Jerusalem residents, tourists, and visitors all are a bit safer today because of a bank headquartered in Fort Lee.
Cross River Bank, through its Foundation@ Cross River, donated 30 automated external defibrillators to Magen David Adom, Israel’s paramedic and Red Cross service, for placement in public spaces across the capital city.
Cross River doesn’t have banking operations in Israel. It has two branches — one in Teaneck, the other in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
The connection, then, seems obscure until Phil Goldfeder, Cross River’s global head of public affairs, explains the bank’s strong ties to Jerusalem.
“Cross River believes in finding ways to give back to the community,” he said. “And though we are based in New Jersey, we have a development arm with about 180 employees in Jerusalem that builds the technology that we use here in the U.S.”
In fact, this is not the bank’s first defibrillator donation; last year, Foundation@ Cross River was part of a philanthropic project that placed 600 of these lifesaving devices in synagogues across Jerusalem before the High Holidays.
Cross River Bank also has provided an ambulance bay to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, contributed to the Jerusalem Foundation’s program for teaching financial literacy, supported Kamatech “bootcamps” that train charedi women to enter high tech, and donated to the charedi Institute for Public Affairs and the aliyah-facilitating organization Nefesh B’Nefesh.
Many of these contributions are geared toward training and recruiting ultra-Orthodox workers for Jerusalem’s fintech ecosystem, of which Cross River is a part. In general, the foundation invests in education, community, and technology initiatives.
“The goal is not contributing for the sake of contributing but finding ways to accomplish impactful giving,” Mr. Goldfeder said.
“Looking for organizations that have a meaningful impact in their areas is very important to us. Magen David Adom is an organization near and dear to all the communities it serves across Israel, and so partnering with them to enhance their services and expand their ability to save additional lives was an easy choice for us.”
It also was an obvious choice for Gilles Gade, the 14-year-old bank’s founder and chief executive officer. Mr. Gade, who lives in New York, is a trained paramedic and volunteers with Magen David Adom whenever he is in Israel.
“I know firsthand the importance of having the right equipment in critical moments,” Mr. Gade said. “Cross River’s continuous partnership with Magen David Adom for the purchase of smart AED stations will save many lives, thus supporting the residents of Jerusalem for many years to come.”
Mr. Goldfeder said that through Cross River Bank’s “longstanding relationship with Magen David Adom, last year we talked with them and to the Jerusalem mayor’s office to see how we could help, and they suggested defibrillators. When we went back this year, we talked about how to expand that program.”
Jerusalem now has 96 public defibrillator stations enabling any passerby — whether or not that passerby has any medical training at all — to administer life-saving electric shock therapy to people who are suffering cardiac arrest.
Magen David Adom has placed more than 1,000 automated external defibrillators — which each retail for roughly $1,500 — at strategic locations across the country.
The machines are kept secure in bright yellow safes. When MDA is alerted about a cardiac emergency, the caller is directed to the nearest one; MDA unlocks it remotely.
The AED administers electric shocks as needed, determines the rate of resuscitation, and provides clear audio and visual operating instructions in the caller’s specified language — Hebrew, Arabic, English, or Russian.
While first responders and an ambulance are on the way to the scene, they can provide additional guidance over the phone.
“For every 60 seconds that a person in cardiac arrest goes without treatment, the chance of survival decreases by 7 percent to 10 percent,” MDA Director General Eli Bin said.
According to onlinefirstaid.com, when a defibrillator is used correctly and is combined with good CPR, the odds of survival skyrocket from around 6% to 74%.
“The project of placing defibrillators in public places has proven itself time and time again to saves lives,” Mr. Bin said. “I thank Gilles Gade for his continuous support and contribution to Magen David Adom and the people of Israel.”