First Jewish Escape Room In The World | The Story Of A Debt Counselor In Manhattan | RUS/ENG subs


– He had received the medal of honor. – And the defendant will be God himself. – He was never a businessman. – You’re either on the
menu or around the table. – Islamic banking. – It’s the best feeling in the world. – It’s a fundamentally
different lifestyle. – It’s not a good look for you already. – Two tours in Afghanistan. – We’re the highest rate of
alcohol consumption per capita. – If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. (hard rock music) – Today we have a special
guest, he is Jewish and he has escape room and he told me what is he
doing, how tricky is it and how expensive is it to create a business in United States. (soft piano music) Let’s go a little bit faster. – I was born in Moldavia. It’s the poorest country in Europe with the highest rate of
alcohol consumption per capita. When I was 17 I came here
to America, to Brooklyn, and that’s where I’ve lived ever since. And I’m now 42. I went to college, have
a degree in statistics, I have a family, I have five kids. This is my first time starting a business, we’ll see what happens. – Where did you work before? – So before I started this business I worked for a number
of marketing analytics, kind of statistical
modeling types of jobs. It’s also called data science today, and I’ve done that for 14 years and with this project I
decided to try something new and something that’s not closely connected with data science. It’s a little pivot, it’s a little change. – Why escape room? – Escape room is a very unique way to communicate very difficult concepts. I see it as an educational
vehicle, as a way to explain something very technical to people that normally would resist
learning about this topic. And that’s the only work that I have now. Thank God I have my wife who has a job so we’ve been surviving. – I would like to do it. How much money I have to pay? – You have to pay $30 a person. (upbeat music) (foreign language) – New York Neck Road area. (foreign languge) – Rubano. (foreign language) – People come to me on a day to day basis. They give me a call where
they have no options of finding the relief that they need on their day to day life. They are sinking in debt, they
have tried all other options, the last thing that they’re
looking at is bankruptcy. That’s something that I’ll
only entertain at the end when I see that all other
options are exhausted. I put them in a position to plan for them where they’re gonna understand exactly what steps are gonna be taken, what procedures they’re gonna go through, what processes are set in place for them to successfully get out of debt. I had a man that has been
to two tours in Afghanistan and he’s been fighting for this country for half of his life you could say. He had received a medal of honor, he was a highly decorated sniper. When he came back, he came back with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
and so he was in a position where he was not able to sleep at night and he was not able to get a
stable job when he came back and this put him in a situation where he had to rely on the credit card. So debt accumulated, it
was to a point where had almost $35000 of debt. His disability check,
that payment that he was receiving from the government,
just wasn’t covering his month to month basis. He reached out to me, we had a very, a conversation at length, and
he as actually writing a book about his entire journey and
what brought him up to that and we discussed the entire book and the bond that I
created with him was that, the conclusion was that I
have to be in his book also because I’m a part of his story. We were able to put him
in a plan where he was gonna get out of debt in
approximately 4 years. A lot of people are ashamed
that they have so much debt, and so it’s not easy for them just to call and talk to anybody. He’s hanging in there, he’s
definitely a tough guy, I mean, two tours in
Afghanistan is no joke. – He’s American? – Yes, he is American. If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. – That’s true, I agree with you. – What you guys are doing
right now is absolutely great. – We love what we do. – Can I tell you a funny story about being Jewish in Frankfurt? – Yeah, of course. – When I was a student and
I went to a good school, it’s called Colombia, I had a
job in Germany, in Frankfurt. And at that time I started
becoming more observant. I started wearing a yamaka when I was working for Commerce Bank. In Frankfurt they have a tall tower. – Yeah we know. – And I was working in their marketing department for the summer. And at one point the director
of marketing came to me and asked me, ‘Genadi, do you
ever take off that skull cap?’ Yamaka, the kippah. So I said, ‘I prefer not to.’ Even though I just started wearing it like a couple of months before that. He said, ‘Okay, fine.’ And later I discovered
that there was a group of Arab business people,
businessmen, from Saudi Arabia that were visiting Commerce
Bank and they wanted to open what’s called Islamic
banking kind of product, and they wanted me to
be a part of the meeting but they were scared that the
Arabs will get upset to see an Orthodox Jew in the room,
so they just didn’t invite me. They wanted me to take of the Yamaka so I don’t appear visibly Jewish. And I said that I’m not
comfortable, they said, ‘Okay’ and they just didn’t invite me. But that was a very interesting
experience in Frankfurt. – What is your feeling about this? – I think it’s a very European thing. No conflict, we can agree with everyone, we don’t have to take
strong moral positions. – I think today in Europe it’s
not so safe to wear yamaka. – Since I started becoming more observant, I haven’t gone to Europe
in at least a decade, partly because of this, partly
because I don’t feel safe. Even though a lot of people say that it’s really in our head. One time I forgot to bring
down the gates for the store, and when I left for Chavis,
I went home Friday afternoon and when I came back to work
on Sunday, Sunday’s a work day, first day of the week, somebody
came up to me and said, ‘We saw your store open on
Chavis. Are you open on Chavis?’ And I said, ‘Oh no, we just
forgot to bring down the gates, we are really closed.’ But somebody asked me. – What is the biggest
