How NBN harnessed our disappointment from our cancelled Mega Aliyah Event to create the biggest Aliyah event with the largest global reach in our organization’s history.
Plans were in full swing for Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 12th Annual Mega Aliyah Event, which was supposed to take place in Teaneck, New Jersey. Dozens of NBN employees and outside vendors were scheduled to travel to the United States for the Mega, an event which attracts over 1,200 people each year to learn about all aspects of Aliyah, with sessions designed for all demographics. The Mega is one of our most exciting events of the year, with a huge amount of people gathering to concretize plans for making their Aliyah dreams come true. The excitement in the air is palpable, and not only is it an incredible event for the potential Olim, it is a day that our staff works extremely hard to execute perfectly and immensely enjoys once the day finally arrives.
The Mega was scheduled for Sunday March 15, 2020. As the global health crisis began to grow, with heavy hearts we realized that it was time to seriously consider cancelling the event that we and our potential Olim so look forward to every year. We were deeply disappointed to have to let so many people down, and that our hard work would go to waste.
That’s when we came up with our Plan B – a Virtual Mega Aliyah Event. Just ten days before the event was meant to take place, we sprang into action to plan and coordinate a virtual event. We ordered new equipment, learned new technology, and decided we owed it to ourselves and to our Olim to go on with the show.
The night before the event, we were thrown yet another curve ball. Late Saturday night, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu announced that only 15 people were permitted to gather in an office at one time. Following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines of social distancing, we executed Plan C, limiting the staff of the event to only the most essential personnel. In just a few days, with new regulations put in place less than 24 hours before the launch, we managed to put together an event with 13 live sessions via Zoom, where attendees could have all of their questions answered in real time and attracted over 2,500 virtual attendees from 15 different countries! The attendance and participation exceeded our wildest expectations, and the event went off without a hitch. Experts presented on an array of Aliyah-related topics, targeted towards all demographics, and the virtual attendees could choose to send questions to the presenters, or call in questions to our hotline of Aliyah advisors who were standing by.
On Sunday March 15, we turned lemons into lemonade. We gave our Olim an incredible service – something that we strive to do every single day. It was the perfect way to temporarily say goodbye as we locked the doors to our offices, unsure of when we would be back, praying that the global health crisis will soon be resolved. We are continuing to operate as normal, just remotely, and the Virtual Mega was the perfect way to launch our stretch of working remotely – knowing that if we could achieve this virtually, then we can continue to serve our Olim as always, but for now from the safety of our homes.
Didn’t make it to the Virtual Mega?
Check out the sessions you missed and the list of vendors who intended to attend the Mega!