The Kehillah of Old York Road (OYR) raised $50,000 to buy an ambulance for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service.
The ambulance serves as the organization’s gift to Israel for its 70th birthday.
The story behind the ambulance began “with a joint meeting of the rabbis and presidents of all eight shuls comprising the Kehillah of Old York Road, which I hosted at Beth Am last summer,” said Rabbi Robert Leib, the Kehillah’s outgoing rabbinic chair.
After a presentation by Sharon Schmidt of the American Friends of Magen David Adom, the Kehillah decided to raise money to buy an ambulance for the organization.
“The donations came in all sizes, both big and small,” Leib said. “It’s important to state that the contributions came ultimately from individual members of the Kehillah’s shuls, from in-house fundraising efforts by each shul.”
More than 100 donations were made from people across the community.
Other funding came from Kehillah-wide programming designed to bring the community together while setting aside profits for the ambulance campaign.
“The OYR community is really something special,” Kehillah Coordinator Kimberly Decker said. “I don’t know another community that has done this.
“We took it upon ourselves. We were goal-oriented and we were able to raise $50,000 to do good in the world and help Israel.”
The Kehillah’s community consists of multiple synagogues from Reform to Orthodox that consistently collaborate on events and initiatives, which is rare, she said. “We are working together in a way that every community should be working together.”
In the past, “the main efforts of the Kehillah of Old York Road have been to plan and support events in our community,” according to outgoing
lay chair Janet Wischina, whereas this project was a fundraiser for the good of the larger, international Jewish community.
The ambulance will be presented at Ramah Day Camp on July 25 at its “Yom Yisrael” celebration.
The event is designed to show the children what their community was able to accomplish to help Israel during a day that celebrates the Jewish state and brings cultural and educational programming to camp.
Along with the ambulance dedication, the Kehillah will use a book series titled Avi the Ambulance from PJ Library to teach the campers about Magen David Adom.
Donors from across the Kehillah have been invited to attend the ceremony as well.
The ambulance will be shipped to Israel on July 30.