Photo Credit: Based on an image by Ron Almog
Pomegranates and Honey

On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, a woman’s life was saved after she had an anaphylactic reaction to honey and pomegranates. The incident took place in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, as families were sitting down to eat the festive meal of the new year when it is customary to eat many different foods, including an apple dipped in honey (for a sweet year) and pomegranates (so that our mitzvahs will be as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate.

The woman, in her mid-40’s, suffered a severe allergic reaction that developed into anaphylaxis as a result of eating these two special holiday foods, and the family quickly called emergency services to come and save her life.


United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs who live nearby, including Pnina Hadas and Shimon Arama, left their own holiday meals and rushed over to the given address, to find the woman outside next to a car, presumably trying to get to the hospital. The woman was in severe respiratory distress. Pnina and Shimon administered an auto-injection epinephrine device (EpiPen) and followed with oxygen therapy.

“It was incredible. The woman went from not being able to breathe one minute to a few seconds later being able to take in a breath, all because of the epinephrine,” Pnina said. “To save a life right at the beginning of the new year was simply incredible. This is the day that we are judged for life, and I was able to help this woman and be a part of her returning to her family and loved ones. There is no greater feeling than that.”

Pnina and Shimon arrived within three minutes of when they had received the emergency alert from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. Within a few minutes after their arrival, the woman was in stable condition and waiting for an ambulance to take her to the hospital for further care.


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