An evening that lovers of Jewish music will not want to miss. On Sunday, 26 Sivan 5782 (26.6) at the Tel Aviv Heichal Hatarbut (Charles Bronfman Auditorium), the best classical and Hassidic works will meet on one stage, with 90 musicians, for an impressive show for all lovers of music and the genre. The event will be attended by music giants Benny Friedman, Shulem Lemmer, Yonatan Razel and Haim Israel, who will perform some of their greatest hits alongside the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Choir (Academy of Music) and the Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir, conducted by maestro Eli Jaffe. The exciting evening, which is entirely dedicated to saving lives at Magen David Adom, will be hosted by Eden Harel and Yishai Lapidot.
Magen David Adom in Israel is the national rescue organization of the State of Israel for pre-hospital emergency medical services and blood services.
MDA operates the 101 hotline, which provides a human and professional response in just 3-4 seconds! The hotline is staffed 24/7 by paramedics and medics who provide immediate professional assistance from the first seconds of the event. MDA has one of the most advanced operational technological systems in the world that is in the service of saving lives.
An ambulance is launched every 38 seconds on average and in the first seconds there are thousands of MDA on-call medics in the area who arrive first at the scene to provide a life-saving response.
MDA operates about 1,500 ambulances, about 700 motorcycles, 2 helicopters, lifeboats, ATVs, intensive care buses for mass evacuations and vehicles that can handle various terrain conditions. All its activities are carried out with about 30,000 volunteers and about 3,800 workers, all professionals, paramedics and doctors staffing the ambulance emergency lines and the MDA's operational on-call system 24/7, 365 days a year. Volunteers come from all sectors of the entire Israeli population, regardless of religion, color or gender.
Magen David Adom operates the National Blood Bank and provides 100% of the blood rations required for hospitals and the IDF. MDA donates about 300,000 blood rations each year. At MDA's blood bank, blood quality tests are performed, the blood components are separated using the apheresis method, processed into components and all the required tests are performed in designated laboratories. Magen David Adom is at the forefront of technological advancement.
MDA's new blood bank
A month ago, MDA inaugurated the Bernie and Billie Marcus MDA National Blood Services Building in Ramla. The building, which covers an area of 48,000 square meters, is earthquake-resistant and protected. Three of the six floors are built underground.
The building is the first underground and protected blood services center of its kind in the world. The new structure will allow for increased activity while providing a comprehensive response to the needs of the medical and health system in Israel and the IDF in accordance with changing demographic data such as, for example, the natural growth of the population in the country. In the building of their new blood service center, advanced laboratories will operate with unique equipment and technologies that are some of the most advanced in the world in order to increase the preservation of the quality of the blood packets and their security.
MDA's current national blood services building was built in the 1980s and is not large enough to meet the demands of the growing population in Israel. During security escalations in recent years, the team was forced to relocate their activities to the shelter in the outdated structure, recalibrate the test devices and resume operations in the small shelter, after which the team was again forced to return to normal activity above ground.
The new building, whose construction began in 2018 in Ramla, has underground blood services laboratories. The new protected building will allow normal operations to continue even during security threats. The new building will feature state-of-the-art equipment that will allow rapid testing of blood units. MDA's blood services will be able to increase work output and in the future handle half a million units of blood a year. MDA's National Milk Bank and the Public Cord Blood Bank, which is also operated by Magen David Adom, will also operate in the new blood services building, and all MDA logistics activities will be concentrated there, which will also become Magen David Adom's largest logistics center.
The cost of building the Marcus Blood Services Center is $130 million, raised from generous donors primarily through the American Friends of MDA Association, including Bernie and Billie Marcus, Dr. Miriam Adelson and her late husband, Sheldon, and many others. The building includes three protected and safe underground floors, with a single, secure cold room, the first of its kind in the world, which can, in an emergency, hold tens of thousands of units of blood. The new Blood Services Center building will also be able to function under emergencies and escalations, and will be able to maintain a full and independent work output through generators and be independent of external factors due to its sophisticated protective equipment. Magen David Adom, as Israel's national rescue organization, is committed to working 24/7, also and especially in times of crisis, and therefore when planning and building the blood bank, special emphasis was given to the issue of work during emergencies.
There will be a blood donation room on the entrance floor of the building, where citizens can go to donate blood. On the underground floors, blood bank laboratories will operate, there will be a secure cold room that extends over about 400 square meters, protected from threats and where the blood supply will be kept, and there will be a transportation and parking center for the new and equipped ambulances.
MDA as a Red Cross organization
In 2006, MDA was accepted as a member of the Red Cross movement. In addition to the Red Star of David, MDA also adopted the international emblem of the Red Crystal. Since MDA joined the movement, the organization has increased its involvement in the humanitarian field through fruitful cooperation with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from all over the world. In every country that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, there is a law authorizing one national association to uphold humanitarian law. These national organizations operate in their countries as the assistants to public authorities.
Magen David Adom serves as the Israeli Red Cross organization, and is a full member of the International Committee of the Red Cross / Red Crescent. MDA works to instill international humanitarian law among the Israeli public, including as a guide and facilitator for the prevention of diseases and accidents and behavior based on the dignity of others and the sanctity of life.
