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Saturday, January 22, 2022
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I recently heard a great story from Rabbi Duvi Bensoussan titled “the Countdown” about something that happened a few years ago in Los Angeles, California. With the recent surge in Covid cases, it is questionable as to how many will be gathered in New York City Times Square to experience the traditional New Year’s countdown and famous ball drop. Perhaps this story will give new meaning to such gatherings and occasion.

A thriving Jewish day school was centrally located on a busy downtown Los Angeles street. A huge billboard appeared across the street from this school with a highly offensive digital advertisement of a woman barely wearing anything to cover herself. One day, a Sephardic Jew was driving by and noticed the billboard and the fact that it was situated across from the school. He couldn’t get past the vision, and it was bothering him all day until he came up with an idea.

He would call the advertising agency to find out how much he would need to pay to buy-out the billboard. He had $90,000 in his account and was committed to using all his savings to eliminate the ad. After much back and forth, the advertising agency told him it would be $1,000 per day with a three-month commitment to obtain an exclusive on the billboard. He agreed to wire the money immediately if the advertising was removed instantly. The paperwork was signed, the funds were confirmed, and the ad was taken down.

The next day the advertising agency called him to find out what he wanted to advertise. He wasn’t sure what to promote on the billboard and asked the representative for more time. The woman responded that he was really wasting his time and money as the countdown had already begun the day before. He now had only 89 days remaining. Hearing those words, he decided to do just that … he wanted to simply count down the remaining days of his commitment and his sacrifice. He requested that with each passing day, it should simply state “89 days,” “88 days,” “87 days,” and so on until it got to 0. The woman couldn’t understand why he was willing to waste all of that advertising money on something so foolish, but was able to oblige.

After a few weeks, there was a buzz around town with people wondering what the countdown was for. The interest grew with each passing day, until one day, the advertising agency got a call from the local newspaper asking about the ad. They didn’t know what to say, but they related the message to the man. The reporter persisted in pursuing the story, but the man simply said, “it’s a secret.” The media attention made the billboard even more popular, as it soon became the talk of the town and a tourist attraction.

With four days remaining, the man received a call from an executive of Coca-Cola. They didn’t want to know what the countdown was about or what he was getting ready to reveal. With all the attention this billboard was getting, they wanted to take over his ad for 3 million dollars. They wanted to have a huge bottle of Coke with fireworks on day 0 for all to see. He agreed to sell the countdown as long as they continued advertising on that billboard. I’m not sure how accurate this tale is, but it’s one of the best “countdown stories” that I have heard.

The New Year is upon us. There will be many countdowns to new resolves, new goals, and new plans for 2022. We all know how challenging it is to maintain many of the resolutions we make. One thing is for sure: financial “considerations” are on everyone’s list. With the proper financial guidance, you can make a significant impact on your monthly cash flow and your life-of-loan interest that can be life-changing. Don’t miss this opportunity. The days of historically low mortgage rates are numbered.

Tamara Attali, Na’amah Bateman, Gershon Distenfeld, Cy Fine, Zach Fuld, Yehuda Isenberg, Heather Kaminetsky, Charlie Klugmann, Izik Kohanim, Ariella Lasky, David Plotzker, Marc Rosen, Robert Schanzer, Charles Shulman, Josh Strauss, Daniel Waltuch, and Maty Youngewirth.


Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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