Stories From Our Successful Campaigns: MyMDband for Holocaust Survivors

Through the years, we have had a lot of successful campaigns on Jewcer. We wanted to share their stories and what they learned while crowdfunding with us. Our next interview comes from Elly Gorodetzer and Gidon Rogers, co-founders of MyMDband. They raised over $70,000 on Jewcer for an absolutely incredible cause: providing free MyMDbands for Holocaust survivors.

1. Tell us about MyMDBand for Holocaust Survivors? What inspired it?

MyMDband for Holocaust Survivors is a project that connects an innovative Israeli start-up with Holocaust survivors in Israel, by granting them with MyMDband’s lifesaving medical bracelets, for free, for life. This is a fully non- profit partnership between MyMDband and United Hatzalah of Israel. There are nearly 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today. Between what they had to endure in their youth and their advancing age, many of them have health problems that threaten their lives. 25% of them live below the poverty line, and many don’t have family nearby to care for them. All of them deserve our help. In an emergency medical situation, every second counts. The time it takes a first-responder to diagnose and render assistance can mean the difference between life and death. We are making it easier and faster for emergency responders and medical professionals to understand patients’ health history, conditions, allergies and medications in seconds. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the survivors of the Shoah. This is our way of giving back.

2. What piece of advice from the Jewcer team stuck with you the most that you can remember?

How copywriting is important to articulate a message properly.

3. How did you promote your campaign? What was the most challenging aspect?

The hardest part is getting people motivated to take action and donate, in a noisy internet and media reality. The Jewcer team, together with other campaign partners, helped us tremendously by demonstrating the power of engagement by their communities.

4. Is there any advice you’d give for those considering crowdfunding?

Piece of advice – always strive to partner with as many organizations who are aligned with your interests, and can facilitate in reaching out and motivating people. So, try to be as “B2B” as possible, and not “B2C”.

5. After successfully getting funded, how have you been using the funds towards your project?

Together with United Hatzala of Israel, we have been going around the country supplying, free of charge, our MyMDbands including professional population of the relevant medical data. We have also been training ER staff in several hospitals to understand how they can provide better care with MyMDband. All of those are documented, among other activities, in our project website.

6. What are your three favorite online or mobile tools that help you run your crowdfunding campaign?

Websites & newsletters for promotion, and twitter for listening.

7. If you had to choose a one-liner piece of advice for aspiring Jewish entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Don’t give up! It’s usually a long journey with great challenges. Cash is king! Always plan your cash flow and adjust wisely as you go.

8. Add a question of your own that we did not ask and give the answer to it…

What’s the next step for this beautiful project?

There’s a big next step, and you can help with a click of a button! We are applying for WeWork’s Creative Awards, in Israel, for a prize of $360,000. This is a huge opportunity for us, and would be happy for any support on social media, and letting WeWork Israel know how much you thing we deserve this grant. Needless to say, all funds allotted to us will be used completely to fund further distribution of our MyMDband medical bracelets to Holocaust survivors, in Israel. Learn more here.

To stay connected with news and updated from MyMDBand, check out their Facebook, TwitterHolocaust Survivors Website, & MyMDBand website.



Technology Works Best as a Blank Communal Canvas

We are Jewish leaders caught in a paradox. The instruments and modalities we are using to reach people to whom we want to connect are becoming so ensnaring and so encompassing that leaders are becoming fixated on the tools, themselves. In all of our attempts to find outreach strategies that work, we are so hungry for “likes” that we are forgetting what feeds the human soul, including those who do not sit at our tables (the fact that we measure outreach by length of “our” tables as opposed to who is not seated at them bears just as much reconsideration).

Technology works best as a blank communal canvas

Technology, for all its attempts to include and speak the language of others, has become deeply rooted in mono-communication, our own communication, that we are trying to keep up an image of “looking” engaging versus keeping our eye on where the community is and isn’t. We try to successfully bring people to us through our Facebook and Instagram feeds, but we so often come up empty.

And yet there is meaningful work being done in many online communities to unhook us from the notion that we should merely be hooking people in. Take a moment and browse the online shelf of and access the multitudes of people’s prayers, intentions and holy reconstitutions of Jewish liturgy and life cycle. As a blog post was titled at My Jewish Learning recently, it is not only about the Jewish holidays, but celebrating “the Jewish intervals.” This provokes the question: what is the method behind our media or, perhaps, more Jewishly, what is the meaning?

I am pleased to not only be part of the RitualWell community, but to also belong to an online Jewish young professionals group, Kitchener Waterloo JUnite, that has gone from being curated by a group of dedicated (and, frankly, amazing) volunteers to being entirely open to all members posting and sharing their needs, as per these members’ requests. Recently, mothers have also reached out, sharing their photos and scheduling meet-ups while other young professionals, including singles, have sought out and found new roommates.

Right here, community is unfolding because we have let go of the tools and let people have a stake in – or, perhaps, merely self-define – a blank communal canvas, from which to create their Jewish life and the life of their community. Those amazing volunteers I mentioned will always be resources and welcome supports for our growing Jewish community, though we have fundamentally changed our response to people, by inviting their participation and input directly. This doesn’t mean we don’t have standards or roles or even ethical responsibilities, rather, we all share the journey of making our Jewish community blossom.

For those of us desperately seeking the right way to engage Jewish community members, the ultimate tool of Jewish communal survival, I’m afraid I can’t provide a solution. But I can share an anecdote from our tradition:

As it happens, the architect of the Tabernacle was neither prophet nor priest. Rather, he was descended from the House of Judah,  a house traditionally associated with Jewish leadership and, later, the monarchy. But this man was no monarch. He was a 13-year-old artisan named Bezalel.  And when Moses tried to construct the Tabernacle in a way that was inconsistent with G-d’s instructions, he kindly pointed this out. For this, Moses called him the “Shadow of G-d.” A 13-year-old showing the way forward to the greatest prophet who ever lived.

If this isn’t a model for meaningful social media use, than I don’t know what is.