When we were on overseas speaking tours in past years, we were often three generations of men traveling together. People who met us were touched by seeing a family united in service.
Sometimes, that service extends beyond the scope of our own outreaches.
Akiva Goldberg, 15, is the oldest of seven siblings. Several times, he accompanied his father, Gabriel Goldberg, on tours, playing guitar and singing Hebrew songs, but he is also a volunteer with Magen David Adom in Israel (“Red Star of David”).
Founded in 1930, MDA is Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. It is Israel’s largest volunteers organization. In 2006, it was admitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland. (Previously, the ICRC had refused to recognize the Jewish logo, despite already having admitted Egypt and Turkey, who used the Islamic Red Crescent logo, in 1929.)
Akiva is one of MDA’s 26,000 volunteers. Accepted into the rigorous 60 hours’ training program, he now volunteers 17 hours per month as a First Aid Responder. Riding in ambulances and assisting the professional staff, he has already helped paramedics save lives.
Even during his first weeks of service, he dealt with emergencies right away. On his first shift, he helped transport a 97-year-old stroke victim, unable to speak, to the hospital. He also aided a woman who hadn’t taken her medicine and had become violent and suicidal. On another occasion, he assisted with a Russian-immigrants couple and their teenage son, who were in shock after being involved in a two-vehicle collision in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Akiva says he wants to “help and provide comfort” by volunteering for years to come. It’s a laudable way of developing good character as a youth. He is continuing on the path of his great-grandfather, Shaul Nissan Goldberg, whose life principle was to make the world a better place for future generations.