problem in your business? – The biggest problem is the business focuses on a pretty small demographic. There are lot of people
in this demographic, but it’s pretty limited
in terms of geography and also in terms of their lifestyle. The vast majority of my
customers are Orthodox Jews. The families are very large,
which is good for business, but at the same time when they
go out for family activities at very specific times and also
everybody at the same time. There’s no culture of like
going out nightly or weekly for an activity, at least
that I have experienced for my business. – It means they are
coming but not so often? – No they are coming at certain times, let’s say on Jewish holidays
when they’re off from school and they’re coming in huge numbers. In such numbers that I can’t even handle. And they’re not coming
at all at other times. I’ve experienced a very
interesting problem with non-Jews. For some reason that this
business is not for them. It’s not true, I’m
actually actively trying to reach them and welcome them. I even put at the front that the Jews and non-Jews are welcome and it’s not resonating still, so that’s one of my challenges
that I have to overcome. (upbeat music) – The NYC rush. Atlantic Avenue. All the trains connect over
here, so if you wanna go to uptown, downtown, up, down, all around, doesn’t matter, you go this way. (foreign language) – Nightlife. It’s the city that never sleeps. I lived in LA also. LA was, I had a two floor
condominium with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, three balconies,
the whole roof was out, and I was paying $2200. An apartment like that in Brooklyn would cost at least 42, $4300. My goal for the next five years is to make at least $150000 a year. (foreign language) – How many hour you work? – I work a minium of 40 hours every week, sometimes it depends,
you know you can’t really put a time limit as to
what somebody needs. Especially when somebody is
in dire need of your help, you wanna make sure you
attend to them also. So there’s times where
I stay a little longer than I have to. I love doing what I do and it never feels like it’s work to me. So as long as I am helping somebody, at the end of the day I did
my job as a human being. And I recommend that to
everybody that’s out there, if there’s one thing that you can do to help somebody on day to day basis, it’s the best feeling in the world. – You told us you were
studying in Colombia, right? – Correct. Yeah it’s one of the best
schools in the world. – How was it? – It was pretty good, it was pretty good. I’m happy with years that I spent there. I never lived on campus, I
always lived at home in Brooklyn and I took the train, which
can take up to an hour and half to get there from where I lived. But it was still a very
stimulating experience. When I think back to those times, they were very happy times. It was a challenging school,
it was difficult to do well, it was a good experience. – How many years did you study? – I studied there for four years. – You made your Bachelor? – Bachelor’s degree. I’m actually only now in graduate school for my second degree, but in an online program. Also a good school. You may have heard it’s
called Johns Hopkins. – It’s far? – It’s in Baltimore. It’s also one of the best
schools in the world. I’m doing a masters in data science. Which is kind of applied statistics, that I’m taking remotely these
days because I have a family, I work full time, that’s
the way I study these days. – How expensive is it to
study in United States or in Colombia? – When I studied it was
much cheaper than it is now. Modern day student at Colombia, if they live on campus in
the dorm and they eat there, they can easily spend $70000 a year. – 70, wow. – Seven zero. – Multiplied five, right? – It’s a lot of money. – Wow. – When I went it was much cheaper. It was closer to maybe 25000 a year. That’s how much more expensive it became. – How can people afford it? – The government lets
them borrow all this money that they will be repaying
for the rest of their life. – You became religious when you was 25? – No younger. – Younger? – I was about 19, 20. – Why? It means your parents are not religious? – My parents are not religious. I met my wife in Israel, lived in Israel for a little bit after the
wedding, and came here. When I announced to my
mother that I would like to stay in Israel she made
a very big scandal. (laughter) And she actually had to
be treated for depression. – Yeah. – She became depressed. I decided that I’m not
gonna kill my mother because of the mitzvah
of living in Israel. My wife’s parents now live here
also, they’re from Belarus. I felt that we grew up without
any particular tradition. At some point I realized that it’s something that I
definitely want in my life, to have strong tradition. Then I started learning
about my Jewish heritage, learning about Jewish
religion, Jewish texts, and I found this world to
be so attractive that I, that I never left. I came in and I never left. – What is different, to be
religious or not to be religious? It’s about… – It’s about everything. – Okay. – It’s about how you spend money, it’s about how you educate children, it’s about where they go
to school, where you live, where you go on vacation, what you eat, the difference is dramatic. It’s a fundamentally different lifestyle from what people around us are leading. Most of my income is
spent on Jewish vacation. – You are working also
from, or you are working- – No, I work from my office. I have everything here, I have the ability to work from home, but I
like the work environment. I like the staff, the energy
that’s in the work atmosphere. – Not far from bull. – Not far from my bull. (upbeat music) – You have to be really
passionate about what you do. You know a lot of people wake
up everyday, they go to work, they don’t even know why
they’re going to work, it’s just they’re living
paycheck to paycheck and at the end of the
day, five, 10 years pass and you’re still doing the same job it doesn’t get you anywhere. And so number one is
definitely passion to do what you actually wanna do,
because that’s the only way that you’ll get ahead, because
you’re gonna pursue that no matter what happens. Whether you fail, you
succeed, doesn’t matter, it’s what you wanna do,
eventually it’s gonna pick up. And so you definitely have
