Foxman Torah Institute, a Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva High School located in Cherry Hill, NJ, would like to publicly announce its amazing gratitude to Hashem and over 1,000 donors for the success of its Charidy campaign. The all-or-nothing campaign lasted just 24 hours, from 1 p.m. Tuesday until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and raised $500,000. Through the help of the yeshiva students, the goal was reached with only 14 minutes to spare.
It was a wonderful display of achdut, dedication and teamwork for all involved. Rebbeim, teachers, students, parents, alumni, board members and friends of FTI all joined together and worked diligently on a common goal. The 24-hour campaign seemed to engender an atmosphere of togetherness and highly positive feelings and energy for the yeshiva by all involved. This was especially true for the students, who felt like they played a significant role in a major accomplishment. Incredibly, this feeling spilled over to countless others who were rooting for the school and following the campaign until the end, with some of them ultimately contributing spontaneously. The camaraderie between the boys, parents and rebbeim was beyond words.
Rabbi Yisrael Davidowitz, Rabbi Chaim Juni and FTI Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Shimon Max secured the matching gifts of $375,000 in advance of the campaign, and Rabbi Baruch Gore, director of marketing, assisted in planning the day and headed the operations room at FTI during the day of the campaign.
The operations room was the hub for uniting the yeshiva around a common goal. Students, parents and volunteers streamed in and out throughout the 24-hour period. Every milestone was marked with a celebration, often with spirited dancing. Each individual was using his own skill set to create movement for the campaign. Each boy was either learning, calling or motivating and, of course, everyone was texting.
Parents, alumni and friends of FTI were a major factor in the success of the campaign. One parent made many hundreds of calls herself, another volunteer sent 750 personal emails. Isaac Mavorah, one of the matchers, and his son Ness teamed up to reached out to all their contacts and successfully raised a lot of money in the final hours of the campaign. Another parent commented on the WhatsApp campaign group, “This is bigger than just my boy (who happens to be doing amazing). This is Big League! I can speak from a community perspective as we have close to 10 boys from our neighborhood who go to FTI! I don’t want to sound like I’m over-exaggerating but I feel that this is a makom Torah that will be at the forefront of producing HEALTHY, normal bnei Torah of the next generation.”
Filming the student-produced videos for the Charidy campaign on Rosh Chodesh Adar was the launching point for the boys to get really excited for it to begin. The boys actively made their own music video as a retake of an extremely popular Meilech Kohn song called “Ve’ahavta.” They did not see the edited final product until campaign morning.
The volunteers who came from outside were also strong; one Cherry Hill native, Ben Nusbaum-Kieserman, came to help out and he made maybe 200 phone calls. Boaz Hamer, an FTI student from Cedarhurst, was the go-to guy and immediately and unexpectedly rose to the occasion and became the right-hand man for Rabbi Gore, assisting with his very structured lists and training the callers who needed a little extra assistance getting past their hesitations.
The campaign inspired a wonderful 24 hours of unity and was a true Kiddush Hashem.