Do you know when you plan something out scrupulously, down to the smallest detail, and all of a sudden the door to success slams in your face? If you answered no, then I wonder what planet you’re on and how do I get there? If you answered yes, then you will probably enjoy this incredible story.
Behold, the tale of the Million Dollar Miracle.
Hi, my name is Adina, and I work for YEHUDI, the most incredible thing to happen to the Jewish world since chicken soup.
How do I know this? Well, I make a mean chicken soup so that should be enough credibility for now.
But the story isn’t about me at all. In fact, I was very much on the sidelines watching an incredible drama unfold. And it all started with the Day of Inspiration and the launch of the Million Dollar Campaign.
The YEHUDI Million Dollar Campaign was launched on Oct 9th at 11am. It was an ambitious goal to raise over 80% of the $1.2 million YEHUDI operating budget in only 24 hours. Every donation to be made on the day was to be QUADRUPLED by generous YEHUDI matchers. Seems dreamy, right? Well, the only catch was; it was an all-or-nothing campaign. If YEHUDI failed to raise the full $1 million within the 24 hour period, ALL the funds raised would be returned to the donors and the matchers would be relieved of any obligations. It was a risk, but we worked months in advance and we mapped out a flawless plan to make it all happen.
The campaign got off to a great start. A whopping $750,000 was raised in advance as matching funds. All YEHUDI needed to do was raise an additional $250,000 during the 24 period. Over 500 tickets were sold to the YEHUDI Day of Inspiration where the campaign was going to be broadcasted live worldwide and internally on 16 screens around the Hyatt Miami. The YEHUDI Leadership Committee, a team of devoted and talented students and friends, was already in the hotel. The Committee and the YEHUDI team were fired up and prepared to raise the final $250,000 live from the telethon “war room” located on the second floor of the Hyatt.
All details went according to plan. The technology was put in place to broadcast the event, internal screens projecting the campaign were placed all throughout the hotel conference area and the software for the volunteer callers was ready to go. We had mapped out this day for the last three months. We should raise the money by the end of the event for sure. Piece of cake.
And then it happened. At 10:30am Sunday morning, only 30 mins before the doors were set to open and the campaign was set to go live, the internet failed. Despite a team of 8 technicians working tirelessly to get the internet back up, it wasn’t working. The strategy relied heavily on the internet and without internet, 80% of the technology was unusable. Without the technology, how will we raise the money?
We watched as all of our grand plans began to crumble before our eyes.
The day went on with inspiring speakers and magnificent presentations but still no internet, no live feed around the world. Many of the screens went blank. The hours passed, the money came in but not nearly at the speed we expected. Before we knew it, it was 10pm and the Day of Inspiration event was coming to a close. At this point, most of the funds should have already been raised. The screens which should have shown a figure close to $1 million, but only read $400,000! YEHUDI still needed to raise an additional $600,000 and the night was already over.
At that point we realized that our plans were just not happening.
A wise friend once told me a great tip about dealing with major disappointments in life. “Don’t be worried”, she said. “Just be curious. What is Hashem’s plan for you today?”
Now was the time to switch from our plan to Hashem’s plan. We were ready and curious. VERY curious.
And then a small miracle happened.
A philanthropic couple from New York who had never contributed to YEHUDI before, generously agreed that if YEHUDI would reach $900,000, they would give the last $25,000 to be quadrupled to $100,000 and bring us home to the full $1 million!
We felt a small relief but $125,000 in new funds still needed to be raised and we only had until 11am the next morning.
What was Hashem’s plan?
The Red Eye Shift
The YEHUDI team stayed up throughout most of the night in the Hyatt “War Room” making calls and contacting friends and family. What’s one night of lost sleep in the face of the Jewish Future? When it was too late to call people on the east coast, the team started calling people on the west coast. When it was too late to call people on the west coast, we called friends in the UK, then Israel and finally the east coast again in the morning. I was so wiped by the morning, I was delirious and seeing stars.
After an all-staff herculean effort to contact people around the world, the figures on the screens slowly crept up from $400,000 to $500,000.
It was 8am, only 3 hours left to the campaign and at this point we needed a sea to split in order for us to make it.
OK Hashem, you can show us your plan right about….NOW!
