2.0 Magazine, Issue 1

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2.0 24

Hours with Privé Revaux CEO David Schottenstein OUTSMART YOUR FEARS: Are Mind Blocks Getting in the Way of Your Business?


RISING TO THE TOP 12 Nonprofits Impacting the Jewish World as We Know It


Inaugural Event Harnessed the Power of Unity to Enlighten & Enrich

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Jewish Education

How Venture Capitalist Michael Eisenberg is Empowering Entrepreneurs to Think Bigger


2.0 | 1


Winter 2018


These 5-minute tips will take you to the top, plus other innovative resources


How your mind might be getting in the way of your success on the job


Peek into the life of Prive Revaux’s CEO David Schottenstein as he opens up about his daily schedule and career highs and lows



Meal kits are making kosher food more accessible and fun


Mercava’s Artificial Intelligence platform will forever affect how we learn


Venture Capitalist Michael Eisenberg explains how he’s creating 10,000 jobs in Israel and empowering entrepreneurs in the process


An in-depth look at the beginning stages of starting a business

Meet the winners of the OU’s firstever Impact Accelerator, and what they’re doing to create change


Find out what it means for the frum world moving forward

32. SMALL TALK 12. Products Worth Eyeing These items are about to make your life much easier

14. Crowd Sourcing Steal book recommendations from top-tier professionals

THE BUZZWORD 62. Halacha in 2018

OFFICE SPACE Step inside Top Real-Estate Attorney Phil Rosen’s office to see how he blends the professional with the personal


20. To Print or Not to Print

48. Behind the Brand

24. Playing with Education Teachers and professionals discuss the power of interactive gaming to help children learn

64. Hashkafa The way innovation plays a part in our daily routines


BIG QUESTIONS Charlie Harary shares his experience writing a book in the secular world

Finding answers to today’s tough technological questions through Torah

What happened when budding entrepreneurs and established professionals got together at the first ever Tribeworks event

66. Lessons from the slopes Moe Mernick shares three business tips he picked up on a recent snowboarding trip

96. Power Woman How comScore’s Global President Sarah Hofstetter built a major career while staying true to her Jewish roots

110. Turn Your Hobby Into Cash Artist Abbey Wolin interviews Chef Chanie Apfelbaum about making her passion into a full-time job

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, Libby Levy, Eli Lieman Chief of Staff, US Office: Michal Frischman | Creative Director: Tzivia Cohen | Graphics: Miriam Reifman, Brachi Berkowitz | Production Manager: Esti Vago | Production Assistant: Hadas Stern | Copy Editor: Chaya Baila Lieber | 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 • EMAIL US: EDITORIAL@20MAGAZINE.COM • ADVERTISE: 718-686-9339 ADVERTISE@20MAGAZINE.COM Cover Image by: Elchanan Kotler




n a recent trip to

value proposition.

Boston, I had the

The New York Times, cer-

privilege of spending

tainly a symbol of “establish-

an afternoon with Dr.

ment,” was able to reinvent

Charles Berlin, the

itself and retain its position

curator of the venerable Harvard

at the top of the media totem

Judaica Collection. Like many storied

pole even with a whole host

establishments, the library is grap-

of tech-savvy incumbents

pling with rapid technology-induced

like BuzzFeed and Huffington

changes. “The more you want things

Post nipping at its heels.

to stay the same, the more you have

In the introduction to a

to change,” Dr. Berlin told me rueful-

leaked internal Innovation

ly. He then proceeded to describe in

Report by its leadership, the

impressive detail, millennial jargon

NYT executive team writes:

and all, what the library is doing to address the challenge. The quote replayed itself in my

“Not a single person among leaving humankind dizzy in its wake. As frum Jews, we are acutely, and

the hundreds we interviewed ever suggested tinkering with the journal-

mind through the heavy traffic on the

often painfully, aware of this tug-

istic values and integrity that make

I-95. Dr. Berlin was addressing what

of-war. How are we to evolve yet

the Times the greatest journalistic

often appears to be a paralyzing para-

preserve our values, lifestyle, and

institution in the world. But we must

dox: status quo versus progress. For

traditions in the face of developing

evolve, and quickly, to maintain that

the library, that struggle highlights

technology and the onslaught of se-

status over the coming decades.” The

the importance of innovation —

cular culture? Undoubtedly we must

report goes on to lay out what needed

getting with the tech program — in

protect ourselves from the outside

to be changed and how said change

order to keep its paper treasures and

world, but it seems like a losing

would occur. I’m not exactly a fan

mission relevant in the modern era.

proposition — for every fence we

of the Times’s “journalistic values

Faced with mounting disruption by

erect, two more are breached. So what

and integrity,” but the resounding

developing digital tools and plat-

can we do to successfully navigate

success of its transformation to a

forms, and compounded by a general

the balance between status quo and

digital-first media conglomerate is

cultural shift toward academia, Dr.



Berlin, ever the bibliophile, is choos-

Coming from an entrepreneurial

While it’s impossible to design a

ing to preserve the core value of his

background, I naturally look to the

precise roadmap for our community’s

life’s work by accepting new realities

business sector for inspiration. What

response to the challenge, what is

and implementing changes

I see is rampant disruption: ma-

becoming increasingly clear to me is


jor corporations and indeed entire

that the answer begins with shifting

industries being upended by startups

our perspective. We must recognize

erals and Conservatives, clerics and

led by hoodie-wearing college drop-

that while innovation and technology

scientists, startups and corporations,

outs. Just recently, Sears, the iconic

pose great dangers, they also offer

all are engaged in what seems to be

American retailer, filed for bank-

opportunities of equal magnitude.

a fight to the finish. As the Industrial

ruptcy. On the other hand, I also see

As Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest of

Revolution morphed into the Digital

remarkable examples of companies

all men, says, “Zeh leumas zeh asah

Revolution, the pace of transfor-

and institutions that have managed

haElokim.” Hashem created a system

mation is approaching g-force and

to evolve while retaining their core

of built-in homeostasis; for every-

His struggle speaks to all of us. Lib-

4 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

thing there is a counterpart. There-

sibility. We must draw attention to

with an imagined scenario: Suppose

fore, wherever the worst impurity

the ills of society and the threat of

the scientific community concluded

exists, the greatest holiness exists in

technology, and we must unflinch-

absolutely that in three weeks’ time

tandem. Our paradox is by design —

ingly trust the security enactments

the planet would disappear underwa-

or, in the vernacular of technology, it

of our spiritual leaders. But we are

ter. Heads of state and pundits would

is a feature, not a bug.

equally responsible for internalizing

bicker and point blame, priests and

and communicating to our children

imams would deny the impending

is the best of times, it is the worst of

the overwhelmingly encouraging

doom or call for repentance. But the

times… all at once! Never before has

message of our generation’s endless

Rebbe would call a meeting of his fol-

the richness, nuance, and creativity of

opportunities and resounding suc-

lowers and announce, “Rabbosai, we

Torah, avodah, and gemilus chasadim

cess. In these turbulent times before

have three weeks to learn how to live

been so readily available and wide-

Mashiach, the more we want things

underwater… Let’s get to work.”

ly experienced — all thanks to the

to stay the same, the more we have

double-edged sword offered by the

to, and can, change.

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it

modern era. Viewing life in this holistic manner

Anyone have a pair of goggles I can borrow?

The Pulitzer-winning Jewish author, Herman Wouk, was once

gives us great awareness, and with

asked why he was so drawn to the

great awareness comes great respon-

Lubavitcher Rebbe. Wouk replied

Asher Weinberger, Asher Weinberger, Managing Director


education innovation WINTER 2018

2.0 | 5




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].

strate the power that comes from the fusion of these two aspects of our lives. The high-profile people we feature and the bold ideas we discuss are all intertwined with a personal connection to Yiddishkeit and, ideally, will only inspire more greatness when met with the infinite possibilities that creates. In our debut issue, we have Phil Rosen, a top real-estate lawyer who also works to positively impact political candidates about

hen you hear the words corpo-

Israel. There’s our cover story with Michael

rate and business, you probably

Eisenberg, who’s creating thousands of

think of men in buttoned-up

jobs by funding entrepreneurs through

suits flocking to high-rise city buildings,

his venture capital company, Aleph, and

right? While that notion has been around

is about to release his third Jewish book.

since the beginning, the industry is chang-

We’ve got Sarah Hofstetter, the president

ing — now more than ever. Today, there

of comScore, who meets with secular exec-

are startups that prefer to go casual on the

utives around the world and educates them

surface — offering ping-pong tables when

on why she has to live off frozen meals

you need a break and scooters to ride to your

while traveling.

next meeting — yet which have just as much credibility.

We’re tackling the issues that are unclear in today’s society, including the halachic

The best part is that accessibility is dif-

ramifications of DNA testing, the impact of

ferent as well. You don’t need to have a law

the undeniable rise of e-commerce on frum

degree from an Ivy League school to achieve

communities, and why kosher meal prep

success. Anyone with an idea can become the

kits are changing the way we eat. There’s

next big thinker, entrepreneur, or top earn-

something here for everyone, and it’s

er. The criteria for respect is one who wants

meant for everyone. Maybe it will inspire

to do something no one else has thought of,

you to try the idea you’ve been dreaming of,

and it can come from a male or a female, age

or maybe, as a busy professional, you want

20 or 60. The idea stands on its own.

to stay up to date on trends. Whatever the

People are feeling newly empowered to turn those crazy dreams into something real, to become their own bosses, and to find

reason, we’re sure you’ll come out of here with something new to think about. I’m so excited about this launch and

their place in this technologically driven

would love to hear your feedback. You can

world. That being said, the process can be

e-mail me at alex@20magazine.com to

overwhelming, and navigating it with a

share your thoughts. Here we go!

strong Jewish center is key. We couldn’t do it without remembering that our religious values only foster more success and keep us grounded, focused, and true to who we are. The goal of this magazine is to demon6 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

Alex Abel, Editor in Chief

SMALL TALK THESE ITEMS (AND APPS) WILL MAKE YOUR WORK DAY WAY MORE EFFICIENT 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 to make you your best, most productive self.






2.0 | 7



5 EASY WAYS TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY Sometimes it seems like all we want to do is add more hours to the day. Between work, family commitments, and everything in between, chances

thetically pleasing components like plants or art can



increase productivity by up

When you’re overwhelmed,

to 15 percent. It’s like when

it may seem sensible to

are your to-do list is just getting perpetually longer.

you straighten up a messy

be doing a million things

Tackle it with these tips from experts to help you feel

room in your house and

at once — answering that

like you’re expanding time and working smarter.

your brain just feels calmer.

e-mail while writing up

Surrounding yourself with

your report and checking

things you love will put you

or watching the news to

in a better mood at work

stay updated. But in reality,

and help you get things

it’s doing one thing at a

done faster.

time that will make you



A lot of the time we have is five minutes here, ten minutes there, whether it’s between meetings or while waiting to pick your kids up from school. Instead of sitting idly, entrepreneur Steve Olenski says you can use that time to cross things off your list, especially when those things take under two minutes, like shooting off an email. Even if you can’t finish something in those

you’re ready to tackle it later on.



during the day, your productivity can really spike, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Getting your heart rate up can release chemicals that help alertness and have you feeling more energized when it’s time to get back to it.


feel most productive and STAY HYDRATED. Maybe it sounds

give you the best result. Dr. Earl Miller, a neu-

obvious, or even unrelated

roscience professor at

to productivity, but water

the Picower Institute for

actively affects your brain

Learning and Memory at

functioning. Being dehy-

MIT, says in an article that

drated by as little as 1 per-

when you multitask, you

cent can lead to a decrease in

make more mistakes. Go-

mood and cognitive abilities,

ing back and forth between

according to a 2012 study

things forces the “neural

published in the Journal of

networks” of your brain

Nutrition. Start the day with

to figure out where they

a few glasses before you

left off in order to refocus.

reach for the coffee or fortify

Strengthening our brain

your lunch with a smoothie

by focusing on one task

intimidated and therefore


It may sound superficial,

loaded with hydrating fruits

at a time makes it perform

more productive when

but an office that has aes-

and vegetables.


five minutes, just starting it will make you feel less

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2.0 WINTER 2018




WE C A R E FO R YOUR LOVED ONE The way 2.0 cares for your business

Grandell offers state-of-the-art rehab, with private rooms, first-class amenities, and 6 floors designed according to residents' levels of function. Additionally, our residents enjoy breathtaking ocean views, a grand lobby and spacious family visiting areas. Because we care.



