How can I try to help you today?

Akiva Fuld’s mother never would have married his father unless he agreed to make aliyah within two months of their wedding.

July 24, 2019 18:29
How can I try to help you today?

AKIVA FULD, 45. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Akiva Fuld’s mother never would have married his father unless he agreed to make aliyah within two months of their wedding. Although his parents were on the same page, in the end, they stayed in New York to care for his grandparents.
Fuld’s father intended his son to come to Israel for junior year abroad, but Fuld couldn’t wait. He came on his own, right after the end of the fall semester of his sophomore year at Yeshiva University.
His friends had a premonition that he was going to end up staying in Israel, but Fuld didn’t see it the same way.
“I’m very materialistic and there’s no way that I could believe that would be possible,” he said. And yet, Israel had an undeniable impact on him. “Literally the second I got off the plane, I knew I was going to stay.”
For the next three years, during which time his father passed away, Fuld went back and forth, torn between Israel and America. At one point, he worked for Jeff Seidel at the Jewish Student Center in Jerusalem for six months.
During that time, he met his future wife, Hinda, who had grown up in Toronto and participated in the strongest Bnei Akiva Zionist youth group outside of Israel.
“One night when we were engaged, I said ‘Bottom line, if we wait for life to come together [before making aliyah], things will push it off. Why don’t we just go and figure it out?’” he said.
Hinda moved to Israel as a Zionist. Akiva says he made aliyah to fight his tendency toward materialism. “I didn’t want to keep up with the Joneses, so I changed my Joneses,” he said. “I didn’t want my children to have materialism as a goal in life.”
The decision to come to Israel made, Akiva arrived alone to find the couple a new home. They debated over whether to move to a city or to settle outside of a city.
Fuld landed at Ben-Gurion Airport in the middle of a baggage handlers’ strike. It took 10 hours before he could get his baggage, so he sat down in the airport and read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. From the pages of that classic book, he found guidance about where to settle and raise his family.
Akiva and Hinda made aliyah and he started studying in an advanced Torah program at Shavei Shomron. Their first home in Israel was an eshkubit, a tiny prefabricated concrete structure.
A year later, they built a brand new home in Karmei Tzur, north of Hebron, where they have been for the past 19 years.
“We moved in just before the intifada,” he said. “We had built a full house to grow with [future] children. We were planning for guests and no guests came during the intifada. It took a long time until kids started coming. No yeshiva would let their kids come for many years.”
Their new home was the last of 18 houses built at the end of their community. From that vantage point, Fuld said they could “see for miles and miles.” Development has obscured some of their view but he is still upbeat: “Growth in Eretz Yisrael is a beautiful view as well.”

FULD’S CAREER has evolved. He learned telemarketing and management with IDT and transferred into a hi-tech company that developed bulk email systems. He combined all he learned and became a consultant, building and training new telemarketing companies around the world.
His current work combines Torah study with his sales and management training.
“About six years ago, I realized I had always wondered why the four sons are in the [Passover] Haggadah,” he said. “The questions and answers [in that section of the Haggadah] have nothing to do with one another.”
He spent time delving into the four sons.
“A year ago, I realized this is a universal paradigm,” he said. “What I do is take these four personality types and I created a curriculum. I teach people how to recognize the personality of their audience and how to adjust the delivery of their message to be appropriate for the personality type. This is what I’m building.”
“My belief is the two things that can fix problems in this world are better communication and better education,” he added. He said his core message “relates to parenting, sales, international relations and more.  It’s about how to be prepared, with the four different approaches. My system is called The concept is that there are four paths to marriage, to science, to Talmud; there are four paths to any kind of communication.”
His paradigm represents a skill that can be taught, in small and large groups, over a single day or multiple days. Although it has wide applications, what he teaches, he says, is “completely and totally rooted in the Torah.”
As he’s building his newest venture, he’s based at home, taking care of their five children who range in age from 18 years to 16 months. He recommends the experience to others.
“Everyone should do it,” he said. “If people experience it for one year, they would understand the joy and the work of it.”
But there’s something more.
Fuld spends time helping total strangers. A few times a day, he posts some version of the question, “How can I try to help you today?” on Facebook. “I’ve always been a pessimist when it comes to mankind and an optimist when it comes to [God].” In order to overcome his natural tendency, Fuld seeks out people to whom he can give.
He makes it clear that he can’t offer financial help.
“Over the years, people have come to me for all kinds of things,” he said. “I’m very quick on my feet and figure out who the person is and provide them what they need.”
He calls what he does “purely selfish. I need to change certain things in myself,” which he feels he can do by helping random people on social media. Comparing what he does to the Jewish practice of giving charity, he says, “If I have free time, I don’t own that, so why can’t others benefit from [my time]?”
Fuld’s philosophy is godly. “The only thing that can ever fix this world is following Hashem’s way. [God says], If you want to understand me, don’t go into a cave and contemplate me. Act towards my creations as I do.”
In the few months he’s been asking random strangers how he can help them, he estimates that hundreds have asked for his assistance. Some requests are one-offs. Some are ongoing. Many of the requests have a spiritual component.
How long will he continue doing this? “As long as Hashem allows me. I have no timeline in my head.” He plans to continue, “until there’s no one in the world who can use my help.”
His mission is rooted in his understanding of Torah.
“We are a light unto the nations,” he said. “Light doesn’t do anything. A light is. It breaks the darkness. If a Jew is what a Jew should be, it breaks the darkness. We have to be Jews. If we are Jews, there will be light.”
“I’ve just got to keep doing this. I have no right to give up,” he concluded.

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