Hallelujah and More

By Phil Brown.

My son Michael Littenberg-Brown is Vice-President of United Hatzalah of Israel (no connection to NY Hatzalah), which does EMT work, especially with minutes-long response time on 1,000 ambucycles (with 6,000 Jewish, Muslim, and Christian volunteers), custom-outfitted motorcycles with lifesaving capabilities.  They’ve added lots of COVID-related work — among other things, their volunteers from across the country went to IDF cemeteries on Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) in place of the family members who couldn’t attend, where they recited the Kaddish memorial prayer for those who fell in battle, placed flowers on their tombstones, and stood in silence to give honor to those who sacrificed themselves for Israel.

United Hatzalah Fundraiser

On Sunday May 3, United Hatzalah had a fund-raising event, opening with Jay Leno, that both celebrated their work and the return of the organization’s founder and president, Eli Beer, from a month in hospital on ventilator.  The whole thing is around 40 minutes (see above) but people may like this short clip, a multilingual version (Hebrew, Arabic, English) of  Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (see below). I never appreciated this song until a few years ago, when my klezmer band — Too Klez for Comfort — played and sang it with many participants at a Thanksgiving interfaith concert/ceremony we do each year with Brookline synagogues and churches. I was crying throughout this song at the event last Sunday. Please give it a listen:

Phil Brown is University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences and
Director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute.

1 thought on “Hallelujah and More”

  1. Hatzalah is a model for how lifesaving work can bridge social divides. I had the great privilege of visiting Hazalah with Northeastern students as part of our Dialogue of Civilization program, guided by Michael. Thank you, Phil, for making the connection to Michael and introducing our community to this worthy organization.


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