One of the most important moments in a Jewish man’s life is his Sabbath Chatan. Arie Jaffe, one of United Hatzalah’s volunteer paramedics has celebrated this special occasion this Saturday in Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue.
He just finished his reading from the Torah and was about to descend from the bimah, hundreds of eyes following every move of his. No wonder – he wasn’t only the future groom, the star of the day, but also the grandson of one of the founders of the congregation and the son of the synagogue’s chazzan.
He could hardly make it to his seat when he felt his MIRS vibrating on his belt, which could only mean one thing: there was an emergency in his immediate neighborhood. The message was followed by shouts from the street. Arie did not need more. Forgetting celebration, hundreds of onlookers and Jerusalem’s biggest schul as it was, he ran out of the building just to find an old member of the congregation lying on the road.
The 97-year-old left the prayer early and was hit by a car while crossing the road with his helper. The helper had time to jump – but the elderly man was unable to follow suit and was seriously injured. „I began to resuscitate immediately and was soon joined by my brothers and cousins – all medics themselves,” recalls Arie. „They also fetched the necessary equipment.”
Following the arrival of an ambulance the man was transferred to the Hadassa Ein Kerem in very serious condition.
According to the tradition followed in the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem, following the „aliyah” of a husband-to-be the gabbai of the congregation wishes good luck to the young man and makes a small speech – addressing the bridegroom and his family. This time though the speech was a bit different, since the addressee was not present. Those, who knew Arie knew where he went to. And knew that there was nothing that could have stopped him.
„It is difficult to describe the transition between standing on the bima, and being showered by candies and standing on the street resuscitating someone just a minute later,” says Aryeh. „But that’s exactly why I am doing it. It is my mission – if I can save a life, I will do it, no matter what. On the other hand I had to promise my kallah that on the day of the wedding my MIRS will be switched off from 3 PM until after the event.”