2.0 Issue 2

Page 1

E A SY WAYS T O B O O S T YO U R B U S I N E S S / / L I F E - C H A N G I N G P R O D U C T I V I T Y T O O L S




Sit in on a conversation with one of Israel’s top tech experts, Hillel Fuld

Learn how from the OU’s first-ever nonprofit accelerator

Money Matters

Should You Trust a Robo-Advisor with Your Investments?

THE NEW RULES For networking on LinkedIn


What designer Joyce Azria wants you to know about innovation

Serial entrepreneur Avi Muchnick shares his strategies to grow your dream career


2.0 | 1

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Spring 2019


Serial entrepreneur Avi Muchnick shares his strategies to grow your dream




What Really Goes Down at a Business Lunch with Hillel Fuld

4 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

A peek inside the life and career of fashion designer Joyce Azria


The new rules for networking on LinkedIn


Should you trust a robo-advisor with your investments?


These devices will make your productivity spike


How six nonprofits are working with the OU to create major change

52. My Dream Job How Shevy Goldman turned her passion for vintage clothing into a career



68. Feel-Good Funding How these sites are making an impact with digital fundraising

SOUND OFF Behind-the-scenes of the frum music industry

26. Secrets of Venture Capitalists What these experts really look for in a startup

How Wisdom Tribe is bringing new meaning to mindfulness — and spreading it to companies all over


38. Keeping It Kosher

34. Let It Go

lab, could you eat it with

Moe Mernick explains how


94. Book Smart


Three books and their key takeaways so you can work better

If meat is grown in a

this advice changed the way


85. The Mindfulness Movement

he works

40. Mashiach Is Coming Why our generation is the closest yet — and what we

44. Spice of Life How Howard Moskowitz changed the food industry


96. Quotes from the Masters Steal inspiration right from the experts

still need to do

Publisher, Mishpacha Group: Eliyahu Paley | CEO, Mishpacha Group: Yehuda Nachshoni | CEO, North America: Avi Lazar Managing Director, 2.0: Asher Weinberger | Managing Editor, Mishpacha: Shoshana Friedman | Editor in Chief, 2.0: Alex Abel Contributors: Gila Arnold, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, Braha Bender, Libby Levy, Mimi Minsky, Tamar Skydell, Hannah Snitcovski, Gabrielle Teaman, Abbey Wolin Chief of Staff, US Office: Michal Frischman | Creative Director: Tzivia Cohen | Graphics: Miriam Reifman, Brachi Berkowitz, Shana Gold | Production Manager: Esti Vago | Production Assistant: Hadas Stern | Copy Editors: Chaya Baila Lieber, Shainy Bodenstein | Proofreading: Goldie Abenson, Shana Halpert Chief Sales Officer, Israel and Europe: Rachel Levitan | Advertising/Agency Manager, US and Canada: Nina Feiner | Sales, US and Canada: Nina Feiner, Yaakov Gerstel, Duvi Vogel | Sales Manager, Israel and Europe: Mazel Chifrot | Sales, Israel and Europe: Chanie Friedman OFFICE NUMBER: 718-686-9339 • E-MAIL: EDITORIAL@20MAGAZINE.COM • ADVERTISE: 718-686-9339, ADVERTISE@20MAGAZINE.COM Cover Photo: Ben Kanter This magazine contains some sponsored content


2.0 | 5





necessarily literate, while the masses remained largely illiterate and ignorant; thereby, the two fields of science and religion were deeply intertwined. Once that changed, it became possible for interested individuals to pursue and


share scientific studies solely

dropped another Trumpism. “Rich

of this paradigm shift? An

guys, they love rocket ships.” Char-

explosion in technological

uring a recent cabinet meet-

and without any connection to

ing discussing space ex-

a higher purpose. What was the net result

ploration, President Trump

advancement and an impos-

acteristically lacking eloquence yet somehow profound, his comment got

backtrack a little. Actually, let’s

sibly wide chasm between science

me thinking. Hmmm... why is that?

backtrack a lot, all the way back to

and faith. (An obvious side effect

Migdal Bavel. Upon learning this

is that religious societies tend to

significant milestones in the field of

story, even little children scoff at the

appear “backwards” vis-à-vis sec-

space exploration. While the space

juvenile notion of building a sky-

ular, science-centric societies.) On

race of yesteryear was driven by gov-

scraper in an attempt to subdue G-d.

the one hand, the invention of the

ernments and public sector initia-

But of course, there’s nothing silly

printing press was the greatest gift to

tives like NASA, today’s 21st-century

about this story; the Torah is com-

religion, but on the other, it was its

innovation is ruled by billionaire

municating a perennial truth about

greatest downfall.

entrepreneurs in the private domain.

the nature of mankind. Misguided

Privatized space exploration and

humans will consistently try to use

“rich guys and rocket ships.” When

travel initiatives like Elon Musk’s

their latest and greatest technologi-

faced with our humanity — our mor-

SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, and

cal means to supersede Hashem. And

tality, that is — we humans take two

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic

these attempts will consistently fail.

diametrically opposed approaches.

This past year was marked by

(you might know these guys as the

Interestingly, for most of history,

Now, let’s orbit back to the point of

The progressive man, in the absence

founders of Tesla, Amazon, and

religion and science were generally

of faith, views death (and life) as an

Virgin Atlantic, respectively) are

not at odds with each other. In fact,

arbitrary scientific technicality and

burning through cash faster than jet

until relatively recently, centers of

seeks to solve the problem by all

fuel to realize ambitions that most of

religion also served as the centers of

available scientific means. The man

us cannot even fathom.

science and technology (albeit with

of faith, however, does not ponder

notable flare-ups such as the contro-

the “what” and “how” of death,

ways found obscure outlets to spend

versy around Galileo’s discovery of

but rather the “why.” We attempt

their excess billions, but what’s the


to understand the root of Adam and

Sure, the mega-wealthy have al-

allure of outer space? Couldn’t these

So when did the paths of science

Chava’s failures in Gan Eden — in

tycoons instead find a few shredded

and religion diverge? Historians

other words, why immortality ended.

Banksys or other pieces of high-end

mark the proliferation of literacy

Our solution to mortality is to restore

artwork to overpay for?

as the key inflection point. Up until

the spiritual perfection of the world.

that point, religious scholars were

Technology merely serves to enhance

To understand this reality, let’s 6 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

our lives, not to solve our difficulties. For the non-believer, the only way to quiet the existential anxiety is to

community, I try and remind myself

Great Celestial Void.

of this idea pretty regularly to stay

Putting things into perspective

balanced and focused.

is important, but the silver lining is

achieve total control and self-re-

The Billionaire Babylonians of

liance by conquering death itself,

today face an age-old conundrum.

the technologists may be mistak-

thereby “eliminating” a higher pow-

After maxing out on financial suc-

en and in vain, there are beneficial

er from the picture. It is therefore no

cess, they are left no closer than they

by-products created along the way

mystery why the frum community

began — unsure of their real purpose

for which we must be thankful. Aside

lags behind the general population

and sensing an acute lack of control

from the inventions that improve

in its involvement in cutting-edge

over their destiny. A super-yacht

quality and quantity of life, there are

industries (and conversely, why

doesn’t make their lives any more

economic opportunities previously

the leaders are disproportionally

rewarding — and can’t ward off

unseen, which as a community we

non-believing Jews) — we simply

cancer, for that matter. And so they,

should be studying intently. And hey,

aren’t desperate to solve the under-

like their biblical predecessors,

if Elon can get me from JFK to TLV in

lying problem via technology. On

invest their accumulated resources

a half-hour... mission accomplished!

a personal note, as someone who

in exploring the heavens themselves,

devotes much time and energy to

in the frantic hope that the elixir

the cause of innovation in the frum

they seek lurks somewhere out in the

too. While the inherent objective of

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INNOVATION ACROSS THE SPECTRUM Alex is the Editor-in-Chief of 2.0 Magazine. Alex is a baalas teshuvah who previously served as the news editor at People Style and before that as an assistant editor at Seventeen. Her work has also appeared on Time. com. She is incredibly passionate about the opportunity to work somewhere that highlights the Jewish world in such an exciting, new, and powerful way. She lives in Moscow, Russia, with her husband — and when she’s not working, is trying to master the language (and find the best kosher food).


ne of the most important ideas we want to stress with the launch of 2.0 is that innova-

This issue is jam-packed with people who are busy innovating. Our cover story is about Avi Muchnick, a serial entrepreneur who completely changed the digital photo industry and is now trying his hand at 3D printing as the chief product officer at Shapeways. We’re focusing on fashion, with a profile on legendary designer Joyce Azria and her ability to constantly innovate by creating clothing line after line (sometimes at the same time) and an interview with Shevy Goldman, who explains how to make vintage feel new again. We’re highlighting Howard Moskowitz, a food scientist who trans-

tion is everywhere. What sounds like a

formed companies like Pepsi and Prego

word reserved for those in lab coats is

by developing and releasing multiple

one that can and should land deep in

flavors for winning products, an idea

the lives of anyone who’s looking for it,

that was unheard of at the time. We

both personally and professionally.

have a Q&A with a venture capitalist

As Jews, of course, we constantly have

who scouts fresh ideas and explains

to innovate — we’re growth-oriented,

what makes one unique, and we’re

on the lookout for solutions that will

zooming in on the halachic issues of

refine us and allow us to do the things

lab-grown meat — can we eat it with

we want to do in an even better way.

dairy if it’s not real meat?

It’s a lifestyle that filters through all

I hope this issue not only inspires

areas. Maybe it’s figuring out a better

you but also opens your eyes to the

sleep schedule, so we can wake up

innovation already happening around

earlier and have time to learn or work

you and by you. I know it did for me. I’d

out in the morning, or maybe it’s

love to hear your feedback — we want

planning shopping lists and time slots

to innovate too! You can e-mail me at

at the beginning of the week for meal

alex@20magazine.com to share your

prep and other activities. It could be


speaking up in the team meeting about how to better accomplish your goals, or finally putting pen to paper to start the project you’ve been dreaming about for months now.

8 |

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Alex Abel, Editor-in-Chief





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Since its creation in 2003, LinkedIn has been the go-to place to find jobs, network, and promote your work experience and company. But it can still be challenging to know just the right way to use it. We spoke with two experts in the field who gave us their top tips on how to make sure your business grows from all that effort. PAGE 12




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By Alex Abel

HOW CAN I BOOST MY BUSINESS OR PERSONAL BRAND ON LINKEDIN? Since its creation in 2003, LinkedIn has been the go-to place to find jobs, network, and promote your work experience, but despite its long history, it can still be challenging to know just the right way to use it. We spoke with two experts in the field who gave us their

conversations, you’ll build mean-

top tips on how to make sure your business grows from all that

ingful relationships. Everything I do


comes from that philosophy.”

TIP #1: ALWAYS CONNECT RIGHT AWAY It may sound obvious, but Alex Taub, CEO and cofounder at Social Rank,

on the site, and when I’m in need of something, I quickly search through

TIP #2:


my connections to find those people I know.” Dovid Preil, a real estate investor

While LinkedIn is a good first point of contact, Taub suggests taking things

and avid LinkedIn user, has grown

offline to continue the conversation.

his business from the site, and calls

“Most people I know don’t love get-

the platform “the world’s biggest

ting messages on LinkedIn,” he says.

networking event.” He recommends

“They might not check it regularly.

anyone you meet on LinkedIn to your

adding new people to your network,

The best thing to do is research on

connections, rather than jotting down

and then working to continue the

LinkedIn and then take it to e-mail

their name and info elsewhere. “It

conversation. “If you sit in a corner

— e-mail is king. It’s usually not that

makes it easy to build lists with peo-

and don’t talk to anybody, or just try

hard to find out someone’s e-mail

ple, whether it’s reporters, investors,

to trade business cards, you’re not

address. Then send them a short note

potential employees, designers, or

going to be as successful,” he says.

acknowledging what you gained from

salespeople,” he explains. “Every-

“If you find people you want to talk

learning about them through their

one I meet, I connect with digitally

to, then engage and add value to the


a site that helps you manage and engage better with your social media audience, says the first step is to add

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2.0 SPRING 2019

your passion is. If our passions align, I want to work with you.”

TIP #4:

POST AND ENGAGE WITH OTHERS A good way to get eyes on your work is to generate content exclusively for your site. Preil has made money off of his consistent posting. “I don’t get thousands of views on my posts, but I will have people reach out to me and say, ‘Hey, I saw your stuff, let me know if you have any real estate deals going on,’” he shares. “These might be people I’ve known for 10 years, but haven’t really been in touch with. They see my work and get to know ly important. You don’t have to be

me a bit, and then I can add them to

interests you, it’s better to do a little

super-social if that’s not your thing,

my e-mail lists. I’ve actually raised a

digging to find and connect with

but your bio needs to be accurate so

couple hundred thousand dollars this

someone at the company rather than

there is a true portrayal of you on


applying from the site. “I’ve never

the Internet, especially when people

Also, if you see a job listed that

gotten a job from a listing online,” he explains. “It’s always been through

google you.” On his own page, Preil takes it one

In terms of engaging, he recommends leaving a substantial comment on five different posts each day. He

a person or a connection. Again,

step further, and tries to update his

encourages users to go out of their

it’s better to use LinkedIn for the

bio regularly to make it engaging and

comfort zone as well, and not just talk

information, and then figure out

inviting. “I recently restructured my

to their inner circles. “I like to engage

who’s who and apply for a job directly

bio to make it cleaner and easier to

outside of my immediate network be-

through them. It will help you a lot

read — more direct,” he says. “You

cause that’s how you grow. If you talk

more than competing with everyone

have to show who you are.

to the same people all the time, the

who’s clicking the same button.”

TIP #3:


“Ultimately, people do business

feed will keep showing you the same

with those they like and trust, and

people,” he explains. “If you interact

in order for people to trust you, they

with second-tier connections, you

have to know who you are. Make it

can turn them into first-tier con-

personable — bios that are written

nections and then expose yourself

as a third-person summary don’t let

to all their contacts, which is a third

me get to know you at all. I care more

tier that would normally never see

“LinkedIn is a part of your digital

about why you do the things you do

your stuff. Making contributions to

identity,” Taub says. “Making sure

than about what you do, so I’d like to

conversations in this way is a really

your profile is up-to-date is real-

hear about what drives you and what

powerful tool.” SPRING 2019

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By Gabrielle Teaman

WHAT SHOULD MY HEADSHOT LOOK LIKE? A great headshot speaks volumes. It’s the first point of visual contact a potential employer or business connection has with you, so it’s not something to take lightly. Laibel Schwartz of Laibel Schwartz Photography is a professional at taking headshots and branding companies through his photos. He shares his no-fail guide to nailing the perfect one.

THE LOOK Schwartz breaks down the

plains. “So that’s where you need to

and then jutting your forehead out

perfect headshot into two main parts

balance it.”

slightly. He notes that if it feels really

of the face — the eyes and the mouth.

Of course, you want the smile to

awkward, you’re doing it right. “Keep

He says your eyes show confidence,

be natural and not too posed. Ideally,

your body nice and straight,” he says.

while your mouth is the master of ap-

you’ll have a photographer who can

“You’ll feel like a turtle or an ostrich.

proachability. “If you open your eyes

make you laugh, but if that’s not the

It’s uncomfortable. We always joke at

wide and you take an image that way,

case or you’re taking the picture on

the end of a great headshot session

you’re going to get a sensation of

your own, do your best to pretend

that if you don’t need to go to the chi-

what we call ‘out to lunch’ or ‘a deer

there’s no camera there and think

ropractor the next day, you didn’t do

in the headlights,’” Schwartz ex-

of something that would conjure a

it well enough.”

plains. “There’s no connection there,

genuine smile. “You need a human

no real focus.” He says the solution

reaction, ideally a true connection

recommends something subtle so

is to do a “‘squinch’ — meaning you

between the subject and the pho-

your facial expression can really

bring the bottom eyelids up a bit. It

tographer,” Schwartz says. “If we’re

take center stage, but ultimately, it’s

creates a sense of confidence. We

completely connected, then the image

about representing your style and

do it naturally when we’re curious,

will demonstrate that, too. It will

the industry you want to go into. “I

or when we’re really interested and

immediately spark something with

always say think of who your target


the person looking at it. That’s why

market is, who you want to sit down

it’s so important.”

to a meeting with, and wear the kind

To avoid giving off too much confidence, Schwartz pairs the squinch

Schwartz continues his strategy

In terms of clothing, Schwartz

of outfit that would work for them,”

with a smile. “If you have only the

for the rest of the face. He suggests

he shares. “However you want to

smile, but not enough confidence,

tilting your chin and head down-

show up to your success story, that’s

you’re going to look eager,” he ex-

ward a bit to have a stronger jawline

how I want to photograph you.”

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THE PROS & CONS OF ROBO-ADVISING It’s no secret that everything is getting a technological makeover these days, with artificial intelligence and bots taking the place of humans right and left. One that’s causing lots of water-cooler talk when it comes to your money? Robo-advising, or robo-investing, which came onto the scene just a couple of years ago. Basically, it’s a way to invest your assets using computer algorithms instead of real-life assistance. Of course, dealing with these matters is risky, and it’s not a decision to take lightly. So we had two experts on the subject — Yaakov Ehrenkranz, a commodities trading advisor in Israel, and Michael Cooper, a certified financial planner from Borger Financial Services in New York City — argue it out so you can firm your own path of personal financial success and get to the bottom of the question: Should I trust a robo-advisor with my money?

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PRO Yaakov Ehrenkranz: “It’s an easy way to make money if you take the time to do your research.” WHAT ARE THE PERKS? Robo-advisors offer a lot of good to a lot of people, especially to those who are looking to invest a small amount of money,

CON Michael Cooper: “It’s a riskier move that can cost you more money in the long run.”

or those not as familiar with different investment options but looking for something with

COOKIE-CUTTER OR NOT? Say you want to invest $100,000 and

low fees. While professionally I do something

you don’t know how to do that, you can go to a robo-advisor.

very niche and I’m not involved in this space,

It will ask you a few questions about yourself, how much risk

I’ve looked into it quite a bit, and many investors

you’re comfortable with investing, how much loss you can SPRING 2019

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I’ve spoken to are very pleased

now, are already thinking about

stomach, and based on that, it’ll

with their robo-advisors.

investing, and understand the

recommend a model portfolio from

concept of putting money to work

a group of portfolios it offers, which


in a way that’s not a bank ac-

ranges from very conservative to

HUMANS? Passive versus active

count, then you just need to read

very aggressive. The key difference

is an old question, and for most

up on the topic. I think for people

here isn’t necessarily in how your

people passive makes more sense.

who do their own research, it’s

money is managed, it’s in the ad-

I’m not in favor of signing up with

within reach.

ditional value gained from working

a wealth manager who’s going to

with another person.

actively invest and buy and sell


for you. Regular investors lose

websites that compare and con-


a reasonable amount of money,

trast all the different offerings in

Obviously there’s the human

and it doesn’t make sense to be

terms of minimum investments,

element and the psychological

paying the manager in addition to

fees, possible customization

aspect of working with somebody,

sustaining losses. Robo-advisors

levels, and any additional benefits

but it’s more than that. With a

are a great and inexpensive way to

offered. WealthFront, for example,

robo-advisor, yes, you don’t have

access passive, low-cost invest-

offers tax loss harvesting, where it

to worry about how to create a port-

ing, and will likely outperform

automatically sells positions when

folio, but you may not understand

active, high-cost investing in the

they’re at a loss so you can reap

what it really means, and under-

long run.

certain tax deductions. It will then

standing it properly is important to

put you in a replacement product

your long-term financial well being.


so you won’t miss out on any po-

For example, what are the tax

PICK? A robo-advisor will evalu-

tential gain. Googling and seeing

implications? If a robo-advisor re-

ate your appetite for risk — it’ll

some of the comparisons that

balances a portfolio, it could trigger

ask how comfortable you are

have already been created by those

taxes you’re not aware of. If it puts

with volatility in your investment

who review them is a good place

money into retirement accounts,

account and proceed accordingly.

to start. It’s all out there; the ro-

there are limitations on your ability

Even if people don’t understand

bo-advisors are very transparent

to access the money. Those are a

everything the advisor is doing,

about what products they invest in

couple of the details that really

their money will still be invested

and their costs. They make it fairly

make a difference.

in things that fit their risk profile.

easy to open accounts and start

If you have money you don’t need


The robo-advisor also doesn’t know if you can really tolerate a certain risk level or not. What does it mean if you lose 40 percent in a

Yaakov Ehrenkranz is the founding principal and portfolio manager at SMV Capital, LLC, a commodities trading advisory firm that manages a fund and individual accounts for qualified clients. He has an economics degree and semichah from Yeshiva University, and lives with his wife and children in Ramat Beit Shemesh, where he is also a part-time rebbe at Yeshivat Lev Hatorah.

given year? Where are you in life and what are your goals? There are a lot of questions that come up when you’re thinking about money. You have to know what you’re trying to accomplish and what the implications are by implementing such a portfolio.

