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The Pulse  

The Newsletter of American Friends of Magen David Adom MIDWEST EDITION

Summer Spring 2013 2014 • Issue 1 3

Testifying to MDA’s Most Urgent Need

American MDA volunteers say an ambulance shortage does not threaten just Israeli lives, but also their special connection to Israel and MDA Those ambulances are funded mostly by Americans, who get the satisfaction of knowing they’re performing a kind of “double mitzvah”: the ambulances are made in the U.S. by American workers, then shipped to Israel to save lives. It’s a distinctive cross-cultural connection that volunteers feel as soon as they set foot at MDA. “When you first see all the ambulances, you notice all the Jewish communities that make this network of ambulances possible and it’s remarkable,” says Farahi, who volunteered in 2012 and 2013. “It really is a symbol of the strength of our community.” But that symbol is constantly at risk.

An Urgent Need Daniel Farahi thought it was going to be a routine emergency call. The 25-year-old Reno, Nev., native (pictured, below) was an MDA overseas volunteer working in Israel last summer when his ambulance team was sent to transport an elderly woman to the hospital. When Farahi arrived at the scene, he began gently rolling up the woman’s sleeve to take her blood pressure. “Then, something unnatural appeared. A number, then another, and another. Seven in total,” he says. “I froze. Despite not being my first time meeting a Holocaust survivor, this time was different. I was helping a survivor. And as the ambulance raced toward the hospital, I just took her hand in mine, rubbed her back with the other, and stared in her eyes.” Encounters like Farahi’s — where volunteerism, MDA ambulances, and quintessential “Israeli” experiences all intersect — are unique to MDA. And they may hold the key to ensuring MDA’s unparalleled ability to save lives. MDA’s most popular volunteer initiative is its Overseas Volunteer Program, attracting hundreds of 18- to 30-year-olds from all over the U.S. and the world annually. The Americans who come for the twomonth stint connect instantly to Israel by riding in ambulances and helping Israeli MDA paramedics and EMTs save lives.

Every year, MDA is faced with the daunting challenge of replenishing approximately 12 to 15 percent of its entire fleet of ambulances (more than 120 vehicles). Unlike civilian cars or trucks, ambulances experience significant stress and wear-and-tear from Former MDA overseas volunteer Julia Goldberg will use high-speed maneuvers and the lessons she learned in the back of MDA ambulances the payloads they carry. The in medical school. average life of an MDA ambulance is anywhere from 5 to 10 years, so a shortage could be devastating to MDA’s lifesaving efforts. (continued on page 2)

IN THIS ISSUE MDA in the Philippines ............................................ pg. 3 Detroit Teen Mission to MDA ................................... pg. 6 “What’s Next?” — The AFMDA Lab ......................... pg. 9

(continued from page 1)

“MDA ambulances are like an animal that never gets off the endangered species list; there’s always the fear that there won’t be enough around,” says Yoni Yagodovsky, MDA Director of International Affairs. “The only certainty we have is knowing that we’ll need approximately 120 new ambulances every year to save lives.” An ambulance shortage would have devastating effects for injured Israelis, but also a debilitating impact on volunteers’ experiences and ability to learn from MDA. For 22-year-old former volunteer Julia Goldberg, ambulances were critical learning tools during crises. “One of the biggest lessons I learned from MDA is how ambulances are ‘safe places,’” says Goldberg, who will be starting medical school at New York University later this year. “There were numerous times when patients were at the scene of the incident and scared. Immediately, we would bring the patient into the ambulance to treat them, and once inside, it became a safe place for them and their demeanor completely changed.”

