Israeli Psychotrauma Volunteers Aid Pittsburgh Community

“She is a tree of life to those who grasp her, And whoever holds on to her is happy.” Proverbs 3:18 (The Israel Bible™)

A team of volunteers from United Hatzalah of Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Diaspora and the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, is headed from Israel to aid the community and victims of the shooting attack that took place in the Tree of Life synagogue yesterday.

The volunteer team is comprised of members of the organization’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and therapists who plan to assist the families of those who were killed in the attack, the injured and the rest of the community by providing psychological and emotional stabilization and treatment to those in need.

Director of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit Miriam Ballin, who is heading the team said: “We are heading to Pittsburgh in order to treat those who witnessed the attack and anyone else from the community feels the need for our assistance.”

“We will be utilizing techniques and tools that we have developed here in Israel and have proven to be highly successful in assisting those who have suffered from similar incidents here,” she added.

“Additionally, we hope that our work will give the community a sense of solidarity on behalf of the people of Israel.”

A representative of Magen David Adom, Israel’s government-mandated national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service, reported to Breaking Israel News that its American subsidiary American Friends of Magen David Adom has offered support and is currently in contact with the community and Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh. “Magen David Adom in Israel stands with the Pittsburgh Community,” said a representative of the international relations department.

MDA employees and volunteers stand with the Pittsburgh community (Credit: Magen David Adom)

“The annual International MDA Conference (IMDAC) opened with a moment of silence to honor the memory of those murdered in the horrific anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh yesterday. MDA sends its thoughts to the victims, families, EMS and local law enforcement.”

Both MDA and United Hatzalah continuously support and teach Jewish communities worldwide in order to prepare for and treat such tragic incidents.

“As part of our international operations, United Hatzalah has been involved in disaster relief around the world since 2010,” spokesperson Raphael Poch told Breaking Israel News. “Our teams have provided medical aid in disaster areas in foreign countries that include Haiti, Nepal, Ukraine, the United States, Jordan and other countries.”

With the introduction of their Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit in 2016, United Hatzalah has begun providing psychological and emotional stabilization and treatment domestically and abroad as well, maintained Poch.

“Our teams were very active in both large hurricanes that struck the United States last year, (Harvey and Irma) and we are heading there once again to help the community of Pittsburgh weather this difficult episode.”