Hatzolah of Passaic / Cifton EMS First Annual Melava Malka – Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton

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Hatzolah of Passaic / Cifton EMS First Annual Melava Malka

On Motzei Shabbos Parshas Beshalach – Shirah, a large gathering of Passaic-Clifton residents attended the first Hatzolah of Passaic / Clifton Melava Malka. The Melava Malka took place at Congregation Adas Israel on Broadway. Additional pictures will be uploaded in the next few days.

Below (left) is the video that was shown at this years annual Melava Malka. You browser will need to be able to play divx video in order to watch the video. On the right is a slideshow of pictures taken at the Melava Malka.

Watch the video on You Tube here.

The night was abuzz with excitement and achdus. Virtually every shul, yeshiva, and Jewish community organization attended the melave malka.In addition to all attendees, it is important to thank the Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Meir Stern Shlita for taking the time from his busy schedule to show his support for the community’s Hatzolah. Rabbi Mordechai Fishman, the Menahel of the Passaic/Clifton Community Kollel, noted that the Rosh HaYeshiva made a special effort to attend. Other Rabbonim in attendance included: Rav Aaron Cohen, Rav Ron Yitzchak Eisenman, Rav Solomon Ryback, Rav Yonason Sacks, Rav Menachem Spira, Rav Daniel Schwab, Rav Shachne Weinberger and Rav Menachem Zupnik. State Assemblyman and City Council President Gary Schaer, City Councilman Chaim Munk and City Councilman Daniel Schwartz were also present. Representatives from other Hatzolahs in New Jersey also attended. Special kudos to the members of Union County ( Elizabeth ) Hatzalah for providing coverage so local Hatzolah members would be able to enjoy the Melava Malka. Many people made sure to drop in, say hello and give a donation, despite other events.

George Matyjewicz, Executive Director of Hatzolah served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. He began the evening with a slide presentation demonstrating how Hatzolah began in the 1960s through the determination of Rabbi Hershel Weber and how the idea spread throughout the world, including Passaic and Clifton . Mr. Matyjewicz went through the statistics of Hatzolah calls during the past year. He described Hatzolah’s budgetary needs, amply illustrating why Hatzolah dearly needs the community’s financial support.

Mr. Izzy Fogel introduced the guest of honor, Rabbi Hershel Weber. In his introduction, Mr. Fogel drew on distant memories to when Rabbi Weber took the initiative to get Hatzolah in Williamsburg off the ground. Mr. Fogel was a staunch supporter of Rabbi Weber then – even acquiring the very first Hatzolah ambulance for the fledgling organization back in the early 1970s. His support for Hatzolah continues to this very day as he serves as Chairman of the Board of Hatzolah of Passaic / Clifton .

Rabbi Weber began his keynote address by calling Mr. Fogel back to the podium and giving him a heartfelt bracha, after asking everyone to answer Amein. After the bracha, Rabbi Weber described what it means to be a Hatzolah member and the sacrifices members and their families make on behalf of the klal. As Rabbi Weber eloquently said, without the support of each Aishes Chayil, Hatzolah would not be able to do its work. With Divrei Torah and Maamrei Chazal Rabbi Weber entreated everyone to throw their support behind Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton. It was a heartfelt and emotional speech.

After more zemiros, Mr. Avi Koplowitz, Hatzolah Coordinator, presented a token of appreciation to the wives of Hatzolah’s 21 first responders, the wives of the men who dispatch and to the women who dispatch. The women who allow their husbands to respond to, and dispatch, medical emergencies which can take place at anytime of the day or night, on Shabbos and on Yom Tov, are truly the unsung heroes of Hatzolah. At the conclusion of Mr. Koplowitz’s presentation, Dovid Gabay sang Aishes Chayil in honor of the women of Hatzolah.

Mr. Izzy Fogel then presented a beautiful plaque to Mr. and Mrs. Heshy Cohen. Mr. Cohen was Hatzolah’s first Executive Director, a position that he volunteered for with his wife’s support, and was the driving force behind getting the community’s Hatzolah started. It was because of his efforts that the Board of Directors chose to present this award to Mr. and Mrs. Cohen.

Rav Aaron Cohen, Rav of Tifereth Israel , and a member of Hatzolah’s Rabbinical Board entreated the attendees to become Shutfim – Partners in the Talmudic dictum of “Kol HaMikayem Nefesh Achas MeYisrael, KeIlu Kiyum Olam Malei.”

A moving video presentation especially prepared for the evening was shown. The video provided the perspectives of both patients and Rabbonim regarding the services that Hatzolah provides. The video included interviews with members of Hatzolah and even one Hatzolah wife.

Dovid Gabay, along with the musical accompaniment of Yossi Newman’s One Man Band, provided a beautiful musical feature to the evening as well.

The event was catered by Daniel Strimber of The Main Ingredient. Mr. Strimber and his staff truly provided a delicious Melava Malka to those attending.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Landy called it, “… a tremendously inspiring event. The large turnout… their enthusiasm was felt throughout the room and throughout the evening, and it was a great thing to be a part of.”

How big was the crowd? To put it in perspective, at Hatzolah’s first major event, collaborating with Bikur Cholim on a Health and Safety Fair last year, attendees said it was the best-attended program in the history of the Passaic/Clifton Jewish community. The organizers of the Melave Malka managed to still beat expectations, and set the bar higher in community-wide event planning.

Some attendees were surprised at the impact of Hatzolah. “I learned… about how fast their response were, and that they are quicker than 911,” said Daniel Trief, a local lawyer. “Although I knew they were good, I didn’t know they were that efficient.” Mr. Trief was referring to Hatzolah’s response time of less than two minutes, mentioned in Mr. Matyjewicz’s presentation. Dan’s wife Zeldie, was also surprised at how the organization runs. “I’m impressed by the whole event. I didn’t know it was all volunteer, and they don’t get paid. Wow, it’s amazing.” Mr. Trief added, “Hatzolah is one of these things that you take for granted, you don’t really think too much about them. You don’t think about making out a check to them, and you don’t really realize that they need funds too. The fact that they reached out to the community like that to let them know that they needed funds is going to greatly enhance them as well as the community.”

What does this event demonstrate about the relationship between Hatzolah and the community? The organization is now about 16 months old and the level of community participation demonstrates that the yidden of Passaic and Clifton , as a community, completely support Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton, and desire it to be successful. It was truly an evening of achdus and support for the community’s Hatzolah.