MDA Ambulances: Saving — and Changing — Lives The piercing sound of MDA’s ambulance sirens usually sends people and cars scrambling out of the way. But for overseas volunteers, the ambulance siren acts more as a siren song, drawing Riding in the back of an MDA Mobile Intensive Care Unit in- them to MDA. And spired Catherine Thompson (third from left) to lead a mission once they’re cleared to to Israel and MDA from her hometown of Monument, Colo. ride inside, many say the frenetic pace of ambulance “ride-alongs” revealed fascinating perspectives on Israeli life. “In the back of an ambulance, it’s controlled chaos,” says Farahi. “But there’s something unique about being stuck in such isolation, with people you otherwise would have never met. It was in those moments that I had some amazing and perspective-building conversations.” Catherine Thompson, 44, of Monument, Colo., participated in last November’s International MDA Emergency Medical Seminar after hearing about volunteer opportunities in Israel at her church. As an EMT in Colorado, the seminar was an opportunity to learn from MDA and serve Israel, all at once. Thompson rode in a Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and was awestruck by the small, personal touches many MDA first-responders used during treatment. “The paramedic I rode with in the MICU taught me to learn a little bit of everybody’s languages because it provides a sense of peace to the patient if you can speak a few words in their native tongue,” she said. “That actually happened a few times, and it was so admirable that he had such a caring heart, yet still very efficient.” The MDA experience proved so meaningful that Thompson is now


planning a mission to Israel in November to show her friends the “real” Israel and to donate blood at MDA’s national blood center. And volunteering “You become part of the people at MDA. with MDA is now becoming a Thompson I left my heart there.” family tradition: Catherine’s 19-year-old daughter, inspired by her mother, will travel to Israel this summer to participate in the Overseas Volunteer Program. “You become part of the people at MDA,” Thompson says. “I left my heart there.” Still, the realities persist. AFMDA needs to raise funds for approximately 65 more ambulances to fill MDA’s needs for 2014. It’s a tall task, but volunteers say their connection to Israel is enhanced by — and inextricably linked to — MDA’s fleet of more than 1,000 ambulances. A shortage could sever that connection for future volunteers. Displaying wisdom beyond his years, formed partly from his time with MDA, Farahi says he’ll never look at ambulances the same way. “At first you hear the siren in the street and you can’t help but think that it’s an annoying sound,” he says, reflecting on his time in the back of MDA’s ambulances. “But then you stop and think: ‘What’s going on in there?’” Apparently, more than anyone ever thought. For information on the MDA Overseas Volunteer Program, contact Erik Levis at or 866.632.2763. ■

AFMDA’s Beacon Society Celebrates Ambulance Sponsors If ambulances are the staple of MDA’s operations, then ambulance sponsors are the lifeblood of AFMDA’s work. With that in mind, AFMDA invites you to join its Beacon Society, a new initiative that acknowledges individuals who’ve made saving lives in Israel a reality by sponsoring an ambulance. Inclusion in the Beacon Society has its benefits, including insider briefings and VIP receptions. If you’re already a Beacon Society member and ambulance sponsor, we thank you. You’re a partner in a sacred act: saving lives. What you may not know is that AFMDA needs a lot more people just like you. We hope you’ll consider helping us recruit new Beacon Society members to save even more lives in Israel. For more information about the Beacon Society, contact THE BEACON SOCIETY Bonnie Finley, AFMDA’s ambulance coordinator, toll-free at 866.632.2763 or


MDA Assists in the Philippines In January, Ori Shacham (at left, in white T-shirt) led an MDA delegation to the Philippines to assist with relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Southeast Asian country.

MDA to Dispatch All Israeli First Responders

The MDA team helped organize logistics and delivered food and necessities to distressed residents who were still reeling two months after the typhoon made landfall, killing more than 6,300 people. As Israel’s representative in the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, MDA works to save lives around the world. MDA was the first relief organization on the ground in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and is still supporting efforts there today. MDA was in Japan after the catastrophic 2011 earthquake. And it has been on the ground in Indonesia, assisting the world’s most populous Muslim country. ■

Donate Blood in Israel with MDA’s New English-Language App Heading to Israel this summer and want to help save lives by donating blood to MDA? Now, you’re only a swipe away. MDA’s new English-language app lets you find a local MDA blood donation center anywhere in Israel, track your donation history, schedule appointments, and it even has helpful first-aid videos you can watch on the go. And, of course, there’s a “101” button that alerts an MDA dispatch center in the event of an emergency. The Hebrew version of the app was introduced in late 2013. ■

