Comedian Jay Leno may have broken a record when he raised $50,000 for Israeli EMS organization, United Hatzalah, in just one minute. The former Tonight Show host also donated $36,000 out of his own pocket to buy a fully equipped ambucycle for the organization to use to save lives in Israel.
Leno’s latest philanthropic pursuits came about at a special concert fundraiser for United Hatzalah at the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday.
Leno performed a comedy set at the event. He then called Eli Beer, founder and president of United Hatzalah, to the stage.
“What you guys are doing is so special I am so proud to be here and be part of it,” Leno told Beer. “I have 117 motorcycles in my collection but none of my motorcycles save lives. I want to donate an ambucycle with all of the trappings.”
The organization says it will put Leno’s name on the new ambucycle. United Hatzalah has a fleet of over 400 ambucylces used by the volunteer EMS organization to provide free treatment to anyone who needs it.
Leno also challenged the audience to join him in supporting lifesaving activities in Israel by donating on the spot to the organization. He said anyone who donated at least $1,000 would receive a free tour of his rare car and motorcycle collection. An additional $50,000 was raised in one minute.
“People want to do good deeds,” said Beer. “So, for those who cannot physically come to Israel . . . but still want to help, the concert was a golden opportunity to come out and support the country while performing one of the greatest gifts of loving kindness that there is, saving lives. What Jay Leno, Lipa, 8th Day and the audience did here tonight is an act of charity that keeps on giving for generations and generations to come.”
In 2013, Beer and Arab-Israeli United Hatzalah-East Jerusalem leader Murad Alyan were chosen to receive the Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East from the New York-based Institute of International Education.
At the end of his set, Leno told the crowd, “See you next year in Jerusalem.” Whether he was just saying the Jewish refrain or actually hinting at another visit will only be known when his plane touches down at Ben-Gurion airport once again.