After the Hamas massacres in southern Israel on Simchat Torah, Andrew Glaser of Demarest got on the phone to “anyone I know who has the financial means and the mindset to donate generously” to United Hatzalah, an Israel-based network of voluntary medical first responders.
He didn’t ask anyone how much money they wanted to give. Instead, he asked, “How many lives do you want to save?”
So far, his team fundraising campaign has collected about $400,000, enough to save 800 lives.
“United Hatzalah has determined that $500 is what it takes to save one life, factoring in the medical equipment and vehicle expenses,” Mr. Glaser said.
For the last nearly two decades, the signature vehicle carrying United Hatzalah’s volunteers has been the ambucycle. This is a motorcycle equipped with all the medical supplies needed to begin treatment before an ambulance arrives.
The purpose of the ambucycle is to circumvent traffic during medical emergencies and allow a trained EMT, paramedic, or doctor to reach the scene as quickly as possible. While the organization also has 50 ambulances, it has 1,000 ambucycles and needs more to help transport its nearly 7,000 volunteers nationwide.
Mr. Glaser, a member of the organization’s Tristate Committee and owner of Moonachie-headquartered Vantage Auto, previously donated one ambucycle through his company and another through his family in honor of his late grandmother.
“Don’t get me wrong — there are thousands of amazing organizations, many of which I donate to as well,” he emphasized. “What resonates with me about United Hatzalah is the direct impact we have on saving lives.”
United Hatzalah came to his attention a number of years ago, when his mother, Nina Glaser of Oradell, attended a presentation by United Hatzalah founder Eli Beer. She was so moved by the work it does that she decided to dedicate an ambucycle.
“We did the dedication at the United Hatzalah headquarters in Jerusalem,” her son said. “I was mind-blown by the work they do, and the fact that the volunteers are not just Jewish! Here we have Arabs, Christians, and Jews coming together to save lives, regardless of race or religion.”
The current crisis in Israel has taxed the organization’s resources and put its volunteers into harm’s way. According to a United Hatzlah spokesman, about half of its first responders are now doing shifts in southern Israel.
“When I got a message from United Hatzalah saying they were in desperate need of money to buy ambucycles and medical equipment, I immediately began calling everyone to say it is our moral obligation to help,” Mr. Glaser said. “If we can’t be there, the least we can do is donate to help these volunteers who are literally saving lives.”
“I also want to create a bridge to United Hatzalah and another organization, Israel Friends, so we can receive donated items such as helmets and vests,” he added.
Israel Friends, formed just last week by founders in New York and Los Angeles in the wake of the war, already has chartered two planes for sending military equipment and for flying Israeli reservists home to join the fight.
Mr. Glaser said he was brought up by his parents, Nina and Gary, with a strong sense of Zionism and an appreciation for the importance of giving. He says that donating to Israel now sets an example for the next generation.
“I feel that when you hear people are dying, and United Hatzalah is all volunteers putting their lives on the line to save them, as Jewish people the least we can do is support them,” he said. “If I can’t volunteer myself, I feel a burning desire to help any way I can.”
Mr. Glaser said he hasn’t been to Israel since before covid and is scheduled to go in January for a Jewish Federation of Northern NJ Men’s Leadership Mission. He hopes that when he’s there, he can see the ambucycles that testify to the success of his campaign.
“There’s no bigger mitzvah than saving someone’s life, and I am fortunate enough to be able to get that message out and raise the money to save as many lives as possible,” he said.
United Hatzalah’s founder and president, Eli Beer said, “I want to thank the Glasers, Elissa and Andrew, who have been tremendous partners of ours in saving lives in Israel. The Glasers are a shining example of family giving, and giving of themselves, to make a difference and help others both in their community and in Israel. Their donation at this time will result in United Hatzalah being able to restock our depleted medical supplies and save many more lives in the weeks to come.”
“Andrew has always been an amazing advocate for United Hatzalah, but when this war broke out, it was as if he was on the frontlines in his own way, ensuring volunteers and soldiers have what they need, through raising money and getting supplies to Israel,” Mara Soverinsky, New Jersey regional development officer for Friends of United Hatzalah, said. “He is a champion for the state of Israel, and I am proud to work with him.”
To donate, go to https://israelrescue.org/campaign/israel-at-war-2, make your donation, and type Team Glaser in the message box.