In January, Israel’s Ministry of Health declared that MDA serve as the country’s official national emergency medical dispatch center for all of Israel’s private first-response organizations, including United Hatzalah (UH). A separate agreement, signed in March between MDA and UH, also requires that UH volunteers be trained by MDA, ensuring the accountability of all Israeli first responders while holding them to MDA’s rigid professional standards. The agreement also guarantees that personal and medical data is retained and safeguarded only by MDA, which adheres to strict rules regarding personal information secrecy. The agreement brings UH in line with the 30 other private emergency-response organizations under MDA’s oversight. ■

Training for an Aviation Disaster In January, MDA’s “Nachlieli” emergency preparedness drill simulated a mass aviation disaster. The successful exercise took place simultaneously at Ben-Gurion Airport and two additional sites, Beit Dagan and Rosh Ha’Ayin. MDA teams conducted drills to emulate treating and transporting wounded victims, and deployed MDA’s advanced Command and Control Vehicle. “The importance of carrying out exercises for these types of events are critical and shows MDA’s full response capability,” said MDA Director General Eli Bin. ■

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Grammy Winner Donates Blood at MDA Jerusalem Station

MDA Provides the Calm After the Storm

In February, Grammy Award–winning country and bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs showed his support for MDA and the people of Israel when he donated a unit of blood to MDA’s national blood reserve.

Before the warmer weather makes us forget about frigid temperatures and polar vortexes, let’s not forget about MDA’s heroic work during last December’s record-breaking snowstorm in Israel. Ambulances and paramedic teams treated 5,200 victims — from newborns to seniors — throughout the country. And MDA responded to more than 10,000 calls in Jerusalem and northern Israel alone.

Skaggs and his wife, Sharon, visited MDA’s William H. Bloomberg Emergency Medical Station in Jerusalem as part of a tour arranged by Heart to Heart, the Christian outreach initiative of AFMDA. ■

MDA Handles a “Ruff” Situation In February, MDA paramedics proved that any life — human or otherwise — is worth saving. MDA paramedic Zer Hirschfield (pictured, in uniform), riding in a Mobile Intensive Care United sponsored by AFMDA national board member Donna Fried Calcaterra, was dispatched to Nahariya, where a man named Gennady and his dog were attacked by another dog.

“MDA teams did the impossible and succeeded in reaching every place and every road, under almost impossible conditions,” said MDA Director General Eli Bin. “We have once again proved that when faced with national crises, we know how to work in the best possible manner and with total dedication.” ■

MDA and the Marathons

Gennady declined medical care, but his Labrador retriever was bleeding heavily and barely conscious. Hirschfield reacted instantly by bandaging our four-legged friend and evacuating it to a nearby veterinarian. Gennady and his dog are now recovering...and Hirschfield is definitely in line for a treat! ■ MDA was ready and on notice during Israel’s two major recent marathons: the Tel Aviv Marathon (pictured) in February and the Jerusalem Marathon in March.



New York Benefit Dinner Serves Up Stars

In December, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Katie Couric, and Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor helped AFMDA raise more than $1 million at its sold-out Annual New York Benefit Dinner at the Lighthouse in Manhattan. More than 400 guests attended the event, which honored Meredith Berkman with AFMDA’s 2013 Humanitarian Award. Dr. Sarah Sternklar received AFMDA’s 2013 Woman of Valor Award.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed December 9, 2013, “Magen David Adom Day” in New York.

Katie Couric shows off a new Mobile Intensive Care Unit sponsored by Shelley and Steven Einhorn.

“MDA’s willingness to help save all lives is something we all should rally behind,” said Couric, who hosted the event. “I’ve built a career on the pursuit of a good story. And in a part of the world that’s constantly producing ominous headlines, I’ve clearly found a positive one.” Bloomberg, whose 20-year support of MDA includes helping finance construction of the William H. Bloomberg Jerusalem MDA Emergency Medical Station, named in honor of his father, presented both honorees with awards. He also proclaimed December 9, 2013, “Magen David Adom Day” in New York City.

