Chicago-Area Lawyer To Climb Kilimanjaro To Help MDA

Operation Climb MDA

CHICAGO (December 14, 2012) — Howard Zavell and his sons are going to help save lives in Israel in a way no one has ever tried: by hiking to the top of Africa’s tallest mountain.

Zavell, a Highland Park, IL attorney, and his two sons, Ben, 12, and Max, 15, are set to embark on “Operation Climb MDA,” an adventure that will take them to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency medical response organization. The Zavells, joined by their cousin James Milin, a social worker from Washington, D.C., will leave for Tanzania next week. For Howard, the trip combines his dream of climbing the famous mountain while also raising money to purchase lifesaving MDA ambulances and equipment.

“The idea arose quickly that we should use this climb to raise money for a cause that we all feel is important to us, to our families and to Israel,” he says. “Any place that needs bulletproof ambulances in order to provide emergency medical care is doing vital and important work. Above all else, MDA saves lives without inquiry into a person’s religion, political background, or race.”

The nine-day hike will take the family through Kilimanjaro’s unique terrain and biodiversity. Once at the summit, Ben is planning to blow the same shofar (a horn used for traditional Jewish ceremonies) he previously blew at Max’s bar mitzvah in a show of celebration and accomplishment.

To make a donation to Operation Climb MDA or to track the Zavells’ progress, visit: or on Facebook:


Magen David Adom provides a rapid and skilled emergency medical response, including disaster, ambulance, and blood services to Israel’s 7.8 million people. The organization is mandated by the Israeli government to serve as the nation’s emergency medical response organization, but isn’t funded by the government, relying on funding from donors around the world. Visit