Meet the Noiman family, where no fewer than 12 members of the family volunteer in Magen David Adom’s Jerusalem Region.
The love story between the Noiman family and MDA started when the patriarch of the family, Zvi Noiman, of blessed memory, began his journey in the medical world as an army medic and instilled in his family the values of providing care and assistance to people in need. Today, the families of Zvi’s two sons and three daughters are dedicated MDA volunteers.
Zvi’s oldest son, Haim (51), was first to join MDA as a volunteer 35 years ago. For him, giving to others is a guiding principle. “Giving and doing for others isn’t just a slogan. It’s a way of life,” he says.
His children are following in his footsteps. His two oldest boys, Or (20) and Shalem (18), volunteer in MDA, and his 12-year-old son dreams of the day he can become a youth volunteer when he turns 15. Or recently completed MDA’s paramedic course while studying in a yeshiva, and then joined the Israel Defense Forces as a combat paramedic.
“It’s a lot of fun and a great honor to be part of a family that gives so much of itself to do good and help others,” says Haim. “My father was an army medic and instilled in us from a young age to do good and save lives. A few years ago, I donated a kidney to someone I didn’t know, and I still serve in the IDF Reserve’s Commando Unit as a medic.”
Haim’s brother, Israel (31), is a senior EMT and has been in MDA for 17 years. He started as a youth volunteer, following his older brother and his late father, and recently became an MDA employee.
“As soon as I was old enough, I joined as a youth volunteer and fell in love with helping others and saving lives,” says Israel. “As a child, I used to see Haim with a medical response bag, running from one call to the next. The rest of the family followed us, and since then, we are one big, happy, lifesaving family.”
Their sister, Shifi Cohen, a teacher and resident of Efrat, also volunteers in MDA. In Shifi’s case, her children became MDA volunteers first. Her oldest son, Ori (21), started volunteering at the age of 15, and was soon followed by his brother, Arbel (19).
“MDA was the topic of conversation for many years at our family table,” Shifi says. “It reached a point where I had to find out what everyone was talking about, so I signed up for the EMT course.
“The family greeted me with a lot of love and encouraged me, and all of a sudden, I was addicted too and started to understand what it was all about. The family helped me study for the exams and improve. My first shift was with my younger brother, Israel, and my son, Ori.
“Every so often I’ll meet another Noiman when I’m on shift, and it’s a very special moment — we meet while doing good for other people and saving lives together. I see my children helping others and I learn a lot from them. It’s a very powerful and empowering moment as a mother.”
“Volunteering as a family makes it a big, special experience for all of us, and also for our patients who discover that we are family,” says her son, Ori. “They are excited along with us. It’s not easy to come back from my military service straight into an MDA shift, but I won’t pass up the opportunity. I’m very proud of my mother and the rest of the family, and these are very special times for us.”
Arbel has been volunteering for almost five years as an EMT. Despite currently being at a pre-army college, he continues to volunteer. Along with his regular ambulance shifts, he prepares and accompanies trainers in MDA’s youth organization across Israel. He teaches first-aid courses to the youth, preparing the next generation of MDA.
Another Moiman sister, Orit Weinberg, has three children who volunteer in MDA: Matanel (25), Adiel (20), and Talia (16). Adiel, who started as a youth volunteer, is in a combat unit in the IDF, but still volunteers at MDA on vacations and weekends.
And Orit’s sister, Yael Bauer, also has an MDA family. Her daughter, Tzipi (17), is a youth volunteer and Yael’s husband, Hanan (38), recently became a volunteer. Hanan, a high school teacher, leads a project where students study emergency rescue subjects. Hanan completed the course with them and volunteers with his students on ambulances.
“People think it’s difficult for us,” adds Israel Noiman. “But we see it differently — as a joint family mission and something to be proud of. Each time another member of the family joins MDA, we make sure to mark the event of another Noiman in the long chain of volunteers.
“We once had a shift with five members of the family, which was very special, and then we went to the hospital to visit my late father who was hospitalized at the time. He was very proud of us and asked to keep up the good work.”