IT WILL COST LIVES: Why The “Jackson Jewish Volunteer Ambulance Service” Must Be Stopped

As most are already well aware, a group of individuals are launching a new frum EMS squad they have named the Jackson Jewish Volunteer Ambulance Service (JJVAS), after being legally denied the ability to hijack the name “Hatzolah.” Contrary to its altruistic-sounding name, the terrible facts are that the kehilla it ostensibly serves will pay for it in yiddishe blood.

To begin with, the JJVAS is one that was arguably formed out of spite rather than goodwill. Its founder, Yitzchok Birnhack, was rejected from the legitimate Hatzolah branches in Boro Park and Flatbush, and he subsequently laid the plans to open his own emergency service, in what appears to be a swipe at the decades-long establishment that has heroically saved tens of thousands of lives for nearly half a century.

Furthermore, Birnhack’s organization is unfettered from rabbinical oversight, despite its insistence otherwise. When the rabbanim of Jackson, NJ, gathered in June of 2022 to discuss whether a new Hatzolah-esque organization should be opened to service the burgeoning kehillos that call Jackson home, the result was unequivocal opposition to the launch of a new emergency service.

The JJVAS paid no heed to the call of the rabbanim of Jackson, instead relying on the approbations of unnamed and unknown “rabbanim” whose identities are still a mystery to those who could one day unwittingly rely on them.

Moreover, the JJVAS is already notorious for its lackadaisical approach to vetting prospective members. The only qualification that appears to be a requirement is EMT certification – integrity, maturity, professionalism and experience isn’t on its radar. This will result in prohibitively young and immature “hockers” responding to deadly serious and intensely personal calls for emergency assistance.

Most importantly, and as briefly noted above, the JJVAS poses a very real threat to the lives of frum Jackson residents. Firstly, the JJVAS does not have a Paramedic program, nor is it able to have medics in the state of New Jersey, as it has no affiliation with a medic service. When the JJVAS is confronted with a scenario that immediately requires medics, they will have to await backup from Hatzolah of Central Jersey or EMS, and countless patients will inevitably die.

Additionally, Hatzolah of Central Jersey already services the entirety of Jackson. It currently has 30 members – including medics – and 4 ambulances stationed in Jackson alone, not to mention some 200 additional EMTs, paramedics and doctors nearby, and new prospective Jackson members are being constantly vetted.

Opening a second emergency service will do nothing but complicate response times, sow chaos in emergency situations that require order and a chain of command, and as a result, will literally cost someone their life.

Also necessary to take into account is the years of groundwork by Central Jersey Hatzolah to become recognized and understood by non-Jewish emergency agencies in Jackson, including the police and fire departments. Having rogue volunteer ambulance service members insert themselves into emergency situations has the potential to undo and destroy the tremendous working relationship Hatzolah of Central Jersey has formed, enabling them – and only them – to be given priority access to patients in need.

The Jackson Jewish Volunteer Ambulance Service is an illustration of individuals placing their egos over others’ lives, and for the sake of our brethren, it must be swiftly relegated to history’s dustbin.

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  1. Interestingly enough you side with CJ Hatz who won’t give you any news releases. Rather it’s given to the elites and their exclusive first report site to be unamed.

  2. Kudus to Lakewood Alerts for posting this article!! Not sure why other local news sites don’t come out with the same.

    The thought of this going ahead is horrifying!! As a member of a local EMS squad (not Jewish) I can only tell you the respect that Hatzalah has by our local authorities and having these unexperienced people with absolute no proper leadership respond will not only cause deaths but will also cause major damage to the the connections that Hatzalah and local askanim have built up over the years!

    Its time that all our local rabbanim come out with a strong united front against this group of horrible individuals!

  3. This article was written with the articulation ability of a 2nd grader & professionalim of a guerilla super unimpressive

  4. Wow. We are talking about lives and this is an example of a bunch of people I guess on both sides saying you can’t spell, you can’t write. Shame on you all. Time for the Rabbonim to speak out loud.

  5. Boy do I pray that you guys have a Rav approving this article calling a Jewish man out by name. Please practice what you preach and tell us the name of the Rav.

  6. Meh. Based on how the writer was going on about it I was expecting something terrible, when the article got to the point it was way tamer than it was made out to be, it may not be the greatest thing, but it’s definitely not as bad as the whole article claims it is. A hit piece with an agenda. 2/5. Would not recommend.

  7. Once upon a time Lakewood Hatzoloh had its humble beginning, many amateurish and foolish errors happened at its inception. I know I was there. The town of Jackson is not the town of Lakewood; it is much bigger and more spread out. Outside of politics and money, it is probably a good idea to have another VAS. I live far from Lakewood today, I left years ago; but I can tell you that everyone should support the competitive upgrade. There have been changes over the years that many people called dangerous, these changes made Lakewood what it is today. Everyone should support growth and pray for their success instead of childish fighting. It is the squabbling that costs lives.

  8. I live in Jackson and I had to call hatzolah a few times they showed up in minutes with amazing care and professionalism so I’m not sure why your saying it could use competition if its not broken don’t fix it

  9. Hatzola has many different spellings from many different areas. It’s not a hijacking. It has to do with trademarks etc. Stop writing like you know what you’re talking about.

    The fact is, they need people to cover that area. If hatzola of Lakewood currently doesn’t have enough people or whatever that area now is called Central Jersey so that they can feel better about themselves, so then it will take time until people move to that area.

  10. Seems like same argument was used when the Womens volunteer service – Ezras Noshim was started in Brooklyn, “it will cost lives” they claimed. Its Hatzolas big ego and refusal to adapt to different situations that causes so much stife & machlokes that drives others to open their own service.


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