It had all the elements of a Jewish holiday miracle: A doting grandmother, a grateful grandson and Asian food.
Josh Israel says he had been dining with friends on Christmas day at Aja, a Japanese eatery in Skillman, New Jersey, when he found a Hanukkah card outside the restaurant. It was inscribed simply, “Dear Ben, with my love, Grandma.”
Inside was $180 in cash.
Israel, 33, the CEO of a tech startup, decided to use Twitter to track down Ben. He tagged a bunch of accounts, including those of the comic actors Amy Schumer and Adam Sandler, as well as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“Need Twitter Help for a Christmas miracle… found grandma’s #Hanukkah card for Ben in Skillman, NJ outside a sushi restaurant on Christmas,” Israel’s appeal said.
Need Twitter Help for a Christmas miracle...found grandma’s #Hanukkah card for Ben in Skillman, NJ outside a sushi restaurant on Christmas. Can you help us find Ben? Or Grandma? @AdamSandler @ArlanWasHere @Jason @amyschumer @NJGov @njdotcom @News12NJ @NJSP @nj pic.twitter.com/F6OxwTDGzV— Josh Israel (@ImJoshIsrael) December 25, 2019
A local New Jersey congregation made the connection, Israel told JTA in a Twitter DM conversation, and the money and card were reunited with Ben, who Israel says is too embarrassed to be identified.
“Grandma wouldn’t be too happy with him,” Israel explained in a follow-up tweet.
UPDATE! We found Ben!! His family is part of a local congregation and he wishes to remain anonymous (Grandma wouldn’t be too happy with him). He’s got his card & gift back. Twitter did its thing. Internet, I appreciate you.— Josh Israel (@ImJoshIsrael) December 26, 2019