PITTSBURGH – It’s been six years since Jeff and Arlene Berg of Pittsburgh first committed to raise funds for an ambulance for Israel. But now, it’s time for a celebration.
The Bergs and Crossroads Ministries, where they attend church, celebrated this lifesaving achievement during services at the Finleyville, Pennsylvania congregation on September 11. There was also a dedication at Community Day School in Pittsburgh, on September 12.
The Pittsburgh couple and longtime volunteers with the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) started this journey in 2016 on the recommendation of Rabbi Eli Seidman. They wanted to do something to support Israel, and Seidman suggested an ambulance for Magen David Adom (mah-gain dah-veed ah-dome), Israel’s Red Cross and national emergency medical services.
“We want to love the Jewish people,” Arlene Berg offered. “That’s where it started.”
The state-of-the-art life support ambulance cost about $100,000, and the Bergs have steadily received funds from a variety of Jewish and Christian sources—their church and other congregations, the Jewish Association on Aging, the Friends of Israel, plus individual donations from Jews and Christians.
It’s been a labor of love, with sums large and small inching to the goal until final gifts arriving early this year pushed them over the top.
Crossroads Ministries has been a regular yearly contributor toward the cause. For Pastor Ken Barner, the Bergs’ devotion to raising funds for an ambulance struck a chord for him and he convinced the church to get on board.
“Pastor Barner connected with this very early on,” Jeff Berg said. “And he has stayed with it. He has been really burdened to see this happen.”
“We talk a lot about Israel in our services,” Barner shared. “There’s a lot of tension and crisis over there now, and it’s extra special to be part of sending a gift of love from Pittsburgh to the people of Israel.”
While the Bergs were committed to sending an ambulance to Israel prior to the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation synagogue mass shooting in 2018, the deadliest attack ever on Jews in the U.S. spurred them on to not give up. Eleven died in the attack and six were wounded.
“That terrible tragedy made us want to stand with the Jewish people and support them more than ever,” Arlene offered.
“We are so grateful for the steadfast support of Jeff and Arlene Berg, Crossroads Ministries, and the many others who have contributed to this cause,” said Catherine Reed, Chief Executive Officer of the American Friends of Magen David Adom. “Because of faithful friends like these, Magen David Adom can respond quickly to tragedies and healthcare crises with the best medical care available. We are honored to receive this ambulance from the people of Pittsburgh.”
To speak with Catherine Reed, Jeff and Arlene Berg, or Pastor Ken Barner, please contact Clem Boyd, Director of Public Relations for Infinity Concepts, at 724.930.4003.