18 |

2.0 SPRING 2019


Working with a robo-advising

always have the ability to click on

platform really requires someone

the “sell” button, which is a real

understanding financial planning.

risk because if you make a drastic

Investment management is differ-

move when it seems like the sky is

ent from comprehensive advice.

falling, you may ruin your entire plan and it may not be salvage-

SAVE NOW, PAY LATER? When the stock market is at an all-time high, people think it’s a good time to invest, and when it’s at an alltime low, people think they’ll lose money, but really that’s not necessarilya true. What really matters is your time horizon and how long you have to invest. Historically, the market has risen over the last hundred years at an average of close to 10 percent a year, but it doesn’t work like clockwork. It’s not a linear progression, it goes up and down. As long as the economy and companies are growing, you’ll make money over time, but people lose

able. With a human advisor, you may get charged a little bit more than for a platform, but because of that, you’re able to get helped in a more comprehensive way and have more peace of mind too.

OPPORTUNITY COST LOSS? Even if people are knowledgeable about investing, they’re busy. In life, there are so many things pulling you in different directions. If you don’t have an outside person coaching you and explaining to you what’s important, then it may never happen. Robo-advisors can

sight of the bigger picture and

help with managing money you

they get scared when the market

want invested, but they won’t be

is tanking.

able to help you make the initial

When the stock market crashed in 2008, it took about two and a half years for portfolios that were

determination to save money in the first place. Robo-advising may also offer a

down to come back up and break

lower fee, but how do you quanti-

even. With a robo-advisor, you

fy opportunity costs of money not invested? A person can lose out on tens of thousands of dollars or more of lost gain that they just

Michael Cooper, CFP, MBA, is a financial planner at Borger Financial

never realized simply because

Services. He develops and implements customized financial plans for

they never took action. There’s

a wide variety of clients, providing them with a greater degree of clarity on

customization that an advisor

how to realize their financial goals. His specialties include portfolio manage-

can provide that a program can’t,

ment, retirement planning, and risk management through life, disability, and

and a human will pay attention

long-term-care insurance.

more to the individual than a pre-packaged portfolio will. SPRING 2019

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JEWISH MUSIC By Hannah Snitcovski



20 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Photo by Avraham Edery

When you’re a successful singer and performer in the secular music world, you usually don’t have to worry anymore about living paycheck to

inspire tens of thousands of spiritually parched souls.” The music-creating process often

paycheck. The days of clipping coupons and savoring dinners of cereal

happens for them while on the road.

and milk are behind you, and you can start to live the luxe life. In the frum

“We record little clips and jams, then

world, however, things look a little different, even when you’ve reached

we’ll sit down with our producer and

the peak. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad different — we often look at reward as way more than money — but it’s a career that many say requires a lot more work than you would expect to make a good living.

hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas and select the ones we’re most excited about,” Goldschmiedt says. The duo comes up with plenty of ideas they love, but only some make it onto a re-


cording. The process is never-ending.

and guitarist Zechariah Goldschmiedt.

to be able to see the greater meaning

Although they’re pretty well known

in what’s going on,” Goldschmiedt

by now, they knew from the get-go

explains. “If you can see that, then

that the money couldn’t be their main

the music is your legacy to the world.”

usha, a chassidic soul band

“Ultimately you hope to get to a place

formed in 2013, is comprised

where you’re growing — both in your

of lead singer Shlomo Gaisin

business and craft — and you have

motivator. Their manager, Paltiel

Photo by Emad Rashidi

Producer Naftali Schnitzler, known

Ratzenberg, told the duo early on,

for his work with Beri Weber as well

“The reason we need to make money

as other artists such as Shmueli

is so that we can continue making

Ungar, the Yingerlich, Shimmy Engel,

music that speaks to people’s hearts

and Ahrele Samet, has a busy life,

and souls worldwide, not the other

calling his work “an almost 24-hour-

way around. If you didn’t make mon-

a-day job.” Despite the long hours, he

ey, you would no longer be able to

says, “It’s definitely not the business SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 21



held onto “Yachad” for five years before giving it to Weber. Because of this, Schwab feels that “most creators and performers, even some of the most successful ones, cannot rely on music to financially support a family.” He works as an associate general counsel at a public real estate fund as his full-time job, while doing music on the side. Most of the other Jewish composers, writers, and even performers that he knows also maintain other professions. In addition, the field is competitive. “The market allows room for a Photo by Emad Rashidi

very small handful of producers who

to become a millionaire.” While the

Schwab offers his own perspective

rise above their peers to win a steady

money he earns isn’t nothing, he

on the music industry. He wrote the

stream of opportunities,” he says.

says, like the Zusha team, that it’s

famous hit “Yachad,” which was

In Schwab’s experience, “Every few

not his main motivation for being in

ultimately given to Beri Weber. Unlike

years, only one or two such produc-

the music industry. “More important

singers or producers, this role isn’t in

ers break through and become firmly

than the amount we’re earning are

constant flow — it’s one that depends


the opportunities we have, through

on a spark of inspiration. Schwab

the music, to create positive associa-

explains his inspiration usually

if you’re in it, you’re in it for the

tions with Yiddishkeit,” he says.

comes from a personal experience,

passion, a privilege that is, of course,

Ultimately, these guys believe that

A big part of his job is noticing

or a tefillah or passage from a sefer

worth a lot. Schwab says the great-

talent in singers, nurturing it, and

that strikes him. The process then

est reward is when people tell him

helping them be the ones who really

continues with Schwab creating

that a song he wrote helped them

make an impact on the world of

an initial draft of a song, which he

get through a tragedy, brought them

music. A producer who cultivates the

will then work through again and

strength in their path toward Jewish

right type of talent can make his mark

again, until he’s proud of the result.

observance, or made Torah Judaism

on the industry.

Afterwards, he’ll record a demo of the

feel current and relevant to their

song with his lead and backup vocals,


There is much brainstorming that comes into play for Schnitzler in

often paired with a solidly developed

Zusha’s philosophy is the same.

the studio, and there is always more

production concept. “Only once I’ve

“We all bring different things to the

thinking to be done. “You’re always

completed the demo will I listen to

table,” Gaisin says. “I pray a lot,

around a creative team of people and

the track and try to determine which

and have to bring that emunah into

constantly thinking of ways to do

singer will do the song justice,”

it. Music cannot just be numbers;

something different,” he says.

Schwab says.

we want to reach deep into people’s

Songwriter and composer Elie 22 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

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2 . 0 | 25




Investor | GROUND UP VENTURES By Alex Abel


from others’ and why now is the time to make it happen. Lastly, venture capitalists need to believe that your startup can become a billion-dollar company. At the end of the day, we are responsible for providing the investors in our fund with exceptional returns. To do this, we need to believe that your company will be a home run.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO POSITION YOURSELF IN FRONT OF A VC? The best entrepreneurs are those who can persuade others to see their view of the world. Ultimately, raising venture capital is no different from a typical sales and marketing process. You need to present the case for your company and create momentum

Jordan Odinsky, investor at Ground Up Ventures, sat down with us to answer important inquiries VCs often get. He breaks down myths and misconceptions, and explains how any new startup can set themselves up to go big.

along the way to close the deal. The best way to do that is to: • Instill a sense of urgency and create FOMO (fear of missing out) • Show social proof that others believe in your idea and are willing to pay for it • Have a list of milestones that you’ve reached and mention them


want to invest in entrepreneurs who

throughout the process

can inspire others to view the world

It’s also important to remember

through their lens and lead a team to

There are many things that venture

that venture capitalists are people


too. Too often, entrepreneurs treat

capitalists want to see in a potential

The second thing that investors

investment. First and foremost, we

think about is the market timing and

want to invest in strong teams. At the

only manner. Whenever you meet

potential. Why is now the right time

end of the day, VCs are putting their

with a venture capitalist, remember

for this business? Investors are excit-

money in people. You can have a great

that the best pitch meetings are

ed by companies that solve real pain

business model and an exceptional

conversations. If you approach the

points and/or innovate archaic indus-

idea, but without the right people, the

meeting as a brainstorm session,

tries or business models. Entrepre-

chances are that it won’t materialize

the investor will be more inclined to

neurs need to make a compelling case

into a billion-dollar company. VCs

see your point of view and will also

as to why their solution is different

help you think through aspects of

26 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

meetings with a tense, presentation-

The Ground Up Ventures team at the launch of the first retail location of Neighborhood Goods, one of their portfolio companies

neurs to be thoughtful and strategic when getting in touch with investors. The best way to secure a meeting is to provoke an inbound request. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who can effectively create a buzz about their company and ensure that the investors are noticing their efforts organically. If your messaging is compelling, they’ll be requesting to meet with you, not the other way around. You should also do your research. Why do you think that this VC firm is the best candidate to invest in your company? Have they recently published a thesis that’s similar to your vision? Which companies have they invested in? Include that research in your request for a meeting if provoking an inbound request is unsuccessful. Venture capitalists receive hundreds of meeting requests each month. They need to be convinced that you’re worth their time in the first few lines of the e-mail.

considered yet.



tors want to see traction. A disruptive

At a recent event we hosted at the

idea is a great start, but ultimately

Google Campus for Startups in Tel

seeing is believing. If you’re pitch-

Aviv, we challenged local entrepre-

ing a software solution, begin the

the business that you may not have

Even at the earliest stages, inves-

development process. Start sketching SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 27




Investor | GROUND UP VENTURES By Alex Abel

“TOO OFTEN, ENTREPRENEURS TREAT MEETINGS WITH A TENSE, PRESENTATIONONLY MANNER” what the product will look like; go out and talk to potential customers. Execute on your business as if no one else believes in the idea and create momentum that proves that there is a market that is willing to pay for your

startup investor in San Francisco,

see many enabling technologies for

once mentioned that investors want

this new wave of urban transpor-

to know that they’re investing in en-


trepreneurs who will use their money

• RETAIL TECH: It has been said that

wisely and spread it as far as they can.

with the rise of Amazon came the

We want you to do more with less. As

death of physical retail. There’s no

a general rule of thumb, you should

question that Amazon has changed

raise the amount needed to achieve

the name of the game, but phys-

a few significant milestones over the

ical retail is alive and well. We’re

next 18 to 24 months.

seeing a sharp increase in startups


that are trying to reinvent the retail

Each investor has their own areas

checkout, cross-border shipping,

of interest. For generalist investors,

and other innovative solutions to

these are a few areas that are particularly exciting: • MICRO-MOBILITY: In the United States,

experience by adding data analytics, shopper insights, automated

the mix. • PROPERTY TECH: As one of the largest asset classes in the world, the real

there has been an explosion of

estate and construction industries

micro-mobility solutions (think

are still largely offline. There is a

e-bikes and scooters), with mil-

major opportunity for companies

lions of investment dollars being

to help property owners further


poured into companies like Bird

monetize their assets, enable a

and Lime. As Dara Khosrowshahi,

seamless renting and purchasing

In our recent State of Seed Invest-

CEO of Uber, recently said, “During

experience, and use technology like

rush hour, it is very inefficient for

drones and robots to help workers

a one-ton hulk of metal to take one

build projects faster, cheaper, and

person 10 blocks.” We’ll start to


solution. The more legwork you do, the better your chances are of getting an investor’s attention.

ing in Israel survey, we asked 23 of Israel’s top seed venture capitalists if they believe that entrepreneurs should raise as much money as they can in their first round. Believe it or not, 81 percent of those surveyed said

Jordan Odinsky is an investor at Ground Up Ventures, an early-stage

that entrepreneurs should actually

venture capital firm based in the United States and Israel. Prior to

not raise as much money as they can.

joining Ground Up Ventures, he led portfolio development at OurCrowd, man-

Raising money is not all rainbows and

aging and supporting 130+ startups with business development, marketing,

unicorns. Entrepreneurs need to re-

and fundraising. Jordan is also a Global Mentor at WeWork Labs, WeWork’s

member that they are giving up a per-

global innovation platform for startups. Originally from New York, Jordan has

centage of their company in exchange

a degree in Economics and Business from CUNY Queens.

for the capital and that the more they raise, the more they give up. Further, many investors place a large emphasis on financial resourcefulness. Semil Shah, a well-known 28 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Ground Up Ventures was founded in 2018 by Cory Moelis and David Stark. It is a generalist fund that invests in pre-seed and seed stage companies. Ground Up Ventures has invested in eight companies to date across the insurance, retail, financial, real estate, and enterprise verticals.




Hillel Fuld, a powerhouse of strategic connections and original thinking, exploded onto the tech scene with nothing but passion and a keyboard over a decade ago, building from tech blogger into international consultant flown in for collaborations with some of the biggest names in innovation today. Here, he sits down with Ovi Jacob, Director of Business Development at Vayyar Imaging, for an important conversation. PAGE 30




2 . 0 | 29




A Conversation with Ovi Jacob of Vayyar Imaging By Braha Bender

LUNCH WITH A ROCKET SHIP Listening in on a meeting with Hillel Fuld, Tech Trailblazer


magine being able to see through

nothing but passion and a keyboard over

clothing to find hidden guns and

a decade ago, advancing from tech blog-

weapons in crowded airports

ger into international consultant flown

and stadiums without stopping

in for collaborations with some of the

anyone with a metal detec-

biggest names in innovation, including

tor. Imagine being able to see through

Google, Microsoft, Huawei, and others.

smoke and debris to find people trapped

Many of Hillel’s earliest relationships,

in fires and car accidents, or through the

initially provided pro bono in his ca-

body to detect cancer safely and inex-

pacity as a blogger, transformed into

pensively. Imagine being able to skip the

meaningful retainers when companies

expense and hassle of knocking down

let him know they’d do whatever it takes

walls to figure out what’s wrong with

to have him available whenever needed.

your plumbing and just put on a set of

Of course, business lunches aren’t

X-ray goggles to look straight through

a small part of that. Regina, a jewel of

the panels instead.

a restaurant tucked away in a corner

It was a bright winter day on the Tel

station near Jaffa and frequented by

with Ovi Jacob, director of business

ambassadors, politicians, and busi-

development at Vayyar Imaging, a

nessmen, also happens to be one of

startup that produces and sells radar

Hillel’s local favorites. A series of

technology that can do all this and more.

high-ceilinged rooms filled with heavy

Game-changing applications and key

textiles and arched doorways of Jerusa-

partnerships in multiple industries have

lem stone lead to a sunny garden patio

made Vayyar one of the hottest tech

where Hillel orders his signature rare

startups coming out of Israel today.

steak following an appetizer of mouth-

Hillel Fuld, a powerhouse of strategic connections and original thinking, exploded on to the tech scene with 30 |

of the hip, newly renovated old train

Aviv coast when Hillel Fuld sat down

2.0 SPRING 2019

watering rustic chopped liver with onion confit. On Regina’s kosher l’mehadrin status,

Off the Record Fuld shares his unfiltered take on Vayyar and where it’s headed.

Vayyar, much like the rest of the world of innovation in Israel, is breaking all the rules. In a country smaller than the size of New Jersey and in the most unstable region on planet Earth, Israeli tech keeps breaking records, quarter after quarter. Vayyar, for example, is actually bringing X-ray vision to real life. Whether funding is the metric you want to use, or the level of innovation and creativity, or the number of multinationals that have set up shop in Israel, is a world-dominating technology superpower by every measure. Another characteristic of Vayyar that is illustrative of the entire Israeli ecosystem is the level of disruptive technology that’s being developed and deployed here. This company, much like most of the innovation being built in Israel, is quite literally going where no man has ever gone before.

Hillel Fuld (left) with Ovi Jacob, director of business development at Vayyar Imaging, on their way to lunch at Regina in Tel Aviv

Hillel explains with characteristic

world? We listened in.

OVI: Yeah, Apple Watch can monitor if

flair, “A lot of people take off their

The conversation begins with a de-

you fall, but you still have to be wear-

kippahs when they enter the tech

scription of Vayyar’s newest product,

ing the Apple Watch for it to do that,

world, but I made Judaism part of my

Walabot Home, an iPad-shaped device

and you can’t wear the Apple Watch

brand.” No kidding — a glance at the

that can be installed on a bathroom

when you go into the shower. It’s

near-daily pics of steak lunches on

wall to detect when an elderly person

slippery, sometimes older people fall,

falls in the shower and alert emergency

they’re not wearing the Apple Watch,

contacts ($149, plus $5 monthly fee;

and then what? We put this thing on

available at walabot.com).

the wall, it looks like an iPad. It’s got

Hillel’s popular Twitter and Instagram accounts would put a jealous foodie to tears. It’s not bad living the kosher tech life. But it isn’t just mouthwatering kosher cuisine that represents Hillel’s Judaism. A recent private message from a fan on Instagram thanked Hillel for his weekly signing-off-forShabbos pictures. They had inspired the reader and her family to start

HILLEL: Ovi! So how’s it going? OVI: I don’t know if you saw, but we just released a new product. It’s called Walabot Home. It’s a funny name for it, but it’s actually become a nice brand. What’s amazing about this product — well, every person gets

a little screen on it, it says “monitoring,” and the second the elderly person falls, it contacts the kids or the nurse, whoever you programmed it to call.

HILLEL: You mean it has such a wide lens that it sees the whole house?

old, right? And when they get old,

OVI: It sees the entire bathroom. We

they want to stay in their house for

started with the bathroom. Soon we’ll

longer. So they wear these things,

have something that’ll be able to see

Hillel and Ovi had gotten togeth-

that “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”

the whole house.

er “just to catch up,” but what does

thing? But that means they have to

HILLEL: You had a partnership with

catching up mean to the man Rise

make sure to actually be wearing it.

somebody, right?

Global recently identified as the sev-

So we put a box on a wall…

OVI: We’ve had a number of interest-

enth most popular tech blogger in the

HILLEL: Apple Watch has that now.

ing partnerships. But so far with this

lighting candles in their home for the first time in 40 years, then to keep Shabbos for good.


2 . 0 | 31




OVI: It’s right next to the airport, but it’s not in a city. It’s an industrial area. product, we’re starting off just us,

two partnerships with what’s called a

online, selling. That’s been the main

tier-one parts-maker. You guys know

thrust of it, but lots more news to

about car manufacturers, say, GM,

come here. We think the main driver

Mercedes, the names of the car mak-

for this product will be business to

ers, but the parts inside those cars are


made by one of a few select compa-

The conversation continues on to a few

nies in the world. Two of the biggest

more of Vayyar’s recent accomplish-

just announced partnerships with


us at the Paris Auto Show. So that’s

HILLEL: And didn’t you have other big

very cool. But, Hillel, I’d love to invite

news recently?

you to my office. We have crazy stuff

OVI: Yeah. We raised money last year,

there. We always talk about it —

but we were just named number two

HILLEL: Why would you not just invite

on Globes’ annual Most Promising Startup list (an Israeli business news

me there? Where’s your office?

Other than that, no reason. It beats the traffic, that’s the whole reason. Now comes the meat-and-potatoes of the conversation, along with some extraordinary steak. Hillel challenges Ovi to prioritize. Which of its many accomplishments should Vayyar put first when it comes to decision-making?

HILLEL: So what else are you focused on? What’s coming up?

OVI: Look, Vayyar is a rocket ship. What are we focused on right now? You’re going to laugh. You’re going to say a startup needs to be laser-focused, but we’re literally focusing on

OVI: Yehud.

eight things.

HILLEL: Oh. Okay. So there is a catch.

HILLEL: What’s your main growth

(Hillel and Ovi laugh.)


market where people can see through

OVI: There’s no catch! Yehud is the

OVI: Our main growth engine is our chip.

the wall to fix their pipes and wiring

best place to have an office in this

Everything else we do is a heichi timtzi

and stuff. We’re in the smart-home


[a method of reaching the goal] to sell

market. Robotics are just exploding.

HILLEL: Where on earth is Yehud? Why


In automotive we just announced


HILLEL: (laughing) I love that you just

organization). So that was very cool.

HILLEL: Wow. OVI: We have products in the DIY

32 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

said heichi timtzi.

people in the market —

think we can do it better. We’re work-

OVI: (laughing)

OVI: There’s one other one coming,

ing toward reinventing security.

Meaning, every

but it’s off the record.

HILLEL: It’s such a saturated space,

product we make

HILLEL: So if I asked you now, in five


sells chips. So, for

years when Vayyar is a unicorn,

OVI: Saturated? In this case I don’t

example, in auto-

where’s the main —

believe so.

OVI: First of all…

HILLEL: What are airports using now?

HILLEL: Are you already a unicorn?

OVI: It’s not just for airports.

OVI: Let’s just say we work hard, try

HILLEL: But any security, what are

to build a great company, and don’t

they using now? Those metal detec-

think much about that on a day-to-


motive we can sell individual chips.

HILLEL: What’s the use case for automotive?

OVI: For automotive we have three use cases. One concept involves a small sensor embedded into the hood of the car. We

day basis.

OVI: They’re using metal detectors,

HILLEL: (Laughing) Okay, whatev-

yes, but what we’re using are mil-

er! A year from now, when you’re a unicorn —

put a sensor in the upper body of the

OVI: (Laughing) Thank you.

car and it tells you where everyone is

HILLEL: What’s the main growth



More than that, let’s say you forget a baby in the car. It can send you an alert on your phone. Now, any cam-

OVI: There’ll be four main growth engines. One will be automotive.

limeter waves. Metal detectors just beep, but they can’t see what’s actually on the person. Our technology can see through your clothing.

HILLEL: Like actual X-ray vision? How does that work, just technically?

OVI: Radio waves pick up on reflectors, right? A very strong reflector

HILLEL: But if you had to choose the

would be water or metal. The body

main one, like, it’ll be the biggest

is made of water. The reflection of

revenue generated for this company...

a person’s body is much stronger

we can then directly call the police

OVI: Either automotive or homeland

than the reflection of their clothes.

and automate all of that.

security or smart-home, those are

Think about it. We’re also working

the three.

on projects aimed at security in train

era could do that, but we can also tell you if the baby’s breathing or not, and if you don’t answer the phone,

HILLEL: That’s obviously a much-needed product, but on the

HILLEL: That’s like three different

other hand, there are a lot of compa-


nies out there doing this.

