The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, a professional Rabbinical Organization founded in 1942 – with a membership of over 1,000 Orthodox Rabbis has issued an official proclamation honoring the exemplary work that the Hatzolah volunteer ambulance corps is doing each and every day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we know, the healthcare infrastructure in New York City is totally overwhelmed and at the brink of collapsing under the enormous pressure of providing care for the voluminous amount of patients who are hospitalized with the dreaded coronavirus. While all NYC first responders and emergency medical technicians deserve our wholehearted praise for their valiant efforts at saving lives we want to take this moment to recognize and laud the extraordinary efforts of the Hatzolah volunteer ambulance corps in ensuring that each person gets the care they need at this difficult time,” said Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice president of the RAA.
Founded in 1965 in New York City, Hatzolah has seen exponential growth over the decades and now serves all major hubs in the northeast, Los Angeles, Toronto, Zurich, and Jerusalem. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this not-for-profit corporation is run by a virtual army of over 1000 incredibly dedicated professional emergency care providers including EMTs, paramedics and physicians.
Responding to over 100,000 calls annually in record time, Hatzolah provides emergency medical assistance, ambulance transport, family referral services and much more. Moreover, it has come to represent the absolute and total commitment to the sanctity of life.
in the harrowing times in which we live – now known as the “age of corona” the sheer volume of Hatzolah calls has precipitously skyrocketed and Hatzolah has not missed one call nor turned down assistance to anyone who is in need.
Rabbi Duvid Katz, the Menahel of the RAA said, ” As the Talmud tells us, “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. In our case, the Hatzolah volunteers didn’t only save individuals, they saved the entire family from losing a parent, & from undergoing tragedy.”
“Just as in previous moments of national crisis such as the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Hatzolah has reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak with the same degree of alacrity, compassion, professionalism and determination to save every life possible, “said Rabbi Mirocznik.
It is important to remember that many Orthodox Jews who raced to Lower Manhattan after hearing reports that a plane had struck the World Trade Center on that September morning were members of Hatzolah. This is just another example of Hatzolah members leaving the comforts of their surroundings and encountering possible danger to help others in their time of need.
Ask any Hatzolah member what inspires them to enter the zone of danger and help they will simply respond, “It is a call to duty. Hatzolah members answer the call and Hashem takes care of the rest.”
Rabbi Yaakov Klass, presidium chairman of the RAA proudly states, “that Hatzolah members are devoted life savers. Hatzolah members without hesitation will leave their own child’s bar mitzva, simcha, family seder for one simple purpose and that is to save another person’s life. They often respond to an emergency involving a perfect stranger who they never met before they answered the Hatzolah call.”
Rabbi Mirocznik added that, “Even though we have heard that the state authorities were telling EMTs not to attempt to resuscitate patients who have suffered a heart attack and have no pulse, I can promise you that the Hatzolah staff will continue to do everything within their power to save a life because they are guided by Torah principles.”
The RAA has a very special connection to Hatzolah said Rabbi Mirocznik. “Rabbi Nachum Zvi Josephy, ZT’L the previous Executive Vice-President of the RAA was very supportive of Hatzalah and his son Rabbi Nussen Josephy a member of the RAA is an active Hatzalah member, ” he added.
May Hashem give the intrepid members of Hatzolah continued strength to save lives; to heal and to comfort those in need. And in their tremendous zchusim may Hashem redeem us all as we witness the coming of moshiach tzidkayenu bimheyrah v’yameinu.