2.0 | 9


Word on the Street


TRY A PODCAST A great way to get insider access into the minds of business professionals is by hearing their stories firsthand. Podcasts are a great way to do just that. Since we can’t actually barge into the offices of top CEOs and venture capitalists, these intimate discussions mimic the feeling of hanging out with them over coffee and asking anything you want to know. Here are some of the most interesting and informative we’ve discovered.

The tech and startup world is buzzing with terms right and left. We defined some of the most interesting so you’ll know exactly what’s going on the next time they’re dropped.

UNICORN: A startup that has been valued at more than $1 billion; companies in this category include Instagram, Evernote, and Shazam.

DRAGON: An unlisted startup that achieved a value of more than $1 billion based on the funds raised; when a startup raises said funds in a single round.

DECACORN: A company valued at over

HOW I BUILT THIS In NPR’s “How I Built This,” you’ll hear the stories of how successful entrepreneurs created some of the “world’s best-known companies.” Profiles include those behind brands like Tempur-Pedic, WeWork, Slack and Lyft, just to name a few. Steal the secrets from industry insiders and stay entertained along the way.


The host of this podcast

If you’re interested

SEED ROUND: The first period in which

is Reid Hoffman, co-

in startups even a

a startup is looking for funding. This is

founder of LinkedIn and

little bit, this is the

usually followed by a “series A” round,

investor at Greylock, so

podcast for you. In

where a new set of investors comes in at

it’s got experience and

it, the host helps

a higher price than the first.

success flowing through

you with real-life

its veins. Hoffman inter-

tips to make your

views high-profile tech

idea succeed. He

wizards like Mark Zuck-

interviews prominent

erberg, Sheryl Sandberg,

venture capitalists

Brian Chesky (founder of

who share what

Airbnb), and more. Topics

makes an idea stand

run the gamut from

out, what you should

how to come up with

include in your pitch,

that million-dollar idea

how to persevere

to practical advice on

when trying to fund-

making a business last,

raise, and everything

and tips for what to do to

in between.

encourage wellness in all aspects of life. 10 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

$10 billion; companies in this category


include WhatsApp and Snapchat.

MVP: Not “Most Valuable Player.” In this case, it means “Minimum Viable Product” — the service or product that has the highest return on investment versus the risk or effort involved.

CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost; the amount you need to pay for marketing and sales in order to acquire one user.

TERM SHEET: The first formal (but non-binding) document between a startup founder and an investor which lays out the terms for the investment.

QUOTES FROM THE MASTERS “Don’t worry about failure;

“Risk more than others think

“Your most unhappy cus-

you only have to be right

is safe. Dream more than

tomers are your greatest


others think is practical.”

source of learning.”

DREW HOUSTON Cofounder and CEO of Dropbox


BILL GATES Founder and Former CEO of Microsoft

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” STEVE JOBS, co-founder and CEO of Apple “Many of life’s failures are

“Don’t start a company

feeling of being scared,

people who did not realize

unless it’s an obsession

that feeling of taking risk,

how close they were to suc-

and something you love. If

really amazing things can

cess when they gave up.”

you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.”


THOMAS A. EDISON American inventor and businessman

“A pessimist sees

“I have never worked a day

the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in

of millennials

starting their own business.

The largest recorded acquisition in startup history was Facebook’s 2015 purchase of WhatsApp for $19 BILLION.

The average age for a startup founder is 40.

raise 30% more money and scale three times faster.


of all new

businesses fail within five years.

MARK CUBAN Serial entrepreneur and investor

in my life without selling. If I

“Don’t limit yourself. Many

believe in something, I sell it,

people limit themselves to

and I sell it hard.”

what they think they can

52% of startup founders are removed from their initial role by the time the company raises its third round of funding.

do. You can go as far as

every difficulty.” WINSTON CHURCHILL Former British Prime Minister


say their career goal involve

If you have a cofounder, you will

“If you push through that


Did you Know?

ESTÉE LAUDER Founder of Estée Lauder Companies “It is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.” MARTHA STEWART Businesswoman, author, and media personality

your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” MARY KAY ASH Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

VC investment in startups reached its highest level ever in 2017 at $148 billion.

Artificial-intelligence-themed ventures are expected to grow into a $13 trillion market opportunity by 2025. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 11



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: Around $20

Price: $60-$200, depending on size

The secret to a betternight’s sleep might just be in your comforter. This weighted blanket mimics the feeling of being hugged, which helps relieve stress and anxiety. A study published in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders said four out of five participants who used the blanket slept longer and spent less time awake in the middle of the night. They therefore also reported feeling more refreshed the next morning — key when you’ve got a lot to cross off that to-do list.

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2.0 WINTER 2018


When you work in an office, you’re at the mercy of the building crew for the temperature and air quality of the room. This device allows you to take that power back. It cools the area, humidifies it, and also cleans dust particles from the air to make you — and your breathing — healthier. Plus, it’s small enough that it won’t cause any unwanted attention.

At this point, you’ve probably read about the harmful effects the blue light from a computer screen and your smartphone can have on your eyes, mostly when you’re cranking things out before bed. It’s been shown that the blue light emitted from these devices can impact our circadian rhythms and cause insomnia. These glasses stop that from happening so you can get a better night’s sleep even when you need to work a bit later. Some people suffer from headaches when they’ve been plugging away all day, and these will help with that too. Bonus? They come in tons of chic designs to match your style.


This lunch box is a life-changer for the kosher consumer. Now you can heat things up by utilizing a nearby plug rather than worrying about a shared office microwave or succumbing to cold food at the office or on the go. Plus, the metal tray pops right out, which makes cleanup a breeze.


Many entrepreneurs rise bright and early, but when you’re getting up before the sun, it’s hard to feel energized to get things going. Light exposure is an important way to start the day (and not just with your table lamp or overhead fixture) because it stimulates our body’s production of serotonin, which improves your mood and regulates your inner clock. That in turn promotes efficiency. The natural light of the sun is over a hundred times the lighting in your home or office, so an artificial tool like this can create a similar effect that will boost your energy naturally.

Screen Time Another place that can help you become a more efficient, better you is your phone. Phones get a bad rep for being energy and time wasters, but there’s so much good that can be done right there that you may not even know about yet. Maybe you already use some of these, or maybe they’re a best-kept secret, but either way these apps will help utilize the time you do spend on screen and allow you to spend more time off of it.




How many times do you see an article on the Internet that piques your interest, but you just don’t have the time to read it at the moment? This app allows you to save those articles in one central place so that when you do have a second on your commute or in between meetings to take in some news, you have an article you want readily available.

This app is replacing the traditional business card, and it’s meant for people who wear multiple hats in their career. Instead of having different business cards for your job and then side hustle, you can create a few options that have their own info within the app so you only share the details you want. All the person has to do is scan your QR code (they don’t need the app themselves), and then you’re instantly connected.

This app has been called a must-have by many news sites, and when you take the time to explore it a bit, it’s clear why. A to-do list, calendar, daily planner, and reminders list all in one, this app masters every area of productivity.


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SETH FARBMAN I’ll admit that I do very little reading, but there was a book years ago whose cover and first page I looked at while I was in the car at a red light. I ended up pulling over and reading the book cover to cover right there. It’s called The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann, and it changed my perception of how to succeed in business and in life. It’s a little story about a powerful idea — the concept of providing value and giving to others as opposed to taking for yourself or trying to outright sell your services or products. Two other CEOs that I rec-

These days, the opinions of your friends and acquaintances are available with just with the touch of a button. You can spark a political

ommended it to told me that they bought over a hundred copies and made it mandatory reading for their employees.

debate to get the word out about a cause that’s important to you, or ask for advice on what to read next. This time, we did the work for you and pinged some of the top change-makers in the business world to talk about the biz book that made the biggest impact on them.

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2.0 WINTER 2018

Seth Farbman has built a career in servicing private and public companies. He currently serves as the chairman and president of Vstock Transfer, which has a focus on pre IPO, Nasdaq, and NYSE MKT listed issuers. Mr. Farbman is also the chairman of Vcheck Global, a background and due diligence services company, and eSignatureGuarantee.com, an online resource for medallion signature guarantees. Previously, Mr. Farbman served as a securities attorney at a New York law firm with a concentration on securities regulation.

DANA GIBBER I love Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant, because it provides a business justification for assisting others. The premise of the book is that being a “giver,” or someone who helps others in the workplace without expecting anything in return, is actually a key indicator of success. When you make helpful connections for others, use your time to show someone new the ropes, or pick up a task for an overwhelmed coworker, Grant’s research shows that you’re not compromising yourself or being weak, but rather garnering goodwill and esteem from people who may matter in the long run. He uses lots of examples and empirical data to show that nice guys finish first.

Dana Gibber is the cofounder and COO of Headliner Labs, the leading technology platform in chat marketing, which enables hundreds of retail brands to market to their customers via chat channels. Dana worked as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. She received a J.D. from Yale Law School and her A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College.

AVI MUCHNICK One of my all-time favorite books is Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. It’s not a leadership or business book in a traditional sense, but an inspiring biography about a well-known visionary. The book contains a story about his adoptive father, who painted the back of a fence, including an area nobody could see. That lesson stuck with Steve and is what caused him to make sure every product was meticulously designed — even the hidden internal hardware of his computers. That attention to hidden detail has always inspired me to level up every product I launch. And every time I reread this book (about once a year), I walk away freshly fired up to go build something new.

Avi Muchnick is a serial entrepreneur with a personal mission to empower others to create. He cofounded the creative contest community Worth1000 (acquired by CrowdSpring) and the mobile photo-editing company Aviary (acquired by Adobe). His products have been used by 125 million people to enhance billions of photos. In 2010, MIT’s Technology Review named him one of their Top 35 Innovators under 35.


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RIFKA LEBOWITZ Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John C. Bogle. This charming book by investment giant and founder of Vanguard, John Bogle, is very influential in my work. When I speak with my clients about being comfortable with their money, spending, and planning smarter, the concept of “enough” comes up a lot. What is enough? How do we define it? When do we know if we got there? Can we get there without greed? In addition to discussing many of the faults in the finance industry, this book talks about aligning our money with our values, our satisfaction, and our character. It’s a reminder that we measure our life not by what we have but by who we are. Money is one of many resources we use to live life, but it’s a means, not a goal. As we know as Jews, a person who is satisfied with what they have is one who is truly wealthy.

LAIZER KORNWASSER Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others

Rifka Lebowitz is a financial consultant, speaker, and author specializing in personal and small business finance. After a decade in the Israeli investment and banking industry, she went out on her own to pursue her dream: helping business owners, individuals, and couples be smarter about — and with — their money. She lectures on personal finances at Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah mega-events.

