On 8th December, 100 supporters of Magen David Adom UK (MDA UK), both longstanding and new, came together to hear Virgin Atlantic CEO, Shai Weiss in conversation with Angelica Malin, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of About Time magazine.

Over £110,000 was raised on the night for MDA UK, including an Ambulance generously donated by newly appointed MDA UK Vice President, Judy Saphra. Two premium return tickets to Tel Aviv were also up for grabs, courtesy of the Virgin Atlantic boss, with the raffle proving popular despite current travel restrictions.

This was the first communal event to be hosted at (the newly opened) “Sorting Office” in Temple Fortune.  The room was decorated with the stunning replicas of the Mezuzot that will adorn MDA’s soon to be opened National Blood & Logistics Centre in Ramle. Guests were offered the opportunity to sponsor a Mezuzah towards the campaign.

During his fireside chat with Malin, Weiss discussed what it’s like working with Sir Richard Branson, and what he sees as the future for the aviation industry, specifically Virgin Atlantic. The now London-based Israeli shared how since the pandemic champagne consumption has never been higher onboard their multiple routes, as well as revealing he sent cabin crew to a “cultural experience” of Golders Green before launching the route to Tel Aviv.

On the topic of what he values most about MDA, Weiss told the audience:

“Virgin is red. MDA is red. Blood is red. Blood has no boundaries and no borders… MDA treats everyone equally. It doesn’t care who you are, only if you need lifesaving medical attention.” 

MDA UK Chairman Russell Jacobs welcomed guests and spoke of MDA’s role in the new Middle East. Jacobs told the audience that it is an aspiration for the organisation to be “thought leaders” and “join hands” with the Red Crescent across the Middle East, to achieve one core aim of “saving lives” – together. 

Speaking after the event, Daniel Burger, MDA UK Chief Executive said: “What an honour and a privilege to have been in the company of Shai Weiss this evening. It was fantastic to hear about his personal and business connections with Israel and MDA. It was great to see so many familiar and new faces – thank you to all who joined us and raised vital funds for our lifesaving organisation.”

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