The speedy action of Hachovesh Har Nof, a voluntary first aid
organization, helped save the lives of the toddlers attending
a neighborhood day-care center two Shabbosim ago.
Following instructions of Har Nof's rabbonim, the children of
the day-care center were rounded up from all over the city
and brought to the center, where they were inoculated against
A few days prior to this incident, a two-and-a-half year old
child was hospitalized in Shaare Zedek. When his situation
deteriorated, he was transferred to Hadassah-Ein Karem, where
he was diagnosed as having viral meningitis.
At 8 a.m. on Shabbos, the head nurse of the Jerusalem branch
of the Health Ministry called Hachovesh Har Nof and asked
that all of the sick child's classmates be inoculated.
However, the nurse mistakenly thought that the patient was an
18-year-old-boy. Efforts were made to locate a boy of that
age who had been hospitalized. But it soon became clear that
the meningitis victim was an 18-month-old infant. The head
nurse asked Hachovesh to try to assemble the children by noon
in order to carry out urgent inoculations. "But I don't think
you'll succeed, because it's Shabbos," she added.
The Hachovesh volunteers managed to gain entry to the day-
care center and to locate the enrollment records. It quickly
became clear that some of the children lived in other
neighborhoods: Bayit Vegan, Kiryat Yovel, Pisgat Ze'ev and
Shmuel Hanovi. The Hachovesh Shabbos goy was
recruited, and he, together with his brother, brought the
children from the distant neighborhoods to the center, while
Hachovesh located the neighborhood children.
Before taking this step, the volunteers consulted the local
rabbonim, and it was decided that since there was a 20% risk
that the other children might be infected, it was necessary
to desecrate the Shabbos and inoculate them immediately. At
noon, the regional doctor, the regional nurse and another
doctor, waiting at the day-care center, could not believe
their eyes. All of the children were present to receive their
The children were vaccinated one by one and then sent home.
Children who did not live in Har Nof, and who had arrived
with one of their parents, remained in Har Nof until
motzei Shabbos. Two parents, who had come from Kiryat
Yovel and Bayit Vegan, borrowed baby carriages and walked
home during the afternoon.
The children's parents warmly thanked the volunteers of
Hachovesh Har Nof: Yossi Merzel, Danny Monkotowitz and Moshe
Hershkowitz -- who had been on their feet from 8 in the
morning until three in the afternoon, without even pausing to
make kiddush or to eat -- for their outstanding
mesiras nefesh. They had sanctified sheim
Shomayim before the doctors of the Health Ministry, who
were astounded by the speedy, effective efforts made to save
the lives of the children.