How Tzitzis Saved the Life of a Victim in the Tragic Jerusalem Bus Accident

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Photo credit: United Hatzalah

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It is taught to all new United Hatzalah trainees that “A good EMT is one who can improvise in the field when things go wrong.” This saying held true for Shalom Klein, a United Hatzalah EMT who was standing at the bus stop on Shamgar Street on Thursday night with his wife and seven-month-old daughter. An egged bus careened out of control and smashed into the bus stop where he and his wife and their young daughter were standing. Miraculously, Shalom and his family were all okay. Other people were not so lucky.

Shalom quickly took his family to safety across the street and then rushed back to help the injured. “I told my wife to stay here and that I had to go back and help. I didn’t know what the state of those injured in the crash was, but I knew I had to help,” Shalom recounted. “I didn’t have time to worry about getting medical equipment, I just ran.”

Shalom ran back across the street and saw a mother and daughter lying on the ground. They were beyond help. “It was painful to admit but the mother and child were already deceased and I couldn’t help them. I found a young woman with severe injuries to both of her legs. I took off my tzitzit and I tied them around one of her legs as a tourniquet, stemming the blood flow. Another volunteer EMT from United Hatzalah arrived and tied a tourniquet on her other leg.”

Shalom was later in touch with one of the young woman’s family members who told him that while the young woman had lost consciousness in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, the doctors were caring for her, and already prior to Shabbat, she was beginning to show signs of recovery. “The woman’s relative told me that she was beginning to recover and the doctors attributed the fact that she was alive to the tourniquets that were put on her legs.

Shalom reflected on the incident and added, “I never thought my tzitzit would save someone’s life, but they did on Thursday. I am glad that my family is safe, it was an absolute miracle that we weren’t hurt ourselves. The bus careened into the people gathered at the bus stop and it hit people right and left. I believe that I was spared so that I could save this young woman’s life. I was in the right place at the right time to help. I used what I had on me and I improvised just like we are taught in training. Today that lesson saved a life.”