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WATCH: Fascinating Video About How Flatbush Hatzolah Was Started By Rabbi Hershel Weber

Rabbi Hershel Weber, founder of Chevra Hatzolah was honored by original members of Hatzolah who came together at a Melava Malaka to honor their mentor and good friend.

Rabbi Weber started Hatzalah Volunteers corp. The first of it’s kind and the largest volunteer organization in the world. Hundreds of other volunteer organizations such as Chaveirim, Shomrim, Misaskim, Chesed Shel Emes, and others were all formed out of Rabbi Weber vision of helping a fellow Jew.

Photo-Journalist Shimon Gifter says that “Rabbi Weber felt uncomfortable taking any credit for anything last night. Rabbi Weber was thanking Hashem the entire night and did not use the word “I” for anything.”

Watch the video below, where HaRav Yaakov Bender, the Rosh Yeshiva of Darchei Torah relates how Hatzolah was started in Flatbush. Rabbi Bender was the first member of Flatbush Hatzolah.


Reb Herschel founded Hatzolah in 1969 during a time when ambulances regularly took 20 minutes or more to reach their patients. It started with a few volunteers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who carried oxygen tanks and first aid kits. They had minimal training but maximum motivation.

He got his motivation after a prominent member of the Chasidic Jewish community had a heart attack and died while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. As a response, Reb Herschel decided to start his own volunteer-run ambulance service, which he named “Hatzolah”.

Over time, Hatzolah has evolved from one branch into many affiliate divisions, becoming the largest volunteer ambulance service in the world. Chevra Hatzalah in New York has nearly two thousand volunteer EMTs and paramedics who answer more than 70,000 calls each year with private vehicles and a fleet of more than 90 ambulances.

Hatzalah organizations now function in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and in 10 states in the US: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Hatzalah branches are currently being organized in other states as well.

(YWN World headquarters – NYC)

3 Responses

  1. As I recall, it was the heiligeh Satmar Rebbe, Reb Yoel, who suggested to R’ Hershel Weber the name of the organization. The story is recounted in one of the Maggid books by Rabbi Paysach Krohn. I think its in “The Spirit of the Maggid”.

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