North Shore's Ambulance Dedication
“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.”
― Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.
It is no coincidence that the Jewish people refer to themselves as “Am Yisrael,” or “the people of Israel,” instead of “the religion of Israel.” Clearly a sense of nationhood has eternally been rooted in the Jewish people. Accordingly, the focal point of Jewish history is the exodus from Egypt, the only story that demands an official annual retelling. Yes, this story is enveloped in instances of Hashem’s divinity that make it seem like a story of religious awakening; yet the Jewish exodus is mainly a story of Jewish national liberation.
Everyday, this sense of nationhood is demonstrated through an emphasis on our community. Wherever Jews have lived, synagogues were built, systems of government were established, and communal organizations were maintained. Our national spirit was further strengthened this Tuesday and Wednesday as we celebrated the inauguration of the new Hatzalah ambulance, fundraised and dedicated by our NSHAHS students, faculty, parents, and friends. It is an honor for our school to play an integral role in contributing critical aid to the community.
Led by NSHAHS teacher Rabbi Barak Levy, last year’s Chai for Chai campaign set a goal to raise $500,000 to sponsor a new state-of-the-art Hatzolah ambulance for the Great Neck and Queens community. Students were given 18 days to collect donations for the ambulance, with the top contributors including: Rabbi Barak Levy, Liat and Ben Gigi, Joseph Mayer, Ella Ashourzadeh, David Aghalarian, Ben Zuckerman, Jeremy Gorjian, Liam Shaer, Eitan Kohanim, and Noah Baruch.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, students and teachers finally celebrated their efforts in helping the members of their community. Students heard from Dr. Robert & Mrs. Minoo Ohebshalom, Dr. Vitow, and Rabbi Barak Levy during the dedication ceremony. The ceremony culminated with the families who were involved in the campaign, including the family of Liat and Ben Gigi, taking part in a momentous ribbon-cutting ceremony.
In his opening remarks, Rabbi Levy had referenced a passage introduced in Sanhedrin 17b: A talmid haham (Torah scholar) is not allowed to live in a city that does not have these 10 things: a beit din (law court) that metes out punishments; a tzedakah fund that is collected by two people and distributed by three; a synagogue; a bath house (mikveh ); a bathroom; a doctor; a craftsperson; a blood-letter; and a teacher of children.”
The doctor provides a communal service for the physical needs of the residents. Hatzalah is believed to be the largest volunteer ambulance service in the world, with more than a thousand volunteer EMTs and paramedics who answer more than 70,000 calls each year. Hatzalah understands that each life is sacred, whether Jewish or not.
Hatzalah volunteers are our heroes for life. Great Neck is so very grateful for North Shore’s contributions to the community and the many lives that will be saved because of their efforts. Thank you to all those who made this extraordinary feat possible!