OVI: Yeah. And when I say smart-

OVI: There are others, but most are

home, soon those applications will

using cameras.

provide a whole new dimension to

HILLEL: But that’s not your main use case, is it?

OVI: We also have applications for collision avoidance on the car exterior, and for parking assistance.

HILLEL: Again, very hot, a lot of other

retail also. But homeland security is

stations and shopping malls.

HILLEL: Whoa. That’s a game changer. OVI: We work in many saturated markets, but that market isn’t saturated at all. Security? Right now all you have is metal detectors.

like this — you go through an airport,

HILLEL: There are thousands of com-

you go to the little succah, you put

panies trying to fix this. Every airport

your hands up, and they ask you if

in the world needs this, every bus

you have any weapons on your body.

station in the world needs this.

There are very few companies that

OVI: One thousand percent. Stay

know how to make those huts. We

tuned. SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 33




Author | The Gift of Stuttering (Mosaica Press, 2016) Founder and CEO of Winfluencers

He was ready. Yet I was nervous. I calmly explained to my son that

It was a monumental day. I let go. It was a magnificent Sunday afternoon, and the weather was perfect for a family outing to the beach. My four-and-a-half-year-old son was particularly excited, as we had recently taken the training wheels off his bike and I was planning to teach him how to ride a two-wheeler. After relaxing in the sand and playing in the water, my son was ready. I strapped on his helmet and gave him

many kids fall while learning to ride, and that not only is it entirely okay, it may even be a necessary part of the journey. But I still didn’t want him to get hurt. I didn’t want to lose control of the bike and watch him careen uncontrollably down the boardwalk before crashing into a lamppost. I didn’t want him to have to bruise his knee — or worse — in the process. I just wanted him to be able to ride his bike, albeit skipping the potentially dangerous steps along the way. And then I realized how wrong I was.

a pep talk, explaining how to best maintain balance

When kids fall off their bikes, they learn

and when I would let go. I reassured him that I would

better techniques for the next time they

still be right beside him the whole way.

34 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

ride. When they scrape their knees, the next time they hop onto their bikes,

Bonus Tip

they are even more attentive to

And by doing so, they may soar —

ensure they are being safe — both

or fall. But if perceived correctly,

for themselves and for others on the

either of those outcomes is truly a

path. When they lose control of their

success. Because when an employ-

bikes because they get distracted by

ee metaphorically scrapes his knee

passersby, they become more careful

when falling off his bike, he learns

experiences you’ve had with

to maintain focus.

to be a stronger, more attentive,

your managers. How did they

and ultimately, better rider.

treat you? Did they stifle your

I didn’t want my kid to fall. But I was strengthened by the notion that

This is exactly what happened in

Wherever you are in your career, please think about the

creativity or encourage you

in case he did, he would be better off

the company I previously worked

in the future. He would be stronger,

for, Hometalk (the world’s largest

more attentive, and ultimately, a

DIY community). My CEO gave me

mark on projects? Did they

better rider.

the freedom to try new things and

make you feel subservient or

to explore various growth oppor-

did they act like a coach who

As an entrepreneur, I realize that

to make your unique personal

this experience has a striking par-

tunities. To capitalize on our traffic

allel in business. When hiring new

(40 million monthly visitors), I

employees, my colleagues and I want

first decided to build a peer-to-

to keep a tight handle on their day-

peer e-commerce marketplace,

to-day output. We are wary of failure

like Etsy, which would provide

and negative consequences; we don’t

users with the platform to buy or

agers… and now, I try to be the

want to let go. I don’t want anyone to

sell products from each other and

manager I wish I had. Please do

get hurt — neither the new employ-

allow us to diversify our revenue

ee, nor the company.


the same. Please treat your em-

Yet at the same time, I recognize

But it was a dismal failure.

cheered on your success? In my various jobs over the last 13 years, I had all kinds of man-

ployees the way you wish you were treated when you were in

that the greatest managers allow

Months of product development

their employees the space to explore,

and relationship building with

their shoes. It will do wonders

push their limits, and try new things.

strategic partners were essentially

for both of you. SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 35




Mernick letting go of his son, allowing him to pedal on his own for the first time

products with shortened development cycles, to rapidly discover whether the proposed product and business model are viable. I had more grit and determination — and humility — for the next time around. Thankfully, that “next time around” came quickly. Being opportunistic, we noticed an early trend to leverage social media influencers who would promote a product, send quality traffic, and get paid for results. It wasn’t an innovative platform or idea; it was just a novel way to get high volumes or quality traffic to existing content. So we tried it out in a “lean” way, quick and simple. This time, we didn’t spend months coding and designing; rather, we got a few influencers onboard, hacked a quick fix to track the relevant traffic (and associated revenue), and waited to see what the results would look like. After the first few weeks, the results were surprisworthless when we couldn’t get the

designers and developers built a bril-

necessary traction; our users simply

liant e-commerce platform...only to

didn’t seem interested in using our

see it eventually collect dust.

website as an Etsy-like marketplace. Metaphorically, I’d fallen off my

But instead of wallowing in selfpity after my fall, I got right back up,

bike and I scraped my leg. It hurt. It

strengthened by the various lessons

had been my first growth-orient-

I’d gleaned from the experience. I had

ed venture at Hometalk, and I was

learned valuable techniques, such

embarrassed that I hadn’t delivered

as “lean startup” methodology — a

strong results. I felt bad that the

strategic approach to developing

36 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

ingly positive. So as we continued to manually build the program, our developers began working on tools that allowed us the technology to scale. There were hurdles and mistakes along the way, like there are with any new business venture, but it was exciting for me to hire a team of budding entrepreneurs for this business unit. I provided them not only with


Getting Deeper To get philosophical, Hashem is the most ideal “parent” and “manager.” He generously provides us with tools and instruction for life. Indeed, we make mistakes,

the tools, resources, and mentorship to

experience were strikingly similar. On

and we fall. But He’s right

take the project to the next level, but I

that Sunday afternoon, I learned to

also gave them the flexibility to explore

let my son go. And in doing so, I was

there alongside us, cheer-

their new ideas. Ultimately, I let go,

privileged to see him fly, to see him

empowering them to make it their own.

beam with pride as he rode solo for 37

And over the following two years, they

seconds down that boardwalk. Those

did a phenomenal job: they empowered our influencers to generate approximately 350 million visits to Hometalk’s website! I’ve heard the question asked: “What if I invest so much into my

ing us on, dreaming of a day when we’ll make our unique mark, fulfill our unique

feelings of maturity and achievement

potential, and ultimately

would have never been possible had

impact the world in a way

I held on, had I stifled him with my

that we uniquely can.

fear of seeing him get hurt. Moreover, on that Sunday after-

And when we do, we get

noon, I became a better manager. I

this incredible feeling of

learned that while I should initially

pride (not arrogance) for

guide new employees and help them

making those decisions

responds: “What if you don’t invest so

build momentum, the vital element of their success will come when I

and we reap the rewards

much into your employees...and they stay?!”

instill in them the confidence to ride

employees...and they leave?!” Gary Vaynerchuk, successful entrepreneur, author, and speaker, poignantly

The connection between my son’s bike-riding lesson and my managerial

on their own — while I remain in the background cheering them on.

associated with them, too. Think about this parallel; discuss it with your friends and family. It’s deep; it’s powerful. It has helped me

Moe Mernick is the founder and CEO of Winfluencers, an early-stage startup

develop an even deeper

that empowers micro-influencers to monetize their passion. Previously, he

understanding of the way

was the Head of BizDev for Hometalk, Strategy Consultant for Deloitte, and Regional Director for the Lauder Foundation. He holds an MBA and semichah, and published

Hashem runs the world,

his first book, The Gift of Stuttering (Mosaica Press, 2016). He also teaches a daf

and I hope it’ll do the same

yomi shiur, produces inspirational videos for Aish.com, and gives lectures to audi-

for you.

ences worldwide. Moe lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with his wife and children.


2 . 0 | 37




CAN I EAT LABGROWN MEAT WITH DAIRY? Over 1,500 years ago, there were two great tzaddikim living in Bavel — Rav Chanina and Rav Oshaya. Each and every Friday, these two luminaries would sit down and learn Sefer Yetzirah — a book that contains the hidden secrets of the Torah, parts of which date back

Photo by DMJ Studios

to Avraham Avinu. Incredibly, by accessing the creative energy revealed in the Sefer Yetzirah, in a method way

does that make a difference

bothered by the question of

beyond our understanding, they created a live cow

in halachah?

how Avraham was able to

from which they would eat on Shabbos (Sanhedrin 65b).


Is this our chance to

serve the angels meat and

finally taste a cheeseburger?

milk together. The Malbim

Does this mean pork grown

has an incredible p’shat. He

in a lab is not really pig?

says that Avraham cre-

ast-forward 15 centuries, and we are witnessing

ated the meat using Sefer

a Sefer Yetzirah-like event in the modern labora-


Yetzirah! He therefore posits

tory. Scientists are now creating “meat” without

In the beginning of parshas

that such meat is not hala-

slaughtering an animal. The molecules, taste, and

Vayeira, Avraham serves

chically considered meat,

texture are identical to that of a real cow, with one notable

meat and milk to the angels.

which is why Avraham could

difference — it has no mother. This cow was never born. So

Many commentators are

serve it to the angels.

38 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Rav Shlomo Hakohen of Vilna

In light of this, we must treat Sefer

three different prohibitions: not to

makes the same assumption that any

Yetzirah meat as actual meat: requir-

cook meat and milk together, not to

food created through Sefer Yetzirah is

ing shechitah, a wait of six hours

eat them together, and not to derive

not the same as that food in its nat-

before eating milk, etc.

any benefit from such a mixture.

ural form. He discusses milk created

While this is the halachic consen-

through Sefer Yetzirah and concludes

sus regarding meat created through

derived from this prohibition, such

that it does not have the halachic

Sefer Yetzirah, can we extend this

as eating chicken with milk, is only

status of dairy.

understanding to lab-grown meat?

prohibited from being eaten; one may

Sharing their views is the Shelah

However, anything that the Sages

Although cultured meat is not born

cook them together or derive benefit

Hakadosh. In parshas Vayeishev, the

from a cow, it is created from the

from them.

Shelah explains that this is why Yosef

cells of a cow. Perhaps cultured meat

suspected his brothers of eating eiver

should be considered full bona fide

a nonkosher culinary school may,

min hachai, limbs torn from live an-

meat, even though it was not born in

for example, cook chicken and milk

imals. Yosef saw his brothers eating

the conventional way.

together, but not meat and milk

what appeared to be eiver min hachai,

In other words, is lab-grown meat

As a result, a Jewish student in

together. Whether this student is per-

but he didn’t know that those animals

considered real meat only rabbinical-

mitted to cook lab-grown meat with

were created through Sefer Yetzirah.

ly or also Biblically? This is an ongo-

milk depends on this very question of

Sefer Yetzirah meat doesn’t have the

ing debate among leading poskim.

whether lab-grown meat is classified

status of meat!

as meat from the Biblical perspective


or just from the Rabbinic perspec-

dispensation. Rav Avraham Tzvi

Why is there so much debate about a

tive, i.e., whether it must be treated

Hirsh Eisenstadt, author of the Pischei

simple matter of terminology? If we

as meat because it is truly considered

Teshuvah, writes that even meat

must treat lab-grown meat as meat

meat or whether it must be treated as

generated from Sefer Yetzirah requires

regardless, the question of whether

such due to maris ayin.

proper shechitah because of maris

it is meat on a Biblical or a Rabbinic

ayin (Yoreh Dei’ah 62:2). The onlooker

level seems entirely trivial. So why

we know that there is still an endless

won’t know that you are eating cul-

is so much emphasis placed on the

number of questions that will arise,

tured meat, and he would be troubled

halachic status of such meat? The

but perhaps the most interesting part

and confused if he sees you eating it

answer is that the halachic classifi-

of this discussion is that no matter

without shechitah.

cation has very important practical

how far into the future we go, the


answer still lies in the oldest of texts.

But that doesn’t mean an all-out

Rav Eisenstadt cites a proof from a ben pekuah. A ben pekuah is an

The Torah commands, “Lo sevashel

As science and technology develop,

No cheeseburgers for now, but a feast

animal found alive inside the womb

gedi b’chalev imo — Do not cook a

of knowledge from the books we have

of a slaughtered animal. Biblically,

goat in its mother’s milk,” no less

studied for centuries is yet to come. Is

the ben pekuah may be eaten without

than three times. We learn from this

your mouth watering yet?

shechitah. The shechitah performed on the mother applies to the baby as well. Still, because of maris ayin, the

Rabbi Yoni Levin is the Sgan Rav at Congregation Aish Kodesh, as

appearance to the outsider, the Sages

well as the rosh kollel of Emek Hamelech, both under the leadership

required shechitah even on a ben

of Rav Moshe Weinberger. Hundreds of his shiurim can be found on YUTorah,


revealing his strong passion for both halachah and Chassidus.


2 . 0 | 39




THE EMERGING LIGHT OF MASHIACH Looking at today’s world, with all of its dizzying advances, we find a curious phenomenon. In the realm of technology and science, each generation is more sophisticated and advanced than the last, but in the realm of Torah and avodas Hashem, it’s just the opposite. With each passing generation, our understanding of Torah and sensitivity to spirituality dulls.


s we know, the era of the

we find a similar phenomenon. The

not contradict it. How then can we

first Beis Hamikdash was

world seems to be on a steady course

reconcile our constant advancement

an era of nevuah, the

downwards. This is summed up by

in science with the steady deprecia-

greatest level of spiritual

the famous statement of the Talmud

tion of our spiritual level?

clarity. After its destruction, we were

(Shabbos 112b): “Rav Zeira said in

no longer able to access this level. The

Rabbah bar Zimuna’s name: If the


Tannaim, although they were unbe-

earlier [scholars] were sons of angels,

The answer to this mystery can be

lievably great in Torah and spiritual

we are sons of men; and if the earlier

found in the writings of the Leshem,

awareness, recognized that they were

[scholars] were sons of men, we are

Rav Shlomo Elyashiv (grandfather

no longer on the level of the neviim.

like donkeys.”

of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv). He

Although we understand our low

explains that each one of us exists

nized that they weren’t on the level

spiritual level intuitively, Chazal tell

on two levels — we are individuals,

of their predecessors and therefore

us that Hashem gazed into the Torah

part of a particular time period, but

focused on clarifying the teachings of

and created the world. What we find

we also exist as part of a single entity

the Tannaim. With the era of the Ris-

in the physical world should parallel

called the Jewish People, which spans

honim, followed by the Acharonim,

what we find in the spiritual world,

all generations. The individual Jew is

Next came the Amoraim, who recog-

40 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

bound to the rule of spiritual descent.

only in the outer dimension of reality.

after sometimes being disconnect-

However, the Jewish People as one

This means that the actions and

ed for generations. This spiritual

single entity increase in vitality with

traits of the individual souls of the

resiliency and their ability to reinvent

the passing of time — we build on the

generation have fallen. In the inner

themselves completely is a testament

accomplishments of our ancestors

dimension of reality… each genera-

to this inner dimension of the Jewish

and amass more power.

tion adds to the accomplishments of

soul and its slow emergence as we

the previous generations. Sin is not

move closer to Mashiach.

The Leshem further explains that although we won’t be able to fully ac-

accumulative…the collective whole of

cess that strength and truly discover

the generation is full of Divine light,

anyone involved in kiruv or anyone

who we are until the coming of the

more so than ever before.”

who finds themselves in a position of

Mashiach, we see sparks of it now. He

He continues: “There is a tangible

These ideas will resonate for

influence over other Jews. One must

writes: “Although the generations are

effect of this inner light. In earlier

believe in the inner strength of the

decreasing in their spiritual stat-

generations, evil was able to grab

Jewish soul and its drive for holiness.

ure, and particularly our generation,

hold of a Jewish soul and poison it

Whereas in previous generations

which… can be likened to a monkey

with heresy, to the extent that it was

bringing an estranged Jew back to

impersonating a human being, the

almost impossible to escape from its

the fold was very difficult, today the

light of redemption has begun to

clutches. We were therefore com-

process is much simpler. By present-

emerge… However, it only remains

manded to stay away from heretics

ing an accurate and healthy picture

in the inner dimension of reality [i.e.,

and not engage in outreach towards

of Torah, the Jew is naturally drawn

the dimension of the Jewish People

them. This is not the case anymore.

toward it.

as a single entity]. Therefore, in the

The power of the soul is greater, so

Certainly, it is by no means easy

outer dimension, the curses increase

even [evil] can only dull the Divine

and kiruv in our generation presents

daily, whereas in the inner, the world

light of the soul… We see that as soon

its own set of challenges, but ulti-

is becoming increasingly perfected”

as one lights up for [those who stray]

mately one must believe that the per-

(Leshem Shevo Ve’achlamah, Sefer

on the correct path towards Hashem,

son he is trying to bring close is not

Habiurim 1:5).

with clear understanding and healthy

as far as he may seem. As Mashiach

emotions, the light of their soul

comes closer, we can take heart that

Tzaddok HaKohein of Lublin: “I

begins to shine once again” (Igros

the Jewish People as a whole is be-

heard from the Holy Jew of Peshischa

Harayah, vol. 1, 332).

coming stronger, despite our spiritual

This concept is reiterated by Rav

that although the general powers

We see Rav Kook’s words come to

shortcomings as individuals. This, in

of the soul decrease throughout the

life in our generation, where many

turn, gives us the ability to face the

generations, the point of the heart

of our estranged brothers and sisters

modern era with faith in ourselves

becomes more purified with every

are finding their way back to Judaism

and our abilities.

passing generation” (Pri Tzaddik, parshas Vayechi 1).

GAINING STRENGTH To take this concept a step further,

Rabbi Yussie Zakutinsky is a musmach of Yeshivas Shaar HaTorah in Kew Gardens, New York. A maggid shiur in Yeshivas Emek HaMelech

Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohein

and the rav of Edison Home Health Care, he gives weekly shiurim throughout

Kook explains that we experience this

the Tristate area. He is the author of Sefer Yam HaTefilah and Sefer Mei Moed.

growth through our spiritual resil-

His unique ability to teach lofty Chassidic concepts in a down-to-earth way

iency. He wrote: “Although the world

makes him a highly sought-after lecturer.

is descending terribly, this descent is SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 41




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He’s the man responsible for 45 different flavors of Prego pasta sauce and hundreds of other products lining the shelves in grocery stores across the world. Dr. Moskowitz believes in creating diversity in food — and appreciating it in humanity. He is a true fan of mankind, and making the world a better place is at the core of his being. Here, he tells his story. PAGE 44




2 . 0 | 43




Food Scientist | Israel By Mimi Minsky

HOWARD MOSKOWITZ: LIVING A LIFE OF CONSEQUENCE From mixing ingredients to mixing ideas, Dr. Howard Moskowitz is developing a taste for changing the world.

Bubby and Zeidy, and went on to earn his PhD at a city college when the war broke out.” A champion of human rights,


Moskowitz’s father was nominated y granddaughter says

and hundreds of other products lining

the double-pinky

the shelves in grocery stores across

promise is the most

the world, Dr. Moskowitz believes

hallowed thing of all,”

in creating diversity in food — and

Dr. Howard Moskowitz of White

appreciating it in humanity. He is a

Plains, New York, tells me one morn-

true fan of mankind, and making the

ing over fruit and coffee. “So I’m pre-

world a better place is at the core of

pared to say anything and everything

his being. It’s an outlook that’s been

you’d like to know, you have my

ingrained in him from early on.

word!” he says with mock solemnity. I can tell he means it. There’s an honesty and a sense of humility that rises above any title he’s worn or accolade he’s received — and there are many. He’s just arrived from davening with a local minyan and he looks ready to tackle the day. As the man responsible for the 45 different flavors of Prego pasta sauce 44 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

FINDING MEANING IN LIFE Dr. Moskowitz was born on April 28, 1944, during World War II, and he describes his childhood as the son of an immigrant, growing up in New York. “My father, Moses Moskowitz, a”h, came from a long line of chassidic lineage,” he says. “He grew up in Europe, settled in New York with my

for the Nobel Peace Prize and was a friend and colleague of the late Eleanor Roosevelt. Dr. Moskowitz remembers him as a man who wanted to better the lives of others and talked a lot about “Hakadosh Baruch Hu.” He constantly urged his son to live a life of consequence and to focus on what G-d had intended him to do. “My father spent a lot of time and effort ensuring that my sister, Dr. Judith Moskowitz, and I went to Jewish day schools.” Moskowitz attended Yeshiva of Central Queens as well, but he says the next generation got a better Jewish education than he did. “My children today are far more learned than I could ever be,” he shares proudly. Even so, he’s kept purpose and finding meaning in life at the top

of his priority list. Carrying his father’s advice, Moskowitz sought out his own path, majoring in psychology and mathematics at Queens College. Then, in his early 20s, he found himself at Harvard University, unsure of what he would take on next. “Much to my own surprise, I began studying the sense of taste,” he says. “I didn’t know AC from DC (in terms of electric currents), so my professor, S. S. Stevens, suggested that studying either taste or political polling would suit my abilities.” In 1969, Moskowitz graduated Harvard with a PhD in experimental psychology, which meant that he could use scientific methods to collect data that allowed for research on human behavior, giving insight into the way people thought. A self-described “idea person,” his theories on the basis of human psychology in terms of products eventually became the catalyst for his success, and though his professors remained critical throughout his years at school, he knew he was onto something big. “When I graduated, my professor looked at my work and said to me, ‘Howie, you think everyone is waiting for you? It will be 25 years before they recognize you!’ And he was right.”


requesting his expert advice. But that

being given meals that would provide

was always creating ahead of his time

didn’t happen quite yet.

enough calories. He used a concept

and thinking deeply into the future.

