Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard will present a performance in Englewood on December 17 sponsored by Friends of United Hatzalah. (See below.)
The show will benefit United Hatzalah of Israel, a nonprofit emergency medical service encompassing more than 6,000 neighborhood-based volunteers throughout Israel.
A native of Haifa and a veteran of the Israel Air Force, Mr. Suchard, 38, has performed for a wide range of celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kanye West, and Tony Blair, at private and public events, as well as for live and television audiences from Mumbai to Las Vegas.
His audience-interactive show is based on what he jokingly calls “mind-reading, thought influence, and bull——” or, more accurately, “nonverbal communication, reading body language, and psychology.”
Mr. Suchard reportedly agreed to headline the UH fundraiser because he is impressed with the way it operates; the services trains volunteer first responders who can arrive at the scene of an emergency in their immediate vicinity within three minutes. The volunteers begin assessing the situation and providing care before the ambulance service arrives, and then they continue assisting as needed.
The model has been so successful in Israel since its founding in 2006 that it’s been exported to communities including Jersey City and most recently to Englewood.
“Hatzalah” means “rescue” in Hebrew. While many large Jewish communities in the world have Hatzalah first-responder volunteer squads, they’re unrelated to the United Hatzalah organization, which includes and serves people of every race and religion.
In addition, UH has an international team that has provided rescue assistance after mass-casualty incidents including the Gorkha earthquake in Nepal in April 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti in September 2016. The UH Psychotrauma Crisis and Response Team also has flown abroad to help communities recover after such traumatic events as the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018.
Raphael Poch, United Hatzalah’s Jerusalem-based international spokesman, said that the funds raised at the bergenPAC performance can be designated toward a specific purpose but in general will be earmarked for two campaigns.
“One is our campaign to buy EpiPens for all the medics,” Mr. Poch said. EpiPens are epinephrine autoinjectors to treat anaphylaxis, typically after a severe allergic reaction. “EpiPens don’t come standard with first-responder kits in Israel because they’re expensive and expire after 15 months, but they are important to have,” he said. “We need about 10,000 of them, and they each cost 250 shekels.” (That’s equivalent to about $72.)
Funds raised at the evening at the bergenPAC also will go toward a fundraising campaign to cover the UH annual budget. “In 2018, it was over $20 million just for the Israeli operation,” Mr. Poch said. “We’re almost there for 2019 but we have to make sure we are fully funded.”
Before the show there will be a VIP reception for sponsors. And before that, a private ceremony will mark the dedication of a new ambucycle in memory of Hilda Luria. Ms. Luria lived in Teaneck and died on December 20, 2018; the ambucycle was donated by her husband, David, and their children.
“Hilda was an amazing individual, filled with courage and determination,” David Luria said. They had been married for 64 years. “She was not well for 55 years, from the age of 29. But she was always optimistic and encouraging.”
Mr. Luria and his daughter, Nina Glaser of Oradell, learned about the work of United Hatzalah from a talk that its founder, Eli Beer, gave at Temple Emanu-El of Closter.
Mr. Beer explained that ambucycles enable many UH volunteers to get to emergencies quickly, without having to worry about traffic or parking. Each ambucycle is equipped with a complete trauma kit and advanced lifesaving equipment, sized to fit the two-wheeled vehicle. The organization now has about 1,000 of them in active service, according to Mr. Poch.
“His talk was very moving, and I knew then it was something I wanted to be a part of,” Ms. Glaser said. “I decided to donate an ambucycle for my 60th birthday. I am grateful that as a family, we can donate a second one. This one is in memory of my mom. Unfortunately, my mother took many trips in ambulances, and we thought an ambucycle would be a fitting donation in her memory.”
The dedication written by the family reads: “In loving memory of Hilda Luria, the most kind-hearted, courageous, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, the likes of which there is no other. She was truly an inspiration to all whom she knew. Her attributes — strength, determination, compassion, just to name a few. Our love for her in our hearts will always stay; we proudly honor her memory in this extraordinary way.”
Nina and Gary Glaser’s son, Andrew, and his wife, Elissa, are members of the host committee for the Night to Save Lives.
What: “A Night to Save Lives” with Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard
Why: To benefit United Hatzalah of Israel
When: December 17 at 7 p.m.
Where: Bergen Performing Arts Center, 30 N. Van Brunt St., Englewood, NJ