American Friends of Magen David Adom West Coast, USA, did it again; a spectacular Red Star Ball, its theme, the campaign to build a new blood bank for Israel

FMDA West Coast USA Board Chair Paul Guerin and President Dina Leeds-Photo Noam Chen

FMDA West Coast USA Board Chair Paul Guerin and President Dina Leeds-Photo Noam Chen

There is a customary Jewish saying, ‘one who saves one soul as if he saved the entire world.’ ~ Sanhedrin 37a. Magen David Adom (MDA) is the official “Red Cross Society” of Israel, serving as the epitome answer to this saying.

Last week, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, at their annual gala, the American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), West Coast USA, have confirmed to the world that saving life is first on the list in Israel and for those who support the Jewish State.

This was a gala to admire. It set up the bar very high. Hosted by Jay Leno, who was very moved by the event. “People ask me why I support Israel,” he told the audience. “My reply is, “we need to support sane people and Israelis are the sane ones in an insane region.”

Jay Leno performing at the event-Photo Noam Chen

Jay Leno performing at the event-Photo Noam Chen

During the evening AFMDA awarded David Wiener, a Holocaust survivor philanthropist with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by the Beverly Hilton owner, Beny Alagem; the Humanitarian of the Year Award to Dr. Bill Dorfman (LEAP Foundation), presented by Tracey Bergman of the soap opera series The Young and the Restless; the Next Generation Award to Gina Edwards, presented by J.R. Martinez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._Martinez); Magen David Adom’s Wartime Medics special presentation to Eli Bin, Director Genegal Magen David Adom in Israel. The evening was sealed with the awesome performance of the legendary singer and song writer Paul Anka.

avid Wiener, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award-Photo Noam Chen

avid Wiener, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award-Photo Noam Chen

Recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award, Dr. Bill Dorfman, surrounded by family-Photo Noam Chen

Recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award, Dr. Bill Dorfman, surrounded by family-Photo Noam Chen

Recipient of  Next Generation Award,  Gina Edwards, presented by J.R. Martinez in the back-Photo Noam Chen

Recipient of Next Generation Award, Gina Edwards, presented by J.R. Martinez in the back-Photo Noam Chen

Paul Anka performing-Photo Noam Chen

Paul Anka performing-Photo Noam Chen

The highlight of the evening was the story of two Israeli citizens who were going about their life while Hamas fired close to 5,000 rockets into Israel during Protective Edge War. Their story of getting hit by a shrapnel, being saved and meeting their MDA first responders’ rescue team at the gala in Beverly Hills brought tears to every person in the audience.

The paramedic angel of Jehan Barman is Dr. Oren Wacht. The paramedic angels of the 16 year old Yarin Levi, are Einav Asulin who arrived to treat bleeding Yarin first, followed by Naomi Zvi, Israel’s first paramedic, who arrived to the scene with the MICU (medical intensive care unit) and treated Yarin on the ground.

Jehan Barman R with the paramedic who saved him Dr. Oren Wacht-Photo by Joe Shalmoni

Jehan Barman R with the paramedic who saved him Dr. Oren Wacht-Photo by Joe Shalmoni Photojournalist, (C) 2014, All Rights Reserved for all use

Yarin Levi with paramedic angels Naomi Zvi-Land Einav Asulin-Photo by Joe Shalmoni

Yarin Levi with paramedic angels Naomi Zvi-Land Einav Asulin-Photo by Joe Shalmoni Photojournalist, (C) 2014, All Rights Reserved for all use