After college, he began working

called “sensory-specific satiety” —

His strategy was enough to eventu-

for the United States Army Native

the nature of people to lose interest

ally get noticed by big corporations,

Laboratories, pioneering approaches

in strongly flavored foods — in order

and in time, influencers and product

for the development of food prod-

to come up with a formula that would

developers were knocking on his door

ucts to ensure that soldiers were

encourage soldiers to eat foods they SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 45



wouldn’t tire of. After working for the army for seven years, he felt it was time for a


flavorists and decision makers at the big food companies weren’t quite so sure.

change, believing HaKadosh Baruch

When he was first approached by

Hu had more in store for him. He re-

a chemist at Pepsi, his approach was

membered his father’s words to “live

challenged. “In the beginning, they

a life of consequence” and knew there

said I was crazy when I suggested

was more he needed to contribute to

they try to develop more flavors. But

the world. To do that, he felt that he

most people don’t know what they

should become financially indepen-

want until they taste it,” he says. In

dent and start his own business.

the 1970s, he worked to determine

Thus, in 1981, he opened his first

the perfect ratio of aspartame, cre-

firm, and in the process launched

ating samples with different levels of

something magical. Founding the

sweetness and testing it on thousands

market research company Moskowitz

of people, leading to the conclusion

Jacobs Inc. in White Plains, New York,

that he would need more than one re-

gave him the opportunity to explore

sult to meet everyone’s preferences.

his passions and see where they might lead him. A natural risk-taker, Dr. Moskow-

And while his approach for experimental design and his skill for using mathematical models to produce


itz found that his drive and passion

results later created billions of dollars

ultimately led him toward new

in sales, this new way of thinking

discoveries, revolutionizing the world

had been uncommon until then, and

of food as it was once known, with

was considered a breakthrough in the

a new concept called “intermarket

world of food. It took a lot of convinc-

more flavors, experimenting with the

variability.” This means that intro-

ing, but eventually, the results spoke

ratios of oil and salt, etc., and creat-

ducing more products to consumers

for themselves.

ing a rating system of one to four in

would allow companies the chance to

From Prego to Pepsi, Campbell’s

terms of degree of impact, he enabled

peek into the consumer’s mind. The

soup to Colgate, and then to Vlasic

Vlasic’s flavorists to think outside

big food firms at the time were so

and beyond, Dr. Moskowitz says his

the jar.

focused on perfecting one flavor, they

food science and rating systems have

couldn’t see that they were missing

helped change the way companies

Moskowitz was approached by Prego

out on a chance for growth by offer-

considered the products they pro-

in 1983, and he decided to bring his

ing more. Moskowitz wanted to use

duced. Food companies were focused

newfound revelation and apply it

psychology and science to determine

on developing the one perfect flavor

to a new product. He would travel

what motivated people to buy what

that would appeal to the masses, but

to different cities testing different

they did, and then motivate them to

Moskowitz realized that there was

combinations and discovered that

buy more.

no one perfect flavor — only perfect

people were likely to change their


minds when different flavors were

And then there was pasta sauce.


“You know Vlasic, Zesty?” Mos-

introduced to them. People would

was his game, and in Moskowitz’s

kowitz asks. Turns out, in 1981, he

try something new and discover it

mind, in the world of food, more

helped create “the optimum pickle,”

was better than something they had

options meant more sales. But the

he calls it, from data. By developing

already tasted. In fact, a chunky pasta

46 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

sauce was highly uncommon when Moskowitz helped develop it. Yet, through research, he discovered that people fell into three different categories: those who liked plain sauce, those who liked spicy sauce, and those who liked chunky. The result was $600 million in 10 years from the chunky sauce alone. It was the same with Tropicana, where Moskowitz worked from 1995 to 1997 creating the Grovestand variety that offered orange juice with pulp. Years later, in 2004, Moskowitz put his stamp on soda, developing Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper when he was hired by Cadbury Schweppes. His flavor has made its way to college parties, Shabbos meals, and homes across the world. To Moskowitz, it was simple. People didn’t know what they were missing or that they were missing out at all until they were presented with options they hadn’t known existed. It was revolutionary, and Moskowitz was dubbed a marketing genius.

MIXING IDEAS All that being said, there was another seed planted back in 1965, when he learned about conjoined analysis through Larry Erlbaum, a detail man he met for academic press. “I was a naĂŻve, 21-year-old graduate student when I read the first article of the journal he showed me, and I fell in love with it,â€? he says. Although it took some

N N 4 5 45


time, Moskowitz eventually jumped into that full force as well. “Instead of mixing ingredients, I started mixing ideas,� he says. It was this revelation — finding that people re-


sponded to both flavors and ideas the same way — that


motivated him to pursue the road less traveled, with a new


innovative app focused on ideas. He realized that if people


had the ability to receive feedback from an idea they’d had from a potential customer, it would change everything. But first, it was time to make another change in his life. In 2014, after having worked with major companies such

Tax Deferred Growth

6??4 4O 54O NN4 5

as Colgate and Ragu, Dr. Moskowitz made the decision to close his marketing business. Deciding to spend more time with his family, he visited his son Danny in Mitzpeh Yericho, Israel, and after several days surrounded by his grandchildren, his mind was hit with a new idea. “My son said, ‘Look, Dad, the kids aren’t using computers anymore. They’re all on their phones.’� His son then suggested he use his technology knowhow to create an app

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2 . 0 | 47




that could be downloaded onto a

real people,” Moskowitz says. The

Moskowitz’s younger years, a time

device. The app would allow anybody

app works as a digital focus group,

when he felt inferior and was at his

to access a wide range of people and

but he insists that it’s more than just

lowest point. “In yeshivah, I felt like I

opinions, and Dr. Moskowitz was all

data. “With G-d’s help, the app will

would never be a learned person; they

for it. They went full force into the

reach everyone who wants to learn

told me I would never be a gadol. At

process, and the app was built.

this type of information, maybe 100

Harvard, I was told I was on proba-

million people. We’re pushing it in

tion. I had no technical or scientific

BimiLeap, is to understand a person’s

Serbia through MENSA, which will

ability. They warned me that they

mind. “Presenting ideas to people out

take it worldwide,” he shares.

would rather me not stay on, but since

The goal in creating the app, called

in the world, getting their reactions,

There has already been massive in-

I’d arrived with a National Science

and figuring out how many rating

terest by millennials, and it is available

Fellowship, they’d wait until I failed

points come from each,” Moskowitz

through Josh Deitel at SifraDigital in

and was forced to leave,” he shares.

explains, “will change everything.”

Jerusalem. “It’s growing fast, beyond

“As a result of those experiences, I’ve

The app is reminiscent of the focus

anything I expected. It’s just begin-

learned to understand those who are

groups Moskowitz used to lead in his

ning, but I have never seen so many

broken, and I always feel humble.”

food studies all those years ago. Using

young people view an app as the

this app, people can create questions


to ask the public, such as whether anybody was likely to use a certain

Dr. Moskowitz believes the app can be used for anything, from world

It appears that he’s been proving his professors wrong for a while now. Between his studies that reinvented the food industry and this new app set to change the way we see things, Moskowitz believes he is making the


world a better place. “I can just see millions of kids using this app,” he says now, excitedly. He shakes his head again, as if genuinely stunned by his own accomplishments. “There’s so much and so little here, but it’s not me,” he insists. “I just carry with me the vision of what could be a better world. I’m doing what I

product and how someone might get

peace to letting kids across the world

use out of it. Regular people across

know that their dreams matter and

As I stand up to leave, I spot the

the world would then key in respons-

there are ways to pursue them. “It

variety of sugar packets and plastic

es, and the idea founder would see the

comes down to finding out people’s

ketchup bottles scattered across the

results in real time. They would then

mindsets. You can use it for medical

neighboring tables. The man who

know how to perfect a business plan

studies to increase health, evidence,

helped create these products is here,

or if it was worth developing at all.

and arguments, and students can use

I want to tell the other diners. I turn

it to learn how to think better.”

to wave goodbye and Dr. Moskowitz

“People now have an opportunity to share their opinions about ideas,

think G-d wanted me to do.”

waves in return, smiling widely and

and the business owners have the


undoubtedly preparing for his next

opportunity to collect feedback from

of this app is a stark contrast to Dr.

big move.

48 |

2.0 SPRING 2019


2 . 0 | 49


ISRAEL’S STATUS AS A GLOBAL CONTENDER IN REAL ESTATE From his elegant 15th-floor perch in one of Romema’s newly built residential towers, once an anomaly in a city dominated by low-rises, real estate attorney Yitzchak Steinberg offers his perspective. “Real estate isn’t just business, it’s about psychology. Real estate negotiations involve a lot of sophistication — legal, technical, financial, marketing, etc. There’s also the emotional aspect — all the more so in Israel. When someone invests in a stock, he doesn’t usually have any special attachment to that stock or bond. But


when someone, especially a religious Jew, buys an apartment in Israel, he’s fulfilling a dream. There’s a lot of hope, a lot of emotion, a lot more involved than just getting a return on an investment.”

teinberg isn’t just talking

from an empty field at the outskirts of

greater transparency,” says Steinberg.

theoretically. He has

the city, until today, with occupancy

“New financial regulations are much

hands-on experience with all aspects

projected within a couple of months,

stricter; the law establishing ceilings

of the process, watching properties

I’ve been living the fulfillment of a

on cash transactions, for example,

be transformed from empty lots into


ensures that money can’t get lost,

modern apartment buildings that will

and construction finance laws provide

serve as homes to dozens of families.


protection for the purchaser. Devel-

“I’m developing a property in Petach

past years, when many investors

opers must provide a bank guarantee

Tikvah, a 17-floor apartment tower

lost money due to failed ventures,

for each payment and detailed lists of

with 67 apartments, built on a piece

Israel today is considered one of the

specifications, so buyers know what

of land that was purchased in the

foremost venues for investment, with

they’re getting for their money.

1930s by my client’s grandmother.

a plethora of attractive opportunities.

“In real estate, time also plays a

Since 2010, as I watched it transform

“Now there’s legislation that ensures

major role. People worldwide who

50 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

bought property at rock-bottom pric-

that are sweeping

Photo by Lior Mizrachi

es in failing neighborhoods that later

the globe, with

became eligible for urban renewal

Israel being no

made big money. However, our supply

exception. “We

of apartments in Israel is limited.

see a greater

Prices aren’t going to go down. Now’s

move to the cities.

the time to take advantage of the

The dream of a

many opportunities that still abound.”

single-family dwelling with a


two-car garage

worn-out cliché that real estate is

is passé; today,

all about location, location, location,

people are willing

takes on new meaning when talking

to sacrifice size in

about Israel,” Steinberg continues.

that includes two huge towers — one

“It’s the ultimate location and it

residential and one luxury hotel. And

touches the heart of every religious Jew. People will always want to be here — and that creates a constant demand. This impacts the religious population all the more: We need to live within a community, we need a shul and other facilities within walking distance, etc. Supply, on the other hand, is naturally limited, and the government is employing various creative means to increase it. “One way is through urban renewal projects, which enable the construc-

then there’s the plan for a whopping

order to be in the center of town.” “The growing anti-Semitism

one million square meters of offices

across the globe, and particularly in

at the entrance to the city, for confer-

Europe, cannot fail to have ramifica-

ence halls, apartments, and stores.

tions in Israel,” Steinberg says. “I’ve

“Another example is Tama 38, a

spoken to British Jews who say that

unique construction program em-

the community as a whole is ex-

ployed across the country, created to

tremely wary of Jeremy Corbyn’s rise

strengthen and upgrade older apart-

to the leadership of the Labour party.

ment buildings to protect them from

I’m hearing more and more that if

earthquakes,” Steinberg adds. “Since

Corbyn becomes the prime minister,

the government could never finance

many people will emigrate to Israel.

such a large-scale project, it was out-

“In terms of economics and

sourced to developers, who receive

innovation,” he concludes, “it’s no

the rights to build new floors on top

secret that Israel is a leader. With

of these older buildings in exchange

manufacturing transferred largely

for improvements. In addition to

to the Far East, office buildings have

strengthening the foundations, they

become the new factories. Israel has

cades. Who looked at Geula 20 years

built extra features such as elevators,

anticipated this trend, with accel-


porches, safe rooms, or parking. This

erated plans for office space in all

creates a win-win for all parties: Old-

major cities. The chareidi population

the Jerusalem municipality has

er apartments are made safer for the

is slowly shifting and adapting itself

extensive long-range plans for

population at no charge to the state

as well, with greater higher education

the construction of high-rises all

or the owners, while urgently needed

opportunities for young people. This

along Yaffo Street. One example is

housing is built in prime locations.”

is just one more trend that’s already

tion of high-rise residential and commercial towers. Those projects will increase residential density in the city center, in which popularity has skyrocketed in the past two de-

“In keeping with this mindset,

having a powerful impact on the real

the project planned adjacent to the Machaneh Yehudah market, where

ON A GLOBAL SCALE Steinberg dis-

estate market, which serves as a mir-

the Eitz Chaim Yeshiva used to be,

cusses societal changes and trends

ror of society.” SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 51




My Mother’s Armoire | Brooklyn, New York By Abbey Wolin


We all have our dreams and passions. What makes one follow them to make money? How do you go from idea to full-on company? Which steps do you take along the way? Is it a conscious decision or organic growth? This column will explore different avenues and paths various entrepreneurs have taken to fulfill their dreams while following their passions and making a parnassah. My Mother’s Armoire is a clothing boutique most known for its vintage collections and eclectic finds. While keeping her personal life personal, Shevy has cultivated a community of over 21,000 followers on Instagram, no easy feat these days. What makes My Mother’s Armoire so special? On a cold winter day, I traveled to a quaint café in Brooklyn to meet Shevy and hear all about her humble beginnings — and how she went from thrifting in her mother’s closet to shipping all over the country.


Right after I got married, we moved


to Israel, and I had a lot of time to


brainstorm. I realized that I could sell

I’m most passionate about empow-

vintage clothing — something I truly

nervous — I truly didn’t know if I

loved and was actually extremely good

could do it. But what I quickly found

at. Since vintage clothing is acquired

was that, just like me, a lot of women

one piece at a time, it was a smaller

crave individuality and are empowered

initial investment. Plus, I had the

by stepping out of their comfort zone.

added appeal of styling each client in a

They want to try new things, even if

completely unique way.

it’s very different from what they’ve

ering women to trust their gut, to have the confidence to be themselves, and to value their individuality. I was always creative by nature. Instead of looking in my closet for an outfit, I was designing a dress in my head. At the time, though, I didn’t have anyone

When we moved back to New York, I was eight months pregnant, but I was

always worn. From my first customer until today,

supporting the idea of me going to

determined to turn this vision into

I really relate to that. Nothing gives

fashion school, and starting a clothing

reality, so I started to shop and create

me more joy than when my custom-

line without proper schooling just

my first collection. With zero business

ers say, “I bought that dress I never

wasn’t done back then.

or retail experience, I was definitely

thought I’d have the guts to wear, but

52 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

looked at the racks of colorful cloth-

come visit, he’d tell me how amazing

ing and exclaimed, “What a breath of

I was in one breath and then tell me

fresh air!” I love that. Injecting fun

I needed to move in another. He was

and color into people’s lives is my

impressed with my hustling, and he

favorite thing.

encouraged me to get out and take the next step to a storefront. By then I had a toddler, and I didn’t


see how a retail shop fit into the

Well, first, Hashem decides whether

picture. But my mother, who is a style

or not I’m successful, so I don’t really

icon in her own right, joined the team

stress about the negative effects. I

and was there every step of the way.

now it’s my favorite dress and I get the

want vintage to be mainstream and

We found a space, and within two

most compliments on it!”

love that there’s a need for more than

months we demolished the low ceil-

one vintage shop in the community.

ings and the plush carpeting. We then


I think every business offers some-

discovered an interior brick wall and


thing different, and I’m proud of

created a mysterious, magical haven


what we can give to our clients.

on Coney Island Avenue.



the first full year. We were in the shop



extremely hard. I was expecting my

Yes, vintage was relatively new to our

My collection just grew and grew, and

second daughter at the time, but I

community then, and the feedback

soon my apartment was stuffed with

stayed in the store every day learning

was incredible. One of my first clients

racks. Every time my father would

how to handle all the scenarios that


We didn’t hire any salesgirls for together every single day, working


2 . 0 | 53




arise with a retail shop, as opposed to private appointments in my home. It wasn’t easy, but my business took on a new life. We had about 3,000 customers in the last year.

THAT’S INCREDIBLE! HOW DO YOU FIND THE CLOTHING TO SELL? I have relationships with vintage sellers, estate sale officers, and other vintage shops who know what I like and reach out to me. They either text me or just ship something over, and I’ll send back what doesn’t work for my customers. I also love shopping in thrift stores. It’s extremely time consuming, but it’s one of my favorite things to do. I try to keep the clothing affordable as well. Tops start at $55, an average

modern ways, so that’s what I aim to

of a kind, so if someone is wearing a

dress costs between $130 and $170,


dress from me, no one else can buy

and our gowns are the most expen-

It’s important to understand that

it. I do have close friends and clients

sive items — they go up to about

while, yes, personal stories and

who are influencers, though, so I’ll


engagement are crucial to connect-

gift them an outfit from time to time

ing with your followers, that doesn’t

or lend an outfit for an event because


mean you have to share details about

I appreciate what they do with it.

your personal life. You can be friendly

Their photos give me great content

I’ve never had specific follower goals,

and private.

to share with my followers on how to

and I don’t usually know exactly how

I also spend a lot of time respond-

many followers I have. I’m more fo-

ing to comments and direct messag-

cused on engagement and the inter-

es. I value my followers and they feel

action I get. I’m always looking to see what content produces direct sales. In the beginning, it would take me almost four days to create a post and caption, but over time I learned that my clients don’t need the wittiest, most thought-provoking cap-

style vintage.

that. I don’t try to sell them on any


ideas or products that I don’t believe

There is no balance. The mom guilt

in, so they know I always have their

and the business guilt take turns

best interests in mind. That’s how I

having their moments of superior-

create an authentic connection.

ity. But as I said, the social media marketing isn’t based on my personal life, and that has been the key

magazine. They want the eye-candy


appeal and clarity to see products that

I don’t collaborate very often because

any business-related pressure to

are available to purchase. They want

I don’t feel that I’ve gained substan-

capture the perfect moment.

inspiration on how to wear vintage in

tially from it. Vintage is usually one

tions — they’re looking for a digital

54 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

to creating balance for myself. When I’m with my family, I’m not under

I also tell my sales team in ad-

vance when I’ll be with my family. I

much pride you need to stifle to

follow through. People crave authen-

give specific instructions on things

be successful. It seems glamorous

ticity above all else.

that might arise, and I give them

and empowering on social media,

the confidence to make informed

but that’s because we all prefer to

decisions without me. This way I can

highlight our achievements over our

give my full attention to my children

failures. You have to be prepared to

without worrying about what else is

fail again and again.

going on.

Since I didn’t have any business experience, every time I failed, I


wrote it down. I noted what went


to fix it. You need to be humble

I don’t love confrontation and I’m

enough to appreciate mistakes and

very sensitive, so I had to learn to

criticism. It’s the hardest thing, but

toughen up a lot.

I think the most important part of

On the other hand, through dealing

wrong and created a plan for how

business is to push your pride aside

with people every day I’ve come to

and constantly be willing to learn

realize that everyone is dealing with

and grow.

hardships we know nothing about. Sometimes I may be sick, but I need

I OFTEN HEAR FROM PEOPLE WHO FREAK OUT THAT THEY LOST FIVE FOLLOWERS AFTER THEY POSTED SOMETHING. I ASK THEM HOW THEY KNOW THAT SOMEONE UNFOLLOWED, AND THEY TELL ME THEY HAVE THESE APPS TO CHECK. YOU KNOW WHAT I SAY? DELETE THAT APP! I couldn’t agree more. It’s the worst thing anyone can do. Stop looking at everyone else and focus on the things that matter in your own business. It was affecting me for a while, actually, because there was a time when I was curating clothing that was minimalist and oversized to fit what I thought my customers wanted. I didn’t lose followers and

challenges my ability to be polite, but


then she ends up telling me terrible

Yes! Here’s another tip for entrepre-

fect! It was a rude awakening to see

news she just received. Being kind

neurs on social media. You need to

that I’d fallen for the “If it’s suc-

and gracious to everyone has become

unfollow and not look at your com-

cessful for them, it’ll work for me”

a huge part of my life.

petitors on Instagram. No one else

idea. After that, I went right back to

should be your business goal. You

my original content and got so many


shouldn’t be saying, “They’re post-

excited messages and comments.

ing XYZ, so I should do that too.”

