Unity in an emergency - Serving felafel to save a family

A volunteer EMT was badly injured on the way to an emergency. United Hazalah volunteers are banding together to help his family.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Eli Beer President and Founder of United Hatzalah serving felafel
Eli Beer President and Founder of United Hatzalah serving felafel
United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Tal Cooperstein was on his way to a medical emergency on Mivtza Sinai Street in Bat Yam on Friday, November 15th, when his ambucycle was hit by a car and he was seriously injured.

Cooperstein was treated at the scene by his fellow volunteers before being evacuated to Wolfson Hospital in serious condition. He underwent a series of surgeries to save his leg and relieve a tension pneumothorax in his lung.

Cooperstein was the sole breadwinner of his family, supporting his wife and five children through his falafel shop that he owns in Bat Yam.

Following the accident, United Hatzalah volunteers from around Israel coordinated to voluntarily cover the shifts at the falafel shop to ensure that Cooperstein didn’t lose his source of livelihood. United Hatzalah even took their volunteer work one step further and initiated a campaign for customers to buy falafel meals online and donate them to soldiers and first responders.

Cooperstein had opened the fledgling shop, Falafel Harel, located on Menachem Yekuel Street in the industrial section of Bat Yam, only three months ago. After he was injured, his family was very worried that the shop wouldn't survive and they wouldn't able to purchase their most basic necessities. Their worries were relieved as dozens of fellow United Hatzalah volunteers signed up for shifts during the store's peak hours for the next several months.

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer also joined the cause and signed up to man the store on Tuesday afternoons. “We are a national network of EMS volunteers that is made up of wonderful people who not only help the ill and injured, but also one another," Beer said. "It is heartwarming to see how fast volunteers from all over Israel signed up to do a shift here at the store and keep it running until Cooperstein is back on his feet. It really shows that United Hatzalah is more than just an organization. We are a family. I am proud of every single one of these volunteers.”

"We're inviting the general public to help as well and have opened an online option to buy falafels and donate them to soldiers and first responders," Beer added. "What really amazed me was that after just two hours someone clicked on the link and purchased 1,000 portions to be donated to soldiers.”

The International Chairman of United Hatzlah, Mark Gerson, and his wife Rabbi Erica Gerson, initiated a campaign that will match the first 2,000 portions of falafel purchased and add an additional 2,000 portions to be donated to soldiers or first responders.

“Each portion cost NIS 20, which means we have the opportunity to raise NIS 80,000 for Cooperstein and his family and help out hungry soldiers and first responders at the same time," said Beer as he was standing behind the counter serving customers. "This is an amazing opportunity for giving."

“We have volunteers from all over the country who are helping out," Beer continued. "One volunteer who owns a falafel store in Holon closes his own shop to work at Cooperstein’s for the day. This is what family means to United Hatzalah volunteers.”

Cooperstein, who is recuperating from surgery and facing a lengthy rehabilitation process said: “Thank you to all of my friends and fellow responders. We help each other on a daily basis to go out and save lives. Now they are all banding together to save my business. I am so grateful to each and every one of them and to the organization as a whole.”