Ambassador Prosor surprised guests by coming and paying tribute to MDA and Berkman, a New York–based journalist, philanthropist, and longtime MDA supporter. “MDA is about saving lives in Israel and around the world, no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe,” Berkman

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Some of the biggest names in business and entertainment were on hand to celebrate and promote MDA’s lifesaving efforts in Israel and around the world. Katie Couric (far left) emceed the evening, which also included speeches by (from left) AFMDA National Chairman Mark D. Lebow, Woman of Valor Award recipient Dr. Sarah Sternklar, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Humanitarian Award recipient Meredith Berkman.

said. “It’s an organization that represents the best of our Jewish and human values, at a time when Israel faces existential threats on so many fronts.” Dr. Sternklar, a Manhattan psychologist and Berkman’s good friend and partner in various charitable ventures, dedicated her award to MDA’s first responders.

More than 400 guests came out to support MDA’s lifesaving work.

“They risk their lives; when Israel needs them, when we need them, they are always there,” she said. Industry titans in finance, law, and business attended the dinner, including event chairs Steve Einhorn and Daniel Mintz. Additional speakers included AFMDA National Chairman Mark Lebow; Gaby Ferman Lehrer, an AFMDA AFMDA National Board Members Martin national board member and chair of Cohen and Paula Blaine Cohen (center) are its Northeast Advisory Leadership joined by MDA’s Ya-El Mandel-Portnoy and husband Alon Portnoy. Committee; and Ya-El MandelPortnoy, an Israeli MDA senior paramedic who thanked more than a dozen American overseas volunteers in attendance for working to save lives with MDA in Israel. The 2014 New York dinner will be Monday, December 1. For information, contact or toll-free at 866.632.2763. ■



Heartbeat — AFMDA’s NextGen Community

AFMDA and Detroit Federation Team Up for Teen Mission to MDA

Heartbeat is AFMDA’s NextGen community, where young Americans are empowered to create their own events and initiatives to support MDA’s lifesaving work. See what makes Heartbeat tick on page 9.

In July, more than 100 teens will get a firsthand look at MDA’s lifesaving work when they travel to Israel with the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit Sue and Alan J. Kaufman Family Teen Mission. It’s the teen mission’s first-ever visit to MDA.

On February 7 in Los Angeles, AFMDA Western Region Chair Dina Leeds, along with her husband and regional board member Fred Leeds, hosted a Shabbat dinner at their home in Beverly Hills for AFMDA’s NextGen supporters. ●

Heartbeat’s latest LA event, Swirl & Sip, was held on May 14 at The Cask. Guests tasted wines, sampled delicious appetizers, and flexed their trivia muscles…all to help MDA save lives in Israel.

On June 22 at the Skirball Cultural Center, AFMDA Western Region and Heartbeat will headline a major community emergency preparedness event, including a blood drive and fundraising activities for MDA. ●

Heartbeat launched in San Francisco on May 7 with its kickoff event, Be A Hero Happy Hour, at the Bergerac. A new group of MDA supporters, including (L-R) Phil Dillard, Dylan Tatz, Lior Tamir, and Adam Swig, helped welcome Heartbeat to the Bay Area. ●

In New York, more than a dozen alums of MDA’s Overseas Volunteer Program were honored at the New York Annual Benefit Dinner, including Assaf Packin (at left, with Jodie Weinstein). ●

● On June 1, former MDA volunteer Alexander Gruenstein will lead Heartbeat’s inaugural event in New York City with a group run at the Celebrate Israel Four-Mile Run in Central Park.

