Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Gift Of Life

It's been quite a while since my last post - it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, spending time with my parents while they were here visiting, attending a conference in Jerusalem and a Shabbat Mifgash weekend with Israelis our age who will be counselors at Jewish overnight camps this summer. I'll write more about the mifgash and the conference later in the week, but I wanted to share a very special event from last Sunday.

My grandparents, Rose and Sol Turetsky, are the two most generous people I’ve ever met, and I am blessed to have such a special relationship with them.  About five years ago, in the midst of continual Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, they decided to give the gift of life.  Together, they decided the best way to help and support Israel was to donate an ambulance to Magen David Adom to help save as many Israeli lives as possible.  Both of my grandparents have been life-long Zionists and have imparted their love of Israel not only to their children, but to their grandchildren as well.

I am extremely proud of all the philanthropic work they’ve been fortunate enough to have taken part in, both in the States and in Israel.  This past Sunday, along with my parents, my aunt June and her kids Chaim and Rivka, I got to see my grandparents’ generosity in action here in Israel.  The six of us visited one of the Magen David Adom stations in Tel Aviv to see their ambulance that arrived to serve the people of Israel nearly three years ago.

In addition to functioning as a regular ambulance, “Yarkon 144” as it’s called (its region and number) is a fully equipped Intensive Care Unit.  It can accommodate two patients at the same time, one on the main stretcher, and a second on an additional bench that can be converted into a stretcher that can stabilize the patient. It’s stationed in Rosh Ha’ayin, but like all other MADA ambulances, responds to emergencies in other areas as needed.

We got to sit inside the ambulance and take an inventory of all the medical and life-saving equipment available for the MADA personnel to use.  In addition to touring the ambulance, we also visited the command center, where MADA operators field incoming calls and dispatch teams to respond to emergencies.  Not surprisingly, the technology is fascinating, and we were able to watch in real time how the status of an ambulance dispatched to an emergency changed and modified with the color-coded computer program and mapping system.

One thing I had known but had forgotten was just how much of the MADA staff and first responders are volunteers. These volunteers undergo a rigorous course before becoming a fully licensed MADA, and Sam Gavzy, one of my fellow Otzma participants, has already completed more than 200 hours of training and service with them during his time here.

That's it from here - I'll have more to say and a new batch of pics later in the week!


  1. Thanks, Matty! I hadn't had a chance to see the ambulance, despite two visits to Israel since its arrival. Your description and pics helps close that gap.

    - Judy

  2. Matt, this is Ira from American Friends of Magen David Adom. Can you please call me at 954-457-9766 or email me at Thanks.