New MDA station opens in Beit Shemesh

The new station is on the site of the old one, built in the 1950s when Beit Shemesh was a small and struggling development town.

MDA 88 (photo credit: )
MDA 88
(photo credit: )
A new Magen David Adom station was dedicated in Beit Shemesh on Sunday. The building of the station was made possible through the generosity of Magen David Adom UK and the Dorset Foundation, established by the late Harry Weinrebe. Weinrebe, a businessman who made his fortune in Hong Kong, left large sums of money for philanthropic organizations. The new station is on the site of the old one, built in the 1950s when Beit Shemesh was a small and struggling development town. In recent years the town has undergone a huge growth spurt, with a population of 85,000 that is expected to double in the next five to six years. Clearly the old Magen David Adom station, in two corrugated iron huts, was inadequate to serve the present-day needs of Beit Shemesh and the surrounding area. From the beginning of 2006 until the middle of this month, the station had to cope with 78,600 sick people, 15,942 car accident victims, 4,851 women in labor and some 20,000 miscellaneous medical emergencies. The new station is home to seven ambulances, two mobile intensive care units and a multi-casualty response vehicle. It will have staff accommodations and administration, a club for the volunteers, a training center and storage facilities. Sunday's dedication was held in the presence of representatives of the Dorset Foundation, Magen David Adom in Israel and the UK, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Beit Shemesh Mayor Daniel Vaknin and workers and volunteers of the Beit Shemesh MDA station. Jane Biran, representing the Dorset Foundation, said the first time she saw the old station she was appalled at the working conditions. She had no hesitation in going to the trustees of the foundation to contribute to the building of a new station. Also instrumental in the work of MDA Beit Shemesh is Keren Yosef, an organization founded by the late Doris Mainzer, who raised funds and public health awareness through a range of educational, cultural and sporting events. Keren Yosef has donated a special mobile multi-casualty unit to MDA and provided an ambulette for transporting seriously ill and handicapped patients in Beit Shemesh to their hospital treatments. In a moving address, Mainzer's daughter Gina Kirsch paid tribute to her mother's work. "She made up for her lack of experience, few connections and scanty Hebrew with boundless energy and unbelievable perseverance to realize her dream of vastly improving the quality of emergency medical services in greater Beit Shemesh and beyond," Kirsch said. It was Mainzer who contacted Eli Benson, the CEO of Magen David Adom in the UK, and persuaded him to take on the project of sorting things out in the Beit Shemesh station. The ceremony concluded with the affixing of a mezuza on the building by the Chief Rabbi.