In south Florida, Heartbeat continues to solidify its core leadership with events in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale, including partnering on a Yom HaAtzma’ut event at the Michael-Ann Russell JCC in North Miami Beach on May 5. ■ ●


The teens, traveling along with the federation’s Israel overseas staff and Detroit-area rabbis, will visit the William H. Bloomberg Jerusalem MDA Emergency Medical Station. There, they’ll hear about MDA’s work in Israel and abroad, learn CPR basics, and see several of the ambulances sponsored by members of the Greater Detroit community. Visiting with MDA will be a special treat for one of the trip leaders, Danielle Longo, whose family members sponsored an ambulance in memory of her father, Jerry; grandfather Milton; and great-uncle Edward (above). ■

Join Us! Upcoming AFMDA Events Western

■■ Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Community Event: June 22, 2014 For information, call 800.323.2371 or email ■■ Los Angeles Red Star Ball: October 23, 2014 For information, call 800.323.2371 or email ■■ San Francisco Red Star Ball: February 22, 2015 For information, call 800.323.2371 or email


■■ Detroit Celebration of Life Gala: September 11, 2014 Honoring founding members of the Dr. John J. Mames Chapter — AFMDA Michigan Region. Call 877.405.3913 or email for more. ■■ Cleveland’s David Mark Berger Chapter fall event and Heartbeat-Cleveland event: November 6, 2014 For information, call 877.405.3913 or email ■■ Pittsburgh Parlor Meeting: June 22, 2014 Featuring former MDA overseas volunteer Dr. Molly Ainsman Fisher. For more information, call 877.405.3913 or email

Southeast ■■ Aventura, Fla., Diamond Circle Chanukah Gala: December 14, 2014 For information, call 800.626.0046 or email ■■ Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala: February 22, 2015 For information, call 561.835.0510 or email ■■ Boca-Delray Community Event: March 22, 2015 For information, call 561.835.0510 or email

Northeast ■■ New York Red Star Ball: December 1, 2014 For information, call 866.632.2763 or email


Florida Events Sizzle as AFMDA Sets New Records The Celebration of Life Gala in Palm Beach

AFMDA’s Southeast Region shined with a string of record-breaking events in south Florida during the 2013–2014 season. ● In February, more than 430 guests helped Palm Beach Friends of MDA honor philanthropist Lois Pope with the 2014 Humanitarian Award at its annual Celebration of Life Gala at the Mar-a-Lago Club (pictured above). The event raised $1.2 million — including a record six new ambulances and a Medicycle — for The Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala MDA emergency medical services glitters: (L–R) Nili Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, honoree Lois and its new national blood center in Pope, and Dr. Robert Mackler Israel. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak delivered the keynote speech. The gala was chaired by Dianne and Abe Bernstein and Robin and Bob Berman.

● March’s BocaDelray Community Event paid tribute to Eileen and Michael Goldman and raised $800,000 for MDA, including three new ambulances. The St. Andrews Country The St. Andrews Country Club added to its legacy of communal Club community giving when members sponsored three new MDA ambulances. has now sponsored 109 ambulances, making it the most generous group of MDA ambulance sponsors in the world. ● Residents of the Club at Boca Pointe, led by Burt Goodman, dedicated their fourth ambulance in Boca Raton in January. ■

● November’s Diamond Circle Chanukah Gala in Aventura honored Dr. Robert J. Entel, a Clearwater radiologist, and North Miami Beach’s Norman Levine.

In February, the Porto Vita Friends of MDA annual dinner recognized honorees Oscar and Elaine Wasserman for their outstanding commitment to MDA and saving lives in Israel. ●

In December, a weeklong AFMDA concert series featured classical performances by active-duty soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces’ Outstanding Musicians Program. Sydell Miller hosted one of the most memorable concerts at her home, La Reverie. ●

Porto Vita Friends out in force: (from left) AFMDA CEO Arnold Gerson, honorees Oscar and Elaine Wasserman, dinner chairs Patricia and Barry Goldstein

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Sydell Miller (black dress) hosted a unique and memorable benefit concert for MDA featuring active-duty soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces’ Outstanding Musicians Program.


