Magen David Adom has prioritized the task of placing defibrillators in public spaces throughout Israel. Already, thousands have been installed around the country. Defibrillators can be operated without medical training and are intended to save lives in the event of a heart attack until emergency crews arrive.

Now, hundreds of these lifesaving devices have been installed in Jerusalem synagogues just in time for the High Holidays. The operation is the result of a joint initiative by MDA Director-General Eli Bin and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. 

“We thank our partners in the Jerusalem Municipality and distinguished donors,” says Eli Bin. “Hundreds of devices placed in synagogues join thousands of devices we have installed in the public space that help save lives every day. We wish good health and a happy new year to the worshipers in the city, and hope they will not have to use these devices in the future.”

Recently, a 57-year-old man was saved when a defibrillator in the Haganah train station in Tel Aviv was used to resuscitate him after having a heart attack. Had there been no defibrillator, he more than likely would have died before first responders were able to arrive at the scene.

“Every 60 seconds that pass without treatment from the moment a cardiac event begins, the patient’s chances of survival are reduced by about seven to ten percent, and the faster an electric shock occurs, the more likely the patient is to resume cardiac activity,” says Refael Strugo, MDA vice president of medicine.

The project, the first of its scale in the country, was made possible with contributions from the International Fellowship for Christians and Jews and New Jersey’s Cross River Bank. The inauguration ceremony was held earlier this month at The Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the city’s largest and most central synagogue. Now, one week before Rosh Hashannah, hundreds of defibrillators have been installed throughout Jerusalem synagogues.