It reminded me of the strength in

People underestimate how intense-

You’ll always be two steps behind.

individuality — your voice is magic

ly hard you need to work and how

Instead, create your own voice and

and no one can copy it.

to put on a brave face and help clients just as happily as any other day. It’s taught me that it works in reverse too. I’ll have a rude customer who

my sales were fine, but the engagement wasn’t there. Then I realized that my followers are looking to me for color, print and maximalism — the rainbow ef-

Abbey Wolin is the founder of her own eponymous hand-painted glassware company. She has amassed more than 14,500 followers on Instagram, and continuously empowers them with her stories, posts, and 30-day business challenge. As a result, she’s helped more than 1,000 women grow their profits and spend more time with their families. Abbey lives in Passaic, New Jersey, with her husband and children.


2 . 0 | 55


HEALTHY EMPLOYEES, HAPPY EMPLOYEES: THREE CRUCIAL THINGS BUSINESS OWNERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EMPLOYEE BENEFITS Understanding every aspect of a new company can be a difficult task. Here, the employee-benefit consultants at Sterling Insurance Concepts in Lakewood, NJ, share some vital information about the topic and why you need to think about it at the planning stages. Sterling has been servicing businesses for over 30 years, helping new and existing companies create employee-benefit packages that are effective and competitive. Here are three important things to consider as you build and grow your company:


plan. Typically, it can rate as the sec-

offering your employees a benefit and

When you’re planning your business,

ond-to-highest expense, right after

you want them to feel positive about

you might not consider employee

payroll. Businesses that launch with a

it, but there’s no escaping the fact

health insurance a major operating

few employees and then grow to 50 or

that health insurance benefits reduce

expense. But Avi Weiss, president

100 employees could be facing larger

their paycheck. Suddenly springing

of Sterling, explains that employee

than usual expenses if they don’t plan

the change on your employees can

health insurance is one of the largest


create the wrong effect. “But if it’s

expenses to factor into your business 56 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Then there’s the PR factor. You’re

being offered from the beginning,”

What Employees Should Know Don’t just stick with the benefits plan you picked last year. Although the options can seem complicated and overwhelming, you can get the most out of your benefits while minimizing the impact to your paycheck by making smart choices. Follow these tips to make the best decisions for you and your family. Weiss explains, “and is in line with the competition, employees will see


VERIFY FIRST. Before selecting a

it as a benefit and not a drawback.

Healthy individuals and families may

health insurance plan, check that your

The longer a company waits to offer

save a lot by selecting plans with low

doctor and hospital of choice are part

health insurance to their employees,

premiums and high deductibles. Plans

of the network. If they aren’t covered,

with higher monthly premiums and low-

you’ll pay significantly more for their

er co-pays and deductibles are best for


the more difficult it will be to have them buy into it.”

2. KNOW THE LAW Let’s say you have a small company with just a few employees, but big plans for growth. Or maybe you already have 50 employees, but don’t offer any health insurance benefits. In either case, you may be walking into a legal minefield. The Affordable Care Act requires companies with 50 or more employees to offer health

those who will use a lot of health care services over the course of the year.

PAY LESS TAXES. Utilize taxfree benefits such as health savings


How did you

accounts (HSAs), flexible spending

allocate health care, dental, retirement,

accounts (FSAs), and dependent care

or flexible spending benefits last year?

spending accounts. Your contributions

Were there benefits that you paid for

to these accounts are made with pre-

but did not use? If yes, consider omit-

tax dollars, which saves you money.

ting those this time around.

Reimbursements from these accounts are also tax-free. They can be used to


Attend all

pay for prescriptions, deductibles, and

company meetings regarding the new

health-related costs that are not cov-

insurance to their employees. Com-

benefit offerings. These meetings are

ered by your insurance (like braces or

panies found in noncompliance will

great opportunities to learn the ins

eyeglasses). HSAs are also a great way

incur exorbitant per-employee fines

and outs of new plans and changes

to save for future medical costs.

— up to $3,000 per employee.

to existing ones, and you’ll get to ask

The law also defines baseline criteria for what the employee insur-

questions, too.

PLAN AHEAD. Are you saving enough to be comfortable during retirement? If not, change your retirement

benefit laws and requirements vary


by state. “There’s a lot to know,”

sources can analyze your claims from

such a plan, take advantage of your

the previous year and then determine

company’s match to your contributions

which plan would be most appropriate

to your retirement account. This is free

in the coming year.

money for the future.

ance plans must cover, and employee

Weiss admits. “That’s why we offer benefits consulting. We don’t only provide insurance products. We have

plan withholdings. If your company has

the knowledge you need as well.”

3. IT’S A BALANCING ACT Employers who want to minimize the burden that insurance has on

is cheap but includes few benefits,

reaction.” That’s why it’s import-

you will have unhappy employees,”

ant to have someone with thorough

he cautions. “We explain this to

knowledge and experience guide you

their employees may shoulder a

employers when they choose their

large portion of the cost. That’s

benefit plans, but it can be hard to

great, but it’s still important to

accept. I’ve had employers call back

make sure the plans you’re offering

to change their plans after present-

are competitive in other angles as

ing the offer to their employees

well. “If the plan you’re offering

and experiencing their negative

through the process.

732.901.3236 SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 57



Twillory.com 58 |

2.0 SPRING 2019







Serial Entrepreneur Avi Muchnick shares how he combined his creativity and business-minded spirit to create a dream career. Starting in high school and never stopping, he took his love for illustration, technology, photography, and Judaism to build brands and a life that completely melds the worlds. Now he’s the chief product officer at Shapeways, a 3D printing company, and most importantly, a huge advocate for anyone with an idea to just go for it. PAGE 60



2 . 0 | 59

FULL EXPOSURE An Inside Look at How Avi Muchnick Changed Digital Photography and Jewish Education

60 |

2.0 SPRING 2019






ore often than not, a person can

sold ads against it. We ended up paying a lot of people to write content

spot signs of what they’ll do for

for it. Seeing the difference of how Press Exchange was structured,

the rest of their life from a very

where stuff was coming in for free, versus this where we were paying,

young age. For Avi Muchnick, serial

opened my eyes in a big way.”

founder and technology startup executive,

Muchnick then merged the two concepts into what became his first

that holds true, with a clear indicator emerg-

“real business,” which he started after college, in his first year of law

ing around age eight. Armed with just a box of

school. He combined the humor of The Satyr with the public aggre-

crayons and a sheet of paper, he won first place

gation of Press Exchange and started what would become the popular

in Crayola’s national art contest, illustrating

website, Worth1000. “I saw some forums online where people were

an answer to their prompt of what the world

uploading funny, photoshopped images they had made,” he says. “I

would look like in the future. “I drew a scene of

thought, what if we created a whole content site around that struc-

a desert with pollution,” he says. “It was pretty


bleak, if I remember it right.” Despite what the drawing might have shown,

So he did, and started contests where users were prompted to manipulate photos and upload them, for example, an imagined snapshot

Muchnick’s own personal future turned out

of Martha Stewart’s jail cell. People then voted on which one they liked

anything but dreary. He went on to use his cre-

best. “The images were watermarked with the website name, so when

ative hustle to build a successful image-manip-

they went viral all over the web, more people would come in and it

ulation website, Worth1000, then developed the

would explode from there,” Muchnick explains.

photo-editing software and app Aviary (with

The real turning point happened during the Gulf War, when Saddam

the support of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos),

Hussein was in hiding. Worth1000 created a contest to have people il-

and is now using his talents to help advise and

lustrate comical and ridiculous situations about where he could be, such

invest in other startups, and as chief product

as selling ice cream or posing as a ballet dancer. “It was just in good

officer of the 3D printing company Shapeways.

fun, but then someone from the U.S. Army downloaded the images from

A born entrepreneur, Muchnick was con-

our website and posted them all over Iraq,” Muchnick shares. “CNN

stantly starting businesses where he saw an

picked up the story and called this the new form of warfare — digital

opening. Raised in an Orthodox home in West

propaganda — and we got tons of media attention. After that, the num-

Hempstead, New York, he went to Queens Col-

ber of artists and visitors who poured into the site was phenomenal.”

lege, where he became the editor of his school

The growth was so big, the site expanded to contests for photogra-

newspaper. While in college, once film cam-

phy, logos, and writing, and then an interesting e-mail came in that

eras transitioned to digital, Muchnick start-

was from an investor that would change Muchnick’s life forever. We

ed a stock photography website called Press

sat down with him to hear about just what went down, how it changed

Exchange, where his paper and others could

his career, and the ways he’s using his success to empower others to

upload and share old archival footage with each

achieve their own greatness.

other. to buy the site, and Muchnick’s wheels really


started turning about what else he could do. He

At this point it was 2007, I was 28, and the site was really growing

created a second business called The Satyr, a

and exploding. The e-mail basically said, “I represent a well-known

humor section that many newspapers were ex-

investor who is very interested in your site, please get in touch with me

cited to print. “We had about 400 publications

if you’re interested.”

Then a company came along and offered

that were including it,” he shares. “Then we

I’d actually gotten a lot of those before from venture capitalists, but SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 61



Muchnick and employee Ari Fuchs on the first day in their new Aviary office in New York City in 2010 I had completely bootstrapped it. The site cost me probably $2,000 total to build, and it was making more than that in a day at that point from participation fees and advertising. But something about this e-mail was so vague and mysterious that I followed it — I saw the domain name was the same as this company that was buying land in New Mexico to build a spaceport to launch rocket ships. That’s when I realized that it was probably Jeff Bezos. So I took the call. I thought it was a prank, but needed to pursue it.

WOW, SO WHAT HAPPENED AT THAT MEETING? It turned out to be legit. I met with Bezos and his team, and they asked me what I wanted to do next. I told 62 |

2.0 SPRING 2019


them that through Worth1000, we

you know what you’re not capable of

had millions of users coming to our

and you hold yourself back. When you

website, but only about 100 of them

just don’t know what you don’t know,

were submitting entries to each con-

you think you can do anything, which

test. We got so many e-mails asking

ultimately gets you further because

how people could download the

you can always do more than you

software to make photos like the ones

think you’re able to do.

they were seeing. So I pitched him on

To show how much I didn’t know,

an idea of what would be if we created

during the conversation, they asked

low-cost software that was very easy

me, “What’s your exit strategy?” I

to learn, on a browser so anyone in

thought it was a trick question, that

the world could do it, and created a

they were trying to ask how dedicat-

community around it.

ed I would be to this business. So I

For Jeff, I guess it was pock-

said, “I don’t plan to exit ever.” They

et change, so he gave me my seed

started laughing and explained why

capital to go build it, and that became

that’s important to an investor. And I

the foundation for my next company,

think somehow it contributed to them


deciding that they really did want to invest with me.


things — I wasn’t lying to them, and

I’ve always been too naïve and op-

was something it wasn’t. I was in it

timistic to be afraid, if that makes

because I really believed in this idea

sense. That’s worked out really well

as something I wanted to pursue

for me because when you’re not naïve


It was my honesty in approaching I wasn’t pretending that this idea

Muchnick and the Aviary team showing off their new company swag before their first hackathon

Then Apple came out with the iPhone, which really changed our trajectory. A lot of our photo editing started to decline because people


weren’t going to go to their com-

First, I signed on two cofounders —

puters and upload photos from their

my friends Israel Derdik and Michael

phones — they were going to edit on

Galpert. Israel did a lot of the pro-

the phones themselves — so we knew

gramming and Michael did business

we needed to change our business

development. We recruited people

model if we wanted to succeed.

from all over the world to build a helped with that. I managed the proj-


ect itself, outlining what the product

One thing that really interested us was

vision for Aviary was. The goal was

powering the photo editing in other

to create a community of artists who

applications. We wanted to create a

could see each other’s work, modify

toolkit that could be opened in any

it, and track the authorship all the way

other developer’s app and let users edit

up to the original.

photos right there. No one was doing

prototype — Jeff Bezos’s name really


If work was created using our

that, and the iPhone cameras weren’t

toolset, someone could click a switch

so great at the time, so there was a real

and it would be available for sale in


the marketplace. Then royalties would

We called 100 companies in 30 days

flow to all of the creators in proportion

to see if they wanted to incorporate

to the work they contributed. We had a

the product and be part of our launch.

photo-editing tool, a vector editor (for

About 70 of them came back saying

graphics, text, and illustrations), and

they wanted to, and 30 of those said

a music editor later as well.

they wanted to be part of the launch announcement, meaning they were


even willing to commit in the press

One thing was that we never really had

market fit.

a massive home run in terms of usage.

that they were including it. So we knew we had found an immediate product We built it quickly, and within 30

It took us four years to get to about

days of launching we’d already reached

50,000 edits a day across all of the tools

50,000 edits a day, which was crazy

we launched. It wasn’t really growing

compared to how long it took us with

at a rate that a venture-backed startup

the old approach. By the end of the

usually needs, and at that point we

year, we were doing 1 billion edits.

had taken on more investor money from some top VC firms, so there were



Part of what we agreed to with each SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 63



company was that we could see how the editor was being used. Not


releasing a new movie or TV show. The last step was to build our own

offer, and we decided it was the right time. As an entrepreneur, you look at

individual information, but which

app. The focus was to get some users

of our editing features were more

and showcase our partners, but it grew

a few things here. One thing that

popular, which enabled us to improve

like crazy — we ended up with 125

I looked at was our obligation to

our product. As it really started to

million downloads of it.

investors and what risks we were facing at the time. We built our app

explode, we distributed new content packs to all our partners. At its peak, Aviary had 10,000 partners that had our technology embedded inside. Anytime we’d build a new filter, border, or sticker pack, we would distribute them to our partner apps and users could buy them directly from there, as part of a revenue-share agreement. Later on, we even had companies like Disney sponsor a pack for a few hundred thousand dollars when they were 64 |

2.0 SPRING 2019


on top of Apple and Google’s plat-

Adobe first reached out in 2013. We

third-party advertising network on

were in the press a lot, doing all of these amazing deals. At first, we weren’t interested in their offer, so they said they were going to build a competing model themselves. They weren’t able to get the traction they wanted, though, so in 2014, they came back and made a much better

forms, so if Apple didn’t like that we were building what was effectively a top of their app store, for example, they could crack down, and then what would that mean for our business? We started to see some of the clues that that could happen. Another issue is that we were poised to really explode, but that would require us to raise another


timize it. In a new company, you have no idea what the product market fit will ultimately be. You hope you’ll get it right the first time, but you never do. So you find ways to be nimble and keep on iterating.

massive round of funding. It was kind

ufacturers, knee braces, neck braces,

of a “go big or go home” mentali-

toy figurines, and more. They needed


ty, and when you present the risk I

a product leader to join the company,


mentioned, coupled with the amount

and I realized it would be a great op-

A lot of parents that I talked to on

of money we would have had to raise

portunity for me to come in and help

a daily basis were expressing fears

to turn this into a massive advertising

transform a business that was going

that they couldn’t afford yeshivah

network, it just felt like we should sell

through a transitional period.

tuition, and that bothered me to my core. So I got together with some

if the right opportunity came along,


other like-minded parents — we


When you start something from

Technology is better now and can help

scratch, you have no bad habits to get

offer a more individualized teaching

rid of. You have no code base that’s

experience. So we aimed to create a

written with hack upon hack to get it

new model that was more focused on

I stayed for about three and a half

to do what you want. So when you’re

leveraging that.

years after we sold. In March of 2018,

a small company, you can build

my vesting period was over and I had

things very quickly. When you’re a

million dollars, signed up a wonderful

the urge to do something new. Adobe

big company, you have a lot of people

educator to run the school, and rented

is an amazing company to work

involved, a lot of stakeholders and

a facility as well. But as we ran the

for, but it’s very hard to make a big

critical functions like finance and

numbers on the model, we realized we

impact unless you’re based in their

marketing that are depending on any

wouldn’t be able to keep it sustain-

headquarters in San Francisco or San

changes you make. Things have to

able. So instead, we found a won-

José. I didn’t want to move my family

move a lot more slowly and a lot more

derful home inside of HALB (Hebrew

out there.

carefully, and they’re dependent on

Academy of Long Beach) to deploy the

what’s already been built to date,

program. It was a lot less risky and a

ing my own startup again. But while

even if the direction of the company

much better way to achieve our goal.

working on that, I got pneumonia,

has completely shifted.

HALB has been wonderful at keeping

so we could de-risk ourselves and reward existing investors.

So I left and went back to build-

so I decided to take a sabbatical for a

That being said, in an established

felt like the system hadn’t really changed much since its inception.

We raised about three-quarters of a

the costs pretty stable.

few months. While I was recuperat-

company, there’s a lot less risk be-

ing, Shapeways reached out. It’s a 3D

cause the consumer base is already


printing company that does fulfill-

there. You’re not looking for product

We used something called the blended

ment for companies like drone man-

market fit, you’re just looking to op-

learning model where instead of a SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 65




An interview with CNBC in December 2012, where Muchnick spoke about Aviary signing a deal with Twitter to power their photo editing effects in all of their tweets. The conversation focused on the importance of imaging effects in communication.


classroom with one teacher in front

That was actually a pretty serious

and, let’s say, 18 students listening

challenge for me. Right out of college,

to the teacher talk, the teacher would

I worked as a graphic designer for a

have three stations set up — one

media company for a few months,

with computers where some students

and it was really hard to explain to my

would take quizzes working on their

coworkers that I had to leave at 2:30 on

own, another where students would

winter Fridays. Even if they’re sympa-

sit in work groups going through

thetic or supportive, over time, if you

problems together, and finally, a

have a hard deadline or project, it’s

third that’s sitting with the teacher

difficult for them to understand why

learning the lesson.

you can’t be flexible.

The students rotate through these

I was actually let go from one firm

three different stations throughout

I was working for right after a three-

the course of the class, and because

day Yom Tov. I don’t necessarily fault

of this you can actually have more

them — they blamed it on 9/11 layoffs

students in a classroom without it

— but the reality was they had very

being overwhelming. You can move

few workers in the company and one of

the number up from 18 to 25, but stu-

them was out for a whole bunch of days

dents would still get more individu-

in a month when they had to make a

alized face time with the teacher than

hard choice of who to let go. It’s an

with the current model. This allows

easy choice to make, right? For me it

the school to take more students in

just opened my eyes that I really have

and lowers the costs of running it.

to control my own work schedule.


dents in the yeshivah system, to show

Now I’m trying to help young stu-

66 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

them what’s possible, whether it’s through mentorship or starting a fund to get their ideas off the ground. I want

them to understand how they can work

preneur dinners after work, but I’m at

within their own framework and still

a stage in my career where spending


be successful in a world where other

time with my family is more import-

I think creativity is another skill

people are working seven days a week.

ant to me rather than going to an

you can practice. For me, it comes

I actually created a private angel fund

event, so I try to be really picky about

from boredom. Today’s kids are

called Unleavened Capital to help tech

what I’m attending.

overstimulated. They’re on their

startups with advice, connections, and

I have four kids, and they’re all

phones constantly. Take that away,

investments. I hope it will help people

interested in business or technology to

and suddenly they’re making more

with similar backgrounds to mine to

some degree. My oldest daughter, for

creative choices. That can be ap-

make the leap into the tech world.

example, is super artistic and entre-

plied to adults too. Make it a point

preneurial. She already has her own

to get out of your usual routine,


shoe business on Instagram, where

somewhere quiet, calm, and idyllic.

she customizes sneakers. It’s amazing.

A lot of people will be surprised at

I look at it as a great way to live my

One day she sent me a link and said,

how much inspiration starts to hit

life and benefit my children’s lives.

“Hey, check this out.” She was already


Yes, there are tradeoffs, but ev-

up and running on her own.

ery single Friday night I’m sitting

I find so many prospective entre-

Another thing I like to do to train my brain to be a better technol-

down for dinner with my family,

preneurs have an idea and will talk

ogist and product person is to

no cell phones in hand, and we’re

about it to death, but the ones I find

deliberately make mental notes

all talking to each other, enjoying

most successful are the ones that just

when I come across anything that

each other’s company. That break is

go out there and do it, like my daugh-

seems wrong to me — maybe it’s

really, really healthy.

ter did. When she showed it to me, she

the user experience of a crosswalk

Being an Orthodox Jew can

was already shipping out her product.

that seems to take way too long or

benefit you in other ways as well.

It doesn’t matter if the idea is bad or

too short. I write it down or make

I’ve noticed that if investors see

not, you just have to go out there and

a mental note of it — not because I

someone is religious, there’s a bit


think I’ll do anything about it, but

more comfort in giving them a few million dollars for their company;

because it starts training your brain

good faith. So it can be hard, but you


have to pick your own boundaries

You have to be able to describe your

and live them.

company in one sentence without any

into that mode, it will help you

buzz words. If you can do that, you’re

identify real business challenges


already on the right path. Look at any

that potentially could be turned

big company today, like Uber. They

into business successes. You’ll have

say, “Summon any cab to you in one

In terms of my daily routine, I get to

a hundred terrible ideas and one

click.” That clarity of purpose will

work somewhere between nine and

really good one, but you’ll know

trickle down into your team and your

ten in the morning and then usually

when the good one hits.

product marketing, and your custom-

get home at around 8:00 p.m. Some-

ers will understand what it is you do

times I’ll go to tech events or entre-

and why they should use you.

they think you’re likely to act in

to look for challenges. You start thinking about things you think are wrong and how you can fix them. Once your brain starts getting


2 . 0 | 67

CLICKING FOR A CAUSE How Crowdfunding Became the Nonprofit World’s New Partner-in-Good BY TAMAR SKYDELL

68 |

2.0 SPRING 2019



There are certain moments in life that leave an impact on us — the kind of moments that hit us hard and inspire us

wide attention through promotion on social media sites. One may wonder what the difference is between each

to make a change. For Joseph Bornstein, the founder and

of the Jewish crowdfunding sites.