Don’t, by Jim Collins. The author asks and answers the question: Why do some companies become great, while others languish at merely good? Collins identifies eight common traits

NOAM WASSERMAN One book that influenced me back when I was becoming a manager and leader a quarter of a century ago is Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources

the “good to great” companies share. This is an insightful read that will improve your outlook on both business and personal endeavors.

by Persey, Blanchard, and Johnson. It focuses the manager’s attention on the developmental stage of the employee regarding the specific task at hand, helps the manager diagnose what the employee needs to go from that stage to the next one, and prescribes actions for how to do that. It was invaluable as I was going from “doer” to “manager,” but it’s also had implications for parenting and for my classroom teaching, too.

Dr. Noam Wasserman is the Lemann Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California and the founding director of the school’s Founder Central initiative. He is the author of the book Life Is a Startup, which delves into lessons from Chazal and entrepreneurship that are applicable to a wide range of life challenges, as well as the bestseller The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. 16 |

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Laizer Kornwasser is currently president and chief operating officer of Carecentrix and a professor of entrepreneurship at the Sy Syms School of business at Yeshiva University. He has 20 years of experience in executive leadership positions in small and large (Fortune 50) companies. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Accounting from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.

BIG QUESTIONS WHAT CHARLIE HARARY HAS TO SAY ABOUT PUBLISHING A BOOK Is writing a book for you? Renowned speaker and author, Charlie Harary, opens up about the journey to turning his book, Unlocking Greatness, into a reality—and what you should know before diving into the secular publishing world.






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WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY FROM A SPARE APARTMENT? Israel’s permanent status as a go-to travel destination means places to stay are always in-need. We rounded up two real-estate experts who shared their golden rules on what you need to know before renting it out


hanks to the

Holy Land. If that applies to

“[Now] there are so many

creation of Airbnb,

you, should Airbnb be your

places for rent that weren’t

the vacation rental

go-to? Or are there benefits

previously there,” Chernin

business has

to sticking with more tra-

says. “The competition is

can get in trouble if you say

forever changed.

ditional methods? What are

extreme, which lowers the

no,” he says. “They have

Instead of having to go

some other ways you can

price.” So you may need

a total nondiscrimination

through a rental compa-

avoid sneaky money traps in

to have new expectations

policy, and you’ll have to

ny or stay in a (usually)

the rental market? We spoke

for what you’ll get, even

take your page off the site. If

pricey hotel, you can get

to two professionals on the

at popular times like the

we’re managing the apart-

an attractive apartment for

subject so you can get the


ment, we screen the calls to

an affordable cost with a


While Airbnb may seem

find out about the potential

like the easiest way to go,

renter’s level of kashrus and

president and CEO of Zedek

Chernin explains it can

get rabbinical references

Group, a property manage-

actually create additional

to make sure they hold by

destination in the frum

ment company that rep-

unforeseen complications,

the same standards as the

world, many have come to

resents over 70 apartments,

i.e., if you need the renter


purchase property as a way

equating over 100 million

to keep your apartment

customer-friendly booking service. Since Israel is the go-to

David Chernin is the

If you live in America

to make a bit of addition-

shekels’ worth of property.

kosher. “If someone wants

and don’t want to deal with

al income, diversify their

He shares that the innova-

to rent your apartment from

screening calls or applica-

portfolio, and perhaps even

tion of Airbnb has caused

Airbnb and is not Jewish or

tions for your apartment’s

just to have a stake in the

the market average to drop.

doesn’t keep kosher, you

rental, that’s another way

18 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

ment for awhile, and when

If you know you’re not

she came back, she found

going to be able to visit Is-

her neighbor had built an

rael for the year, or want to

illegal structure connected

make extra money on your

to her property.

apartment, “it makes much

“Things can happen,”

more financial sense to rent

Aharon explains. “And,

it out long-term,” Chernin

of course, you have pipes,

says. “If you do, the tenant

electricity, and security to

pays the property tax, the

think about, too.” When

utility charges, and the vaad

it comes to those things,

bayit [building upkeep], so

if your property isn’t

really, the only expense the

checked at least three times

owner has is the mainte-

a month, insurance often

nance of the apartment

won’t cover a claim if any

itself.” This differs from

damages happen.

America, where the owner

The horror stories run

pays the property tax even

deep. Chernin says a friend

when there’s a tenant.

from America had an apart-

“It’s much easier to make a

ment that the owner’s uncle

return on your investment

was watching over, but the

this way,” he explains.

uncle didn’t go check on

That being said, it’s

it regularly. One day, the

important to remember that

power went out, and all the

you can really customize a

a firm like Chernin’s comes

based in Tel Aviv. “They’re

meat the owner kept in her

rental arrangement to make

in hand. “If the homeown-

quite good,” she says. “It

freezer spoiled. “What we

it work for you and your

er themselves puts their

could be a good way to max-

found when we went to pre-

needs. While most people

property on Airbnb and then

imize your profit.”

pare the apartment for her

utilize contracts that specify

arrival was just horrible,”

only “long term” or “short

he explains.

term,” Aharon says you

refers the calls they get to

Another major money-

me, they’re going to have to

saving tip for homeowners

pay double commission,” he

who don’t live full-time at


their place is to make sure

ment’s security company

tisement for six months or

If you don’t want to sign

Another time, the apart-

can also put out an adver-

you have someone keeping

called him about an alarm,

adjust a contract to specific

up with a property manager,

an eye on the apartment

and when Chernin went

requests. “Sometimes, you

you can hire an Airbnb rep-

for you when you’re not

over, he found two Arabs

can make a lease agreement

resentative to take over on

around. Maybe that’s a

trying to break into a safe.

that says when you want to

short-term rentals of your

relative, friend, or neigh-

“They did tremendous

come. You’ll give a certain

property, according to Jane

bor, but whoever it is, make

damage to the room that the

amount of notice, and then

Aharon, owner of Exclusive

sure they truly do it. It may

safe was in,” he says. “Had

the tenant will be out of the

Resident Management,

sound obvious, but Aharon

we not come, who knows

apartment at that time,”

another bespoke proper-

says she met a woman who

what would’ve happened to

she explains. “There are a

ty management company

hadn’t been in her apart-

the rest of the apartment?”

lot of different avenues.” WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 19



Motivational Speaker & Author | New York, New York By Michal Frischman

Charlie Harary speaking at the Chai Lifeline dinner, New York, December 2014

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With global book publishing sales forecasted to hit 123 billion dollars by 2021 (Statista.com), you may want to reconsider pushing off that idea that’s been niggling in the back of your mind for a while. If you want to reach large audiences, to add “published author” to your byline, or just to create new opportunities for yourself, perhaps it’s time to open a fresh Word doc and see what happens.

But is writing a book for you? We spoke

potential. I meet people and hear stories

with Charlie Harary, business executive,

of individuals who have accomplished

motivational speaker, and author of Un-

huge things in life. And when I’m talking

locking Greatness: The Unexpected Journey

to people and listening to them relate

from the Life You Have to the Life You Want

their life challenges, I want so badly for

(Rodale, 2018), who shared what the pro-

them to fully understand how much they

cess was like in his own words:

have inside them and how powerful and

“I started speaking a while ago, and as I got out there, I realized that Hashem has built human beings with such incredible

resourceful they really are. “For example, when I was teaching an entrepreneurship course in Yeshiva WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 21




University, I saw students

Some publishers were willing

love. You don’t make a lot of

who wanted more than just

to take it on as a small project,

money writing a first book.

entrepreneurship; they were

as a 50-page book that sim-

When you sign a deal with a

looking for the ability to

plified the concepts tremen-

secular publisher, they give

accomplish in all areas of life.

dously. But we kept looking

you an advance, but they

So I changed the curriculum

until we finally heard from

expect you to spend it on mar-

and I called it ‘Principles

Rodale (which was subse-

keting and public relations.

of Success.’ I took all this

quently purchased by Random

They have an agency and they

research and turned it into

House), which was willing to

help you, but they really want

an undergraduate course and

allow me to write the book

the author to take respon-

incorporated it into seminars

without sparing any content.

sibility for their own book

and speeches and workshops.

“After that, it took about a

and fill in the gaps. Then the

And all along I realized, You

year of research

money you make is offsetting

can only reach so many people

and writing

from the advance, so the book

when you speak. I’d love to put

with Mark, my

itself isn’t making you any

this into a book.

co-writer. We

money really.

“I thought the material

built a three-part

“Also, when you go on

was universal enough that

book, covering

speaking tours, instead of

it could’ve gone through a


getting paid to speak, the

secular publisher, but it was

spirituality, and

group you’re speaking for

difficult to find someone who

practical appli-

buys books, so it’s not lu-

would take it. While we have

cations, and we

crative. Where you can make

great publishers in the frum

finally launched

money is by getting speaking

world, the idea was to give

it in March. It

engagements from the corpo-

us exposure in the larger US

took hundreds

rate world. If it leads to con-

market. I found an editor who

of pages of edits,

sulting and other things, and

helped me create a book pro-

writing and

if you continue to write books,

posal and sent it to different

rewriting, plus

that model starts to turn.

agents. But since no one knew

an additional two months of

who I was, no one wanted to

just working on the footnotes.

business, it won’t be suc-

Then we went on a book tour,

cessful. You need to have a

and as we had hoped, we

mission and a passion and a

had frum audiences, we had

long-term plan. In the end,

secular Jewish audiences, and

you have to want, first and

we had audiences that were

foremost, to bring ideas to

not Jewish at all. We put Torah

people. Any money you make

a fifty-five-page proposal to

through a secular publishing

after that is gravy.”

send around to publishers,

machine, and that enabled

plus another five months

different types of people to

incorporating all the feedback

learn Torah concepts.

give me a deal. “Through a series of hashgachahdik events, I was finally able to secure an agent, and then the real work began. I spent eight months building

I got, in the hopes that they would take on this project.

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2.0 WINTER 2018

Unlocking Greatness by Charlie Harary (Rodale Books, March 13, 2018)

“If you’re going into publishing, it better be a labor of

“If you go in thinking it’s a

It’s crucial to protect what you’ve built—for yourself, and also for those depending on you. As your life changes, so do your needs. Perhaps you have a new baby or have purchased a new home. Perhaps your business is growing faster than you expected. In cases like these, your obligation to protect your family grows – and your life insurance should grow right along with it. The Feiner Group can create a strategy designed to help meet your goals, while recommending products and planning options to help keep you on target. Having the help of a financial professional can make it easier to navigate through the choices and challenges in an increasingly complex financial environment.

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NCSY’s educational gaming app, JewKnow, plans to inspire Jewish learning among unaffiliated teens throughout the country.

