You might not know who they are but you surely want to hear what they have to say about Boro Park’s most major event of the year!
“It takes a player to shoot a shot but it takes a team to win the game,” says one of the main coordinators of “Stop, Drop and Run”, Hatzolah’s 2016 Auction Event. The Hatzolah of Boro Park Auction is an event of mammoth proportions and the myriad details that go into making it a reality boggle the mind. “The entire operation begins in October,” relates Mr. Yossi Glick, one of the key organizers. “We start right after Sukkos and the work continues until several weeks after the auction. That is almost three quarters of a year of work!”
Mrs. Goldie Gross, another one of the main players, says it would take pages and pages to describe what’s involved on her end. “It begins with contacting vendors and collecting the prizes, on to the massive task of producing the auction book. We need to arrange the set up, coordinate and design all the advertising, constantly coming up with fresh and creative ideas,” she shares. “Every single detail from the honorees to the program, from the sound system to the prize displays… it all needs to be organized and taken care of.”
Mr. Yossi Blumenfeld of GCNY Marketing is in charge of the entire branding and marketing operation. “We develop the official ‘theme’ for the auction,” he explains. “We collaborate with Hatzolah on all the project details, from designing the book to community awareness campaigns, from coming up with strategies to promote ticket sales and taking care of all the advertising. It’s huge.”
“We all work as a team and together we make it happen,” Mrs. Gross stresses. “Yes, we each have our individual tasks but there’s tremendous unity amongst us to carry the burden of the campaign together.”
Indeed it is awe-inspiring to watch it all come together. This year, Hatzolah ushered in a new member of the team, Mr. Meilech Esterzohn, who shares how he is boggled by the sheer magnitude of the undertaking.
Is it a challenge? For sure. “The most challenging part of my role,” says Mr. Blumenfeld, “Is creating the theme, a concept that will be fresh, powerful and adaptive to the Boro Park community.” Remember the “B”? The “Rooms with Heart”? The “Call”? Each was chosen from hundreds of ideas set forth, from dozens of meetings held to make the event the best it could be.
For Mrs. Gross, the most challenging part is being an absentee mother for the two months leading up to the event. “It can be three weeks after Pesach and the only thing I have in my pantry is some leftover cocoa from Yom Tov because I haven’t even had a chance to go stock up my house on chometz items, ” she chuckles.
Mrs. Esther Rosenberg’s role in the whole operation is to coordinate all the financial and technical details. In her capacity, she gets to see up close the tremendous spirit of giving by all the generous sponsors and vendors. “The stores and vendors are incredible,” she marvels. “The prizes they give Hatzolah each year is the backbone of the entire auction. Then there are the vendors who donate the supplies needed for the elaborate set up. There are also all the service companies who are so happy to provide their services; whether it is the company that does the credit card processing or the one who does the phone lines, plus many others. And finally there is the entire army of volunteers who wholeheartedly share their time and expertise. It is truly remarkable.”
Mrs. Blimi Glick, who is a backbone of support for her ever-busy husband throughout the months of the campaign, shares her feelings about the incredible program that Hatzolah features year after year. “I think the best part is the personal stories that people step up to say,” she shares. “When the girls from Ateret Torah came up and sang their song thanking Hatzolah for saving them after their frightening accident several years ago it was so moving,” she recalls. “Moishele’s mother giving public hoda’ah twelve years after her baby choked and she almost lost him was incredibly heartwarming. And when the MC marched up onto stage holding the actual defibrillator that saved a yungerman’s life – wow, was that a dramatic moment!”
“I also think the comedy is amazing!” continues Mrs. Glick. “Although humorous, it’s a deep concept, showing the unnoticed daily heroism of the Hatzolah wives, portrayed in a light, fun way. It’s also a forum for the community to say to “Thank you; we appreciate your sacrifice” to these women, who are also the hostesses at the auction event.”
Mrs. Rosenberg enthuses about the unique door prizes. “It is not something people think about or realize, how much time goes into creating, developing and designing the various games and toys until we hit upon just the right thing,” she says. “Playing and experimenting until the wee hours of the morning is part of the project!” The exclusive door prizes, something new each year, whether it’s a megaphone, a sleeping bag or a play mat, are always a big hit. Someone spent the time dreaming up the idea and then bringing it to fruition. This year’s newest prize is an exclusive adaptation of the famous “Headbanz” game entitled “Hats-olah” and a fun and interactive play mat, as well as more elaborate prizes for bigger donations.
What is their favorite part of the entire event? “Seeing the entire community come out to support Hatzolah,” says Mrs. Rosenberg. “This gives the Hatzolah members much chizuk and makes all the efforts we invest in the event worthwhile.”
Mrs. Gross feels similarly. “I love seeing the throngs of people coming to show their support of Hatzolah,” she enthuses. “It’s overwhelming.”
Mrs. Rosenberg enjoys the thrill of contacting the winners. “Hearing their excitement and disbelief when they are called and informed that they are the lucky winner is such fun!”
Mrs. Gross also talks about the highlights of the event. “The most memorable moment I witness every year is seeing the happy winners come pick up the prizes they won and the smile on their faces as we hand them their winnings,” she shares nostalgically. “There’s a very warm feeling in the room, a feeling of mutual appreciation. We feel appreciation for their support and they in turn feel appreciation for the gifts they are going home with.”
Mr. Glick, an indefatigable part of the auction team, ponders the question. “It’s hard to describe what is the most major thing Hatzolah ever did at an event,” he reflects. “There are too many interesting things to mention. Whether it’s bringing down the president of Swiss International Airlines to the ‘tiny hamlet of Boro Park’ and amaze him with what 180 selfless volunteers do 24/7 and get him to offer his financial support… or bringing down over 17,000 people in three days to show their recognition to the soldiers that are there for them 24/7… It’s all simply amazing.” His favorite part of the event is clear: “It’s definitely the feeling of Boro Park becoming ONE FAMILY in showing their Hakoros Hatov to these Sheluchei Hashem,” he says. “The many volunteers helping out in so many ways, the vendors, setup, promotions, ushers, ticket sellers; everyone is happy to be part ‘of the team’.”
As an active Hatzolah member himself, Mr. Glick gains a unique perspective during the actual event. “This auction event gives people a chance to reciprocate and express their appreciation,” he explains. “During the event, many people come over to share their personal experiences. One special moment I had was when a woman came over to me during the Sunday program. She pointed out her son, a rambunctious young child who was running happily around the hall. She brought him over to me and showed me the mark of his stitches, the only sign of a very serious accident from which he was saved, Bchasdei Shamayim. Such moments are priceless and they keep us going.”
Perhaps Mr. Blumenfeld’s closing anecdote sums it up best. “I remember three years ago, the night of the actual event,” he recalls. “It was 4 am, after we finished wrapping up a very successful auction. I drove home, exhausted to the bone and pining to just fall right into bed and there, right opposite my house, right across the street, I saw flashing lights. Three members were responding to an emergency call right on front of my eyes. I remember thinking to myself, ‘There they go. There they are. The heroes behind it all.”
Auction tickets are available for purchase via the following:
At the Auction:
June 4, 5, & 6
1362 50th St.
Hatzolah of Boro Park
5215 16th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11204