CEO of CauseMatch, this happened one day when he

Jewish community? What would pro-

was a student at Aish Hatorah. He had prepared to leave his shiur early for a meeting, but decided against it after his rebbe asked him to stay for an extra five minutes.


How is crowdfunding utilized by the pel a person to use a certain crowdfunding site instead of another? What are the benefits of each? Bornstein says that crowdfunding can be used as an “incredible tool to launch meaningful, authentic,

ornstein wanted to get to

sphere, the modernized route that

important, and inspiring campaigns.”

his appointment on time,

many Jews are now taking to collect

The average CauseMatch client raises

so he rushed out after

tzedakah and fundraise, thanks to

six times what they were able to

the shiur ended and was

new technology. Crowdfunding sites

achieve through their previous fund-

walking through the Old City when

like CauseMatch, The Chesed Fund,

raising experiences. Bornstein initial-

he suddenly saw hundreds of people

Jewcer, and Charidy (which declined

ly learned the business by working

running. Everyone was screaming.

to comment for this story) collect

for other crowdfunding initiatives,

Sirens were blaring. People were

money from the people to finance

and then branched out and started

absolutely shell-shocked. Bornstein

(most often) charity organizations.

his own platform in 2015. He felt

soon discovered the reason behind

This philanthropical technique has

that there was a lack in the market in

the mass hysteria — the beloved

been utilized by a wide range of

terms of personalized fundraising ef-

Rabbi Reuven Biermacher had been

people, including Michael Cohen for

forts as opposed to a “one-size-fits-

murdered by a terrorist.

his legal services after flipping on

all” policy, and wanted to make sure

President Trump to those who raised

each campaign stood out as unique to

experiences of my life,” he confides.

money for the victims at the Tree of

potential donors.

“Rabbi Biermacher had been walking

Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“That was one of the most intense

The campaign works to hone each

Universal dependency on crowd-

cause’s fundraising pitch by utilizing

fact that I stayed a little bit longer at

funding has soared over the past few

a captivating story that leaves an im-

the shiur made it even more profound

years, with the overall industrial

pact on investors, making them feel

and disturbing for me, and I wanted

revenue jumping from $530 million

emotionally involved. This is achieved

to do anything I could to help. So I

in 2009 to $1.5 billion in 2012. These

through personalized coaching for

went to Aish’s administration and

organizations have played a part in

all clients. CauseMatch also offers its

offered them the ability to use Cause-

those millions raised.

clients in-house creative production,

five to eight minutes ahead of me. The

where they focus on building the

Match for free. Within hours, a page was up, and we raised over $400,000

MEET THE PLAYERS The Internet has

for Rabbi Biermacher’s family.”

helped crowdfunding soar over the

Stories like this happen every day within the Jewish crowdfunding

past few years, as many campaigns have gone viral and received world-

campaign’s concept, copy, graphics, email, social media, and video. Jewcer is a Jewish crowdfunding organization that was founded in SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 69



2012. The Californian creators of the site decided to form the company because they felt that Jewish fundraising was at a standstill and there was a generational sense of detachment from getting involved with Jewish organizations and projects. The company continues to maintain this ideology by sticking to its initial fundraising goals of increasing participation in Jewish causes and ideas. Amir Giveon, Jewcer’s CEO, says, “We keep it simple and clear.” As explained on Jewcer.com, they “created Jewcer as a bridge to connect exciting new ideas to the Jewish people in a participatory way.” Jewcer has now gotten involved in over 400 Jewish organizations, most of which are in America and in Israel, amassing over 1,500,000 donors internationally in the process. Although the company is a nonprofit, they also consider themselves to operate as a startup in many ways. Giveon describes Jewcer’s operation to be highly “unique in the sense that

The Chesed Fund is one of the biggest

more than the target amount, and the

we do not see ourselves as a ‘plat-

crowdfunding platforms in the Jewish

family was able to complete the nec-

form’ like many others do. While we

world, having raised close to $30

essary changes to their home. A year

do raise money on the site, we really

million for personal charities and

later, they sent a follow-up message

spend our time and efforts on teach-

organizations since it was founded in

to all the contributors to the cause, no

ing people and organizations how to

2014. Even though Kehat, a software

matter where they were in the world,

better use crowdfunding to engage

engineer, initially created The Chesed

inviting them to a kiddush in grati-

with the community to strengthen

Fund as a side project that he’d spend

tude for their generosity.”

Jewish life and Israel.” Jewcer has

time coding for “after night seder,”

worked with many organizations,

the site took off and turned into a

THEIR STRATEGIES Each organization

such as The Good People Fund, Stand

full-blown success.

has a unique approach and method

with Us, Jumpstart, and TAMID at USC.

Kehat shares an example of one

to its success, all filling a niche in the

of his most memorable funding

process. CauseMatch is best known

experiences. “We created a campaign

for its matching campaigns. Ac-

the work it does. According to Avi

to help a family with disabled twins

cording to Bornstein, they offer and

Kehat, the organization’s founder,

that needed to renovate their home to

advocate for a 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 style,

the site revolves around “providing

accommodate their growing chil-

following a fundraising template

opportunities for chesed to the klal.”

dren’s needs. Their campaign raised

of either “all or nothing” or “keep

The Chesed Fund is aptly titled for

70 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

“SUCCESS COMES DOWN TO HASHGACHAH. WE PUT OUT THE SERVICE WITH NO IDEA OF WHAT TYPES OF RETURN WE’LL GET. IT’S A TESTAMENT TO THE POWER OF GIVING” goals, which resulted in having over 90 percent of needed funds come from peer-to-peer fundraisers. This fundraiser became the world’s largest what you raise.” The breakdown of

cites a study by Yale University that

Jewish non-matching online cam-

CauseMatch’s matching campaigns

proves this to be true, as campaigns

paign in history.

is simple — it starts off with the

utilizing the technique of matching

organization obtaining donations, up

funds increase “the rate at which

ple and straightforward approach.

to a predetermined maximum, that

donors give by 20 percent, and boost

The site is distinctive in its speedy

are doubled, tripled, or even quadru-

average gift sizes.”

onboarding nature — the process of

pled. CauseMatch is deeply involved

The Chesed Fund goes for a sim-

Another crowdfunding trend that

creating a fundraising page can hap-

in the process of securing funds

CauseMatch utilizes is peer-to-peer

pen within 10 minutes. The ability to

for matching. Bornstein says that

fundraising, which requires indi-

get started and raise serious amounts

the “matching campaign” model is

viduals to take on personal goals

of money quickly is one of The Chesed

essential for upkeeping the strength

of raising funds on behalf of their

Fund’s standout traits. Since it’s

of each organization’s “unique needs

favorite nonprofit, using their own

so easy to create a campaign, the

and circumstances” and that it helps

networking skills. This technique

fundraising pages often have a viral

to “create high-impact crowdfunding

has the ability to amplify fundrais-

effect. The platform will occasionally

drives. Our matching crowdfunding

ing results tremendously. He speaks

use content and media marketing,

platform enables nonprofits to lever-

of CauseMatch’s partnership with

but its main way of getting fundrais-

age excitement and donor empow-

Yeshivat Rashi, in which over 1,000

ers is through the organic process.

erment.” The CauseMatch CEO also

people made personal campaign

This involves heavily promoting and SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 71



marketing a campaign on the client’s

the story must tap into emotional


network, as friends and family are

drivers of the target audience,

it comes to supporting themselves,

more inclined to support a campaign

and the cause and need must feel

each organization has its own way

when they feel personally connected

urgent.” Plus, if it’s unique and

of making things happen. Initially,

to the fundraiser.

eye-catching, donors will be in-

Bornstein thought of making the

Jewcer goes for a hands-on ap-

trigued and feel compelled to learn

company a nonprofit; however, his

proach. Their resources are designed

more. He says that the overall pitch

ideology shifted after spending a year

to be used by “any organization or

of a campaign is the most import-

on the Watson Fellowship, where he

individual who has a cause or project

ant part because “before creating

studied nonprofits, social businesses,

that benefits Jewish life and/or Israel

the world, Hashem created a Torah.

and governmental organizations. He

and wants to raise money for it,”

That Torah is our mission and pur-

was shocked to discover that social

according to Giveon. He explains

pose. When you create a campaign,

businesses drive the efficiency and

that Jewcer believes “it’s within

the whole campaign ethos, the

effectiveness of social good in a more

our ability to provide organizations

energy and the passion, all sprout

powerful way than a nonprofit model

with better ongoing and person-

from your story.” If you follow this

does. Bornstein says, “The revenue

al support.” They do this through

plan, all you have left to do is en-

stream and legitimate business mod-

mentoring, planning, fiscal spon-

sure that you tell that story in a way

el aid in the success of our clients,

sorship, and social media promotion.

that makes the donor feel like the

growth of our company, and the

The fiscal sponsorship aspect is a

“hero and agent of change.”

services that we provide.”

huge bonus for donors — everyone

Giveon is in agreement there. One

The Chesed Fund, on the other

loves tax deductions, so it makes it

issue that he has seen emerge in

hand, runs its business complete-

more appealing to donate to causes

the crowdfunding field is that some

ly commission-free. While this is

through Jewcer.

people have a sense of disillusion-

certainly admirable, it doesn’t come

ment regarding the way it works.

without its challenges. Running a

volvement and mentorship through

He explains that the “biggest issue

startup comes with costs, and it

a special program that has experts

that we always ran into — and still

can be difficult to maintain without

advise and help Jewish projects

do — is that some organizations

reaping the benefits of commission.

figure out the best way to market,

and individuals think people would

In order to sustain the organization,

brand, and promote their campaigns

throw money at them if they just

The Chesed Fund is entirely reliant

successfully. Additionally, Jewcer

have a page online. They see other

on donations and tips they receive.

sends out a newsletter every two to

successful campaigns and do not

This can definitely seem like a risky

three weeks, in order to keep up a

realize the amount of work that is

business move for the platform, as it

relationship with donors. This news-

put into it.”

can hinder its ability to analyze cash

The site stresses its personal in-

letter reaches over 20,000 people

When Kehat reflects on previ-

flow or properly predict future busi-

and features new campaigns as well,

ous campaign virality, he says that

ness performance. However, Kehat

which provides useful publicity.

success is reliant on “Hashgachah”

strongly believes that their “success

and that “there are certain things,

comes down to Hashgachah. We put


basic hishtadlus steps, that we rec-

out the service with no idea of what

OUT To create an interesting and

ommend everyone take, like mak-

types of return we’ll get. It’s a testa-

engaging page, Bornstein says,

ing your campaign image and story

ment to the power of giving without

“The campaign’s story must be au-

compelling. Make it as personal

requiring anything back.”

thentic, the impact of the fundrais-

as possible. Then share it with as

ing goal reached must be visionary,

many people as possible.”

72 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Jewcer operates somewhere in between the two. They’re a nonprofit


organizations, including Camp HASC,

with low fees. Many platforms out

rests, we’d easily be tempted by the

paign involved 18 of the top orga-

there require campaign organizers

profits we see other platforms mak-

nizations that help build a stronger

to give between 5 to 12 percent in

ing through their commissions.”

Israel, and it was CauseMatch’s first

Birthright, and United Hatzolah. Although each campaign is heartwarming to the CauseMatch team, the “I am Israel” campaign that they ran for Birthright was especially meaningful to Bornstein himself. He feels indebted to Birthright because he and his wife met and became frum after attending one of its programs. Bornstein explains that “the cam-

fees, but Jewcer gives the causes on

Those involved in the crowdfund-

Birthright crowdfunding campaign.”

their site more than 98 percent of the

ing business are often exposed to

It involved peer-to-peer campaign-

finances they’ve raised. This happens

tragedies through the campaigns on

ing as well, with Birthright alumni

because “80 percent of donors on

their sites, which can be emotionally

taking on personal fundraising goals

Jewcer choose to cover the fees when

draining, yet simultaneously uplift-

and working individually to meet


ing. Bornstein explains that, while it

these goals, adding the funds they’d

is painful to constantly learn of a new

raised to the overall cause. Bornstein

ONE COMMON GOAL One thing that’s

family in need or an individual in de-

adds, “I owe so much to Birthright,

definite is that all the organizations

spair, the awareness helps build him

and it was wonderful to help them

involved share a love and passion for

as a person and a Jew. His position

and have it come full circle.”

Klal Yisrael. The Chesed Fund works

at CauseMatch gives him the ability

mainly with frum Jewish fundraisers,

“to peer through a wider lens and see

open-ended, and it can be inter-

including Kupat Ha’ir, Va’ad Hara-

how many people need our tzedakah.

preted in different ways through the

bonim, Met Council, Jewish Gen, Yad

We’re able to help individuals in need

diverse campaigns on The Chesed

L’Achim, and Aish — some of the

that I never knew about before.”

Fund’s website. Although it is often

most widely known names in tze-

Working in the crowdfunding

used for medical or financial emer-

dakah. The reason that The Chesed

business gives him the opportunity

gencies, the fundraising tool can

Fund concentrates on Orthodox

to connect with a multitude of chesed

also be utilized in “creative ways,”

organizations, Kehat says, is because

organizations where he’s able to

according to Kehat. He shares a

“almost all of the organizations that

“interact with and get to know the

touching story about a different

utilize the platform focus on helping

people that are dedicating their lives

kind of fundraiser that was posted

Jewish people in need.” It all comes

to helping the Jewish people as a

on the site. “A group of friends once

down to the fact that The Chesed


used The Chesed Fund to pool their

Fund sacrifices profit for chesed,

Everyone on the CauseMatch team

The concept of chesed is

resources and hire a limo for their

which is a “distinctly Jewish” trait,

is emotionally connected to the non-

friend who was getting married.

and Kehat feels that “without the

profit space, and they’re determined

They used The Chesed Fund to be

Torah’s directive, and the under-

to make a dramatic impact on the

m’sameach a chassan and kallah, and

standing that chesed is one of the

lives of those in need. CauseMatch

that too is what The Chesed Fund is

three pillars upon which the world

has raised funds for countless Jewish

intended for.” SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 73




Fashion Designer | Los Angeles, CA By Mimi Minsky


chances became part of her modus operandi, and believing in herself, in her vision, and in Hashem’s guidance became her foundation for success.

THE NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR Joyce is the oldest girl of six children and daughter of BCBG’s legendary designer, Max Azria, who founded the brand in 1989, and named it for the French phrase bon chic, bon genre, Parisian slang for “good style, good attitude.” A contemporary clothing brand, in 2017 it had about 550 boutiques around the world and was sold in stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstrom. Joyce Azria describes her childhood growing up with an entrepreneur

Designing Clothing and Connections, One Stitch at a Time


in Paris, where she was born, and then in Los Angeles, where she now lives with her own family. “We lived in a neighborhood where there were producers, artists, and designers, and

rom the racks of BCBG to her signature

that was our reality,” she says. Azria

millennial pink shops, Joyce Azria set out to

says that as the oldest daughter she

launch an empire of her own, following in her

always felt a sense of responsibility

famous father’s footsteps. Between her brands

to care for her younger siblings, and

Avec Les Filles, ROHB by Joyce Azria, and WUKOgals,

that turned into a maturity that made

Azria is now weaving her worlds together to create

her one of her father’s most trusted

meaning beyond the seams.


Joyce Azria is a believer. As reflected in her own

“I was an active participant in my

brands, there is an unwavering sense of self that

father’s dreams,” she shares. “As a

encompasses her entirely and allows her to run her

teenager, I’d spend summers at his

businesses and her life with an authenticity and

office, I would listen in on marketing

fearlessness. She’s a mother of six, fashion designer,

campaigns, I’d check styles and think

boss, businesswoman, and owner, and yet she’s always

about what women wanted to wear,

searching for ways to expand.

and I always felt as though my opin-

“There’s a risk in not taking risks,” she says. Risks

74 |

dad, surrounded by culture and art

ion mattered. There was an account-

have always been part of her upbringing, and as her

ability I felt to contribute.” Fashion

father used to say, “You either evolve or die.” So taking

was part of her reality and her future,

2.0 SPRING 2019

yet she understood that there was more to life than well-

Friday nights, there was always fashion, and fashion was a

made garments and fashion shows.

tradition that Azria knew she was destined to accept.

To many, her father, Max Azria, was someone they

She recalls one day in 2009 that her father called her

referred to as “boss” or “designer,” but to Joyce Azria he

to ask if she would review his newest collection. It was a

was only “Dad” — a man who cared deeply for his fami-

request she had become accustomed to over the years while

ly, his Sephardic heritage, and his spirituality. There was

working with him. Yet when she arrived at his office, the

Kiddush on Friday nights, and, although her family was not

visit instantly took on a different feeling than the many

observant, Azria says that there was a connection to and an

others before. Instead of a casual viewing, much to her

appreciation for tradition. Her father came from a large Tu-

surprise, her father stood up and publicly named her as “the

nisian family and was always inspired to pursue his dreams.

new creative director of BCBGeneration.” At that point, she

He was proud of his Jewish identity and passed on that same

was just 26 but already had a lengthy resume — she had

feeling of pride to his own children. Yet, beyond the familial

served as the design director for BCBGMAXAZRIA Swim at 21 SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 75




and had launched her own high-end women’s wear line, JOYAAN. The title marked a turning point in her career, though. Her vision was truly necessary to her father’s brand, and her new creative role and freedom provided her with an opportunity to showcase her own talent and instinct for design. The Generation brand let her take on clothes for the younger set, as it was launched to be the “little sister” brand of the more mature BCBG. At Generation, she was respected and valued, and learned that she had a natural intuition for what girls wanted to wear and buy — a gift that would serve her well when she went on to create her own brands. Although her career was only beginning, Azria had a veteran eye for what worked, what to do next, and the brand thrived under her creative direction. Generation was trendy, affordable, and successful.

AN UNDENIABLE SPARK While growing Generation, Azria’s curiosity and love for her own religion began to blossom. Sewing a beautiful dress always requires a good foundation, and she feels religion is no different. “Being an Orthodox Jew is so much a part of my DNA, so part of who I am, and it’s the thing that matters most to me,” she says. For Azria, her connection to Yiddishkeit is what fuels her in both business and in life. Ironically, it was her upbringing in such a fast-paced world that led her to Judaism in the first place. She says that building up the family’s fashion brands was intense, and the people Joyce got to know up close, who seemed to have glamorous 76 |

2.0 SPRING 2019


lives on the surface, weren’t actually that happy. She felt that something was missing, so started learning at the LA Aish and Chabad centers. She found connection in the parshah classes. “I could always relate it to something that was going on in my life,” she says. Eventually, one of the rabbis she was close to introduced her to her now-husband, Ilan Trojanowski, and they took on an Orthodox lifestyle together. At work, her colleagues respected her choices. Her commitment for Shabbos and her new way of life created an openness among the people she worked with. It brought on more meaningful conversations at the office, and her colleagues admired her devotion. “I think they were inspired in their own way. I like to think I sparked an inner morality within,” she says. “I could see people consider their choices when they thought about our version of unplugging every weekend. It got them thinking about being on their phones all the time or spending uninterrupted time with their own kids.” SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 77




“BEING AN ORTHODOX JEW IS SO MUCH A PART OF MY DNA, SO PART OF WHO I AM, AND IT’S THE THING THAT MATTERS MOST TO ME” and she jumped right in. In 2017, expecting her fifth child, she decided to launch her own label, Avec Les Filles, French for “with the girls” — a collection that embraces Parisian chic and cool simplicity, with signature pieces millennials could mix and match, and wear through different seaAs for Azria, whether she’s baking challah in her kitchen, spending time with her children, or looking over new marketing campaigns, her attention and energy remain equally focused and interested.

THE NEXT BIG THING Despite being good at living in the present, she’s also always planning for the future. When Azria decided she wanted to write a book, that really forced her to consider her next step at Generation. “I went to meet with this book agent, and he told me my tale was amazing — how I became religious and managed this brand and I was a success — but he noted that my ending wasn’t gripping enough,” she shares. “He reminded me that I wasn’t on my own yet. I hadn’t taken enough chances, and I was still working for my dad!” With four kids at home, working in an industry that was quickly changing, Azria felt like it was the right time to leave, and she did so on a high note. “I wanted to leave when things were great, since life is all about taking chances and I really wanted to create my own way,” she says. The changes became an opportunity for Azria to start something of her own, 78 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

sons. The line offers elegant faux fur coats, dainty and fun jewelry, gorgeous heels and boots, and other timeless pieces. Most women would shy away from starting something so big with other milestones happening, but Azria insists that “stability comes from putting good things out into the world and trusting in Hashem’s help and guidance along the way.” With her positive outlook, business aptitude, and undeniable intuition, Avec Les Filles took off and continues to grow. Azria clearly has a real knowledge of the habits and psychology behind the way young women shop today, an understanding that is deeply reflected in the brand’s well-designed collection and price point. So far, the brand has been well-received and Azria notes that in some cases, items were sold out the same day as they were available on specific websites. She is open to all avenues and believes in trying to fail, instead of failing to try. But instead of taking the time to bask in her success, Azria saw another opportunity to create. Keeping in line with her vision and eye for the market, she decided to launch a second brand called ROHB by Joyce Azria in May 2018. The label, a play on the word “robe,” emphasizes its practical and comfortable aesthetic, or its robe-like quality, and features an

array of clean basics like pencil skirts, flowing dresses, and

Joyce Azria keeping her busy, it would seem that she would

tees that are super-soft yet stylish.

stop there for now. But then, home-grown brand WUKOgals

ROHB by Joyce Azria is unique in that pieces are $50 at

came along and Azria was immediately interested in the

their highest mark, and basics, such as shoes and skirts, are

modest line run by three sisters in Los Angeles. “I had actu-

available for as low as $20. The line is primarily sold on Am-

ally met the sisters a few years ago and loved their passion,”

azon, a move that others in the industry have deemed risky,

she says. “We kept in touch. Modesty is an important part

but Azria sees it as a chance for growth and a way to advance

of who I am, so when the opportunity came up to partner, it

ahead of other labels.

really just worked.”

