beer grew up in Jerusalem to American immigrant parents. "Back then they didn't have Nefesh B'Nefesh," Beer said, referring to the organization that assists English-speaking olim to Israel. "My parents brought American toilet paper and their own disposable diapers because they only had the cloth kind in Israel," he said.
Among those who will be honored at the concert will be one of the performers, Cantor Shlomo Glick. Beer relates a story of how Glick received an emergency call in the middle of leading Shabbat services at a prominent synagogue.
"People already knew that he was a volunteer so they understood when he apologized, stopped his prayers and rushed out," Beer explained. "The emergency was just a block away from the synagogue so he ran to get his equipment from the ambucycle that was parked outside before Shabbat and went to assist the injured person."
To download an mp3 of the full interview including musical excerpts click here.
The United Hatzalah benefit concert will take place Thursday April 17th at the Jerusalem Theater.
Ben Bresky is a music journalist living in Jerusalem. He hosts The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hassidic to trance. For mp3 archives click here. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.