Jerusalem’s International Convention Center witnessed a spectacular event as Israeli and American music superstars Ishay Ribo, Akiva Turgeman and Mordechai Shapiro took the stage on Oct. 4, during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, captivating a sold-out crowd of 3,000 people.
The annual concert held by United Hatzalah celebrated the 18th year of operations of Israel’s leading all-volunteer emergency medical service organization. The number 18—the numerical value of the Hebrew word chai (meaning “life”)—holds special significance, and the anniversary is being celebrated by the organization throughout the year through events in Israel and around the world.
To bring a fresh vibe to this year’s concert, United Hatzalah featured a lineup including American Jewish pop star Mordechai Shapiro, a returning artist; and Israeli stars Ishay Ribo and Akiva Turgeman, who have gained a substantial following among diverse segments of Israeli society and were newcomers to the event. Notable figures attended, including former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and United Hatzalah trustee David Friedman.
Akiva Turgeman opened the evening with a mix of classic hits and new material. Before the event, he said in support of United Hatzalah’s work: “It’s a great pleasure to sing with Ishay Ribo and Mordechai Shapiro, and connect between the art of music, which gives me strength, and United Hatzalah, which strengthens the Jewish people by saving lives.”
Shapiro said: “We perform in different concerts, but this one is always special for me because it’s for United Hatzalah. They’re saving lives every day, so it’s an honor for me to be here tonight to support this wonderful organization.”
He sang a song in memory of the late Chassidic singer Dedi Graucher, who performed for United Hatzalah numerous times in the past and passed away just a few weeks ago.
Ishay Ribo then took the stage with his distinct style and was met with roaring approval from the crowd. As the event concluded, all three singers united to perform Ribo’s “Sibat HaSibot” song.
Ticket sales will contribute to supporting the EMS organization’s lifesaving activities. Moreover, numerous donation pledges were made during the event including 16 automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Eli Beer, president and founder of United Hatzalah, expressed gratitude, stating: “There is no better way to celebrate 18 years of activity than to spend a great evening with amazing singers and our friends and supporters from around the world, who are the ones who have enabled our activities since the beginning. I want to thank them for choosing to partner with us in our lifesaving mission and, of course, thank our almost 7,000 volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible.”