This gift is only to be opened in emergencies.
The Garden Jewish Center, a Flushing congregation that is merging with the Bay Terrace Jewish Center, is donating a $125,000 ambulance truck to Magen David Adom, Israel’s only emergency medical response organization.
In order to prepare for the merger, the Garden Jewish Center sold its building for about $3 million and chose to donate a percentage of the sale, which includes the gift of the ambulance truck. There will be a ceremony for the donation at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center on June 29.
“It’s wonderful. We are very happy, because it is something that is needed in Israel,” said Marilyn Bitterman, who is president of the Garden Jewish Center and will be co-president after the merger is complete. “As the rabbi of Bay Terrace had indicated, it’s a gift that we are giving, but we hope that it’s never used.”
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre
The ambulance will be assembled by General Motors in Indiana and shipped to Israel six months following the dedication. It is different than an American ambulance in that it’s narrower to fit smaller roads.
Israel is in constant need of ambulances, a representative of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) said. Every year the organization is faced with replacing nearly 15 percent of its fleet of more than 120 vehicles because the trucks experience significantly more stress and wear-and-tear than most vehicles when serving the country’s 8 million people.
“It’s an extraordinary feeling to save a life in Israel, and with this new ambulance our friends in Queens will be doing just that,” said Gary Perl, the AFMDA northeast regional director. “Plus, there’s the ‘double mitzvah’ of knowing that the [ambulance] was built in the United States by American workers, and will be shipped to Israel to save lives.”