• Jodi Samuels

Just Do It



Gavin and I met in Israel 23 years ago, we were engaged 6 months later and have always dreamed about getting back to Israel where our story started. Over the years, we left South Africa, moved to New Zealand, then Australia and finally New York where we lived for the past 13 years. But we never gave up on our dream of going to Israel and were fortunate to be able to spend a couple of months in the summer there for the past 8 years. Then in September several things just suddenly fell into place and the possibility of moving to Israel suddenly was real and immediate. We came back to NY and realized we had a short window of opportunity to make the move. We officially decided September 19 and left October 6. We made a decision and like the Nike slogan “Just Do It” we got into action and made it happen.


I had just been in Israel for 10 days when I asked around what was happening in Jerusalem for the South African Chief Rabbi’s visionary program. After all this was a massive global Jewish unity project with over 30 countries participating and 400 cities. I was so shocked and disappointed to learn that no major events were happening in Jerusalem – the epicenter of the Jewish world.


This was our first week after the chagim, 3 kids starting school and lots if government bureaucracy. I sent an email to about 25 people in Jerusalem that were connected at 5am Sunday morning hoping to get a group together at the 11th hour to have some programming in Jerusalem. I kept pressing send and receive button hoping for excited responses but none came. I realized if this was going to happen then it was up to me – I would need to “Just Do It”.


TG 2 people stepped up to the plate. There was so much stress, learning curve and challenges in planning an event without the language or the network. We had amazing events with 300 woman baking challah at the trendy First Train Station, a big young professional Shabbat dinner and a very special Havdalah under the stars in the Old City. I had some very special people come on board to help us make this happen.


The lesson for me and all of us: Just do It. I did not use my MBA or finance degrees to make it happen. Neither my business experience, resources or established network. I simply put a stake in the ground, set a date and went into action. So often we think about doing something but we don’t make it happen. From commitment comes so many things and you transform from thinking to doing.


In Lech lecha, Avraham was commanded to “go”. Perhaps that’s the Biblical inspiration for “Just Do It”. Have faith and trust in Hashem and then just go into action.


Originally published: November 2, 2014

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