I happened to be sitting at the same table with Rom and Avinoam, Yarin’s parents and their son Yarin and so I heard the story first hand.
On July 13, 2014, during Protective Edge War this summer, Yarin went to get a funky haircut at a barber shop located five minute walk from his home in the southern town Asheklon, Israel. He was about two minutes away from his home when the Color Red siren went off, warning about a rocket attack from Gaza. “He did not have the 15 seconds time to get to a shelter, nor there was a hiding place where he was at that time before the boom was heard,” his mother, Mor, was telling me the story. “The iron Dome could not intercept the rocket and it fell 4 meters away from where Yarin was standing. Several shrapnel penetrated his chest, one entered his lung and got lodged in his rib. At the location where Yarin was wounded there is a small grove area. Wounded Yarin turned back to reach his home but fell unconscious on the ground in the grove. Since MDA alert level is high, they heard the boom and they immediately dispatched an ambulance toward where the rocket fell. When the MDA ambulance arrived at the scene they did not see anyone who needed help. Yarin, who collapsed in the forest was not visible to them,” Rom draws the area scene to me. “Luckily,” she continued, “our neighbor’s curiosity took the better of him. When he heard the rocket falling boom he went toward the area and there he saw Yarin laying on the ground unconscious and bleeding. The neighbor is our good friend and he started to cry and scream and the paramedics in the ambulance nearby heard him and rushed to Yarin. If the events were different, Yarin would not be alive today,” Rom continues her emotional story. Yarin, who attends a technology high school in Rehovot and wants to be an electronic engineer, spent one month in the hospital and was operated to remove part of his lung. When AFMDA West Coast invited Jehan Barman, Yarin and his parents to partake in their annual gala, none knew whom they were going to meet. There are no words to describe the emotions in the hall. The long hugs and the tears attested to the forever thankful parents, and the survivors Jehan and Yarin, whom, anonymous MDA paramedics saved. Now they are all a family, Naomi Tzvi pointed at her own son and her newly adopted son Yarin. (Video: http://vimeo.com/108956609)

From R-second, Naomi Zvi, Einav Asulin, Avinoa Levi with injured son Yarin-Photo MDA

From R-second, Naomi Zvi, Einav Asulin, Avinoa Levi with injured son Yarin-Photo MDA

From L-Yarin Levi and paramedic angel Einav Asulin, Rom Levi, paramedic angel Naomi Zvi, Avinoam Levi-Photo by Joe Shalmoni

From L-Yarin Levi and paramedic angel Einav Asulin, Rom Levi, paramedic angel Naomi Zvi, Avinoam Levi-Photo by Joe Shalmoni Photojournalist, (C) 2014, All Rights Reserved for all use

Yarin Levi and paramedic angel Naomi Zvi in thier surprise meeting-Photo by Joe Shalmoni

Yarin Levi and paramedic angel Naomi Zvi in thier surprise meeting-Photo by Joe Shalmoni Photojournalist, (C) 2014, All Rights Reserved for all use

Before his son’s life was saved by MDA, when Avinoam Levi saw an ambulance passing by it did not have any definite meaning for him. He was aware of MDA but nothing else. Now, whenever he sees an ambulance passing by, his heart beats fast and his emotions overwhelm him, because, “when one saves one soul as if he saves the entire world, and this is the entire world,” he says and tearfully points at his son Yarin.

One has to admit, Israel has been at war since its inception and life in the Jewish state that could be described as a lamb residing in a den filled with hungry wolves, is vulnerable. The service of first respondents is a lifeline to every citizen in Israel.

Among all other responsibilities, the work of AFMDA involves perpetual replacing of its ambulance fleet. In this gala several fully loaded ambulances were donated and approximately $6 million dollars were donated toward the building of the largest underground blood bank, which Israel so badly needs. More interesting, Israel is now using motorbikes for first response. A fleet of now 1,600 bikes, equipped for first aid tools, can reach where needed, at a speed, and thus attend to the needy way before the ambulance arrives. One other measure to save life promptly.
Israel’s defense line is three fold: the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Iron Dome and Magen David Adom, which means the Red Shield of [King] David.

First Responders' Bike-Photo Nurit Greenger

First Responders’ Bike-Photo Nurit Greenger

MDA is Israel’s national blood bank and blood knows no color. In Israel MDA serves the entire Jewish, Christian and Moslem population, indiscriminately.

For almost 67 years Israel has been fighting for her existence and the fight seems to be as if it has just begun. Now, more than ever, Israel is in an unfathomable danger from the north and the south. MDA is Israel’s lifeline, the 911 emergency line; 1,800 full time employees and 13,000 volunteers operate this lifeline, operating system that works relentlessly and with dedication to save life in the beleaguered state.

MDA is 100% privately funded; without world Jewry and other supporters of Israel there would be no MDA, there would be no blood bank and lives in Israel will be lost in an alarming rate. For that matter, it is all up to us to maintain and support Magen David Adom, Israel.

Israel is the global project of the Jewish people. By helping MDA you not only helping Israel, you are also helping to heal the world over. So when next you see the Red David Star, remember, your contributed help to the organization will help saving a life somewhere in Israel and beyond.