Uriel Vigler

Dropped His Startup to Fight!

When I turned on my phone after Shabbat two weeks ago, I found a message from someone I didn’t know.

“Hi Rabbi Vigler,” he wrote. “My name is Doron Levy. I served in the IAF (combat special forces) from October 8th until a week ago. I’ve just arrived in the city and am looking for a place to stay for a little while. Can you please help me?”

It turns out that Doron and his co-founders have a start-up company called “Colors AI.” They had investors lined up and were preparing to launch, but then October 7th happened. Doron and his team could not stand by; they dropped their business, canceled their meetings, and immediately lined up to volunteer with the army.

They spent the next weeks with their units, fighting to protect their country and their people—fighting for all of us. And all the while, they were being bombarded with calls from their investors wanting updates about the launch. Some understood and some didn’t, but regardless, Doron and his co-founders weren’t going to abandon Israel.

By December, however, they realized that the company would completely collapse if they didn’t come back, so they flew to the US. That’s when Doron messaged me for a place to stay. He came with a vision, but needed help to bring it to fruition.

Knowing Doron and his co-founders dropped their business at a pivotal point to fight for us and protect our Holy Land, I was grateful for the opportunity to repay them even in a tiny way.

Thank G-d, we have an undeniably strong community here at Chabad Israel Center. Because of our extensive work helping wounded Israeli soldiers with Belev Echad, we have an enormous network of volunteers dedicated heart and soul to our brothers and sisters in Israel.

So I put out the request on one of our many community WhatsApp chats. “Does anyone have any leads for a soldier who just returned from battle?”

Within 3 minutes, I had 12 leads! It’s incredible to witness how much people want to help. What an incredible nation we are.

Thanks to the generosity of our community, I had the luxury of giving Doron the best option—an empty studio apartment in a luxury building, donated by the owner to help Doron get settled for the first few weeks.

I also met with Doron and asked him to send me a short blurb about his company. Maybe some of our friends would want to partner with him and help fund it.

I sent it around and—voila!—people were very interested indeed! Turns out Doron and his team have an incredible idea, which you can read more about on their website:

Shortly thereafter Doron messaged me that he was able to close the first round of funding and will be forever grateful to our community!

The third Chabad Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, taught: If you help someone with their livelihood, even a small amount, the gates to the Heavenly Chambers will open for you.
Thank you, Hashem, for giving us the incredible merit of helping a Jew with his livelihood, and thanks to our incredible community for always stepping up.

About the Author
Zimbabwean-born Rabbi Uriel Vigler has been directing the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side of Manhattan together with his wife Shevy since 2005. In addition, he founded Belev Echad which helps wounded IDF soldiers. He has a weekly blog on current events. He is the proud father of eight children (including triplets) and leads a very young, vibrant and dynamic community.
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