DONORS — IN THEIR OWN WORDS The Pulse’s new “Donors” section gives you space to share what motivates you to support MDA. Send your stories to

MDA Brings Its Emergency Response Stories to Westchester by Noah and Julie Rockowitz New Rochelle, N.Y. MDA has many inspiring stories to tell. Recently, my wife, Julie, and I hosted nearly 40 people from the New York City suburbs of Scarsdale and New Rochelle at our home to hear some of these stories, as related Noah and Julie Rockowitz (at right, with AFMDA Northeast Regional Director Gary Perl) hosted an event by two American overseas at their home where stories about MDA, including volunteers. The evening was their own, made for a memorable evening. particularly meaningful given our own stories and connections to MDA. My late mother, Anna, was a longtime MDA supporter. When my father, Murray, passed away suddenly while on a visit to Israel, she and several relatives decided to memorialize him by donating an ambulance to MDA. The ambulance was dedicated in 2004 at ceremonies in Westchester (N.Y.) and Jerusalem, where my brother and his family live…and two years later, it saw unexpected use.

Former MDA overseas volunteer Tzivia Weiss talked about her experiences saving lives — and delivering new ones — in the back of an ambulance.

Alexander Gruenstein, who is leading an AFMDA delegation at the Celebrate Israel Four-Mile Run on June 1 in New York, told guests about the lasting relationships he made as an MDA overseas volunteer.


When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke in 2006, he had to be transferred by ambulance from Hadassah Hospital to a long-term-care facility. Israeli television broadcast a portion of the transfer, and a number of our family’s Israeli friends were surprised to see, written on the door of the ambulance, “Presented to the People of Israel in Loving Memory of Murray Rockowitz.” Since then, we’ve sponsored an ambulance bay at MDA’s station in the town of Kiryat Gat, where our daughter, Dahlia, volunteered as a camp counselor for Israeli teens.

At the recent event in Westchester, the highlight was listening to Hunter College student Tzivia Weiss and recent University of Rochester graduate Alexander Gruenstein, who both grew up in New Rochelle, share their MDA volunteer experiences in Israel. Tzivia captivated the audience with her vivid descriptions of helping deliver a baby in an ambulance en route to the hospital, as well as racing to an elderly man who was in cardiac distress. Alex focused on the friendships he made with the dedicated Israeli paramedics he accompanied on calls. Attendees were inspired by MDA’s success in saving lives, both in Israel and around the world. But it was the personal stories — and the connections to MDA they engender — that made the evening truly memorable. ■

Purim Becomes a Sweet Opportunity to Give to MDA by Jill Anne Jacobs Newton, Mass. The colorfully wrapped Purim gift bags — mishloach manot — are an annual tradition at our home. This wonderful custom of giving and receiving gifts of food and sweets was a wonderful way to mark the chag after we settled into the Jewish community in Newton, Mass. And our (then) young children loved the goodies! One Purim, a different kind of gift arrived in the mail. Friends had made a donation in our family’s name in honor of the holiday to a Jewish charity. I thought that this was a wonderful way to celebrate the mitzvah of giving on Purim! We always taught our children to give tzedakah on the holiday, and I didn’t have to think long about where I wanted our Purim tzedakah to go.  I had long been a supporter of AFMDA and our children were familiar with the lifesaving services of Magen David Adom. When they visited Israel as students at the Solomon Schechter School of Greater Boston, they could see what their charitable activity had accomplished.
And, if you think about it, what better way to remember the story of Purim? Esther helped to save her people from destruction and, every day, the brave men and women of MDA help to save the lives of the people of Israel. I hope our own children, now young adults, will continue to celebrate Purim by supporting AFMDA in the future and fulfilling the mitzvah of giving on this joyous chag. ■



Periodically, The Pulse will feature a new section called The AFMDA Lab, which highlights new ideas and innovations that AFMDA supporters and staff are using to raise funds for MDA…and raise the bar in Jewish philanthropy.


