The days leading up to Shavuos were a frenzy of activity and anticipation for Emet Outreach. The organization embarked on their annual fundraising campaign at a pivotal time in the Jewish calendar, when the celebration of Matan Torah is front and center. It was a moment that was especially poignant for Emet, since the transmission of Torah from their dedicated educators to their committed students happens in real-time each and every day. This year, in these unprecedented times, Emet’s vital work took on even greater significance – and the community responded.
“Emet has been on the spiritual frontlines for the past 16 years, and was especially essential during these months of challenge from COVID,” said Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Co-founder and Director. “We felt an added responsibility to provide our students with the stability of Torah and spiritual guidance during this difficult time. We saw that our strong relationships, which are at the core of Emet, really helped us connect and sustain our programming.”
Since March, Emet hosted over 225 Zoom classes with thousands of participants. Emet’s educators quickly transitioned their college fellowships, men’s beis midrash program and women’s seminary classes to virtual seminars. They also expanded and offered an extraordinary daily array of uplifting and relevant Torah classes to their alumni and the greater community.
It was in this context that Emet decided to hold their campaign. “We originally planned to launch this campaign in March, but it had to be postponed. Deciding when to reschedule was agonizing, given the current climate and the daily personal struggles so many are experiencing,” said Rabbi Rutenberg. “We knew, however, that the power of Torah is eternal and that our students and the community were embracing our programs with vigor. It helped us move forward with sensitivity to ensure that we could continue our mission to help unaffiliated students build Jewish families and stem the tide of assimilation.”
Emet’s campaign was designed to showcase the “Real Emet” and allow the community to experience the organization first-hand with three evenings of inspiring and entertaining programming – livestreamed from Kaykov Media Studios. Viewers were enthralled by words of Torah from Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi YY Jacobson, and Mr. Charlie Harary. There were also amazing musical performances by Avi Peretz and Gad Elbaz. Most importantly, there were uplifting interviews with Emet educators, students, and alumni about the transformative impact Emet has had on their lives.
Ultimately, the campaign’s success was a testament to the achdus of klal Yisrael. There were 1,500 donors, 73 teams, and generous and visionary matchers who made a campaign of this scope possible.
“Anyone who participated in our campaign witnessed that it was literally an uphill climb to the finish. But, throughout the 60 hours, we saw that our students and the community were by our side,” said Rabbi Rutenberg. “We are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support during this challenging time, and it is the greatest validation of Emet’s essential work.”
Emet would like to show appreciation to Kaykov Media and DJ Alex Niyazov for producing such an engaging and energized livestream each evening. Of special note are the generous corporate sponsors – including Caring Professionals, R.Y.S. Drips, ETech7, Island Interior Design, and NYC We Run to You.
For further information on Emet programs and weekly class schedules, visit www.emetoutreach.org.