Giving back — on wheels
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Giving back — on wheels

Vantage Auto’s Andrew Glaser gives an ambucycle to United Hatzalah

Eli Beer stands between Andrew and Elissa Glaser, who’s holding the Glasers’ son, Asher. The ambucycle that’s en route to Israel is in front.
Eli Beer stands between Andrew and Elissa Glaser, who’s holding the Glasers’ son, Asher. The ambucycle that’s en route to Israel is in front.

You know the old, offensive stereotype about used-car dealers?

Andrew Glaser of Demarest is out to prove it ludicrously wrong.

Mr. Glaser sells more than used cars. His company, Vantage Auto, specializes in “everything car-related, from car leasing to exotic cars to sales,” he said; Vantage has showrooms in Moonachie, Lodi, and Brick. But he also believes — and it’s fair to say that his lifelong immersion in the Jewish world, including Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford through middle school, and then the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union (now the Golda Och Academy) in West Orange for high school, has taught him — the importance of giving back.

Because he grew up watching his parents, Nina and Gary of Oradell, “have always been charitable and generous, and because covid has been really good to the car business,” Mr. Glaser decided “that every time we buy out a lease, we will donate to Hatzalah, and ever quarter we will donate to a charity on a revolving basis. That charity will change, but the leasing always will go to United Hatzalah.”

United Hatzalah is an emergency medical services organization, based in Israel, that brings fast, free volunteer help as soon as it is needed, mainly in Israel but also here in the United States. Its founder, Eli Beer, has put together an organization that matches volunteers with emergencies and has the flexibility and know-how to save lives. One of its tools in the ambucycle, a bicycle-like vehicle that carries medical equipment like an ambulance, but can thread through traffic quickly, like a bike. It’s a brilliant way to bring medical help to people in cities; it can get through traffic jams while an ambulance would still be blaring its horn and blinking its stroke lights at an intersection.

Mr. Glaser decided to begin his quarterly charitable donations with United Hatzalah; he bought and donated an ambulance, for $36,000, and Mr. Beer — who has recently recovered from a nearly fatal case of covid — went to Mr. Glaser’s house to accept the gift.

“We are motivated by knowing that not only are we making a living for ourselves, but we are also literally helping people in life-and-death situations,” Mr. Glaser said. “We know that 100 percent of the money ends up in Israel.

“We would have done it here, but there is so much red tape,” he added. “In Israel, if you have a heart attack, they’re there in 90 seconds. If you have a heart attack in Manhattan, good luck.”

He feels strongly about his obligation to give tzedakah in as big a way as he can manage. “This is the first time I’ve been about to do this,” he said about his ambucycle donation. “I would have loved to do it five years ago. But recently we got to the point where we were about to; we grew the business and were able to carve out some money that we could.

“It is important that you share when you do well,” he concluded. “Giving is an important part of life. That’s something that was instilled in me when I was a child, how important it is to give charity.

“To give tzedakah.”

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