September 25 marked the beginning of a new era for Hatzalah of Newark. Responding to the increasing needs of the community at large, Hatzalah of Newark has been renamed Hatzalah of Essex County. To fulfill its expanding service area, it has purchased a state-of-the-art ambulance, which was generously sponsored by Yanky Tauber in memory of the Skuliner Rebbe.
The Hatzalah of Essex County branch was founded by Dr. Nathan Zemel. Speaking with The Jewish Link, he discussed its creation while also touching on what the new ambulance means for the organization moving forward.
“We felt that there was a need to open up such a Hatzalah because there are a lot of Jewish people who work in Newark, and they are accustomed to a certain level of EMS care, and we found the offerings to be lacking,” Dr. Zemel shared. “It dawned on me, after being a medical director in a different Hatzalah, that we needed to start one in Newark. As a lifelong resident of Newark, I felt a responsibility to do what I could to provide that level of service. Our staff is entirely made up of volunteers who have dedicated their time and effort to help the community, and the new ambulance will allow them to reach even more people in need. It’s a really big deal for us and is really going to help out and make a difference.”
Hatzalah of Essex County prides itself on its rapid response time. The name change and expansion plans were precipitated by the fact that the Newark branch felt it had grown to the point where it was being called upon to provide services beyond its initial catchment area.
“When we started out, our area was Newark,” Dr. Zemel continued, “but we realized some of the calls we were getting were for areas outside of the town. The name change is meant to reflect how we are available to those broader townships, and for me I feel it really goes to show how far we’ve come since we first started out. Our Hatzalah is growing, and the fact that we’re moving beyond what we first envisioned means more opportunity to help out. It makes everything we’ve been working on all the more worthwhile.”
The event featured a slew of prominent speakers, including Councilman Luis Quintana, Captain John Chrystal III, Captain Gary Vickers of the Newark Police Department and others, and served to honor the various volunteers who make up the branch.
Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at www.adamssoapbox.com.