Uriel Goldberg’s decision to leave his native London in 2010 and enroll in the Magen David Adom (MDA) Overseas Program, where he volunteered on their ambulances, turned out to be a high-speed track to aliyah. And he hasn’t looked back since.
Goldberg, who hails from a very Zionist family, was motivated to come to Israel while in high school, when IDF soldiers who were former students of Hasmonean High School came to speak to the students. Finding value from an early age in helping those in need, Goldberg was intent on becoming a medical first responder, and did a first-aid instructor course in his last years of high school in England. “But I realized that in order to be a good instructor, I would need some experience,” he recalls.
He heard about the Magen David Adom Overseas Program for young people around the world, which also includes a course and volunteering in ambulances in Israel. For Goldberg, the rest is history. Now 31, he looks back at the lessons of his youth that helped him become a leader in business and the community.
Like many immigrants to the Jewish state, Goldberg came to Israel as part of the course, stayed for the year, volunteered, and studied in yeshiva. “At the end of the year, I returned to England to inform my parents that I was immigrating to Israel,” he says.
“At the end of the year, I returned to England to inform my parents that I was immigrating to Israel,”Uriel Goldberg
The MDA Overseas Program is a cornerstone of the organization’s international efforts. Remarkably, of the approximately 26,000 volunteers, a majority – 14,000 – are under the age of 18. The six-week training course teaches participants the skills necessary for ambulance work, first aid and general first responder work.
In 2012, Goldberg enlisted in the IDF’s Home Front Search and Rescue unit, serving for three years. The unit deals with civilian preparation and defense, to ensure that in the event of a disaster or conflict, civilian centers are prepared for the worst-case scenarios.
Joining Magen David Adom
After his service, Goldberg joined MDA as an emergency medical technician course instructor. “This experience is unlike any other. You get to see all kinds of people in difficult situations, and take care of them. Even just holding their hand in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital has a lot of meaning,” he says.
He also worked night shifts on the ambulance, helping those across Jerusalem.
Later, he also took on the role of developing MDA’s social media presence, creating content for many international platforms and raising the awareness and social profile of MDA in Israel and abroad. “I saw a need to help promote and connect MDA to the world. I was quickly promoted to the position of international coordinator, where I managed donor campaigns, as well as MDA’s social media channels and content in English, Hebrew French and Arabic.”
Goldberg was certified as a paramedic in 2019. “Today, in my IDF reserve service, I serve as a deputy company commander of a medical search and rescue unit, and teach rescue medicine,” he says.
AS AN experienced professional in public relations and international diplomacy, Goldberg works extensively in building media campaigns, securing commitments from donors and investors, and promoting nonprofit messages around the world, such as the US, the UK, and Australia. He has built an impressive personal media profile, being named one of the top 50 pro-Israel influencers in 2021 by the digital marketing firm Social Lite Creative.
A notable initiative he helped to implement was the donation of emergency defibrillators to every synagogue in Jerusalem. Much of this was sponsored by his current company.
Continuing his integration into the country, he is now happily married and building a sustained life in Israel.
His work in the nonprofit world aided him in a seamless transition to the position of communications and public affairs manager at the Jerusalem-based fintech start-up Cross River, which recently closed a $620 million fundraising round. The company was motivated to bring Goldberg on in February 2022 after years of his leading international relations and social media campaigns for large organizations in Israel. In fact, CEO Gilles Gade is a donor and volunteer in MDA.
Today, Goldberg volunteers as a paramedic on weekends and in the Cross River offices during the week. “I think that my unconventional career path gave me the necessary tools to be a good public relations specialist,” he states. ■
URIEL GOLDBERG, 31 FROM LONDON TO JERUSALEM, 2011