Zeev Roth 88 248.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hours a Week: Full-time job
Family Status: Married plus two
Residence: Kfar Saba
Profession: CEO of Taramta
First Volunteerism: Teaching Torah values in yeshiva, post-army
Most Meaningful Moment: When the idea for Taramta came to him
The idea behind Taramta (which means "you have donated") is simple yet stunningly original. Anyone surfing onto the Taramta site has the opportunity to donate to one of about 50 charities without it costing them a penny. All he or she has to do is look at some of the advertisements which appear on the site from companies as diverse as Assuta Optics and Goeco travel agency and answer a simple questionnaire. On completing this, the company will then donate to the nonprofit of choice.
The raison d'etre of Taramta was born out of Ze'ev Roth's deeply held religious convictions and the need he feels to do something worthwhile. As someone who worked in the glamorous world of advertising and who found he had to write copy for things which went against his beliefs, he wanted to find an occupation which would not contradict his religious lifestyle and would be something worth getting up for in the morning.
"By helping people in distress I believe we are doing the work God wants us to do," he says. "Of course I hope to make a reasonable living from it too, but that is less important than the urge to do some good."
He is encouraged by the very Israeli characteristic of wanting to help others. "I realized many years ago that it is part of the Israeli psyche to care about fellow Jews. Someone once lost a camera in America and a whole movement sprang up on the Internet to find it and return it to the owner, which was eventually done. I decided to take this good Israeli trait and move it in a positive direction."
The practicalities of arranging Taramta took two years and the site has been up and running for two months. Before any nonprofit group is accepted for inclusion in the site, Roth examines it closely to ensure that it is a bona-fide charity, recognized as such by the government.
"In this country there are 22,000 nonprofit organizations" he says. "So far we feature about 50 including the well-known ones like Ezer Mizion and Elem, but also smaller ones which nevertheless have their own following like Dror Batei Hinuch and others."
Even in the short period it has been running, Taramta seems to have hit a vein of generosity which has encouraged Roth to believe the long-term results will be startling.
"My estimate based on what we have done so far is that we will raise a million shekels every month for all the charities," he says.
Roth, whose parents are of Hungarian origin, says he always had unusual ideas. "Even at the age of four I was written about in the newspaper. We had been asked in nursery school for suggestions about how to clean the Yarkon River, and I had the idea of covering it with nets."
Although he did his army service in a Hesder program (18 months in yeshiva and 18 in the army), he felt uncomfortable with this and after the study period did three years army service, serving in crack units. His education included studying business administration at the Open University and he began working soon after in Internet advertising at one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in the country.
To find out how the casual surfer will reach Taramta, he carried out hours of research into the kinds of e-mails people receive and forward, and discovered that there are several categories - the funny ones, the soap-box kind railing against the big companies, and the emotional appeals, such as the ones asking for prayers for someone in trouble.
"Sometimes you receive an e-mail and someone is just asking for three minutes of your time. Given the warmth and generous nature of the average Israeli, we think that sending out e-mails will be a good way to get started."
Because of that flash of insight two and a half years ago as the sun was setting one Friday evening - the needy paired with the surfers - the advertisers will reach their public and many charities will benefit.
Web site: taramta.co.il
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