On November 15, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Tal Cooperstein was rushing to a medical emergency in Bat Yam when a driver struck his ambucycle. He was seriously injured and has a long recuperation ahead of him.

Cooperstein only recently opened a falafel shop in Bat Yam’s industrial zone to support his wife and five children. The accident has put both his family and his business in danger.

Dozens of United Hatzalah volunteers from around the country came to his rescue.

Taking time from their own work and volunteer activities, they organized shifts at Harel Falafel during peak hours for the next two months.

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer signed up to staff the store last Tuesday afternoon.

Beer said: “We are a national network of EMS volunteers that is made up of wonderful people who not only help the ill and injured, but also one another. It is heartwarming to see how fast volunteers from all over Israel signed up to do a shift here at the store and keep it running until Tal is back on his feet. One volunteer who owns a falafel store in Holon closed his own shop to come work at Tal’s for the day. It really shows that United Hatzalah is more than just an organization; we are a family.”

United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer serving up falafel at Harel Falafel in Bat Yam. Photo: courtesy

The fellow volunteers also initiated a campaign enabling people to buy falafel meals online and donate them to soldiers and first responders. Just two hours after the link went live, someone purchased 1,000 portions.

International United Hatzalah Chairman Mark Gerson and his wife, Rabbi Erica Gerson, launched a campaign that will match the first 2,000 portions of falafel purchased for soldiers or first responders.

“Each portion costs ₪20, which means we have the opportunity to raise ₪80,000 for Tal and his family. This is an amazing opportunity for giving,” said Beer as he worked behind the counter.

Cooperstein sent his thanks from the hospital. “We help each other on a daily basis to go out and save lives. Now, they are all banding together to save my business. I am so grateful to each and every one and to the organization as a whole.”