Today, our need for instant gratification and relationship

She calls it a jump she just couldn’t pass up, especially

with technology translates well on a platform like Amazon,

with the modest direction the fashion industry is taking.

where a level of accessibility is at its peak. “The size and

“WUKOgals has a really great sense of who they are. They

speed at which Amazon attacks things is enormous,” Azria

are a modest brand and that isn’t going to change over

says. The site also offers real customer reviews and the

time,” she shares. “They know themselves and I appreciate

ability to track items by popularity. “ROHB by Joyce Azria on


Amazon is the perfect blend of fashion and technology, and

While technology has caused fashion to move in new

it seemed like the right place to try to sell at our price point.”

directions, that doesn’t scare Azria, who believes that

BLENDING THE WORLDS With Avec Les Filles and ROHB by

“if you have a community, you can better translate your


We are excited to invite you to an particular day:

Bringing Israel’s Start-Up Nation to NYC Feb.24,2019 / 12pm-4pm Roth & Co 1428 36th Street, Suite 211 and shul Brooklyn, New York 11218



Ongoing meeting with the start-ups



Light snacks and refreshments



Meeting with our Manging Partners Oded Eliashiv and Gabi Hason

Among the Start-ups coming to present:

Smart Investments

Register Now 212-603-9808 | info@bseedinvest.com SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 79




message and connect with your customers in a way that wasn’t possible in the past.” With social media and Instagram, businesses can now tell their stories and share their messages in real time. The new window-shopping reaches beyond the glass exterior, and today, brands can convey who they are using video campaigns and digital squares. The face behind the brand is very much within


reach and it encourages customers to engage. The industry landscape continues to change, but for Azria, life is all about progressing and embracing the changes that come her way. “I love what I do, and I love people,” she says. It’s a sincere sentiment from Azria, who

with an identity. “I’d also say to daven a lot!” she says.

“IT ALL FALLS PERFECTLY INTO PLACE” To grow into an empire, one must think big, and Azria credits this as one of her guiding principles. She’s looking forward to the year ahead, and feels excited about the future of her brands. “I think we’ll branch out into different categories that people may not necessar-

is no stranger to modifying her own life.

ily expect,” she says. “WUKOgals, ROHB by Joyce Azria, and Avec Les Filles are

“When I started to cover my hair, I think

changing every day, and, as always, our goal is expansion.”

it was hard for everyone but for me. My

Expansion for Azria means growing her businesses, but never at the expense

family wasn’t used to the concept of a wig,

of her own family. She says that she’s learned to keep her work separate from

but I didn’t mind it and it was a natural

home, and fashion is not something she stresses with her own children. “If my

progression,” she says. Keeping Torah and

daughter wants to wear a bunch of bows in her hair on Shabbat, along with a

Shabbos is a source of inspiration for her,

pair of rain boots, I’m not going to stop her,” she says. Her family is her main

and learning to become more observant

priority and she believes that her brands are better for it.

keeps her grounded and grateful along her

“In business there are times where you don’t know how you’re going to pull

journey. Changes, she insists, have been a

something off, and then, with a little faith, it all falls perfectly in place,” she

wonderful part of her life.


Orthodox women today from Brooklyn

She laughs, considering how cooking for Shabbos can be similar. “Before

to Beijing are taking a cue from entrepre-

you know it, you’re adding in another dish and an endive salad, and there are

neurs like Azria, starting their own fash-

more guests, and somehow it all works out.” Everyone arrives at the table

ion lines and creating pieces they believe

and it’s set, and they all leave happy. It appears her customers share a similar

will sell. Yet designing and manufacturing

experience when shopping her brands.

isn’t an easy feat, and Azria says research

After all, Joyce Azria is a true believer. She believes in herself, her family,

and testing different items can help. As

and Hashem. Her confidence is contagious, she carries herself with grace, and

a trailblazer in the industry, she says it’s

it’s easy to see why her father thought she was the right person to lead her own

always best to design versatile pieces, and

team all those years ago.

of course, believe in your brand, and stick

80 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

There’s no doubt her endive salad is one I’d want to eat.




The Next Generation of Social Entrepreneurs By Gila Arnold


THE IMPACT BEGINS Six nonprofits, six months to learn, grow, and absorb new tools for success.


In the previous issue of this

at some of the presentations and

magazine, we met the six

workshops that have already been

nonprofit organizations cho-


sen to participate as the first

cohort of the OU’s groundbreaking


Impact Accelerator program. This

startup in the world is out to make

first-of-its-kind accelerator for

a difference. For some, that might

the frum community is designed to

mean providing a faster pizza

help our next generation of social

delivery service. For nonprofits, the

entrepreneurs — namely the most

impact is felt in more meaningful

promising nonprofit startups

improvements to people’s lives

already out in the field addressing

(though someone really desper-

Jewish communal problems —

ate for his pizza might argue that

jumpstart their paths to business

point). But whatever the ultimate

success and maximum impact, by

target, any business that aspires

providing them with guidance in

to be successful has to be able to

the form of seminars and individu-

do two things: clearly articulate

alized mentorship.

its goals, and assess whether it is

Now, as the Accelerator has got-

achieving them.

ten underway, we caught up with

Neither of these is easy.

Jenna Beltser, founding director

The Impact Accelerator’s first or-

of the OU Impact Accelerator, to

der of business has been to help the

hear how the inaugural program is

organizations define themselves

going. She gave us a glimpse into

and their goals, and develop appro-

the set-up and structure of the

priate metrics to measure whether

itinerary, as well as an inside peek

and how well they are reaching

THE SIX ACCELERATOR ORGANIZATIONS NechamaComfort: Supports families who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Services include immediate help at the time of the loss and ongoing individual, family, and group support. GrowTorah: Develops educational Torah garden programs for Jewish schools and communal organizations, incubating emunah, environmental stewardship, compassion for creatures, and tzedakah. Yedei Moshe: Places teenagers for whom the traditional school environment does not work in meaningful jobs that teach responsibility and respect, while building their confidence and skills by learning a new trade. imadi: Provides advocates to families struggling with mental illness, who make sure basic needs including meals, carpools, and childcare are met and help to establish functionality in homes that are suffering. The Young Talent Initiative (YTI): Channels the creativity of young men ages 16 to 21 through professional music training, teaching them how creativity can enhance all aspects of their lives. TorahAnytime: Records Torah lectures given around the world, and uploads the footage to its website for anyone in the world to watch or listen to, free of charge.


2 . 0 | 81




OF PLAY-DOH AND PERSONALITY The first of the four general sessions took place at the OU offices from November 27–29. The three days were jam-packed with presentations and workshops given by an array of experts, with a focus on setting business goals and defining missions. The classes were a mix of frontal presentations and interactive, group-oriented sessions. A sampling: The first day of the seminar, which was titled “Personal Growth,” featured a talk by Char-

Hart Levine of the OU (left) and Yosef Gillers of GrowTorah (right) discuss the day’s learnings them. The design of the Accelerator encompasses two parallel compo-

ant questions to consider.” Right now, she says, as most of the

lie Harary about honing in on your individual greatness; a discussion by Rabbi Ari Rockoff on the PDP Personality Assessment and how to discover the personal strengths that influence

nents: a standard curriculum, which

organizations are still at the begin-

our work styles and those of our

consists of four three-day training

ning stages of defining their goals,

colleagues; an introduction to fund-

sessions for the entire cohort, and

they don’t have 100 percent clarity

raising by Arnold Gerson, OU chief

a customized curriculum, involving

on which metrics are important to

development officer; and a presen-

specialized, one-on-one mentoring

take. For example, how many clients

tation by Rabbi Gideon Black on the

sessions. The initial meetings of both

serviced per month sounds like an

“Five Languages of Impact” and the

of these tracks have been focused on

obvious statistic to keep track of.

different ways that people connect to

personal goal-setting.

But if your organization’s goal is to

Jewish communal work (see sidebar).

“Every organization has one-

make long-term life impacts, then

“The sessions were engaging, in-

on-one sessions with me, where we

longitudinal metrics involving client

teractive, and provided opportunities

discuss what their goals are for the

follow-ups and impact down the line

to learn the nuts and bolts of launch-

next six months and how the Accel-

may be more important for you than

ing a nonprofit — from crafting a

erator can help,” says Beltser. “Once

proving the breadth of your reach.

clear and concise mission statement

I hear what they see as their primary

For now, says Beltser, she’s col-

to the art of pitching to donors,”

challenges, I can connect them with

lecting the metrics that the organi-

relates Yael Wedeck of Yedei Moshe.

someone who can mentor them in

zations are currently using — such as

“Arnold Gerson’s take on fundraising

that specific area.”

their budget and number of clients.

was an eye-opener for me, since I’ve

This way, over the next six months,

always found that to be daunting.

from each organization, so that they

they’ll be able to measure the organi-

Hearing his anecdotes and experi-

can have measurable outcomes by

zation’s growth. Along the way, as the

ences as a master fundraiser made

the end of the program. “How do we

organizations gain more clarity and

me feel that the act of raising money

show impact?” she asks. “How do we

precision in their own goals, they may

could be a creative challenge and even

measure success? These are import-

change and hone the metrics they use.

fun at times. Mr. Gerson emphasized

In addition, she collects metrics

82 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Rabbi Joshua Joseph, Senior Vice President at Yeshiva University, speaks to the Accelerator participants on staying focused

that trying to understand, connect to, and engage a potential donor could be a growth experience for both parties.” “After hearing all the presentations, we summed up the theme of

Joel Strauss, partner at law firm Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, mentors Yosef Davis, Rubin Kolyakov, and Moshe Soffer of TorahAnytime

the day as ‘Dream Big,’” says Jenna Beltser, who wrote the theme on one of the big poster boards she’d set up in the conference room for participants to record their feedback. The second day’s focus was “Defining Your Mission.” As Beltser points out, it’s often hard for nonprofits to articulate exactly what it is that they’re trying to accomplish. The morning’s workshops, run by Upstart, were intended to help them come up with that clear idea. Fun, interactive, and multisensory activities such as Play-Doh were used to help them accomplish this. “The idea behind the Play-Doh is that sometimes using multimod-

JUST FOCUS Once the missions were

municate your messages effectively

al, hands-on materials can help us

articulated, the next step was to learn

by e-mail.

express ourselves in a deeper way,”

how to focus on those missions. Dan-

she explains.

iel Gordon, chief development officer

chose “Focus,” participant Shabtai

for NY NCSY, led a strategic planning

Heller of YTI suggested “Just Awe-

rah, used his Play-Doh to create a

session on how to focus your efforts


set of blue and yellow Luchos with a

on realizing your organization’s vi-

bright pink heart, carrots, and flow-

sion, rather than waste money, time,

ers adorning all sides. “It’s a snap-

and resources on activities that don’t

shot of our vision for the future,” he

fall in line with this mission. For

seminar focused on how to express

explains. “It’s centered with love, of

example, it can be tempting to spend

the organization’s mission, with an

a multidimensional type. People are

a lot of time creating a presence on

introduction to business marketing

showing their love for Torah and ex-

social media. But if this isn’t the right

and another class on professional

pressing it in a vibrant and beautiful

venue for your organization, then

communication. There was an em-

way, as well as a complex, nuanced

it just becomes a drain of time and

phasis on discovering both your own

way. It’s centered on health — there


personal communication style and

Yosef Gillers, founder of GrowTo-

are carrots and flowers and beauty, all

The day closed with an interactive

The theme of the day? While Jenna

“I came in as one person, and I’m walking out as another,” he said. The third and final day of the

that of the person you’re speaking

within the framework of a multidi-

session by Josh Gottesman, HR Man-

with in order to appropriately tailor

mensional, vibrant, beautiful Torah

ager, about professional communi-

the style in the way that the message

observance and passion.”

cation and, in particular, how to com-

will be best received. The day finished SPRING 2019

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off with a strategy class on assessing your competitive landscape — now that you know who you are and what you provide, it’s important to understand who your competitors are in order to differentiate yourself in the market. “While the classes were all focused on nonprofits, the idea was to give them the same tools and skills used in a for-profit business,” explains Beltser. She adds that the Accelerator program is based on the assumption that all of the organizations are great at actually providing their services; the goal is to provide them with the business guidance to help them scale their organizations into something bigger and more impactful.

THE PATH FORWARD As a sign of how much the OU believes in this program, the first two days of the seminar were opened by greetings and introductory remarks from the OU’s leadership: Moishe Bane, President, and Allen Fagin, Executive Vice President. In addition, the participants were joined by members of the Accelerator board for a dinner, in order to have the opportunity to interact with them and begin exploring mentorship options. After such an intensive, information-packed three days, the participants went home for a few weeks of implementation, as they prepare for their next session, which will focus on metrics, business plans and strategy, and developing operations and budgets. The feedback from this first set of sessions only seems to pave the path for more greatness in the future. “This was outstanding in every way,” said Zeldy Oppen of imadi. “The energy, classes, topics, variety, and networking were incredible.” “The seminar was jam-packed with information,” added Reva Judas of NechamaComfort. “The presenters shared their expertise on everything from how to develop a business strategy to the latest e-mail conventions. We’re really starting to think of ourselves as more than just a group of people doing chesed, but as an actual business that has to run efficiently in order to best serve our clients.” 84 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

THE FIVE IMPACT LANGUAGES Rabbi Gideon Black, director of professional recruitment and leadership development for the OU-JLIC (Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus), presented a session at the first Impact Accelerator seminar on the Five Impact Languages. Based on Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, Rabbi Black’s findings, which he developed while working as an on-campus rabbi, seeks to define the various styles of communicating a message that can move an individual to take action. “While working on campus, I would ask myself, ‘Why is it that two people can be sitting in an audience listening to the same lecture, and one of them will be inspired to change his life while the next will tune me out?’ It’s a question that every rabbi or educator asks himself, and I decided to try to come up with a system for assessing how different individuals are impacted by different communication styles.” Understanding your target listener’s unique style can help you present your message in a way that will speak to them. Rabbi Black explained that for a nonprofit startup, it’s particularly essential when seeking to recruit active donors to your organization. Ask yourself, will this person be swayed more by statistics or stories? Or maybe it’s the personal touch, the gift sent for his family simchah, that will win him over? Below are Rabbi Black’s Five Impact Languages. Which one speaks to you the most? 1. CARE: For some, nothing impacts them more than feeling that you care for them, like calling just to find out how they’re doing or sending chicken soup when they’re sick. For these people, actions speak louder than words. 2. LEADERSHIP: Are you the type who can galvanize a crowd to action? Take a stand on an issue even if it’s unpopular? Start a new initiative and influence others to join? For some, it’s the stirring example of a true leader that will move them to action. 3. EDUCATION: Some people are impacted by ideas and information. They need someone who can present information or deep ideas in a way that will stimulate their intellect and thus rouse them to change. 4. INSPIRATION: For people impacted by inspiration, it’s not the deep lecture, the proofs, and statistics that speak to them, but rather the inspirational speeches, stories, videos, music, or that one-onone conversation rousing them to take stock of their goals in life. 5. RUACH. We all know those people whose presence is felt as soon as they walk into a room. There are those who can sit down with their guitar and immediately have a crowd gathered around to soak in the energy and atmosphere. Some people are impacted by an individual’s personality, by watching how he lives his life and drawing inspiration from him as a role model.

TRANSFORMING MINDFULNESS How Yaakov Lehman, The Founder Of Wisdom Tribe, Is Taking Mindfulness From An Idea To A Vital Component Of Corporate Life BY LIBBY LEVY SPRING 2019

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indfulness. It’s a millen-

20. Surprisingly enough, his introduction to Israel was not until the intervention of

nial buzzword

a non-Jewish drug cocaine dealer and two

that brings to

Orthodox rabbis.

mind meditation,

“I grew up in a secular Jewish fam-

yoga studios,

ily — we were first Reform and then

and walks on

Conservative-affiliated, but never very

the beach, so the average person could be

actively, more in a pragmatic sense of

forgiven for not associating it immediately

officially belonging to those synagogues,”

with the corporate world. Yaakov Lehman,

Lehman, aged 33, relates. “We were and

though, is determined to change that.

still are a global-loving family, and we

As a teen, he wore his hair in matted

ish identity... I was always ashamed to be

bandanas beloved by the dropout crowd

Jewish at all. I was named Jacob but made

behind the shed of every American high

myself Jake at age five because Jacob just

school sports field. Before that, the mid-

sounded too Jewish — ironically, I’ve been

dle-school student from Tucson, Arizona,

Yaakov for 12 years now. As an aside, my

was an aspiring punk; after that, a yogi.

parents initially planned to name me Gabri-

Lehman has always been a seeker of truth,

el, a name that comes from gevurah, but at

restlessly searching for his identity quite

the last minute my father had trouble pro-

literally across the world and traversing

nouncing it and gave me the name Jacob,

45 countries between the ages of 11 and

which I relate to in a much deeper sense.”

2.0 SPRING 2019

Befuddled by Lehman’s terminology? Here are some quick definitions:

MINDFULNESS: The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; or a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

traveled quite a bit. But as for my Jew-

dreadlocks, held in place by the beanies and

86 |

Guide for the Perplexed

WEB 2.0: The second stage of development of the Internet, characterized especially by the change from static Web pages to dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of social media. (Definitions provided by Dictionary.com)

Lehman and Rabbi Gerzi onstage at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in Tel Aviv

big thing — I taught three different classes while I was in college and about 100 students got credit for the festival. It was run on solar energy and biodiesel, with zero waste principles, an organic farmer’s market, and a festival currency.” He was one of 45 scholars from 23 different countries outside of Europe to be selected by the European Union for a program called Erasmus Mun-



dus, an initiative that allowed him

IS” Young Jake’s contact with Judaism

to study globalization for two years

ended with his MTV-themed bar

and achieve two different master’s

mitzvah, after which he told his par-

degrees — one through the London

ents he was an agnostic. “They were

School of Economics, one through the

cool with that — no more driving me

University of Vienna — in addition to

to Hebrew school — and I started

a third issued by the EU itself.

on what we might call my rebellious

“While I was still in my second

phase that began at the age of 13 and

year of college on the West Coast, my

lasted until the beginning of college.

friend Brendan slept on my couch

My ‘mentor’ on this path was Big

for a few months because he was

Bad Brendan, a non-Jewish kid who

on the run from the Mexican ma-

first got me into the drug scene and

fia. During that time, he met Rabbi

all the kinds of things bored up-

Benzion Klatzko and Rabbi Yaakov

per-middle-class kids get up to.”

Fleshel, working with JAM — Jewish

Somehow, this juvenile delinquency

Awareness Movement — in LA and

didn’t harm Jake’s own academic pur-

Santa Barbara respectively. They

suits. He ended up attending UC Santa

were planting trees on Tu B’Shvat,

Barbara, studied Mandarin Chinese,

and through this unlikely shaliach I

and graduated a year early with a long

got into Judaism — when they asked

list of achievements. “I threw a music

Brendan if he was Jewish, he told

and arts festival that last year of col-

them he wasn’t, but his best friend

lege with my friend Levi Felix called


Chilla Vista. It’s now an established

The rabbis were able to con-

fixture in its 13th year, although I no

vince an unenthusiastic Jake to

longer run it. This festival was a really

attend a Shabbaton and go on an SPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 87



all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, but instead of attending Aish HaTorah classes, Lehman hung out on a farm and visited Egypt. “I only got connected in a sincere way afterwards in London. I was living in Soho on Beak Street going to LSE [London School of Economics], living a great life with dreadlocks, and hanging out in the London scene, when


How to Stay Mindful: A Personal Practice

you’re going for a walk you get that

It may sound obvious, but the first

it, there are some great apps like Head-

step, even before implementing

I got invited to a Chinese-themed Shabbat

any mindfulness techniques, is to

meal. Chinese was a very big part of my life

actually become aware of when you’re

— I had spent a summer in China, studied

stressed or in a certain limited state of

the language, and almost double-majored in it — so I went to Golders Green, where I ended up meeting Rabbi Akiva Tatz and becoming

mind while in the workplace. The core teaching of mindfulness, or emotional intelligence, is this higher-level meta-awareness that you are in that

involved in the JLE [Jewish Learning Ex-

state. You become aware that you’re

change], and slowly but surely took on Torah

stressed, you’re feeling pressure in

and mitzvos.”

your chest, or you’re grinding your

Lehman’s succession of academic and Torah pursuits culminated with his enrollment in yeshivah in Israel, where he grew close to the man who is still his mentor today — the Am-

teeth, or your social interactions are strained... You need to develop the meta-cognition to say, “Hey — there’s a ‘me’ and there’s a state of being, and this state right now is not me.” Once

shinover Rebbe, Rebbe Yaakov Aryeh Yeshayah

you’re aware that you need to reset

Milikowsky, shlita. He then got married and

your operating system, these different

went on to produce an award-winning video

practices — listed below in no particu-

series portraying different aspects of Jewish

lar order — will help you recalibrate.

time to yourself to really see the world around you while you breathe. TRY AN APP. True practice requires training and technique, so if you’re unfamiliar with this or have no training in space and Calm to get you started. In the next few months, Wisdom Tribe is putting out a similar program called Tribe Wise. The idea is based on the fact that technology is often with you in your pocket and you can use that to your advantage. In just 10 minutes, you can guide yourself through a simple breathing exercise to diminish stress. As demonstrated in various labs in peer-reviewed research, it’s very clear that just 10 minutes of mindfulness practice a day has both immediate and long-term benefits. TAKE A POWER NAP. Lehman is a big fan of the 15- to 20-minute power nap. “I’ve found myself spinning my wheels for hours unproductively before I realize what I’m missing,” he says. “Then, when I come back, I’m stronger

life. After forming and developing a company

LISTEN TO MUSIC. An intense auditory

and in a better state of mind. It may

called Israel App, a digital guidebook for those

experience has an incredible impact

seem small, but it does quite a lot, and

traveling to Israel, the idea for Wisdom Tribe

on our emotions, so if you know there’s

businesses should know that it’s now

something noxious happening inside

very socially acceptable — and even

of you, take a moment to go to a quiet

beneficial to the bottom line — to allow

space with earphones, where it’s only

and encourage power naps.”

began to germinate in 2013.

