It's hard to believe that it all began with a vaporizer.
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.
This idea of borrowing medical equipment that people would need on a limited time basis grew and more and more branches sprouted up around the country. By 2017 there were 106 branches, with 6,521 volunteers speaking more than 15 languages, servicing all Israelis, whether Jews, Arabs, Christians or Druze. All are served with equal dignity and respect with the goal of returning the client to good health.
Its Guiding Vision is to improve the quality of life for people with special needs. Yad Sarah has a revolutionary service that creates a small hospital in the home, allowing patients to recuperate in comfort, surrounded by their family. In 2017 alone, 8,311 loans of such equipment were made to relieve the stress from shortage of hospital space and staffing. This prevents patients from contamination from other patients, gives them a more restful recuperation and saves the country milions of dollars each year. See our Services Section to see all the amazing work happening within the Yad Sarah organization.