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The Big Apple responds to terrorism crisis in Israel by raising $1.5 million at AFMDA’s New York Red Star Gala

Posted By : Lisa Batchelder December 22, 2015
Ronald O. Perleman; Susan and Herb Donner; Sylvia and Jaime Sznajder; Gaby Ferman Lehrer and Mark R. Lehrer; and Stella Amar-Cohen honored at December 2 fête

Responding to a crisis in which Israelis are injured by acts of terrorism on an almost daily basis, New Yorkers raised more than $1.5 million for Magen David Adom at the Red Star Gala on December 2.

The proceeds will be used for several lifesaving MDA initiatives, including to help build a new national blood center for the people of Israel in Ramla, sponsor ambulances for MDA’s fleet of vehicles, and purchase medical equipment and supplies that are in particularly high demand during this period of increased violence.

From left, Bin, Bloomberg, Lebow, MDA Chief Financial Officer Alon Fridman.

From left, MDA Director-General Eli Bin, Michael R. Bloomberg, honoree Ronald O. Perleman, and AFMDA Chairman Mark Lebow.

“These funds are greatly appreciated by the men and women of MDA on the front lines in this current crisis,” said MDA Director-General Eli Bin, who flew in for the event. “The New York community has always been a big supporter of Magen David Adom, part and parcel to its support of Israel. But, in recent years, that relationship has taken on a new dimension given New York’s own experience with terrorism on 9/11.

“For New Yorkers, the notion of having to combat terrorism isn’t an abstraction,” he added.

The event honored famed businessman and philanthropist Ronald O. Perleman, who was presented with the Humanitarian of the Year Award by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; Gaby Ferman Lehrer and Mark R. Lehrer, who were presented with the Star of David Leadership Award; Susan and Herbert Donner and Sylvia and Dr. Jaime Sznajder, who were presented with the Jerusalem Award; and Stella Amar-Cohen, who was presented with the Young Professional Leadership Award.

The event was emceed by MSNBC’s Krystal Ball and also featured Ido Aharoni, Israel’s consul general in New York, and Prof. Eilat Shinar, MDA’s director of blood services, who oversees Israel’s blood supply.

Bloomberg, left, and Perelman.

Michael R. Bloomberg, left, and Ronald O. Perelman.

Ido Aharoni

Ido Aharoni.

Mark Lebow, chairman of American Friends of Magen David Adom, said that support for MDA’s work is more urgent than ever, a sentiment echoed by another speaker as well, former Humanitarian Award recipient Meredith Berkman.

“Nearly every day, Israelis are getting stabbed in random, senseless attacks, run over by cars, and shot for no reason other than being Israeli — and I say Israelis, rather than just Jews, because the injured have included Israeli Arabs who were mistaken by their assailants for Jews,” Mr. Lebow said. “But think about how much worse the numbers would be if MDA didn’t arrive instantly to save these innocent people. This recent wave of terror is hard to stop, but the least we can do is help MDA in its effort to keep people alive — often under seemingly long odds.”

Building the new blood center is particularly important, Prof. Shinar said, because the current blood facility for Israel, located in Ramat Gan, is vulnerable in the case of rocket, chemical, or biological attack. The new facility in Ramla will be built predominately underground, reinforced specifically for just such scenarios.

Hananel Alvo, National Board member Donna Fried Calcaterra

Hananel Alvo, National Board member Donna Fried Calcaterra.

The most emotional moments of the evening, however, involved the story of Hananel Alvo, a one-time delivery truck driver who was nearly killed several years ago in a knife attack outside Jerusalem. Grateful to have survived the attack, which severed his carotid artery, and profoundly moved by how MDA paramedics saved his life, Hananel decided to become a fulltime EMT with the organization and dedicate his life to saving the lives of others. The more than 500 people who attended the event were first treated to video about Hananel’s ordeal and eventual triumph. Hananel was then introduced onstage to Donna Calcaterra, an AFMDA board member who sponsors the ambulance Hananel drives nearly every day in his lifesaving mission.

All photos by Michael Priest Photography.

 

From left, Patti Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies; Lebow; Bloomberg; Diana Taylor, vice chair, Solera Capital, LCC.

From left, Patti Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies; Mark Lebow; Michael R. Bloomberg; Diana Taylor, vice chair, Solera Capital, LCC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From left, Jaime and Sylvia Sznajder, Mark Lebow, Susan and Herbert Donner.

From left, Jaime and Sylvia Sznajder, Mark Lebow, Susan and Herbert Donner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stella Amar-Cohen, Lebow

Stella Amar-Cohen, Mark Lebow.

 

 

From left, Mark R. Lehrer and Gaby Furman Lehrer, AFMDA Vice Chair Gershon Trimpol.

From left, Mark R. Lehrer and Gaby Furman Lehrer, AFMDA Vice Chair Gershon Trimpol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From left in back row, EMT Malka Lock, Alvo, Shinar, Bloomberg, event host MSNBC newscaster Krystal Ball, Blood Donor Coordinator Einat Spector, Lebow, Bin, Alon Fridman. Front row, EMT Avi Cobin, Paramedic Mikey Rosen, and former overseas volunteer Chantal Levy.

From left in back row, EMT Malka Lock, Hananel Alvo, Eilat Shinar, Michael R. Bloomberg, Krystal Ball, Blood Donor Coordinator Einat Spector, Mark Lebow, Eli Bin, Alon Fridman. Front row, EMT Avi Cobin, Paramedic Mikey Rosen, and former overseas volunteer Chantal Levy.

Keynote speaker Brigadier General Professor Yitshak Kreiss, former surgeon general of the IDF.

Keynote speaker Brigadier General Professor Yitshak Kreiss, former surgeon general of the IDF.

Former MDA overseas volunteer Asaf Packin, second from left, and his father, Gene Packin, far right, with guests at the gala.

Former MDA overseas volunteer Asaf Packin, second from left, and his father, Gene Packin, far right, with guests at the gala.

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