Our Greatest Assets Are Our People…Right? As a mid-life Jew, what options exist to reignite my Jewish identity and parlay my private-sector experience and skills to benefit MDA and our community? by Cari Margulis Immerman

There is evidence that the Jewish community understands this trend and is acting on it. However, the recent Pew Research Study and others analyses note very significant challenges for the Jewish community: ■■ Decreased institutional affiliation; ■■ Greater giving to non-Jewish charities; and ■■ An environment where talented and passionate professionals

below the CEO or most senior levels are often treated as disposable expenses versus assets to be nurtured and rewarded. Given these hurdles, isn’t it time to re-envision how to recruit, develop, and retain talent? Certainly, organizations often face financial challenges and revenue-to-expense ratios are justifiably scrutinized by lay leaders, donors, industry monitoring groups, etc. But we must address the need to actively invest in human talent strategic initiatives, locally and nationally. The consequences of not doing so are enormous. Cari Margulis Immerman is AFMDA’s director for Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania. Cari can be reached at or 877.405.3913. ■

Cari Margulis Immerman (left) at a recent ambulance dedication with (from her left) Dr. John J. Mames Chapter Michigan Region Chair Manny Charach, ambulance sponsors Don and Esther Simon, and David Mark Berger Chapter President Barry Feldman.

There’s a lot of talk about how initiatives like Birthright Israel and Hillel successfully engage young people and forge greater selfawareness of their Jewish identities while identifying ways to contribute to our communities locally, throughout the U.S., and in Israel. But what about people like me? While I have moments where I feel like a twentysomething, my driver’s license keeps reminding me otherwise. As a mid-life Jew, what are my options to reignite my Jewish identity and parlay my private-sector experience and skills to benefit our community, here and in Israel? For me, the answer has been an “encore career,” or, a professional (for-pay) career in Jewish life. I’m, at my core, a private sector–trained marketing, sales, and brand professional. And now that I’m at AFMDA, I am excited, rejuvenated, and brimming with ideas carried over from the private sector that will help the Jewish people and Israel. It’s a good fit: AFMDA rewards risk-taking and empowers us to innovative in our work. But is the wider professional Jewish community ready for folks like us? And does it understand the value we bring, let alone foster it? A study by the MetLife Foundation states that the private sector correlates 15 to 30 percent of its value as “human capital.” This is seen in the transition from human resources departments to newer models based on “talent acquisition,” “development,” and “retention.”

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Heartbeat: Re-Imagining NextGen by Giving Young People the Power to Support MDA Have you ever gone to a young leadership event for a charity and thought: “I could do something cooler than this”? Then you may want to check out AFMDA’s NextGen community, Heartbeat. This unique initiative offers young people the opportunity to create almost any kind of event they want, as long as it raises funds for MDA. AFMDA helps with some logistics, but Heartbeat gives its members the power to innovate, plan, and execute their own events. You get the satisfaction of knowing your own event helped MDA save lives in Israel! Want to organize a 10K run/walk? Or a professional networking event at a classy venue downtown? Or a Purim costume party? Heartbeat gives you the tools. You get the cred. And MDA saves more lives in Israel. For more on Heartbeat or to get involved, contact Erik Levis at or 866.632.2763. ■


CONTACT AFMDA National Headquarters

Midwest Region


352 Seventh Avenue, Suite 400 New York, NY 10001 Toll-Free: 866.632.2763 Tel: 212.757.1627 Fax: 212.757.4662

3175 Commercial Avenue, Suite 101 Northbrook, IL 60062 Toll-Free: 888.674.4871 Tel: 847.509.9802 Fax: 847.509.9807

National Chairman Mark D. Lebow

Northeast Region

Ohio/Kentucky/Michigan/ Western Pennsylvania 23215 Commerce Park Road, Suite 306 Beachwood, OH 44122 Toll-Free: 877.405.3913 Tel: 216.342.4032 Fax: 216.342.4034