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2.0 WINTER 2018



HOW DO WE GAME-IFY JEWISH EDUCATION? When a child is excited to go to school, it’s all nachas and smiles. But more often than not, you’re met with a student who’s a bit less motivated and dreads the experience rather than jumping out of bed in the morning. One universal teaching method all children can get behind, though, is play. Need your kid to brush her teeth? Turn it into a race against the clock. Want some silence for a minute? Let’s bring out the quiet game.


uri Weingot, a teacher at Tichon Meir

or play sounds of a baby crying. Then see how the

Moshe in Far Rockaway who has been

kids react to that.”

in the field for 18 years, explains it as

She also says to never underestimate the

the way to “fuel the inner fire.” She

power of competition. “Some shy away from it

says, “When it comes to Torah, the

because of the class getting divided into winners

Jewish soul will always be ignited if given the

and losers, but there’s nothing wrong with it if

proper fuel… The goal of turning anything into a

you make it clear that you don’t lose at life if you

game is to allow for a higher level of engagement,

lose a competition. It brings out inner aggression

motivate participation, and give room for creative

that can be channeled into creativity.”

input. The giving of the Torah was an all-sensory experience that made an everlasting impact.” Weingot tries to activate all senses in her class-

Shmuel Kaufman, a second-grade teacher in Montreal, noticed early on that the key to a successful, engaged classroom is making sure the

room often.“Think of an interactive activity that

students have an active part in learning. “What

brings the lesson alive,” she says. “Let’s say you

do kids like to do? They love to play,” he says.

were teaching about shofar and its ability to wake

“And in today’s day and age, they particularly

us up from a deep slumber. You can begin a boring

love electronic games, so I started making games

lecture and have your alarm go off in the middle

with PowerPoint presentations and trying them


2 . 0 | 25



in my class. It was a night and

completely different,”

day difference in terms of the

Taylor explains. “It’s

children’s engagement, reten-

educational, teaching

tion, and excitement level.”

you about Judaism and

Eventually, Kaufman real-

then quizzing you on

ized PowerPoint wasn’t going

what you learned, rather

to cut it long-term, so he cre-

than on what you already

ated a new system known as

know. That’s a big dif-

Torah Games. His website now


has an average of 4,000 unique

Instead of offering

visitors a month as of the end

cash, they plan to incen-

of last school year. “There

tivize teens to play by

were maybe 30 people using it

giving out Amazon gift

in the beginning,” he explains

cards. “It doesn’t matter

to show the growth.

if you win or lose,” Tay-

Torah Games now includes

lor says. “Everyone wins

all different varieties to match

something by engaging

the subject you’re looking for,

in the app. How much

each one with a name cuter than the last. Kaufman’s got Nekudos Falls, Shoresh Find, Suffix Snake, Rashi Rescue, Chaim Chumash, and Brachos Blast, just to name a few. “This is something that I believe could be a real game-chang-

Two of Torah Games’ most popular selections: Matzah Munch (L) and Cloud Crash (R)

popularity of the gaming app

you get depends on how often

HQ, the team at NCSY had

you play and how well you do,

their wheels turning about

unlike HQ, where you only

what to do for unaffiliated

earn money when you win.

teens. Simon Taylor, direc-

The point of the app is to make

tor of Jewish Outreach for

Jewish education exciting and

New York, says, “I’m always


on the lookout for different

For the NCSY team, it’s been

er in terms of kids who are

technologies that will help us.

a little more challenging to get

failing,” he says. “It’s not

Right now, teens are all using

things off the ground. Right

necessarily because they can’t

phones and apps.”

now, they’re in the prototype

learn, it’s just because they

If you’re not familiar with

stage and working to raise

aren’t being reached in the

it, HQ quizzes the user on

the funds to make it a reality,

right way. I’m not saying there

obscure trivia questions live

never taking their eyes off the

aren’t real issues sometimes,

at different times in the day,

real prize. “It’s going to help

but if a kid is failing constant-

usually starting out with

us reach teens whom we can’t

ly, it really wears him or her

pretty easy questions that get

reach face-to-face,” Taylor

down. With a game, if you fail,

more challenging as you go. If

says. “We have a staff at NCSY

it’s still fun and you can do it

you make it all the way to the

of over 200 and have hundreds

again and again.”

end, you’ll win your share of a

of volunteer advisors. With all

cash prize, which could range

of them, we reached 25,000

about engaging young minds

from $2,000 to $250,000.

teens last year. But to double

doesn’t mean that it’s all

“Our app is inspired and

and triple our numbers, we

child’s play. After seeing the

modeled after HQ, but it’s

need to go digital.”

Just because we’re talking

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Clinical psychologist | New York area Specializing in trauma, addictions, and financial performance

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS New York clinical psychologist Dr. Binyamin Tepfer walks us through three hypothetical patients and how he would tackle their internal stumbling blocks inhibiting their success at work


has been in the workforce for ten years but


a bright and put-together 28-year-old newlywed,


runs a very successful children’s clothing store

at five different jobs. He says he has

seems to have everything going for him.

in her home. She carries exactly what

done well at each position, but right

Along with being well-read, coming

her clients are looking for and is busier

when he is about to get promot-

from a family of means, and possessing

than she ever dreamed she would be.

ed and be given significantly more

great intuition, he is self-disciplined

Her business has grown exponentially

responsibility, he comes to a sudden

and ambitious. Although he has all the

since she opened it five years ago, and

realization that this job is not really

ingredients for a successful financial

with it, the workload. She prides herself

his calling and he doesn’t want to get

future, he enters my office stuck and

on running the operation by herself.

further immersed in the company.

unable to move forward with any career.

Lately, with growth reaching a plateau,

Instead, he leaves and begins to search

His ambivalence and hesitancy describ-

she has felt a loss in the drive and ex-

for a new job that might feel like a

ing his financial success seems puzzling

citement that she initially possessed

more perfect fit.

and out of character.

and wants to understand why.

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s a clinical psychologist, I am given the daily opportunity to hear the stories and struggles of people’s

not a lack of creativity, discipline, or

People who pursue it will always

knowhow. Rather, as you will soon

feel “less than” or choose to avoid

see, there were beliefs and patterns

situations that may result in them

of thinking that the individuals were

feeling inadequate. Instead of ambi-

lives. The conversations range from

never conscious of. This lack of aware-

tion and achievement, Moshe’s main

failing relationships and the unimag-

ness didn’t allow them to address and

objective has become avoiding fail-

inable traumas that men and woman

correct these beliefs and move past

ure, which awakens the deep shame

have lived through, to helping people

them to greater financial success.

he has inside.

find their authentic selves or increase

After delving into the source of this

self-confidence. Sometimes finan-

Let’s use the case of

issue, we were able to work through

cial/business issues are the present-

Moshe from above to

some of Moshe’s fears and make

ing problem. But even in cases where

understand this better.

strides in the right direction. Moshe

they aren’t, the topic of finances

After digging deep into

is now working at a higher level than

inevitably comes up in one form or

his past, we found a clear lifelong case

he ever has before and has success-

another. In listening to people’s

of perfectionism stemming from a fear

fully stayed at the same job through a

successes, fears, and frustrations

of failure. Contrary to popular belief,


about money, patterns emerge. I

perfectionism does not lead to more

repeatedly witness the impact a per-

perfect outcomes. Rather, it sabotages

by the thought of achievement or

son’s thoughts, beliefs, and early life

and stymies success through a crip-

even failure. In Eric Ries’s bestseller

experiences have on their financial

pling fear of not being perfect.

The Lean Startup (2011), he makes the


Successful people are not deterred

In truth, all perfectionism is really a

point that using a minimum viable

In each of the above stories, the

facade that covers inner feelings of in-

product (MVP) rather than waiting

impediment to financial success was

adequacy. No one achieves perfection!

for the perfect product rollout is the WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 29




most effective way for a compa-

For Bracha, as well,

sabotage their own success over and

ny or service provider to begin

the process of delving

over again and not understand why.

learning about its prospective

deeper into herself to

They blame the people around them,

understand her block

the market, the investors, or their

market. A perfectionist will find it very difficult to do this. Successful

in hiring additional help allowed her

staff, or begin to doubt themselves

entrepreneurs often have a string

to notice a recurring pattern in her

without understanding the root of

of failed ventures behind them,

life. Having grown up in a chaotic

their failure. Once people become

but they don’t let those deter them

and broken home, she had always

aware of the limitations they have

from trying yet again. Their real

found comfort in having a sense of

constructed, they can also learn to

fear is of never having tried in the

control. She was super-organized and

tolerate the inevitable discomfort

first place!

loved to follow a strict daily schedule,

that comes along with growth and

maintaining that control over every


In Isaac’s case, we

minute of her day. The unknown and

started by going

the potential chaos it represented

need to be aware of the underlying

through his family

was uncomfortable, and confronting

fear of failure or shame that may

of origin in depth.

this reality by hiring help was over-

keep you from launching or grow-

whelming her.

ing. What project are you thinking

When discussing many of his early experiences, it became clear that

As you plan a future project, you

Bracha’s business had reached

of? What fears do you associate with

much of his resistance to choosing

a point where she needed to hire

it? Are you holding back because you

a career was associated with his fa-

someone, yet she was unable to do

are waiting for it to be perfect? Are

ther. Having been raised by a loving

so because having another person on

there any particular faces that come

but hardworking and overachiev-

board meant letting go of total con-

to mind when you think about the

ing dad, he witnessed the stress

trol. She needed to learn how to take

possibility of failure?

and time that went into managing

smaller steps towards relinquishing

a growing company, and it never

control until she reached the point of

al and psychological patterns that

seemed like the ideal life to him.

being able to hire staff and growing

play out in a person’s financial life,

her business, which she was eventu-

he or she will remain controlled and

ally able to do.

constrained by them. People will

Isaac was not initially aware of his mixed feelings regarding financial success. This unconscious

I find that many people focus

Without insight into the emotion-

look to any other cause to attri-

bind kept him stuck and unable to

on their business and marketing

bute their failures and frustrations,

move forward. Gaining insight into

strategies in an attempt to propel

when the reality is that they are

the root of his paralysis allowed

their businesses forward. Regretfully,

repeatedly caused by themselves.

him to finally break free and pursue

however, they overlook their under-

Looking inward and “minding your

various professional options, along

lying thinking and emotions associ-

business” is the most important and

with exploring alternative solutions

ated with financial success. Even with

overlooked aspect of starting, build-

to living a more balanced and less

the best business plans, excellent

ing, and maintaining your ultimate

stressful life than his father did.

skills, and top resources, people can

financial success.

Binyamin Tepfer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of Tepfer & Associates, a practice with multiple locations in the New York area, specializing in trauma, addictions, and financial performance.

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Meal prep kits have hit the market at a seemingly voracious rate—as of 2016, more than 170 businesses were in operation globally and new additions continue to get on board. It was only a matter of time before the kosher community wanted in, and now, there are three varieties that all come in a package of their own for you to choose from. PAGE 54




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Real Estate Lawyer | New York, New York By Alex Abel | Photography by Benjamin Kanter

VIEW FROM THE TOP Philip Rosen is known as one of the best real estate lawyers in the country, and he’s got a wall of awards to prove it. When he’s not closing billion-dollar deals as a co-head at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, he’s working tirelessly on pro-Israel efforts with politicians. In 2008, he was invited by President George W. Bush to accompany him to Jerusalem for Israel’s 60th anniversary, and he calls Prime Minister Netanyahu a friend. Rosen takes his charity work as seriously as he does his day job. He’s the vice-chair of Birthright, on the board of Yeshiva University, and is involved with ArtScroll, Hatzalah, Ir David, OneFamily, and NCSY. Oh, and he even manages to get in a tennis game before work a few times a week. Rosen gave us a tour of his office to take a peek into his day-to-day life. Let’s step inside.

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STANDING OVATION “I stand most of the day. It was an option that my firm offered, and the doctors all say that standing is so helpful to your health. It’s a much more enjoyable way to work, and I get to move around.”

WALL OF FAME “I wanted to have as much wall space as possible. Many of my experiences are contained in pictures—they’re reminders of the most precious times in my life. My late parents, grandparents, and my late uncle who was killed in the ‘48 war are all contained in pictures. And then I’ve got about 40 photos of my wife, kids, and granddaughter.”


2 . 0 | 33




A BORN BUSINESSMAN “My father was a Holocaust survivor who spent the war years in Shanghai, China. When he came to the United States, he started a jewelry business and called it Rosen Bros. Diamond. He’s the good-looking man standing next to the car [in the picture]. Below the sign is another photo of my father on the right, and the fellow with the beard was my grandfather.”



