Appeal for bloodmobile in memory of Rabbi Sacks raises £35k in first week
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Appeal for bloodmobile in memory of Rabbi Sacks raises £35k in first week

Jewish News teams up with MDA UK to donate a life-saving vehicle in honour of the former Chief Rabbi who passed away earlier this month

Former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, being honoured by his friend Tony Blair at Jewish News Night of Heroes. (Blake Ezra Photography Ltd.)
Former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, being honoured by his friend Tony Blair at Jewish News Night of Heroes. (Blake Ezra Photography Ltd.)

A campaign by Jewish News and MDA UK to donate a life-saving vehicle for Israel in memory of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has raised £35,000 in its first week.

The target is £135,000, which will be spent on the first of a new batch of bloodmobiles to be used to transport teams to collect some of the 1,100 units each day that keep the country’s blood supply full. 

It will be named after the former Chief Rabbi, who was in post was for 22 years until 2013. The bloodmobile will eventually be homed at the new British-funded Blood and Logistics Centre, due to open next year.

MDA UK described Lord Sacks, who died two weeks ago as a long-time “champion” of the charity and revealed £18,000 had already been pledged before the campaign was publicly launched. 

The organisation’s chief executive Daniel Burger said: “Eighty percent of Israel’s blood supplies are collected remotely and the current fleet is up to 19 years old. Some are close to being beyond economic repair.

“In addition, as Israel’s population and tourist population grows, MDA needs to increase its blood inventory in line with this growth and therefore these new vehicles play an essential part in this growth.

Blood mobile

“The immediate response to the bloodmobile campaign has been amazing. Your readers have donated £35,000 in less than a week, leaving £100,000 to go. I’m sure the community’s response across National Lifesaving Day will secure this much-needed vehicle for the people of Israel.”

Former prime minister Tony Blair, who has hailed Lord Sacks (pictured, inset, on the cover of Jewish News’ tribute edition) as “my hero” and enhanced his knowledge about the place of Israel for Jews, told Jewish News: “This would be a fitting tribute to Rabbi Sacks, a truly exceptional man and humanitarian.”

Lord and Lady Sacks with Stuart Glyn, Former MDA UK chairman

A spokesperson for Lord Sacks’ family said: “This is a wonderful initiative and one which is hugely meaningful to all the family. Life is precious above all else, and the idea that any funds raised will go towards pikuach nefesh, saving peoples’ lives, is a fitting way of honouring his legacy.”

This week’s Jewish News front page

The campaign, which includes David Dangoor among donors, was conceived by Jewish News 10 years after the newspaper teamed up with Cockfosters Synagogue and legendary fundraiser Norman Rosenbaum to buy an MDA ambulance. 

By 2017, it had attended 10,733 calls, including almost 8,000 adult emergencies and more than 600 child emergencies. 

The vehicle and crew also helped more than 100 women to give birth.

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