352 Seventh Avenue, Suite 400 New York, NY 10001 Toll-Free: 866.632.2763 Tel: 212.757.1627 Fax: 212.757.4662 Greater Philadelphia Area PO Box 52158 Philadelphia, PA 19115 Tel: 215.947.7007 New England PO Box 600714 Newton, MA 02460 Tel: 617.916.1827

Southeast Region 1900 NW Corporate Blvd., Suite W-310 Boca Raton, FL 33431 Toll-Free: 800.626.0046 Tel: 954.457.9766 Fax: 954.457.7705 Palm Beach 3300 PGA Blvd., Suite 510 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 Tel: 561.835.0510 Fax: 561.835.9410

The Pulse • The AFMDA Newsletter • Issue 3 Chief Marketing Officer: Rob Rosenthal Editor-in-Chief: Erik Levis Senior Designer: Claudia Carlson Copy Editor: Liza Schwartz Levine Layout: Kelly Salvadore


Western Region 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 650 Los Angeles, CA 90048 Toll-Free: 800.323.2371 Tel: 323.655.4655 Fax: 323.655.4659

AFMDA Israel Tel: 057.761.4220

Do you know the story of someone whose life was saved by MDA? Send an e-mail to, with “Newsletter” in the subject line. If you want more updates from AFMDA, please go to and sign up for our eNewsletter.

Chief Executive Officer Arnold Gerson Vice Chairs Daniel Dobin Fraeda Kopman Gershon W. Trimpol Secretary Paula Blaine Cohen Treasurer Donna Fried Calcaterra Audit Chair Mitchel A. Maidman Directors Seymour Brief Martin Cohen Steven Einhorn Annetta Weller Epstein Barry Feldman Neil Fox Jacqueline Goldman Les Handelsman Stuart A. Jackson Barbara Kay Dina Leeds Gaby Ferman Lehrer Ann Lesser Daniel Schwarzwalder


Uniform and safety vest: $430

Communications equipment: $700

Medical supplies: $2,500

Everything at MDA has a Cost. Except a Life. MDA is Israel’s largest volunteer non-governmental organization. And it relies on its 13,000 volunteers to do one thing: save lives. But running into harm’s way to administer CPR or transport a patient to a hospital has a cost. MDA’s expenses range from several hundred dollars for uniforms to several million dollars to help build a new national blood center. But MDA doesn’t have an endowment or government support to fund its operations. So while MDA first-responders concentrate on saving Israeli lives, Americans can ensure they have the means to do so.

Life Support Ambulance: $100,000

Defibrillators (including the Corpuls-3 and Lifepak machines): $3,000–$30,000

GPS navigation device: $3,000

Sarah Klivans (of blessed memory) was always so proud that her niece, retired AFMDA employee Sybil Weingast, worked hard to raise funds for MDA. Ms. Klivans also trusted Sybil deeply, such that, upon Ms. Klivans’ passing, Sybil allocated some of her aunt’s trust to organizations that supported Israel. Sybil honored Ms. Klivans’ legacy by sponsoring an MDA ambulance in her name. “My aunt was a private person, but she’d be very proud to have her name on an MDA ambulance,” Ms. Weingast says. Estate planning is intensely personal, and ensuring the well-being of family and loved ones is a priority. That’s as it should be.  At the same time, MDA supporters like Ms. Klivans also want to ensure Israel’s ability to save lives. They accomplish just that when they join MDA’s Legacy Circle by including AFMDA in their estates. If you’ve added AFMDA to your will, or are considering it, please contact Jeff Lipkin toll-free at 866.632.2763 or so we may acknowledge your commitment to MDA and welcome you into the MDA Legacy Circle.

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LOOK INSIDE... ■A  mbulances are the key to MDA’s lifesaving efforts, but they also help American overseas volunteers connect to Israel...front page.

■ S ee what Katie Couric thought of MDA’s lifesaving work at the Annual New York Benefit 5.

■ Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Lois Pope glittered in gold at the Palm Beach Friends of MDA’s Celebration of Life 7.

The Pulse: Spring 2014 Midwest Edition  
The Pulse: Spring 2014 Midwest Edition