blog_matani_rubinsteinMatani Rubinstein
Matani, an 18 year old from Melbourne, volunteered for
Magen David Adom. He will study medicine when
he returns home.



2nd July 2015


blog_matani_rubinstein3Well, I guess I just couldn’t stay away. After realising that my favourite driver had a night shift on my last opportunity before leaving Israel, I figured that I might as well join him. Once again, it wasn’t necessarily the most eventful shift, however there were some interesting and unusual cases.

At around 5:30 am, our last call for the night, we were told that a man had got his finger stuck in a suction hose. Not knowing what to expect, the sirens were flicked on and away we went, racing through the now waking-up streets of Tel Aviv. Once we arrived and saw a man looking very glum, clutching a hose connected to a sewerage truck, we began to realize what was going on. The metal hose had split and his thumb was caught inside!

Swiftly, I went for the scissors to cut away his glove, as the firemen fired up their mechanical concrete/steel saw and began cutting the hose, sparks flying everywhere (which was pretty cool). Finally, the man was free, well relatively anyway, as he was still stuck in the hose. But at least it was only a small part and we could take him to hospital.

It smelled and he was in pain, but his sigh of relief once his thumb was freed made the discomfort worth it. Now that his thumb was safe, he began to joke and smile. It was amazing to see that even the smallest act of help and kindness has the power to brighten up the worst of days.

We finished off the shift with a delicious sandwich – after we’d all washed our hands of course. A very nice way to end my experience, surrounded by friends and doing my part to impact the lives of others in the best way possible



2nd July 2015


After my last shift on the ambulance (this time around), a night shift with a non-Jewish Arab Israeli driver, a Jewish Canadian and me, an Australian Jew, an unbelievable mix of individuals, it’s interesting to sit and reminisce on the past month and a half.

What an experience it’s been – immersing myself in the land of Israel, getting to know the people, learning to love the food and adjusting myself to the culture. I’ve met so many new people – those who don’t speak a word of English and with whom I’ve had to learn to connect in other ways, those who are fluent in many languages, worldly and cultured with lots to talk about, and even those who have lived or want to live in Australia with whom I can connect immediately.

It is this that defines Israel and, in particular, MDA – an incredible organisation and institution comprised of different people whose passion is to help others, and who come together to do so. Whilst I know that this time with MDA has come to an end, and the people who I have been volunteering with are all leaving, I also know that I have a place now, in Israel, where I can have a purpose and do something meaningful.

I will be back again.



6th June 2015


I passed the exam – what a relief, and the volunteering has begun.

I’ve labelled my first night shift as “The Night of Uneventful Events”. But it is not as though nothing happened. We had many calls, just that even the most exciting ones quickly became monotonous.

The night began very promptly, arriving at the station early and literally getting straight into the ambulance with the sirens blaring, only having time to check the ambulance on the way to my first call. A man was feeling weak and, before I knew it, we’d already taken him to the hospital for the night.

Then, almost as soon as we returned to the ambulance, I noticed a change in my driver’s behaviour. His mood had quickly lightened and he was quite obviously excited. Zach, my friend and ambulance colleague, and I instantly caught onto his excitement and asked what was going on. An interesting case, a stabbing had occurred in South Tel Aviv. Perhaps this would be our moment to truly help someone in need.

The driver flicks on the sirens, the wailing noise echoes through the empty streets as we soar through Tel Aviv, the city that supposedly never sleeps. As we arrive at the scene the police and other mobile paramedics have already arrived and are surrounding the patient. We grab our tziud (equipment) and hurry over to the commotion. A man is sitting within the crowd and we all look at each other in confusion. Where’s the stabbing victim? Then we see it – the blood. A small cut on the sitting man’s finger – his neighbour has stabbed him in the finger! Whilst in reality it was a relief that the man was not hurt, it was also so very anticlimactic.

All in all it was a great night. The best part was knowing that no one was truly hurt during my shift.

This is only the start – I wonder what the future will bring.



18th May 2015


Two Shabbats in and, whilst sitting on the roof of the Magen David Adom hostel overlooking the beautiful city of Yerushalayim, it’s finally struck me that I’ve been residing in the Land of Israel for the past week and, although I’ve been travelling alone, not once have I felt alone.

What a daunting experience it was, walking up the stairs to the MDA office, not knowing anyone and unaware of the fact that I’d be the only Australian – the lone Aussie, a potential immediate outcast, only to be met by the inviting faces of so many other volunteers, predominantly Canadians, Americans and a British bloke.

blog_matani_rubinstein2I was thrown into a foreign environment with even more foreign people. But I was here on a mission – to give back and influence the much-loved Jewish homeland, and so were they – an instant similarity!

The MDA course has been tough; rigorous and solid days of learning, studying and obviously chilling, a constant influx of new information, a river of knowledge that is literally used to save the lives of others, making the long days worthwhile. With only three more days of the course left, it’ll be sad to part with my new friends and teachers, but it’s the beginning of something new, and I’m excited to live in Israel with a purpose, wearing my MDA uniform with pride and honour, with hands that will be used for healing.

Wish me luck for the exam!