Magen David Adom

Volunteer carrying an oxygen tank

Courtesy: Magen David Adom
the tender age of 26, Yochai P. is already a veteran volunteer. As a young
teenager, Yochai was a steady volunteer in his home [Kiryat Bialik, Haifa]
chapter of Magen David Adom.
Although he was not licensed to
drive an ambulance then, Yochai became an indispensable member of the ambulance
team that answered calls from distressed area residents.

Today, besides his professional duties
as a steward on El Al Israel Airlines, and his volunteer duties as an ambulance
driver in Kfar Saba, Yochai also spreads the word about volunteering for
Magen David AdomMDA program during the summer.
In past years, the program was available only to Canadian youth. It was
the initiative of Elana Kaminka of the Jewish Agency and Eli Yafe
of MDA
to youth around the world. This year, for the first
time, young adults in the U.S. from age 18 will be able to volunteer on a
2-month that opened the program to Americans and youth from all over the
world. “For many participants this is their first independent-living experience,”
explains Yochai.

After an intensive week-long course
in a communal setting, the group disbands to local absorption centers and
interacts with the Israeli volunteers on a one-to-one basis. “The cultural
activities that we offer the volunteers are intense and are meant to build
a connection between them, the country and the people of Israel.” Yochai
points out. “The services of the volunteers are very important to MDA.
Foreign volunteers work only in safe areas, but allow others to save lives
in emergency situations,” explains Yochai.

If you are an independent 18 year
old (or over) and have a working knowledge of Hebrew, this volunteer opportunity
may be your way to help others.

For more information, visit MDA online.


background …

Magen David Adom (MDA) is the Israeli medical care service for times of national
crises. The MDA was founded in the year 1930 in the city of Tel Aviv. It
was founded to help the Haganah force and it consisted of 13 doctors and
one room. In 1931, another group began in Haifa, and in 1934, a group in
Jerusalem was founded. In 1935 the groups united and served not only the
Haganah but also the public.

During the Arab riots (1926-39), the
MDA gave a course to the Haganah in First Aid. During WW II, the MDA helped
the Jewish Brigade when they were in Israel. In 1950, the MDA was declared
by the Knesset [Israel’s Parliament] to be the national medical crises assistance
body. That same year MDA founded a blood bank system.

On a personal note: My great,
great Tante Dora Bar was president of the New York Chapter of MDA in the
1950s. She and her family were great supporters of MDA. They were refugees
and took great pride when they were able to donate an ambulance to MDA.

Historical background contributed
by Benjamin Green, age 12, student
at Bilu State Religious School, Raanana, Israel.

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