Three Jewish music superstars Avraham Fried, Mordechai Shapiro, and Simcha Leiner wowed the gathered crowd of more than 3,000 people at the annual United Hatzalah benefit concert that took place in Jerusalem’s Binyanei Ha’Uma International Convention Center on Thursday night.
The trio sang some of their greatest hits as well as some new songs which were very well received by the audience, all of whom came out to support the organization and its lifesaving work.
Leiner opened the evening by singing some of his greatest hits. He performed once before at a United Hatzalah concert many years ago. Before the show, he spoke about why doing this show was so important to him.
“I’ve been friends with United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer for many years now and we met and spent Shabbat together a few times throughout the year and have been discussing my participation in the concert,” Leiner said. “We work well together and I believe strongly in the work that United Hatzalah does so I was happy to get the chance to perform here tonight.”
Leiner continued: “The concert is an amazing way to bring together huge amounts of people to support the lifesaving work of United Hatzalah. I feel that United Hatzalah makes each person in Israel feel like there is someone looking out for them and watching their back. G-d forbid, if anything should ever happen, within 90 seconds that person will have a friend, a partner, a sibling there to help them. What makes it more impressive is that you never know who it will be. It might be a friend, a neighbor, or someone you’ve never met, but you know that someone is out there watching your back. I think that encapsulates United Hatzalah better than anything else.”
Mordechai Shapiro followed Leiner on stage and had the crowd jumping in their seats. Shapiro is a return performer from last year’s concert and added to Leiner’s sentiments about why he felt it was important to perform.
“To be invited back to any show is always a tremendous compliment,” said Shapiro. “It is the biggest compliment that one can get as a singer, especially as organizations always want to switch it up and get new faces. I’m sharing the stage with two greats in Avraham Fried and Simcha Leiner, so that is also exciting. Singing to help save lives, what could be better than that.” Shapiro placed such an importance on performing at this concert that he was willing to make a special trip just to be a part of it.
Shapiro came to Israel for less than 10 hours, just enough time to land, refresh, and perform. Shapiro sang a number of songs from his new album “Hakol MiShamayim” much to the crowd’s pleasure.
Headliner Avraham Fried is also no stranger to performing at the United Hatzalah annual Sukkos Concert. Fried has performed at more of the 19 concerts that the organization has hosted, than any other performer in Jewish music.
Fried said just prior to the show: “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve performed for United Hatzalah already. I love Eli Beer. He’s one of my heroes. When he calls, I jump. It’s certainly great to be invited back here and I hope that United Hatzalah has a wonderful success tonight, especially financially because that is what is needed to save many lives. May this be a year of joy for everyone in Am Yisroel.”
The evening was a smashing success with tickets being sold out well in advance of the performance and potential audience members coming to the door trying to get in. The event raised more than $1,000,000.
During the evening, Eli Beer made a special onstage plea, to the gathered crowd and asked for donations specifically geared towards EpiPen auto-injection devices. In response, the audience donated more than 500 sets of the medical devices that can be the lifesaving tool that makes the difference when an EMT comes face-to-face with a medical emergency involving a strong allergic reaction.
“There is a reason why United Hatzalah in Israel is so successful. Because of this concert every year, we are able to equip our volunteers with the proper equipment,” said Eli Beer. “I want to thank all of the supporters and sponsors who helped make this night a reality but especially I want to thank the women who support their husbands, brothers, sons, and fathers who are volunteers, but even more so, the women who themselves are volunteers of the organization and who make the sacrifice to go out and save lives every day. You, together with the donors who are here tonight, are what makes United Hatzalah function.”