THE SPARK BEHIND THE MOVEMENT With business and his Judaism his foremost passions,

you and a settling auditory stimulus. Everyone knows the type of music

GRAB A PEN AND PAPER. “Too many of us are hunched over the phone or the

Lehman founded the company to build a

that calls to them, so choose one that

bridge between ancient Jewish wisdom and

speaks to you as a way to get out of

contemporary global society, seizing on the

that stressed state.

ly work postures,” Lehman says.

trending mindfulness movement to bring

TAKE A WALK. Unlike listening to music,

or strategically, I get a giant-sized

this gives you some space, not in an

pad and go to town. It opens up your

auditory cocoon, but in the real world.

creativity in new ways that you might

When stress takes over, the body

not get on the screen. Using pen and

needs release — exercising, stretching,

paper will allow you to clear your head

etc. Moving your body in any sort of

in a new way and get thoughts flowing

physical activity is great, but when


balance to the corporate world. “It seemed people were increasingly looking for opportunities to connect with purpose, emotional intelligence, and impact,” he says. “I wanted to bring a Jewish contribution to this space in a way that could be open and 88 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

computer, in any number of unseem“Every time I need to think creatively

Facebook, LinkedIn, people from the investment community and the neuroscience community, all attending this Shabbat mindfulness experience.” This was the springboard for Lehman’s work in the new mindfulness movement. Inspired by Google’s popular in-house mindfulness program, “Search Inside Yourself,” into which the company is staking millions of dollars as an investment in emo-

Lehman speaking to the Carmel Jewish School in Hong Kong in November 2017 accessible to anyone. Instead of the classic style of outreach, I wanted to talk about ‘wisdom’ and ‘impactful life tools.’ Rather than build a nonprofit, I wanted to create a sustainable business that could generate revenue.” Lehman has always been interest-

digital society, through my friend Levi Felix, zichrono livrachah [Levi passed away two years ago of a brain tumor at the age of 32], I became acquainted with the mindfulness movement. Together we created an entire movement called the ‘digital detox.’ “Levi had started summer camps for adults and began offering Friday-to-Sunday retreats to people

tional intelligence, Lehman dove in and brought Wisdom 2.0 and Search Inside Yourself to Israel. Both are partners in producing events with him, leading to what is now a thriving company with four different businesses under the name of Wisdom Tribe. The company is facilitated by a team of leaders who relay this tradition of mindfulness effectively and with relevance to the digital

ed in the study of processes, people,

in the tech world in San Francisco —

and ideas in a global context over

no work, no technology, almost like

time, and he noted that the digital

Shabbat. Through him, I heard about

age has essentially created a whole

the intersection of mindfulness,

companies and better individuals?”

new “operating system” for humans

business, and technology, which was

Lehman’s team works in tandem

— psychologically, emotionally, and

happening around this conference

with a team of high-end creatives,

socially. “Things are changing very

in San Francisco called Wisdom 2.0.

including top animators, designers,

quickly and people are looking for

I went out there and threw a Shabbat

filmmakers, web developers, writers,

different outlets and modes of pre-

meal in a yoga studio for about 50

and other wizards of Web 2.0 (see

serving well-being,” he explains.

people. Now we’re in our fifth year.

sidebar), to produce original social

We have executives from Google,

media content.

“As part of this explosion of our

generation by constantly asking the question, “How can wisdom be applied in the workplace to build better


2 . 0 | 89





intensive course on mindfulness and

harness mindfulness in a marriage of

does Wisdom Tribe do?

emotional intelligence for business

Jewish wisdom and Eastern esoterica


to fuel a kinder workplace. “Wisdom

“We consider ourselves a lifestyle brand based on ancient wisdom for a

Their fourth venture is in educa-

Tribe seeks to translate and adapt the

global tribe, and within that con-

tion technology. “We’re a partner

timeless wisdom of over three mil-

tainer we do many different things,”

in a company called uVersit, which

lennia of Jewish wisdom, making it

Lehman explains. “We have an app

offers a bachelor’s degree through an

accessible to everybody, anywhere,”

coming out soon called Tribe Wise

app, in partnership with a college in

Lehman says.

for self-development, a learning

the US and another tech company,”

His fluency in Mandarin and fa-

platform built to convey ancient

Lehman explains. “We designed and

miliarity with China open the path to

wisdom for the modern sensibility,

produced all the course curriculum

conquering that major player in digi-

to guide the user through ten stages

for it.

tal technology. “China is increasingly

of growth based on the ten sefirot and

“There’s definitely a lot happening

on our horizon. On a personal level, I

explore Jewish wisdom models along

under the Wisdom Tribe roof,” he

spent five years studying Mandarin,

the way in a really interactive sense.

concludes. “My education in global

wrote two master’s theses on the

There are questions and answers,

studies continues to influence what

intersection of the Jews and China,

there’s a video, there are vari-

I do today, where I’m telling a global

and am a certified Qi-Gong/Tai-Chi

ous content applications, practice


teacher [a Chinese system of physical

meditations, visualizations, writing

The brand also weaves Judaism

exercises and breathing control].

exercises... It’s a pretty exciting plat-

into its everyday focus internally.

form that we’re spending a long time

“We have a culture of learning,” he

where being Jewish is an asset, not a

building and something very new in

says. “Once a week during lunch, we

liability — 13 of the top 100 best-sell-

the market. We promote the Search

bring in a thought leader who shares

ing business books in China mention

Inside Yourself program under this

the intersection of his work with

the word ‘Jewish’ in the title. They

umbrella, too.

spirituality. We have a Gemara shiur

like how we educate our children,

“Our branding agency is called

China is the one place in the world

in the office two mornings a week, we

and consider us to be smart, creative,

Tribe Creative, where we help

have Minchah and Maariv minyanim

collaborative, and generally well-off

companies tell their stories through

in the office, and just a general cul-

and successful, and they’re eager to

their message. That’s the team

ture of adapting the pace of a startup

learn. So we’re increasingly doing

that helps us build all of our great

to the unique contours of a Torah

events and partnerships in Asia and

products. Through this, we service a

lifestyle. We also have a rabbinic

looking to expand there much more

host of other business in the Jewish

advisory board consisting of Rabbi

in the coming years.”

space and the tech world. We are

Yehoshua Gerzi — I’m a talmid of his

a full-service company, integrat-

as well — Rabbi Yaacov Haber, and

asm to build these bridges is because

ing ancient Jewish wisdom into our

the Biala Rebbe, shlita, of Lugano,

of his own position as a “meeting


Switzerland. When issues come up

place,” an exceptional fusion of Jew-

with clients, policies or content, we’ll

ishness, Americanness, education,

run things by them.”

spiritualism, business proficiency,

Wisdom Tribe also has a corporate trading company called Wisdom at Work, which visits other compa-

Perhaps the reason for his enthusi-

and artistic expression. Using ancient

nies to give lectures and class series


wisdom, he is curating a learning

and, more frequently, full or half-

bridge-building is the essence of the

journey from deep in the past, into

day “off-sites,” where they do an

company’s mission, which aims to

the modern age.

90 |

2.0 SPRING 2019


With so much available content these days — digital articles, podcasts, books, video interviews, and more — it can be hard to consume everything on your ever-growing list. This roundup will make it just a little bit easier to get those important takeaways integrated into your life.






2 . 0 | 91



Ready to Launch The startup world is all about getting the most eyes on the latest and greatest products — and then turning those eyes into loyal customers, of course. We gathered some of the buzziest items on the market right now that promise to make you your best, most efficient self.



Price: $16.99 | Amazon.com

This is one of those devices that really makes it seem like we’re living in the future. The TP-LINK HS100 Smart Plug runs on your Wi-Fi network to allow you to control any device plugged into it right from your phone or through voice commands (it works with the Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana). Start the coffee maker from your bed, control the lights to make it look like you’re home when you’re on vacation, or make sure that the iron is actually turned off after you’ve left the house. It’s a creation that will make you wonder how you ever lived without it.

92 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Price:$37 | Amazon.com

ADJUSTABLE LAPTOP DESK $39.90 | Amazon.com

This device is a win for the worker on the move. Bring this portable laptop stand on the road to have a desk at your service all times, or if you want to mix things up and have the option to stand or sit at the office. The table adjusts to whatever height works best for you. Bonus — it has fans to keep the hardware cool.

PORTABLE HEAD MASSAGER Price: $13.99 | Amazon.com

Even if you love your job, there are bound to be moments that bring on the stress. This handy little device is designed to ease some of that. Use it on your head to relax for a few minutes to heal that headache, or on your neck when you have a crick that just won’t budge. Since it’s portable and battery operated, you can use it anywhere, either at home or at work just by closing the door of your office for a few minutes.

If you’re always saying, “My phone’s about to die,” and find yourself hovering around the 8% range a little too often, this is the product for you. This portable charger stands out from its competitors due to its ability to be charged by the sun (seriously!). And once it’s fully charged, it has insane power that can be used to reboot an iPhone 7 eight times over, for example. One reviewer said it kept two cell phones and two Kindle Fires charged for 10 days! Hello, lifesaver.

THE BEST TRAVEL MUG YOU’VE EVER SEEN Price:$20-$25 | Amazon.com

If you’re that person who likes to savor your coffee or tea in the morning, this mug is calling your name. Reviewers say it has kept their drinks hot for five-plus hours, without needing a microwave reboot. It’s also known for its innovative seal technology that won’t leak a drop as you’re running to catch the bus or train. Buy it in a 16-ounce or 20-ounce size, and with over a dozen colors to choose from, we have a feeling you’ll be picking one out for each member of your family.


Travel The app store can be an overwhelming place, so to avoid wasting time scrolling through, we’re highlighting some of our favorites that will really make a difference in your life. This month, we’re focusing on travel. Use these digital tools to improve the planning, packing, and adventuring for your next getaway.



Planning a trip outside your comfort zone this year? This app gives you all the recreational ideas you need in one place. Instead of Googling around for an article that’s up to date and relevant, this app lists multiple articles curated to different areas of each city and targeted to all age groups. Even if you’re not traveling, you can search around in your own city and find out what’s happening that weekend, the best new coffee place to try, or hidden spots you might want to explore.

If you’re traveling internationally or have a business opportunity in a different language and want to pick up a few new words, try this colorful app. The program boasts 31 languages and has you learn them in a game format in five minutes a day to keep things fun. The word lists are organized by category, and there is repetition throughout the lesson so you actually retain what you’re learning. You choose the best time in your day to practice, and the app will send out a reminder then so you don’t forget.

PACKPOINT TRAVEL How annoying is it when you spend hours planning and packing for your trip and then finally get there and realize you forgot pajamas? It’s okay, it’s happened to all of us. Whatever it is, that gnawing feeling of forgetting something isn’t fun. This app is focused on changing that. It uses your location, weather, and common items everyone needs to make a list for you. SPRING 2019

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I READ IT FOR YOU With so much available media content these days — digital articles, podcasts, books, video interviews, and more — it can be hard to consume everything on your ever-growing list. Here, the goal is to make it just a little bit easier to get important takeaways integrated into your life. Two brothers, Chip and Dan Heath, wrote a series of three books that should be on everyone’s shelf. While each book addresses a different topic, they all focus on how to transform ordinary interactions into extraordinary experiences. If you haven’t been privy to their wisdom yet, here are some key insights that might get them bumped to the top of your must-read list.

First, you need to direct the rider


— know where you want to go, and notice what is working well already. Next, you need to motivate the elephant. You can’t simply demand change; change requires purpose

If you allow your everyday mo-

— you need to either explain to the

mentum to direct your life, you will

elephant why the change is worth

produce ordinary results. The Heath

the effort or you need to diminish the

brothers’ first book, Switch, is about

seemingly gaping chasm between

how to redirect the cadence of your

where you are and where you want

routines and decision making. Their

to be. This way, the change doesn’t

model, built upon the principles of

seem as daunting.

behavioral psychology, is based upon

once a behavior is changed, you need

sion-making is like a person riding

to ensure routines and incentives

an elephant. The elephant is our

are in place so the transformation is

emotions, the rider is our rational


choice. In order to steer a proper

94 |

2.0 SPRING 2019

Finally, shape the environment —

one analogy: our rational deci-

We all try to move elephants.

course for the elephant, you need

Sometimes it’s our kids, sometimes

three things.

it’s our company, but most often it is

ourselves. Instead of trying to clum-

stand and apply that guidance.

How was your day today, did

sily maneuver an elephant, this book

One of the Heaths’ most valuable

anything happen at work? Shrug.

will teach you how to ride one as if it

takeaways, particularly for those in

Sadly, most of our days are pretty

were a horse.

sales, is from George Lowenstein and

forgettable. This book, as its title

is known as “gap theory.” Essential-

suggests, is about how to create

ly, in order for someone to take an

defining moments.

interest in your ideas, you first need

Of all the Heaths’ books, I found

to demonstrate that they’re in need

this one the most valuable. It

of something. In their words, “We

teaches you how to reinvent the

need to open gaps before we close

way you engage with your life.

them.” While it may be easier to just

Using four different principles

recite a litany of facts, you first need

— elevation, pride, insight, and

to convince your audience that they’ll

connection — you will learn how

benefit from what you’re about to

to plan experiences that transform


minutes into moments. One very practical experience you’ll be forced to reexamine


is onboarding employees. How can such a rigorous and detailed process become something special and memorable? Similarly, when meeting a client for the first time, how will you distinguish your relationship? Apply these principles to find out just how.

MADE TO STICK: WHY SOME IDEAS SURVIVE AND OTHERS DIE Remember what the honoree spoke about at the last shul dinner? Yeah, me neither. This book is about how to develop and communicate impactful ideas. A friend of mine in yeshiva once asked Rabbi Yissocher Frand for speaking advice, and he repeated the well-known aphorism, “You need to tell them what you’re going to tell

Ira Zlotowitz, President and CEO of Eastern Union Funding, famously gives out two-dollar bills along with his business card whenever meeting a new prospect. Instead of his card being stacked alongside a pile of other business cards in an overstuffed wallet, he found a way to make a common interaction noteworthy. Each of our days is filled with moments, and this book will show you how to harness their power.

them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.” This book hones and sharpens your ability to underSPRING 2019

2 . 0 | 95


Word on the Street


OUT OF ISRAEL… Israel was just named an “Innovative Champion” by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). You’ve probably already heard a little something about that too, so now we’re zooming in to show off just a few of the impressive items coming out of the Holy Land.

Tech terms to know in 2019

5G: One step up in your mobile Internet connection. Networks offering 5G are expected to have faster speeds than ever.

API, OR APPLICATION PROGRAMMING INTERFACE: The interface used for creating web applications. This is what programmers use to code a new program.





Whether you’re a diehard

The need for security for

just created the flying

environmentalist or not,

Jews all over the world is

car only previously

you’re going to want to pay

as scary as it is real. Rabbi

seen swirling around

attention. A new creation

Yoni Sherizen is trying to

your visions of what

from researchers at the

make it just a bit easier.

the future looks like.

University of Tel Aviv will help

Together with Asaf Adler, he

The prototypes were

fight the 8 million metric tons

cofounded a startup called

shown at CES, the

of plastic that end up in the

Blue Systems, Ltd., to build

huge annual inter-

a “smart panic button” sys-

national technology

tem called Gabriel, named

conference in Las

for the guardian angel. It

Vegas earlier this

has sensors, a camera,

year. The vehicle will

and microphone that can

function as a regular


be used anywhere in any

car, but also be able

experience where the real world around


to take off or land

you blends with the computer-generated

vertically and then fly


Earth’s oceans — scientists estimate that plastic will actually outweigh fish by 2050. Yes, you read that right. To combat this horrifying statistic, Dr. Alexander Golberg and Professor Michael Gozin are working on bioplastics, which don’t use petroleum and degrade quickly. The plastics are produced from marine microorganisms that completely recycle into organic waste. Currently,

Once activated (which

that collects and shares data, like fitness trackers, smartphones, and other wearables. Experts predict more than half of new businesses will run on the IoT by 2020.

OMNI CHANNEL: A sales approach that includes multiple ways to get to the consumer, via a desktop, mobile device, telephone, brick-and-mortar, etc. The key is that all the channels work together to create an integrated and effective experience for the customer.

on autopilot. It’s pro-

or through an app), the

jected to have a price


system automatically alerts

point of $50,000. The

computer science in machines that makes

first responders, opens a

goal of the startup

them act and react like humans. The

line of communication with

is to have a working

application of AI in businesses is expected

them and other security

model ready to go by

to triple in 2019, according to Information

teams, maps out dan-

the end of next year.

Services Group.

ger areas, and captures

deeper to find out just which

everything that’s going on

bacteria and algae would

visually and auditorally. It

make the best ingredients

still needs to be tested and

for the material. The results

approved, but the product

could be revolutionary.

could save lives.

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and everything connected to the Internet

can be done physically

the researchers are looking

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NFT Inc. may have

USER EXPERIENCE (UX): UX describes the emotions, attitudes, and ease-of-use a person has when using a product or service. UX design is utilized to effectively communicate between a brand and its potential customer to enhance the user experience.

QUOTES FROM THE MASTERS: TECH EDITION No one knows how to do it better than those who have done it before us. Get a boost from these powerhouses who are leaders in the startup and innovation world today.

“The most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership. The best advice I can give to women is to go out and start

“Things are always changing.

“I do think it’s important to

“The journey of a startup is

Part of being successful is

follow your dreams and do

the journey of failure. You’re

being comfortable with not

something which you are

trying something that no one

knowing what’s going to

excited by. If you follow your

has tried before. So you don’t


heart and do what you like,

know where to go and you

you will always do much better.

keep trying different things.

It doesn’t matter what your

Eventually you’ll find the one

educational qualification is.”

thing that does work.”


URI LEVINE Founder of Waze


something, ideally their own businesses. If you can’t see a path for leadership within your own company, go blaze a trail of your own.” SAFRA A. CATZ CEO of Oracle Corporation On trusting herself: “I always think of it as the yellow brick road. I can see the yellow brick road. I know how to step down

“I think what’s most important is not whether you’re the first, but whether you’re the last.”

it and I don’t want to go off of it. I can see it. And I think for the others maybe they can see it, but they question it. They say, ‘Is it really the yellow

TALMON MARCO, Cofounder of Juno and Founder of Viber

“We’re the most atypical

“You are not born with a fixed

“If you go back a few hundred

Silicon Valley company

amount of resilience. Like a

years, what we take for

you’ll come across. We were

muscle, you can build it up,

granted today would seem like

founded by 30-somethings;

and draw on it when you need

magic — being able to talk to

we focused on business

it. In that process you will

people over long distances,

sustainability and revenue

figure out who you really are,

transmitting images, flying,

rather than getting big fast,

and you just might become the

accessing vast amounts of

we’ve been incognito almost

very best version of yourself.”

data like an oracle. These are

all the time, we’re mobile first, and we’re global first.” BRIAN ACTON Cofounder of WhatsApp

all things that would have SHERYL SANDBERG COO of Facebook

been considered magic a few hundred years ago.” ELON MUSK Founder of Tesla

brick road?’ But they probably know it is.” JUDITH FAULKNER CEO of Epic Systems “When you raise yourself alone from age eight, it’s obviously very challenging, but it forces you to take charge of who you want to become. The challenging times are G-d’s way of leading us to something greater.” YEHUDIT ABRAMS Founder of MonitHer


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Photo of Model Unit: C. Schvarcz

What do you see in the window?

Extra-large windows extending from floor to ceiling. Bordered by premium Italian aluminum frames cased in glossy wood. Aluminum facing acoustically and thermally insulated to block unwanted noise and protect from the elements. Exterior frames are cast in a striking, uniform color. Interior wooden casing available in a wide assortment of shades. The only thing more impressive than your Jerusalem Estates apartment's windows? The majestic views of the Jerusalem skyline directly outside them.

718.564.6656 | JERUSALEMESTATES.COM OFFICE: 16 KING DAVID STREET, JERUSALEM Apartments at Jerusalem Estates' initial phases are being sold at a record pace. If you would like the rewarding experience of purchasing a piece of lasting history, schedule a visit with our sales office at 972.2.502.5502 or 718.564.6656.

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