Alex Goldberg has a passion for Israel. He spent a year after high school studying there at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, and his appreciation for the country only grew. He wanted to give back to the land that had given him so much, so after meeting Eli Beer, the founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, he decided to help fundraise for the ambulance corps. United Hatzalah provides fast and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel. “I learned that it cost only $16 to save a life,” he says.
He and his two friends, Aharon Watson and Atara Tennebaum, brainstormed the best way to help, and thus began the first “Race to Save Lives.”
Goldberg spearheaded the effort to organize a board of young leaders to plan the first race, which was held in Israel. Individual runners, many of whom Goldberg recruited, raised money, and sponsors gave donations in honor of the runners. Ultimately the race was a huge success, bringing 500 participants together and raising $200,000 for United Hatzalah. Goldberg and his team repeated the event the next year and raised $250,000.
Recognizing the potential of “Race to Save Lives,” they brought the event to the U.S. last year and raised $1 million from 500 participants and donors. This year’s race takes place June 8 on Roosevelt Island and will include a carnival and fun for all ages.
“Parents, bring your kids, bring grandparents,” says Goldberg. “It’s not just a race, it’s a social event for everyone. We hope to reach $1 million.”
Being a student at Yeshiva University and working part-time doesn’t leave much time for fundraising. But he’s built a good volunteer team. “If it weren’t for the team, it would never happen. I devote a lot of time to it, but it’s all about the team.”
Helping survivors: Goldberg also helps, through the race, to fund the “Ten Kavod” initiative. Hebrew for “give honor,” the project sends volunteers to meet weekly with elderly Israeli Holocaust survivors to help with their medical and practical needs. “In many cases they don’t have the resources to care for themselves, and it’s important for us to give back to these people who helped develop Israel,” says Goldberg.