It sounded like a typical summer trip the Holy Land for 32 members of L.A.‘s Temple Isaiah, many making their first pilgrimage. They toured ancient ruins and Jerusalem; they hiked and kayaked and floated in the Dead Sea; they visited American Friends of Magen David Adom so some could donate blood. They donated blood? Only in Israel can I imagine vacationers seeing the expediency of rolling up their shirtsleeves and asking someone to needle them.
And they were right. Fourteen hours later, on Wednesday, a terrorist in a bulldozer plowed through Jerusalem’s streets, injuring 66 and killing three.
“We gave blood yesterday,” said Cantor Evan Kent. “How sad that our blood was needed so very soon.”
Organized by the American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) as part of it’s ongoing Sharing For Life blood donation program for Americans in
Israel, Temple Isaiah became the newest of a growing list of synagogues, churches, and a wide range of other organizations that have participated in the last two years.
In 2008, 707 people have donated blood in AFMDA organized blood drives. That represents almost the same amount as donated in all of 2007, and brings to more than 1800 the number who have donated blood via AFMDA since April 2006.
For many, this was their first trip to Israel. Temple Isaiah members will go home and share wonderful stories of their visit. But unlike most, they will be able to share something unique, a first-hand experience in saving lives and witnessing why MDA is behind every headline.
AFMDA has arranged blood drives for tourists on July 8 and 15 in Jerusalem and July 23 in the Krayot.
For information on these, how and where else to donate blood in Israel or arranging a blood drive for your group in Israel, or to interview Cantor Kent or those who donated blood this week, please contact Jonathan Feldstein, Israel representative of AFMDA, at 057-761-4220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about AFMDA and AFMDA’s activities in Israel, please visit www.afmda.org.