Yeshiva University’s 22 Year Old, Eli Jonah Karls, Impacts Millions Through Meaningful Content on Social Media

March 31, 2022

The crowd roared as some of the world’s hottest DJs and artists, including the renowned DJ duo, Vicetone, shattered the speakers at the BunnyTown Music Festival. Thousands of college teenagers crammed into the venue for the party of the year, waiting to experience a high of a lifetime. Behind the spinning discs was a young, ambitious, Jewish teenager — Eli Jonah Karls — and his best friend, Nathan Basal, who together, after eight months of planning and promoting, created one of the most successful teenage events Montreal has ever witnessed. 

As an entrepreneurial teenager, Karls had aspirations of creating and connecting a young community of music lovers just like him, but his age prevented him from reaching his endeavors. Nevertheless, he was determined; the young pioneer took over the largest event venue in downtown Montreal where he hosted the festival. “Nothing was going to stop us,” Karls insisted. “We had a goal and it was not about ‘if’ we were going to do it but rather ‘how.’” BunnyTown was one of the many festivals Karls organized, all of which were an attempt to find a sense of meaning and purpose.

Several months later, with a suitcase in hand, Karls found himself at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport ready to begin a new journey, but little did he know that it would change his life forever. “Eli was the last thing March of the Living expected to see,” his parents explain. “Here was a kid, who attended an ex-catholic public high school and organized raves, yearning for a connection with G-d.” The March of the Living is an educational program that brings teenagers from around the world to Poland and Israel, where they explore the devastations and impact of the Holocaust. On one of the morning activities, walking on the tracks between the gates of Auschwitz, holding on to Eli’s arm was a frail holocaust survivor who was revisiting the same footsteps his family had walked before their last moments. “It was the first time I encountered someone who lived for a purpose greater than himself,” Karls asserts. “The survivor’s story of bravery revealed to me that I was here for a greater purpose than simply producing raves.” After the trip, the ex-festival producer decided to forgo university and embark on a new chapter by attending Yeshiva, a Jewish spiritual and character growth-focused institution, hoping to find what he was seeking. Before he knew it, Karls had spent two years working on his spiritual growth between the divine walls of the old city of Jerusalem. He comments on that life-changing experience, “I had never been happier in my life, and it wasn’t just a high, but an everyday feeling that was not found elsewhere.” Although Eli became a changed man, when he came back home, he was met with the reality that not everyone has the will to pursue and commit to their dreams, leaving them living unfulfilling lives.

In order to create a “mass impact on his generation,” the emerging leader knew that he needed a platform bigger than his journal. He decided to create content about happiness, social impact, and purpose on social media platforms, the place he knew best from his music festival days. “It is the common people, the ones we pass on our walks in the city, who actually impact our lives much more than we think,” Karls told us regarding his choice to engage with strangers. “I ask what makes them happy and what I could do to make their day.” Through this platform, he hopes to incentivize people to make their own positive impact with simple acts of kindness. 

“It has been a humbling experience to learn from and be inspired by Eli’s passion and genuine interactions with strangers in his videos,” said Levi Paris, a Yeshiva University music artist. “His content is shifting the online culture and community around him.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Karls devoted his time spearheading various social impact projects including an influencer and celebrity social media campaign for mental health awareness. He collaborated with his friends Ari Solomon, a talented sports graphic designer, and NHL Detroit Redwings Forward, Joe Veleno. The initiative quickly received support from numerous pro-athletes like the NHL stars from the Chicago Blackhawks, Kirby Dach, and Montreal Canadiens’, Nick Suzuki, along with music artist, Karl Wolf, and Global News TV. Soon after their successful campaign, Eli began consulting the Tennis World Champion, Bianca Andreescu, about her social media presence, content strategy, and community. Additionally, he began advising Disney and Dreamworks Filmmaker, Saul Blinkoff,  with his online presence. Amidst quarantine, Eli was invited to the social audio drop-in app, Clubhouse, where he made life-long friendships with notable entrepreneurs, Matt Gottesman and Jay Rosenzweig, who today play active roles as mentors and close friends he cherishes. On any given day Eli would be seen juggling his college classes, creating and posting content, while simultaneously sharing stages with Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas, Grant Cardone, and many more. He then was offered a job by the NFL Superbowl Champion, Julian Edelman’s manager, as their NFT projects manager of their digital media company, Super Digital

Following the uprise of events, a distinguished Canadian investor stumbled upon one of Eli’s videos where he immediately invited Eli to his office. He had planned to send him to Los Angeles but eventually did not believe in what Karls could build. Regardless, the now 22-year-old decided to fly to Los Angeles and follow G-d’s plan.

In his first week, he bumped into the viral social media sensation, YesTheory. Eli remembers it as a breakthrough moment, being able to chat with Thomas Brag, who he’d been watching for years, and now offering him a job on their team. Just as the ambitious leader thought things would come back to reality, he met with viral Facebook & Youtube creator Markian Benhamou, who expressed his belief in him — offering a job at the end of their dinner.

Today, Eli Jonah Karls devotes his time to building authentic, strong communities; only this time, in contrast to his teenage days, he is doing it in its purest form. “If you would’ve told me five years ago that I’d be building a channel with a 13 million-member platform YouTuber, conversing with Calvin Harris about NFTs, collaborating with Nas Daily, and creating meaningful content to inspire millions, I would have never believed you,” says Karls. In conjunction with his work, he still maintains his rigorous dual-curriculum schedule at Yeshiva University, prioritizing his religious duties.

The viral creator is currently working on two of his biggest projects in which he confidently says will be the most successful he’s ever built. The first, being WHYOU, a purpose-driven community of college students uniting to create, connect, and build towards a meaningful, happy life. Additionally, he is working on ‘MONDAY MORNINGS’, an NFT company that uses NFTs to forge social change. He’s built an impressive board including esteemed entrepreneur Jay Rosenzweig, Hollywood actor David Bianchi, and NFT artist—Alejandro-Knight-Reyes [Paul McCartney’s content creator], along with his childhood friend Nathan Basal.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers … the ones who see things differently … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”Karls affirms, “I’m not crazy, I’m just taking calculated risks and betting on myself.”

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