The organization of the national Red Cross has a variety of roles during a war, and in peacetime it must prepare for their execution. The organization initiates the establishment and management of hospitals, training nurses, organizing blood donation clinics, helping the disabled, the needy and the elderly, providing ambulance services and rescue services at sea, in the mountains and on the roads.
In addition, national organizations are committed to providing assistance and first aid in cases of natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.). These tasks are performed with the help of millions of volunteers around the world. A prominent example of MDA's activity as a member of the Red Cross is the extensive humanitarian assistance provided by MDA to war refugees in Ukraine within the battle-torn state and also in Israeli territory to refugees who arrived in Israel.
MDA among the religious and ultra-Orthodox community
Residents of the State of Israel who in recent years have met with an ambulance crew arriving to help a patient, at the scene of a car accident or any other medical emergency, no longer raise an eyebrow when religious yeshiva students with kippot and payot in MDA uniforms come out of the ambulance, with their tzitzit proudly waving in the air.
Thousands of religious and ultra-Orthodox volunteers are currently volunteering at MDA and devoting their time and energy to saving lives throughout the country. These volunteers, like the other volunteers at MDA, undergo their medical and professional training at MDA and are placed in the MDA emergency system.
Alongside this, these volunteers are joined by about twenty rescue organizations operating all over the country. These rescue organizations, which work together and in collaboration with Magen David Adom, provide these Torah-observant volunteers with a halakhic and even social response related to their life-saving activities.
Over the years, as the number of Torah- and mitzvot-observant volunteers in Magen David Adom has grown, the need has arisen to give a halakhic answer to many questions to these volunteers, who want to save lives without violating Torah mitzvot, along with a social response to halakhic and community requirements.
A person who keeps Torah and mitzvot who is interested in volunteering at Magen David Adom is looking for the right way to fulfill one of the most important mitzvot in the Torah, saving lives, a mitzvah that according to Halacha one may desecrate the Shabbat in order to fulfill, and on the other hand to always make sure things are done in the right way so that they will be able to save lives without going through unnecessary ‘hilul Shabbat.’
The rabbis of the ultra-Orthodox organizations that operate under the Magen David Adom organization give an orderly and clear halakhic response to all volunteer activities in the organization through classes given to volunteers from time to time that deal with laws related to life-saving volunteer activities both on weekdays and especially on Shabbatot and Israeli holidays.
Halakhic booklets and halakhic instructions for the volunteers of the organizations are printed from time to time by the rescue organizations and are distributed to the volunteers so that they can delve into and learn the Halakha they need.
The directors of the rescue organizations, together with the rabbis of the organizations, are in constant contact with the management of Magen David Adom in Israel and together inspect and discuss every new medical device used by the teams as well as communication devices used by the volunteers to enable the correct and quick lifesaving while keeping the Halakha and Shabbat.
The operating systems of MDA are updated from time to time, and in coordination with the rabbis of the organizations the systems are adapted to the requirements of Halakha so that the organizations' volunteers can also operate on Shabbat and save lives without fear of desecrating Shabbat.
In addition to the halakhic response, the rescue organizations work to provide a social response to the organization’s volunteers through holding team spirit evenings and days, professional development Shabbatot and the like for the organization's volunteers.
The unification of the volunteers is very important and bears fruit in their activities and volunteering at Magen David Adom, and this is not a social 'addition' but an integral part of the need and unification of the volunteers.
To this end, the rescue organizations, in cooperation with Magen David Adom, conduct social activities and professional training for the organization's volunteers, while maintaining and adhering to the boundaries of Halakhah.
The fruitful cooperation between Magen David Adom and the rescue organizations is showing its signs in the field, as every year hundreds of Torah- and mitzvot-observant volunteers join the family of live-savers who feel at home in Magen David Adom.
Eli Bin, Magen David Adom CEO: "Members of the Magen David Adom Friends in Israel are the spirit, our partners and the strength that helps the success of MDA's routine and emergency activities. The long-standing cooperation is reflected in social and medical initiatives that help save lives in the most professional and efficient way, thanks to exceptional work. The special and courageous connection that has been established over the years between MDA and the religious and ultra-Orthodox society in Israel is a strong and special connection based on the value of saving lives. The fundraising performance is an important and essential layer for the continued success of MDA Friends in Israel and I invite the general public to open their hearts to continue to support the national rescue organization of the State of Israel. And to all our dear volunteers who work day and night to save lives, I send a warm greeting and personal thanks. As it is written in the Book of Deuteronomy: "Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."
Orly Ariel, director general of Friends of Magen David Adom: "A mix of MDA volunteers, including ultra-Orthodox, religious, secular, Jews and Arabs, is an exciting mosaic of DNA that distinguishes MDA - the sanctity of life.
“Magen David Adom volunteers are busy around the clock saving lives. It is time to stop for a moment and cherish them from the bottom of your hearts and souls for all their work, and there is no more wonderful way to mark this than an evening that is all about an experience for the soul. All proceeds will go to save lives in Magen David Adom."
The donation is recognized for tax purposes.
This article was written in cooperation with MDA