Comedian Jay Leno at a fundraiser for the Israeli EMS service United Hatzalah in New York, April 10, 2016.
(photo credit: YADIN GOLDMAN)
Comedian Jay Leno raised $50,000 for and donated a $36,000 fully equipped ambulance to United Hatzalah at a sold-out special concert fundraiser for Israel’s largest volunteer EMS service at the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday.
The former Tonight Show host performed a long comedy set and called Eli Beer, the founder and president of the organization, up to the stage after his act, telling him: “What you guys are doing is so special, I am so proud to be here and be part of it. I have 117 motorcycles in my collection but none of my motorcycles save lives. I want to donate an ambulance with all of the trappings.”
Once outfitted and adorned with Leno’s name, it will join the fleet of more than 400 ambulances used by the organization to provide free treatment to anyone in need, while cutting down emergency-response time throughout Israel to under 3 minutes.
Leno, who traveled from Los Angeles especially for the concert, then challenged the audience to join him in supporting the saving of lives in Israel by making donations on the spot, and offered a free tour of his garage to see his large car and motorcycle collection to anyone who donated $1,000.
Thanks to Leno, whose rare car and motorcycle collection is considered to be one of the finest in the world, an additional $50,000 was raised on the spot.
Leno got a first hand look at the ambulance as he made his grand entrance onto the stage riding one and wearing an EMT vest identifying him as a supporter of the organization.
After receiving a miniature silver ambulance to add to his collection, Leno told the crowd: “See you next year in Jerusalem,” invoking a famous Jewish refrain and hinting at Leno continuing his yearly visits to host big events in Israel.
The concert included performances by musical entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer and the rock band 8th Day, and featured the Neshama Orchestra.