to have the determination, you have to have the hunger. Especially in Manhattan. This is the land of the sharks. You’re either on the
menu or around the table. It’s your choice. – I love it. – You have to decide what you want. Again the opportunities are out there, you have to take it in a way. Nothing will ever be given to you here. So you have to go out and there and you gotta take what’s yours. Because if you don’t,
what’s gonna happen to you is that you’re gonna end up
working the rest of your life, making somebody else’s dream come true. We’re all human, everybody makes mistakes. – I agree. – Things happen sometimes
out of your control, and so you wanna make
sure that you do your end, you wanna make sure that
everything is done from your end to not have anybody gain
any kind of points on you, meaning to have a fishka, right? To use against you whenever
you know they decide to because you made one too many mistakes. – I live not far. This is the closest Jewish neighborhood. It’s a famous story with the Shamolazeda who is also an important
character in our story, the story of the escape room. At one point there was a famine in Russia. He had a very unusual
solution to this hunger. He gathered his colleagues, his friends, that were also righteous
taurus color saints like him. He announced that he is
calling a court case, and the defendant in this
court case will be God himself. And they argued in this
court when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai, he gave them certain
obligations and in exchange he took upon himself also obligations. For instance, when a
husband marries a wife she has obligations towards him and he has obligations towards her. So they argued that
while the Jewish people is fulfilling their
obligation towards God, which is very uniquely Hasidic approach, to not see any faults
with the Jewish people, love of the Jewish people
to an illogical extent, and they said that the Jewish people are fully fulfilling their
obligations towards God. God, on the other hand, is not fulfilling his obligations towards the Jewish people. And he has to feed them,
he has to protect them, and he’s not fulfilling those obligations. So they found God guilty
and they announced that he is obligated
within 30 days to correct his conduct and deliver food
for the Jewish community and that’s exactly what happened. The famine at that point stopped. That’s a famous story
and this is the painting. – How big is it? – 2000 square foot space. – It’s for us more or
less 200 quadratic meters. – It used to be a supermarket,
so we have two escape rooms each consists of two separate rooms, and we also have an art gallery. So in this room where we’re in
now we’re trying to recreate an Ellis Island records office. Ellis Island is the place
where immigrants came on their way to America. The family tree that’s missing parts so the guests have to
find the missing parts by working with different
documents, different artifacts, different photographs and inscriptions. – [Host] That’s the timing? – Yeah. Our second experience, which
is gonna be in this room. – [Camera Man] Is it true
that the first escape room was in Japan? – It started in Japan in Asia and then spread throughout
Asia to China, Korea. In Beijing alone they had more than 80. Then it went for some reason
to Europe into Hungary. – [Camera Man] And what do you
think somebody have to study today to get a good position or you can do it even without university? – The school system
itself, it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t able to go to an
entire eight years of school. I was going for dentistry but I realized it’s not what my passion
is, what my calling is. My father’s a dentist, but again, in this country you
have many opportunities to do things outside of school. There’s courses you could take. Six week courses, eight week courses, you know to specialize
in something specific. Not to have a general idea in school, but to learn something specific. Like real estate for example. You can go to a 72 hour class, you can go take your state exam, and you can have a real estate license. You know, entrepreneurs,
none of them really, they don’t put too much time in school, they just work on mastering their craft, what they’re really good at. – [Camera Man] What if you want to work in the huge companies, they
are looking at your degree? Is it like most important thing that- – Yes, if it’s gonna be between somebody who has a master’s
degree and somebody who, two of the same exact people,
they have the same values, everything is great
about them but this one doesn’t have a master’s this one does, most likely they’re
gonna go with this guy. Because that shows from his
end, it shows dedication, it shows determination, because it’s not the easiest thing to
get the master’s degree. It was a pleasure speaking to you guys, I’m actually late to work. I’ll see you all right? (hard rock music) – Let’s go guys. (foreign language) – I post daily, Facebook and Instagram. We have a website that
we keep adding content. The artist that make
all the beautiful art. – This is for you, it’s a thank you that I have an opportunity
to make an exhibition here. – Thank you so much. Very special, thank you. A very special person in my life, this is Mageeda Shoshana Brambacher. I reached out to her, I wanted to create a special
space for meditation. I knew that Shoshana has
a whole series of artwork. – And then I got an email from Mr. Biel and he said I have here this
first Jewish escape room. So Mr. Biel announced that would you like to embellish our room? – It is the first stationary
Jewish escape room in the western hemisphere. We had a group here, they’re not married, they’re in their 40s, four people. They came from California, they were doing four different escape rooms on that day. That crazy, they go all over
the world and do escape rooms. And so they came here and they solved it, simply because they solve
escape rooms all the time. (piano music) – For me it was something
that I’ve never seen before. The stories with the pictures. Gamliel, the owner, he
was never a businessman, and he sold and told that
I am happy that my wife helped me and that my wife working. I think this is also very good point. To have a special relationship at home and to support each other. (foreign language) (foreign language)

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