The Power of the Jewish People Pulling Together
Hundreds of people from around the world were now tuned in. Would YEHUDI pull through? Will the Jewish people pull through? People started donating twice, even three times, as a last-minute effort to help.
In New York: There was a Rabbi in Queens, NY who was following the campaign. He had never been to YEHUDI nor did he have any close connections. But he loved the Jewish people, and that was enough. At 9am on Monday morning, without even being asked, the Rabbi cleared the next two hours of his schedule and rolled up his sleeves. He reached out to donors from his own organization and contacted dozens of other Jewish Outreach organizations throughout America to do the same. He was lining up credit cards getting ready to process them, all the time keeping one eye on the screen wondering; “What is Hashem’s plan?”
In Israel: A woman in Jerusalem was watching the campaign and saw that YEHUDI needed $125,000 fast! She called her husband who donated and then feverishly called a few of his business partners. He also had one eye on the computer screen and wondered: “What is Hashem’s plan?”
In Florida: At 9:00 am, with only 2 hours to go, four YEHUDI Rabbis piled into a 4-door sedan (cue the suspense music). It was a long shot but they had spoken to a couple who attended the YEHUDI Day of Inspiration just the night before. It was their first time attending a YEHUDI event, but they seemed like they had a genuine love for the Jewish people. They seemed like they really cared. Maybe they could help. The car sped down the highway with the Rabbis feverishly praying in the back seat.
In My Hotel Room: I was on the verge of an asthma attack.
Within one hour, the four YEHUDI Rabbis were seated around the table in the couple’s home. Their business partner was there and the discussions began. They were strong believers in the YEHUDI mission statement of inspiring a movement of meaningful Judaism throughout South Florida, but they felt that their city was being left out. Could YEHUDI begin to provide more programs in their city? How would the programs look? Who could they reach? It was a refreshing shift from urgent money matters to creative strategizing for the Jewish future.
With only fifteen minutes to the deadline, the couple and their business partner excused themselves from the table to discuss the proposition, leaving the YEHUDI Rabbis to wait with baited breathe.
Fifteen minutes remaining. The clock was ticking. Veeeeery slooowly tiiiiiiicking.
I had no idea what was going on, but back at the Hyatt, I grabbed a tehillim…and an inhaler.
With ten minutes remaining, they returned to the table and said the following incredible words to the four YEHUDI Rabbis: “If YEHUDI impacts one life, they haven’t just changed a life, they’ve changed a lineage”.
And with those words, they made a $100,000 gift right there on the spot. The money was instantly quadrupled and the campaign funds went up to $900,000! The $25,000 pledge from New York was processed and quadrupled immediately and that brought the campaign sliding into home base. At 10:55am, with only five minutes to spare, the screens jumped from $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a matter of seconds!
The sea had finally split.
With tears of joy, I, and many people around the world celebrated an incredible victory for the Jewish People. One million dollars towards Jewish outreach and education.
It was a Million Dollar Miracle.
Now that the dust has settled, I’ve had lots of time to think about the series of events on that memorable day. What do we take away from this incredible ordeal?
I personally learned many lessons.
I think Hashem wanted to see how many people would pull together in a display of Jewish unity.
I think He waited until the very last minute, in order to give as many people as possible the chance to squeeze in and be a part of the magic of Jewish outreach.
I think Hashem wanted to push us to the point where we would have to reach beyond our comfort zone and humbly ask someone we barely knew.
I think He wanted for us to put a little less faith in ourselves, and a little more faith in others.
I think He wanted us to put a little less faith in others and put a lot more faith in Him.
When we woke up on October 9th, we had plans to raise money. I think Hashem had other plans.
In retrospect, Hashem’s plan was very clear. It only took 24 hours to figure it all out.
And you know what else? Sometimes, Hashem sets the stage for salvation well before the trouble hits. You might be asking, where did the last-minute donor hear about the Day of Inspiration? He heard about it last year from reading a flyer.
Where did he see the flyer? Someone showed it to him in a random pizza shop.
Why was he in that random pizza shop? Well, I guess he was hungry.
And why was he hungry, you may ask? He must have run out of good ol’ fashion chicken soup.
And that makes the whole story come full circle. Do you want to be a part of the best thing that’s happened to the Jewish people since chicken soup? Contact us at: info@YEHUDI.today and do it today!
If you liked this article, please leave a comment below.