L’CHAIM “Once a month, our minyan has a Kiddush, whether it’s to commemorate a yahrtzeit or to celebrate a simchah like a new baby. It’s so nice.”

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“Kiruv is a big part of my life. Whether it’s Birthright, NCSY, or just my minyan, the most important thing is bringing people back to Judaism—so many people have been lost. The Sages say, ‘If you save one person, you save the world,’ so our job is to save the world. Every one of us has that responsibility.”

“The whole thing started with one of Trump’s books having my name in it as the best lawyer he’s ever seen, or with praiseworthy words about me. When he started his run for election, I was convinced that he wasn’t going to go all the way through. And this is not something that’s a game to me — I take very seriously. It was important that we got someone elected who supports Israel. So I stuck with Marco Rubio as co-chair of his campaign, and Donald wasn’t happy. Then Rubio dropped out, and a month or so after, I received a note from him saying that I’m good… Ivanka remains a good friend, and I am very impressed with her and Jared.”

A FRIENDSHIP FOR THE BOOKS SUNRISE TO SUNSET “I get in anytime between 7:30 and 9:30, depending on what I have going on. I play tennis two or three times a week, so that accounts for a later hour, but if I don’t play tennis in the morning, I get in between 7:30 and 8:00. My day is filled mostly with meetings and conference calls and goes straight until around 7:30 or 8:00 at night, nonstop. I frequently go to dinner or evening activities with clients after that.”

LIGHTING THE WAY “In my office, we have a minyan every day — Monday through Thursday — for Minchah and Maariv. We have between 20 and 25 people from both inside and outside the firm who come. During Chanukah, we light the candles and sing Maoz Tzur. Most people who come daven regularly, but there are people who come because they’re saying Kaddish, and they’re located near the building. Many of them are not religious, so it’s a beautiful thing to watch the cross-section of Jews come together.”

“My firm did a lot of business in Israel, and I was the head of that effort, so I got to know some very interesting and influential Israelis. One of them introduced me to the deputy ambassador to the United Nations; the fellow’s name was Binyamin Netanyahu. We became good friends from that point until today. At different points, he got me involved in Likud politics in Israel, but I figured that it might be more helpful to Israel if I got involved in U.S. politics instead. “That started me on a course. I joined the Republican Jewish Coalition and became a board member. This led to being involved with a bunch of campaigns. I was co-chair of the Bush re-election campaign, the Romney campaign, the Rubio campaign, and a lot of senatorial and congressional elections. It’s a big part of my life.”


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CEO at Privé Revaux | Surfside, Florida By Alex Abel


Shlomo Hamelech said, “A righteous person falls seven times and gets up,” and David Schottenstein, 34, now the CEO of famed sunglass brand Privé Revaux, is proving just how much that type of perseverance prevails. He’s no stranger to the business world — he started his first company when he was 19 and continues to one-up himself with each new venture, learning from his mistakes as he goes. A trailblazer, he decided to disregard his father’s wishes that he go into real estate (his father, Tom Schottenstein, is the president of Arshot Investment Corporation in Columbus, Ohio) and instead follow his own passions, starting with the clothing industry.

As he gets stronger at work, his Yiddish-

peace and disconnection, he would worry

keit continues to grow too. He admits

about all the things going on that he might

that, in the past, it was difficult for him to

be missing. “There was a period in my

take that 25-hour break over Shabbos, for

work life when I would find ways to check

example. “I suffer from OCD and anxiety in

my phone on Shabbos,” he shares. “I

a major way,” he explains. “If you observe

would have the nanny who wasn’t Jewish

me, you’ll probably find it hard to believe

read me emails and respond, all sorts of

that I managed to be successful, and that I

craziness. It was a wheel of misery.

have four beautiful children and an amazing life.” So instead of looking forward to the

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2.0 WINTER 2018

“I finally made the decision that I couldn’t do it anymore. My wife really pushed me and said that I needed to get



2 . 0 | 37




Schottenstein with George St. Pierre and Omri Casspi on the annual Omri Casspi Foundation Israel Trip in 2017


it under control. I had no peace of

there are always challenges that

mind,” he says. “My life has com-

seem insurmountable. That support

pletely changed since then… If any-

system is everything.”

one ever tries to make the argument

includes his rabbi near his home in

Shabbos is the answer. Two thou-

Surfside, Florida, Rabbi Sholom Ber

sand years ago, who would have ever

Lipskar. “I consult with him regular-

known that one day, we’d have these

ly on things across all spectrums,”

little gadgets that fit into our pockets

he shares. “Anytime I feel down, I

and literally imprison us. Now I can’t

can always rely on him to inspire me.

wait for Shabbos — it’s the most

Because of him, I learn every day and

beautiful gift of the whole week.”

say the entire book of Tehillim every

In terms of his support system, he constantly refers to his wife as

38 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

In addition to his family, this also

that the Torah isn’t relevant today,

Shabbos Mevarechim.” Here, he shares some of his in-

his rock. “If not for my wife, I would

tense career moments, both good

have quit a hundred times,” he says.

and more challenging, in addition

“There were many, many moments

to an exclusive look into his daily

in the past year when I was going

routine to see what it takes to do

to walk away and shut down. In the

it all. (Preview: He starts with 300

lifecycle of any successful business,







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2011 e 2012


“My first business was called Astor & Black, and it was a custom clothing company. I was inspired to get into the clothing business when I was in yeshivah in Venice, Italy, when I was 16. One guy in yeshivah had custom shirts made by a Hong Kong tailor in Canada. At the time, custom tailoring wasn’t very common. The only option was to literally go to a hotel room and meet a tailor from Hong Kong. The experience left much to be desired. I really enjoyed clothing, and I thought of creating a business where you have real, first-class service here in the U.S., taking care of the customer at fair prices — it really wasn’t being done.”

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2004 e 2011

“Throughout these years, I built the company up. And when I say built it up, I mean I was on my hands and knees measuring people. By the time I sold it, I had about 150 salespeople, and I was the number-one salesperson out of the 150. We were dressing athletes, movie stars, bankers, the most famous businessmen in America, you name it. We really created a brand. “But it was tough. When you’re managing that many people, you’re not just a CEO, you’re a psychologist. You’re taking phone calls at 3:00 in the morning. It’s very hands-on, and it really put a strain on my family life. I felt like I needed to sell at least a good chunk of it and bring in a partner.”

“In 2011, I sold a very large portion of the business to a private equity group, but we saw things very differently. For the entire year, things didn’t go well between us, and I ended up leaving the company shortly after. Within a year after that, the company filed for bankruptcy. That was a very major blow for me. It was my baby, something I’d put incredible hours into — I would get up at 3:30 in the morning to drive three hours to Indianapolis to make suits for all the Indianapolis Colts football players in their locker room. When you want something to be successful, you put in the extra mile. “At this point, I was 28, and I had two ideas that I thought could be great. One was an extendable collar stay. I came up with a design with a friend of mine, got a patent, and put together a whole marketing campaign. I got them into Brooks Brothers and Express. It was successful in terms of marketing, but not financially. We would have had to sell a lot of collar stays to make real money, and people are just not willing to invest in that extendable collar stay because they think that small things like that are going to get lost. So I felt like I’d failed. I’d done something, and it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. “At the same time, I had a second idea. When I sold the first company, I got a legal bill from all the fees and it was way higher than what they had originally quoted me. I ended up negotiating, but I said to myself, ‘If I had some easy way to see my legal bills racking up on my phone, I could’ve stopped it early rather than it being a surprise at the end.’ So I started a company called View-a-Bill. I brought in a childhood friend of mine who was my in-house legal counsel at the time, and I brought Alan Dershowitz on as my partner as well. We built the software, and over the course of a year, had everyone from AIG to Goldman Sachs, every major legal department, using it. The law firms hated it because it gave insight and real-time access to legal bills.”


“We ended up selling the company in 2013 to one of the major players in the legal billing space. So that was a success. It wasn’t the billion-dollar success I thought it was going to be, but I really learned something from that experience. “I hated the business — when I sold clothing, I used to sell a product I loved to people who wanted it, and I’d see the joy on their faces when they got dressed up in that suit and looked like a million bucks. But my new product was for law firms who had to have this tool if they wanted a business. So the people I was delivering the product to didn’t want it and didn’t want me around. It was this miserable feeling of constantly going into battle with people. It really taught me the value of how precious it is to do something you love.”


“After I sold View-a-Bill, I decided to start investing in startups. I felt like I had some experience to offer young entrepreneurs. So I invested in a few companies, one of them being a men’s shirt company, now a full clothing company called Mizzen and Main. Initially, I wasn’t interested in the concept of performance-wear dress shirts. I thought it was a little crazy, but then, the CEO, Kevin Lavelle, sent a shirt to my house, and I put it on and thought it was amazing. I called them up and said, ‘Let’s work out a deal,’ and we got the product on every professional athlete. It really took off over the next year. “About a year ago, a very famous private equity group called L Catterton of the Louis Vuitton family invested and acquired a piece of the company, and now they’re partners.”


“During this time, I partnered with a friend of mine named Ben Nash, who owns a company called PCS Wireless. Ben and I started a venture fund called DSC. We invest together alongside each other in a bunch of different startups.”


“Every summer, I take a trip to Israel with Omri Casspi, the Israeli basketball player. We take a bunch of NBA players and celebrities to show their support for the State of Israel. Jeremy Piven was on the trip with his friend, Dave Osokow. Dave is very close to a number of celebrities — he’s a trusted confidant for a lot of these guys. We stayed in touch after the trip and chatted about how Jeremy wanted to get involved in the sunglasses business because

he loved them so much. “Then, a month and a half later, I got a call from Dave saying Jamie Foxx wanted to talk to me. Jamie gets on the phone and says, ‘I went to open up this big casino in Las Vegas, and I forgot my sunglasses, so on the way out, I bought a pair of sunglasses and wore them and everyone went nuts. Everyone was trying to guess the big name brand, but I bought them for 12 bucks at a Chevron gas station and had already thrown them away because of the quality, but there must be something here. If a celebrity is wearing something, and it looks beautiful, imagine if we were to make something with amazing quality but affordable prices. We could do something great.’ “I agreed it was a great idea, but knew it had to be big. So we started a grassroots movement where we now have many celebrities all wearing the glasses and giving them to all their friends— not because we’re paying them to but because they’re beautiful sunglasses. And that’s how we created a brand. They’re now sold on our website, PriveRevaux.com, on Amazon, at Nordstrom, Express, American Eagle Outfitters, Kohl’s, Dillards, Simon department stores. And they’re international in Canada and Mexico. They’re growing a huge Middle East presence. Thank G-d, it’s turned into something much bigger.”

