The story that I’m about to tell you took place in the early months of 1988. I was running the advertising department of 47th Street Photo, which was a half-a-billion dollar company at the time, considered the largest photography store for graphic equipment in the world. And it had one of the largest in-house advertising agencies in New York City. We would place hundreds of ads with the New York Times yearly, (at times spending in excess of $350,000 a month!) and, as a result, we had a great deal of clout with them.
One day, I got a phone call from the owner of 47th Street Photo, Reb Chaim Yehuda Goldstein, asking me to assist Chabad Lubavitch with ad placement. He said, “Please help them out and make sure they get what they need. Whatever you can do will be appreciated.”
Almost immediately I got a call from the Chabad representative, Reb Yehoshua Metzger. He told me that the Rebbe’s birthday was approaching and Chabad would like to honor the Rebbe with a prominent, full page ad in the New York Times. Previously, their ads had gotten lost in the paper, and they wanted to make sure it wouldn’t happen this time.
I immediately dispatched my people to speak with the New York Times editors, and we were successful in procuring premiere placement – the back page of a section of the paper at half the usual price! Instead of paying $25,000, Chabad paid $12,500 – a substantial savings.
I was thrilled, Reb Metzger was thrilled, and that was the start of a beautiful friendship between us. It was then that he asked if I would like to meet the Rebbe – he offered to arrange an audience for me and my family during the “Sunday dollars,” when the Rebbe would greet people and give each person a dollar to be given to charity. It was an opportunity of a lifetime, and of course, I didn’t hesitate to grab it. (more…)