Uri Lupolianski, a high school teacher, came to Jerusalem in the late 70’s. Soon after, with Jerusalem’s colder winters, one of his children was in need of a vaporizer. Uri’s wife, Michal, borrowed a vaporizer from a neighbour, as they were difficult to find at the time. When Uri realized that many children had respiratory illnesses during the winter and there was a need for vaporizers, he managed to buy a few to loan to others in need. This was the beginning of the gemach (free-loan service) in his apartment.
As is with word of mouth, people learned of this new service and began to bring their appliances such as crutches, walkers and more. It wasn’t long and the apartment could not sustain the amount of equipment! Uri’s father, Ya’acov Lupolianski, became an angel investor and with the guidance of Kalman Mann, the director general of the Hadassah Medical Centre, Lupolianski incorporated his fledgling venture as a nationwide non-profit in 1976.
Yad Sarah (Hebrew for “Memorial to Sarah”) was the name of the new organization named after his late grandmother who was killed in the Holocaust. Next Lupolianski was offered space in a local Jerusalem hospital to house the equipment he had and purchased. He was fortunate for there was no lack of volunteers. In order to manage the return of the loaned equipment, a small deposit was requested, which was refunded upon return of the device.