Selecting styles for the original Privé Revaux Collection with brand partners. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 41




DAILY ROUTINE An early riser, Schottenstein takes advantage of every minute of the day, whether it’s focused on business or personal. To stay fueled, he survives on coffee and peanuts or another protein snack to keep his eye on the prize: dinner. “I have massive

“With Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin at a mutual relative’s wedding after his release (I was involved in that effort as well).”

dinners,” he says. “It just works well for me. I’m a foodie, so I love to get hyped up throughout the day about dinner. I know it sounds weird, but I find that if I eat lunch, I’m way less excited about having chicken later. My wife is an amazing cook, so every night, there’s a crazy three- or fourcourse meal.” His favorite? “She makes a spicy Asian chicken corn chowder, and then grilled chicken salad with peanut ginger dressing, and then she’ll do stir-fried sliced fillet mignon with broccoli, baby corn, and other Asian vegetables on brown rice with spicy stir-fry sauce. For dessert, she makes these insane crunch chocolate chip cookies.” In terms of sleep, he gets about six hours a night. “I find that works for me,” he shares. “I think most people probably need between six and seven and a half. Eight hours is overkill.” As a CEO, decision-making happens frequently, but he tries to keep them to the morning hours when his brain is the sharpest. “Don’t make 42 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

any important meetings or decisions

turns into an opportunity to do

after 5 p.m. At a certain point, your

good. Recently, he was in West

brain stops operating at the highest

Chester, PA, and since he had left

capacity, and your ability to make

very early in the morning to fly

good decisions is impaired.”

out for the day trip, realized when

When it comes to work and religion

he arrived that he didn’t have his

conflicts, Schottenstein always en-

tefillin. “I went online, punched in

sures Judaism comes out on top. He’ll

‘Chabad House near West Chester,

wait until after Shabbos to run to the

PA,’ found 20 different Chabad

company’s launch event, sometimes

Houses, and I picked one,” he

even bringing his family in Miami to

explains. Little did he know that he

Los Angeles for the weekend to do so.

had encountered that Chabad rabbi

When the company wanted him to be


the on-air guest on QVC, which had to

“When I called to ask, he said, ‘No

film on Saturday, he turned it down.

problem. Come over to my house,

“It wasn’t even a question if there

I’m waiting for you,’” Schotten-

was some way to make it work,” he

stein shares. “When we got there,

says. “We did a phone call and they

the rabbi said, ‘You probably don’t

said, ‘Is everything still status quo?’

know this, but when I went on shli-

And I said, ‘It’s a 3,000-year-old

chus four years ago, I emailed you

law that I’m not allowed to go out

because I was raising money, and

on Friday night and Saturdays. It’s

you sent me a nice check. I’m happy

not going to change in the next three

to be able to repay the favor in

weeks.’ So yes, there could be what

some small way.’ It was very cool to

you call challenges, but I don’t think

randomly end up somewhere with

they’re challenges.”

someone I had met before.”

On occasion, his travel schedule

5:45 A.M. “I wake up early during the week. As soon as I do, I do 300 push-ups — three sets of 100 each. Since I travel a lot, I can do them anywhere. I’ll literally do them in the airport. I never have to get to a gym or anything like that.”

5:45–7:30 A.M. “During this time, I check my e-mails, have coffee, and talk with my kids as they’re getting ready for school.”

7:30 A.M. “I go to Shacharis from 7:30 to 8:15. Afterwards, I stop back at the apartment and say goodbye to my wife for the day and then head into the office.”

8:45 A.M. “At this time, I usually have a meeting with my Chief Operating Officer where we go through any major open items.”

9:30 A.M.

4:00 P.M. 11:00 A.M. “I get a report from our division head about sales and any new marketing initiatives they have going on.”

11:30 A.M. “I call my wife. I always check in with her at 11:30 and 2:30 p.m. to see how her day is going.”

11:45 A.M. “I usually have a call with the head of our social media division to get an update on organic social activities. We’re always brainstorming new ideas as well.”

12:30 P.M. “I do a portfolio review. I’ll spend 15 minutes talking to one of our companies and seeing if there’s some way I can help or assist.”

1:00 P.M. “I usually meet with our sales team and go through any new accounts that we’re signing up.”

“I usually meet with Esther from my sourcing department to go through new product development. We’ll look at samples that may have come in the day before and review new collections.”

2:00 P.M.

10:15 A.M.

“I check in with my wife.”

“At 10:15, I get a marketing brief on ad performance and new ad sets.”

2:45–4:00 P.M.

“I meet with Ori and Estella, who run the financial department, and go through some finance stuff.”

2:30 P.M.

“At this time, I’m usually making calls to talk with accounts, so I’ll talk to Express, Dillard’s, Nordstrom — it could be sales, it could be expansion, basically existing account management.”

“Usually I’ll do a call with Dave Osokow, who runs our celebrity relations. We’ll talk through any new and exciting celebrity opportunities.”

4:30 P.M. “We’ll do a call with one of our celebrity partners. We’re always planning something with one of them in terms of an appearance or supporting the business, so that’s a typical part of every day.”

5:00 P.M. “I’ll usually talk to some of our international distributors about new stores they’re selling to to or any store openings.”

5:30 P.M. “I head home so I can make it to dinner with the family at six. We do family dinner every night, religiously. It may seem early, but I never miss it. If I’m out of town that’s one thing, but if I’m in town, I make it home even if it means I need to take calls or answer emails afterward. Work can be done from anywhere, and if family is a priority, setting aside 30 minutes to sit down with everyone shouldn’t be a big deal.”

6:00 P.M. “We have dinner with the family. Each kid tells us what happened during the day, which is basically a full recap. My kids are into business too. My oldest is a student at Yeshiva High School in Boca and is really into stocks. He’ll take sunglass samples that we no longer need and go to the beach behind our house and sell them to tourists. My daughter, Nina, is a worldclass entrepreneur. She’s 10 and started her own bakery subscription box. She’s always got something going on. On fast days, she’ll run a day camp where everyone can send their kids.”

7:00–8:30 P.M. “After dinner, I go to Minchah and Maariv back at shul [depending on the time of year] and then hang out with the kids and my wife.”

8:30 P.M. “We start putting the kids to bed.”

9:00 P.M. ”I go back online and answer any other e-mails, texts, any business that I have to catch up on.”

9:45–11:00 P.M. “I hang out with my wife. We’ll usually talk and have tea or a glass of wine and catch up on everything.”

11:00 P.M. Bedtime. WINTER 2018

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TRIBEWORKS Staten Island, NY By Alex Abel


s a people and society typified by our chessed and goodwill,

there’s no end to the organizational support available for young professionals desperately seeking resources and advice. Never before, however, have the smaller entities they turn to come together to create the ultimate resource for entrepreneurs. Enter TribeWorks. Co-founded by Zevy Wollman of The Jewish Entrepreneur, Mishpacha and 2.0’s very own Asher Weinberger, the organization aggregates all the services available to the Frum market to create a one-stop shop. Before, there was an organization giving out loans, another offering free office space, and yet another helping with job placement—but now, that’s all under one roof. At the packed kickoff event (think more than 600


2.0 WINTER 2018

people!) held at Staten Island’s Hilton Garden Inn on November 13, attendees networked with the very best minds in business. Here, we’re giving you an exclusive look at what went down—plus, sharing major takeaways from the participants and organizers in the room.


ZISHA NOVOSELLER, CEO & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EPI (EMERGENCY PARNASSAH INITIATIVE) / “People are in a difficult position supporting families. We have to provide them with a way to earn money. I had three goals with this event—one, to educate. The second, to give them go-to people that they can tap into who have an expertise in the particular area they’re most lacking in. And third, and most importantly, to give our collective, entrepreneurial, Jewish community a great sense of chizuk and belonging.”


YEHOSHUA WERDE, DIRECTOR OF CROWN HEIGHTS YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS / “TribeWorks is a conglomeration of all of the Jewish business support organizations across the spectrum. We do business mentoring, counseling and offer support programs. We all came together jointly and made the event. This is the first time we’ve ever done a full-day conference. A lot of people made great connections. There’s tremendous wisdom that’s been shared. Every speaker here was a volunteer—they’re here to give back to the Jewish community. There’s so much goodwill.”


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PARTICIPANTS RICHARD MESSING, PRESIDENT OF HUMAN SKILLS CONSULTANCY “I was really excited to hear the stories from very successful entrepreneurs. Noam Wasserman’s speech (Professor at USC and Harvard and best-selling author) was my favorite. I really liked what he had to say about how everything is for the good. Hashem looked down when he created the universe and said it’s all good, so therefore, it is all good. We should always adopt that attitude. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re going to fail. There’s no question about it. But if you see that part of the process of success is failure, there’s no reason to let it get you down.”

SARA VERON, SARA EVENT PRODUCTIONS “One thing I really related to during this event is the sentiment that everyone is in the same boat. As an entrepreneur, you really have no one to talk about things with when you’re the only one in your office—whether you’re nervous or excited. Seeing people who have overcome that is so validating. This morning, someone said that being an entrepreneur is like being a lion. It looks cool, but it’s scary as ever. That really resonated with me. All of my friends are like, ‘Your social media is so amazing!’ But to me, it’s the scariest ride.”

Organizational Partners: Agudath Israel of America, Mishpacha, the Orthodox Union , Young Israel, Yeshiva University Organizational Sponsors: CHYE, EPI, Exceed Network, Hebrew Free Loan Society, JCC of Marine Park, The Jewish Entrepreneur, The JWE, UJA Federation Produced by 14Minds

46 |

2.0 WINTER 2018


ZEVY WOLLMAN, CEO OF MAKE IT REAL & FOUNDER OF THE JEWISH ENTREPRENEUR / “There was so much passion at this event, but I’m even more excited about the future. We want one person to be able to utilize our platform and get everything, from start to finish. If you have a great idea and you’re a reasonably good entrepreneur, you can take advantage of our organization to get everything you need. We want to make sure that the only reason you don’t succeed is because the market didn’t want your product. There shouldn’t be any Jew who doesn’t succeed in business because they didn’t have access to the right resources.”


ASHER WEINBERGER, MISHPACHA AND 2.0 MAGAZINE, FOUNDER OF TWILLORY, DIRECTOR OF HAREDI INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS / “In our Jewish community, we’re lacking resources internally like education, funding. So with TribeWorks, we had this unbelievable coalition of nonprofits from across the spectrum come together to fuel economic growth. We ended up with an accelerator where everyone has their resources under one roof. The event had such a positive vibe. There was a feeling of having endless possibilities.”


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2.0 WINTER 2018



A Project of 14Minds | Cedahurst. New York By Libby Levy


14Minds knows exactly what successful marketing entails. Led by Tzivia Cohen since 2011, this Cedarhurst-based marketing agency specializes in every aspect of branding — marketing, design, and Web development for non-profit organizations and businesses, relying on a core staff and a network of freelancers to keep overhead down and maximize on the talents that are the best for each project. In today’s crowded marketplace, 14Minds prides itself on creating strong brands that cut through the clutter. “A strong brand represents the company’s core principles and is not trying to be a literal description of the business,” says Cohen, who holds both a BA in graphic and Web design and an MBA in marketing. “It tells a story to potential customers. It’s flexible, and it works well in any scenario or medium, whether that’s print, the Web, or any other form.”

While marketing has been around for quite some time, the industry is constantly evolving. Individual

14Minds has strategized an effective fourstep process to take its clients from their initial brainwave to becoming a strong com-

brand identity has arguably grown in importance as

petitor on the market — clients like Tour de

standardization becomes more restrictive, forcing

Simcha, Bike4Chai, and now Yitzy Halpern,

companies to define what exactly makes them, their projects, and their products unique and desirable.

a pioneer marketer in the non-profit sector who’s been creating groundbreaking fundraising campaigns more than 15 years. Together they’ve brought Halpern’s project Giveable to life: A platform where or-


ganizations can sign up, choose from a large brand is an identity, so think of it

inventory of products to sell, join seasonal

as a person with a voice, message,

micro campaigns, and instantly set up a store

character, and unique mode of

with their name and logo. The organizations

expression. The same rules that

themselves will share the link to their store

apply to personal interaction work for a brand

with their members and any purchase made

intending to gain a consumer base: relatability,

has a percentage (30—50 percent) that au-

accessibility, and capability are the name of the

tomatically goes towards the organization’s

game, and for a brand to succeed, it’s impera-

fundraising goal. No actual donations are

tive for it to consistently excel in these areas.

necessary — the Giveable platform provides


2 . 0 | 49




the products, and all the user must

the project proposal, detailing the

questions on what their project is

do is make a purchase as they would

concept, benefits, and finer points,

about, the core values of their ideal

on any e-commerce site. Unlike

and partook in two or three ex-

customer market, and what they

Amazon Smile, which only donates

tensive interviews. Through this,

want to present both generally and

a small percentage of the sale to

Cohen’s team got what they needed

specifically to this campaign.

charity, the entire profit of the sale

to create website copy and market-

goes to the organization.

ing materials.

