By: Fern Sidman
Having established a just legacy of saving lives and helping the communities they have served since the 1960s, the Hatzolah Ambulance Service celebrated the grand opening of its new building in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn on Friday morning June 4. .e.
Hatzolah is the largest voluntary provider of emergency medical and ambulance services in the United States, with many branches serving communities across the United States and around the world.
The ultramodern building is located on S Avenue and Lake Street and marks the fourth Hatzolah location in Brooklyn. Other locations include a three-story building on Ocean Avenue and Avenue N in Midwood as well as an ambulance on Avenue M and Ocean Parkway and a facility with two ambulances on Ocean Parkway and 18e Avenue serving the Kensington section of Brooklyn.
Allen Esses, founder of the Sephardic organization Hatzolah and coordinator of Hatzolah spoke with the Jewish Voice about the new building and the services Hatzolah provides every day. “As a 24/7 private ambulance service, Hatzolah has over 270 volunteer members and we take around 16,000 calls per year, which translates to 40 to 50 calls per day. As such, we desperately needed another building to serve the community of Gravesend, ”he said.
“The truth is, this new building will dramatically improve the response time for this area. I can tell you when the traffic is the most congested it can take around 15-20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive in Gravesend from our location in Midwood. It is unacceptable when every second counts for saving lives. We can now arrive in record time at our destination. This is why I have been the spearhead of this project for the past decade, ”said Mr. Esses.
Mr Esses said that in addition to housing ambulances in the one-story building, it will also serve as a training center for its volunteers where continuing education classes will be held as well as free CPR classes for members. community and all interested parties.
The building was dedicated to the names of Joe and Celia Esses, an uncle and aunt of Mr. Esses. “Eddie Esses, their son, dedicated the building in memory of his parents as they were full members of the community who were deeply concerned for the well-being of each person and truly understood the paramount importance of saving lives. lives, ”he added.
This year Hatzolah organized a concert during Lag Baomer and raised sufficient funds for the annual expenses. “Thanks to the generosity and constant support of the community, we are able to upgrade our ECG machines, which have not been upgraded for 25 years. Up-to-date equipment allows us to serve our community much more efficiently and quickly and for this and more, we are deeply grateful to everyone who contributes to Hatzolah. We could not exist without this vital help, ”added Mr. Esses.
Others who have contributed to the new building on S Avenue are the Triangle Capital Group made up of Victor Azrak, David Azar and Morris Doueck, as well as other individual donors like Rosette & Sion Setton, the Erani Family, Rachel and Jeff Sutton, Albert & Gladys Kassin and the Chehebar family.
At the Friday morning dedication ceremony attended by over 100 people, Mr. Esses said that “none of this could have happened without Hashem’s divine help who supported us every step of the way. And expressed his gratitude for the tireless efforts and deep commitment to Hatzolah of the dedicated community leader and philanthropist, Harry Adjmi, who “has helped guide us through this monumental project”.
Mr Esses added that architect Abe Jerome and builder Moshe Nachum were working closely with the Hatzolah team on the building, who “is the most humble person I have ever met”. Mr. Nachum’s dedication to Hatzolah’s mission was evidenced by the fact that he performed his construction work at cost price and did not accept a penny of profit. A member of the community said during the ribbon cutting: “I can tell you that as a person who knows Moshe Nachum very well, he is a true baal tzedaka, a man who generously gives to virtually all works. community charities and is there for anything. “
Harry Adjmi also addressed the assembly during the grand opening ceremony. He told the assembled people that the acquisition of the new Hatzolah building was indeed a miracle of Hashem. “One Tuesday morning I was told that a building in our own backyard was available. The owner wanted money on the table and we only had until Friday to get it. Our community and the Ashkenazi community got together and we were able to raise the necessary amount by Friday. This in itself is a miracle. It does not happen.
He added that when asked for donations for the new building, “it only took a few seconds for people in this community to offer their help. It wasn’t one of those tough projects we worked on. People understood the word Hatzolah to mean saving lives and they enthusiastically offered generous donations. They said: How can we help? What is available? How do we get our names? What can we do? It was truly a magical moment.
One of the mezuzot that was donated to the building came from another renowned philanthropist in the community and a close associate of Harry Adjmi. Richie Dweck, his wife Gloria and their children dedicated the mezuzah in memory of Bert and Shirley Dweck, a’h, the parents of Richie Dweck who were exceptional members of the community.
In addition to these donor names on the exterior of the new building, one can find over 60 plaques inside the building that recognize the generous donations of many other members of the community. Due to a press deadline, the Jewish Voice was unable to publish all the names.
Hatzolah’s genesis began in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1960s to meet the Jewish community’s need for an ambulance service that understood their cultural and religious needs and to improve EMS response time.
Hatzolah is helping to improve response time in all of its coverage areas, and even outside of its areas, by adding more paramedics and ambulances to the system, freeing up other ambulances to respond to other calls more quickly.
Hatzolah’s volunteers are EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) or certified doctors and have received high-level training and are provided with life-saving equipment.
The secret to Hatzolah’s success is that Hatzolah’s volunteers work, Daven, study, shop, sleep and go about their day-to-day business while being on duty all the time. They wear their emergency radios 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When a call is made by the emergency radio, the closest volunteers rush to the scene immediately with the life-saving equipment they are using. keep in their cars, while other volunteers rush to bring an ambulance. Often in serious medical emergencies, the first few minutes are the most crucial. Since volunteers aren’t tied to a garage or one location, there are almost always volunteers within a few blocks of the call. By being close to the call, Hatzolah volunteers have saved thousands of lives over the years.