“Yitzy has a very clear vision of

“Based on those responses, we think of words and brainstorm — we always want something that’s unique. The only other name we

and the niche he’s trying to fill,”


Cohen explains. “He and his team

During this phase, the team crafts

unique name that had a domain

were very involved at the outset as

a step-by-step game plan for

available. We wanted something

we set things up, but they let us run

the client’s product based on the

that portrayed how easy this plat-

with it.”

information gathered. The goal of

form would make it for people to

what he’s trying to achieve, with a deep understanding of the industry

So how did they do it? Cohen

presented as a viable alternative to Giveable was ‘Hoopla’ — just a fun,

positioning the client to rise above

help organizations that they cared

broke it down into four steps (which

the competition remains the cor-

about, driving the concept of a

can help you too, if you’re thinking

nerstone of every strategy, with the

non-profit marketplace, and we felt

about creating a brand or business

team firmly committed to bring-

that ‘give’ + ‘able’ really conveyed

of your own).

ing about the future that the client

that message.”



14Minds takes this principle from marketing professionals Al and

“We looked at the competition


and interviewed the key players on

This is where the real fun begins.

Yitzy’s team. Many marketers skip

Cohen rounded up a lead graphic

this step and dive right in, but we

designer to coordinate between the

know it’s important to really take

contributors and client; a junior

something exactly what it is (i.e., go-

the time to develop a full under-

graphic designer, to facilitate the

fundme), but… you’re putting yourself

standing of the project, the peo-

execution; and a UX (user expe-

in a position where you will have to

ple behind the company, and the

rience) designer, to create all the

spend many x more dollars on adver-

competitive environment,” Cohen

designs for the Giveable website and

tising to get people to understand that

shares. “We use focus groups,

assist with branding.

you’re actually a brand… The name… is

market research, and customer

“We work best when we collabo-

Laura Ries, who write in their book The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding that a brand name needs to be unique — it shouldn’t be a common noun. “It’s tempting to want to name

what people will talk about, tell friends

feedback analysis to figure out what

rate and bounce ideas off each other.

about — the best logo in the world is

the client’s target audience is about,

We’ll sit around a computer or with

not going to help someone remember a

because that’s where effective mar-

a sketch pad and just throw out

brand if they only heard about it; this is

keting starts: in understanding who

some thoughts,” Cohen says.

especially important for a web-based

you are and who you need to reach.” Halpern supplied 14Minds with

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2.0 WINTER 2018

To nail down a brand name, the client fills out a brief, answering

business, no one is going to stumble across it on the street.”

The Logo A logo is the key to brand identity. It’s designed to convey your message and help you achieve a great costumer experience. The giveable logo is unique because, the logo itself speaks of the greater idea behind this brand; giving.

THE MAKING OF A LOGO LOGO: A logo is the key to brand identity, designed to convey your message and help you achieve a great consumer experience. The simple Giveable logo speaks of the greater idea behind this brand: giving. The “g” was highlighted to represent that while the “e” at the end was marked to represent e-commerce.

SEAL: A “seal” logo is a new up-and-coming trend among the branding community that combines a small element of the logo with the tagline.

“We went through at least 15 completely different concepts before hitting on this one. For example, we tried forming a shopping cart out of the letters, but it felt like we were taking the concept way too literally,” Cohen explains. “Finally, with our team sitting together around Adobe Illustrator [a vector graphics editing program] and just playing around with different ideas, we came up with the concept of one letter ‘giving’ to another.”

SUPPLEMENTAL GRAPHIC ELEMENTS: These elements will be used on the website, in collateral material, and in packaging designs. They represent the brand and can be used to add visual interest to the company’s materials and website. A one-color logo is used for any supplementary material printed in one color, like promotional items.

COLOR PALETTE: “We went through three or four color versions,” Cohen shares. “We started off with bright pinks, but the client wanted to make sure it wasn’t too feminine. Yitzy ended up coming to our office, and we worked together to settle on this — still bright and fun but neutral.”

TAGLINE: The tagline captures the entire mission of the brand in four words to give customers an immediate positive association. WINTER 2018

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STEP 4: LAUNCH AND ACTIVATE Next, 14Minds dives into the widespread campaign for the project’s debut, providing the client with a long-term marketing plan to ensure sustained success and monitoring for changes in the market and consumer-base to ensure momen-


tum is kept up. “While I knew the challenge that I wanted to address — helping non-profits raise money with non-traditional turnkey campaigns that don’t detract from any current fundraising, I didn’t know how to convey it clearly and concisely,


To empower non-profit organizations to create an innovative new revenue source with minimal cost or effort, while enabling their patrons to support a cause they care about by shopping for great products they want at unbelievable prices.

I really don’t know much about presenting a brand, and I definitely have no idea how to design a brand across all platforms,” Halpern says. “14Minds understood the concept after only a few phone calls and e-mails, and in a short time, they took ideas that had been in my mind for months and turned them into a clear, concise, and very professionally designed brand presentation.” Halpern is excited for Giveable to address what he has identified as a common 20-percent deficit that remains after all standard campaigning for funds — tuition, dinners, major campaigns, and personal solicitations — have been exhausted. “I believe that if we can offer non-profits [fresh]

BRAND PRINCIPLES Effortless Giving. Empowering people to support the causes they care about simply, conveniently, and at no additional cost by shopping for products they want. Turnkey Solutions. Creating a platform and tools that enable organizations to generate an incredible ROI (Return on Investment) with minimal cost or effort, so they can focus on serving their community. Extraordinary Value. Offering popular and seasonal products patrons genuinely want and need at incredible prices.

campaigns that don’t have upfront costs and risks, and we offer technology that is easy to use and operates independent of staff, we can help organizations take a big bite out of their deficit without taxing staff or ballooning expenses. Campaigns that operate in this manner allow parents and donors to do so and leave them feeling eager to participate without feeling like they’re being asked to contribute too often or too much… The sky’s the limit as far as how we can leverage the huge buying power of families of all income brackets in steering more profit to their organizations.”

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All Giveable branding should reinforce an unwavering commitment to making giving simple and rewarding for non-profits and their supporters. Using a tone that is casual and friendly yet professional, all messaging should be honest, straightforward, and engaging. Avoid salesy marketing lingo and simplify all concepts and processes to ensure that an understanding of the e-commerce sector doesn’t become a barrier of entry. Taking a light, genuine approach to branding will serve to humanize Giveable, while maintaining a professional, confident tone will help instill confidence that you can deliver on your promises.


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FEATURE Prepko | Jchef | KosherBox By Alex Abel

WHAT’S FOR DINNER? THE BUSINESS OF KOSHER MEAL KITS Feast your eyes on this stat: If you google “meal prep kit,” you’ll receive over 16 million search results to digest. When it comes to food, one thing the world wants to make easier right now is getting and creating the kind that reaches your plate.

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The KosherBox Meal Box includes a full meal, snacks, condiments, and dinnerware — everything you essentially need for eating while traveling. A variety of meals are available, from Chicken Matza Ball Soup to Chicken and Beef Cholent, and everything in between.

Even your kids will be excited!


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Meal prep kits have hit the market at a seemingly voracious rate — as of 2016, more than 170 businesses were in operation globally, with new additions continuing to get on board. Both Walmart and Weight Watchers plan to roll out their own versions by the end of this year. At the top of that search results list are national articles rating the top 13 to choose from, ranging from vegan to low-calorie Southern fare to celebrity-chef-created dishes to fully organic to diet trends like Paleo, ketogenic, and gluten-free. It was only a matter of time before the kosher community wanted in, and now there are three varieties that all come in a package of their own for you to choose from.

WHAT’S COOKING Prepko and JChef are the two that most closely resemble

Each of Prepko’s recipes contains a large colorful recipe card, with stepby-step pictured instructions, making the entire cooking process easier and more fun.

the traditional boxes you’ve seen in the secular market. You select how

Founder and CEO Simon Meron was

limited or no access to kosher food,

many servings of food you want for

working in FinTech in San Francis-

students who are away at school, and

the upcoming week — they both

co and became fed up with the lack

travelers on vacation.

have you choose between two nights’

of kosher food options. Born in Los

worth of meals for two people, three

Angeles to an observant Moroccan

traditional kosher meals you’re used

nights’ worth of meals for two, or

family, Meron moved to Israel at age

to — you probably won’t see matzah

the family plan, which includes three

five and returned to the U.S. only

ball soup on his menu. Meron’s goal

nights’ worth of meals for a family of

after his army service, so the lack of

is to spice up your palate, turning

four. Then you choose which recipes

kosher food wasn’t easy to live with.

typically treif dishes like pad thai

you want to include in those meals.

“I decided to leave everything and

and bibimbap, a Korean dish, into

Both companies offer a Shabbos box

open Prepko — which is short for

kosher ones. “That’s what makes it

option as well, with enough ingre-

Prep Kosher — in Los Angeles,” he

really interesting,” Meron explains.

dients to make a full Shabbos dinner

says. “Working in San Francisco and

“Plus, we source ingredients that are

(Prepko for four, six, or ten people,

being surrounded by people in tech

usually hard for the kosher consumer

and JChef for six or twelve).

and operations helped lead me in the

to find.”

The catalyst for the launching

right direction.”

His shtick is breaking from the

So, in addition to infusing new

of these brands was different from

Now his main customers are people

those of the secular selections. For

in similar situations to the one he was

get normally pricey niche ingredients

Prepko, it was created out of need.

in — those in remote areas who have

in pre-packaged servings to help

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flavors into your daily cuisine, you’ll

community. This meal kit company

— heartwarming meals that really

ships to 35 states, only eliminating

nourish the soul as well as the body.

the West Coast. Founder and CEO

“We’re filling a niche,” he shares.

Gabriel Saul has made this work by

“You can now send chicken soup to

using FedEx’s 72-hour certified insu-

your sick daughter away at school or

lation option to keep food fresh for up

ship a Shabbat box to your hotel in

to three days. Still, he plans to open a


facility near New York in addition to

He chose the premade meals versus

his current Florida location as a way

sending individual ingredients due

to get packages to the customer’s

to convenience. “To replicate that

door faster.

sort of recipe is a whole different

“We have some subscribers who

level,” he says. KosherBox’s selection

prefer to receive their meals a little

includes beef pepper steak, stuffed

earlier in the week,” he explains.

chicken with rice and mushrooms,

“Right now, they get it on Wednesday

and classic matzah ball soup, all made

or Thursday, but some would prefer

and ready to go. But the goal is the

to get it on Monday or Tuesday.”

same: to give people access to kosher

In terms of meals, he works with a variety of chefs to create delectable

food where they can’t get it. In addition, they’ve also become

dishes. He always has at least one

known for their snack boxes. For

steak and two chicken options on the

this service, you pay $34.95 per

menu, and the rest alternate between

month and get a shipment filled with

veggie, pasta, and ground beef selec-

exciting kosher snacks from around

tions. Among the current offerings

the world. “A few months ago, we

you create the taste without wasting

are a Cajun steak with chimichurri

featured hand-crafted Moroccan pas-

money on a whole bottle of Gochu-

sauce and roasted potatoes, and a

tries,” Gabay shares. “More recently,

jang sauce, for example. Currently on

tuna Niçoise salad.

our boxes included strawberry-

the menu? Vietnamese-style beef let-

flavored Coke, and this month’s

tuce cups, a Moroccan fish dish, and


box includes an orange-sorbet Coca

eggplant and goat cheese shakshuka,

mouth watering yet? Now let’s talk

Cola.” Each box usually includes

just to name a few.

about KosherBox. The two-year-old

15 to 20 snacks. Gabay says they’re

Unfortunately, Prepko is only

company actually doesn’t tout itself

commonly shipped to businesses or

serving the West Coast right now due

as a meal kit. Rather, it provides

as Chanukah gifts.

to shipping logistics. When you’re

pre-packaged, vacuum-sealed selec-

sending fresh meats and cheeses,

tions that are ready to go, as well as


you obviously have to make sure that

snacks and side dishes. All you have

keep kosher, you’re used to food

you’re not about to make a whole

to do is heat and serve. They also have

costing a little bit more (sometimes a

family sick, so for now, Meron keeps

a Shabbos box that includes every-

lot more). To stay competitive, these

things more local. In the future, he

thing from cholent to candles and

brands try to keep prices at a rate

hopes to open up a physical location

Kiddush cups.

you’re expecting. “We try to price

on the East Coast as well. In contrast, JChef’s thing is being able to service more of the kosher

CEO Elazar Gabay prides himself

ourselves fair,” Meron says. “Our

on having traditional fare that the

meals are about $17 to $18 a serving

kosher consumer gets excited over

for a premium product. The equiva WINTER 2018

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Prepko’s Shabbos kit includes a selection of recipes as well as Shabbos candles, a prayer card, grape juice for Kiddush, a disposable Kiddush cup, and fresh challah. You can celebrate Shabbos no matter where you are.


lent of that in a restaurant could cost

didn’t last (it was in business for just

you closer to $30 or $40.” JChef is in

a couple of years), so it’s clearly a

line with that, listing $18 per serving

challenge to keep up revenue.

on their site for whichever box you choose. Between shipping, the food, and

2.0 WINTER 2018

believes his business has lasting potential. Whereas other meal prep kit

the hechsher (Prepko is certified by

services seem to be able to gain new

the RCC — the Rabbinical Council

consumers, it’s been reported that

of California, JChef by KM Kosher

they have a hard time retaining their

Miami, and KosherBox says they stick

existing ones. According to a recent

to the CRC list), things can get costly

article in the July/August issue of Inc.,

on the overhead.

nearly half of HelloFresh and Blue

And this is more than traditional

Apron customers cancel their service

meal kits. The popular HelloFresh

within a month and just 20 percent

averages at around $10 a serving,

stay on as long as six months.

with Blue Apron, HomeChef, and

58 |

Despite all that, Meron says he

So why do kosher companies

Plated all around the same cost, and

stand a chance? “For people who

often includes free delivery charges

keep kosher, it’s not a luxury, it’s a

if orders total over a certain amount.

necessity,” Meron explains. “So as a

Kitchn Sync was actually the first

meal kit, that’s where we have a big

kosher meal prep kit to debut, but it

advantage. It’s not necessarily people


2 . 0 | 59



who want to try some cool recipes. When you keep kosher, you have limited options.” Saul agrees, and explains it’s really a game changer for a lot of people. “We have a lot of subscribers who have to drive an hour or two just to find a kosher grocery store with kosher meat,” he says. “So now, some people will request to stock up on meats from us so that they don’t have to drive. I try to accommodate whenever I can.” Plus, it’s that customer service that he says makes a difference. “I make myself available. I personally speak to almost every subscriber often,” he says. “Some people even text me directly. I ask them, ‘How does it compare? How do you like the recipe? What kinds of recipes do you want in the future?’”

POWERING THROUGH Between the costs and the slim profit margins, especially at the start of a new business, it can be very hard to stay motivated

Roasted Garlic Basil Mushroom Shakshuka topped with feta cheese, with a side of marinated green cracked olives and toasted Jerusalem bagel — one of Prepko’s many vegetarian options.

and keep your mind on constantly innovating. Saul says he tells himself, “You can’t be scared at all. If there’s

We want our customers to learn to

something you don’t know how to do,

cook and expand their food palate.

or an issue happening, you have to

When they make something they’ve

know there’s always a solution. And

never made before and enjoy it,

surround yourself with good, trust-

that’s a success.”

worthy people.” For him as well as for Meron and

Gabay is excited at being able to nourish people both near and far.

Gabay, knowing they’re truly helping

“We had people order food and take

people is what lets them feel like

it with them on the plane to China,”

they’re making a difference. “It’s

he said. “A client sent us a photo of

really solving a need for people,”

himself having cholent on a Thurs-

Meron says. “We’re delighted when

day night flight to Shanghai… We’re

they use the recipes again and again.

really filling a niche.”

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THE BUZZWORD YOU’VE NEVER SEEN TORAH LEARNING LIKE THIS BEFORE Mercava, the Operating System of Jewish education is a digital platform with interactive seforim and lessons, infinite layers of textual and visual content, and dozens of learning, teaching, and publishing and collaboration apps. PAGE 70





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HALACHIC QUESTIONS OF OUR TIME A year ago, I met with a group of Australians who were visiting New York on a kiruv program. I was asked to learn a piece of Gemara with the collegeaged men, most of whom had never opened a Gemara

Photo by DMJ Studios

before. One of them asked me, “Why are we learning a text that is over 1,500 years old? What relevance

fixed. The accelerated pace

glimpse of a colorful poster

does it have in the 21st century, where self-driving

of innovations in science,

announcing, “Saliva-swab

technology, and medicine

testing: Discover Your

quickly leads to previous

Ancestry!” You grab the test

advancements becom-

off the shelf, and $24.99

ing antiquated, while the

later, you’re driving home

answered as follows: One of my chavrusas is a very

Torah has and always will

with a do-it-yourself DNA

intelligent and successful property owner with a

remain pertinent and reign


background in law and accounting. With each turn of


cars are on the horizon, smart homes are becoming the norm, and currency is turning digital?”


the daf, he is amazed at the profound grasp of Chazal

on economy, law, real estate, currency, transactions,

Weeks later, when the results arrive, you tear open


the package and to your

for a moment that you’re

total shock, you discover

American law have already been dissected, analyzed, and

in your local pharmacy

that you are 99 percent

established by the Torah and those who carry its mesorah

picking up a prescription.

Middle Eastern (Sephardic)

hundreds of years earlier.

As you’re standing on line

— while your whole life you

to pay, your eye catches a

thought you were 100 per-

and more. He often remarks how new developments in

As the world around us evolves, the Torah remains 62 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

cent European and kept Ashkenazic

Rav Asher Weiss has an incredible

to prove one’s status as an Amaleiki,

minhagim! Can you now add kitniyos

chiddush that may be applied to our

since it too will have an impact on

to your menu on Pesach?

case at hand. With each genera-

future generations.

What if, on the other hand, your

tion, scientists refute the theories

But in truth, this question can be

DNA test somehow reveals that you

of previous generations. How then

answered much more simply. The Ge-

are of Amaleiki descent? What will

can we trust modern science when

mara (Sanhedrin 96b) states that “the

you do with yourself now? Here you

it is constantly evolving? Shouldn’t

descendants of Haman learned Torah

thought you were a full-blooded Jew!

we be concerned that theories of our

in Bnei Brak.” The commentators ask,

Myriad questions can arise with

century will be disproved in the next

How could the grandchildren of Ha-

advances in DNA testing and gene

generation? As Chazal relied on the

man be accepted as converts? Doesn’t

identification. For example, experts

scientists of their generation, we

the Midrash teach us that we don’t

claim that they have identified the

must do the same. “Ein lo l’dayan

accept converts from Amaleik, and

male Kohein gene. If a Kohein finds

ela mah she’einav ro’os — a person

Haman was a member of Amaleik?

that he doesn’t carry this gene, can

can only judge what he sees with his

he no longer be called up first to the

eyes” (Bava Basra 131a). We can only

question. The Rambam, for example,

Torah? May he marry a divorcée? May

rule based on the science of our time.

does not record this halachah any-

he enter a cemetery?

Hashem orchestrates the world in

where. It would appear that he argues

such a way that the poskim should

on the Midrash and accepts Amalei-

Many answers are given to this

ANCESTRY TESTING At this stage, the

render halachah based on what

kim as converts. Others contend that

short answer is that no, nothing

science assumes to be true in their

ex post facto, we accept the conver-

changes as a result of these findings.

current world.

sion of an Amaleiki. Several other

DNA ancestry testing depicts a

Based on this, Rav Weiss explains

explanations are suggested as well,

likely region from where a person

that we may not use DNA testing to

all of which can explain how someone

originated. But having Middle-East-

declare a person a mamzeir, since

with Amaleiki blood can be Jewish.

ern roots does not necessarily mean a

doing so would not only affect that

person is Sephardic, nor does having

particular person, but would also

Bag Bag says: Delve into [the Torah]

Eastern European roots indicate

render all of his future generations

and delve into it, for everything is in

that a person is Ashkenazic. Since

mamzeirim. Since the impact of such a

it. Look into it and grow old and gray

Sephardim and Ashkenazim marry

decision has repercussions on future

over it and do not turn away from it

each other, a person can have the

generations, where researchers will

because there is no greater portion.”

genes of his Sephardic mother, but

likely discover new and improved

Everything is found in the Torah,

his minhagim still follow those of

ways of understanding science,

and we rely on our gedolim to help

his Ashkenazic father. As a result,

poskim may not use science in declar-

us unearth the Torah’s secrets and

DNA ancestry testing, no matter how

ing generational psakim. In a similar

understand their application to mod-

accurate it may become, would not

vein, DNA testing could not be used

ern-day discoveries and inventions.

The Mishnah in Avos states: “Ben

affect one’s minhag. How does this apply to the poor fellow whose DNA results say he is

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

an Amaleiki? An Amaleiki cannot be

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

converted. Does this mean that he

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

isn’t Jewish? Has his whole life been

revealing his strong passion for both halachah and Chassidus.

a hoax? WINTER 2018

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INNOVATION: THE JOY OF THE SOUL In today’s modern world, it’s nearly impossible to escape innovation. Not only does the latest product intrigue us, but it also excites our inner psyche with its “life-changing” potential. This is a normal feeling, but as religious Jews we always have to question this feeling’s purpose and how it is serving us.


he passuk in Iyov states,

Zohar explains that all avodas Hashem

bride wears two different types of

“From my flesh I perceive

and all the mitzvos we perform can be

jewelry. The first type is a standard

Hashem.” This means

compared to jewelry worn by a bride

piece that every bride typically has.

that every aspect of the

to look attractive to her groom. Sim-

Without this, her wardrobe would

human being — physical, emotional,

ilarly, we adorn ourselves in Torah

be incomplete. The Zohar calls this

and mental — teaches us something

and mitzvos to look attractive to and

“jewelry that already exists.” The

about how to serve Hashem and how

bring joy to our Chassan, the Mas-

second type is a personalized item

He relates to the world. So what are

ter of the Universe. Mitzvos aren’t

that cannot be found in a store. It’s

we to learn from the great pleasure

simply external acts that we perform,

something new that the bride fash-

that the human being takes in inno-

and the Torah is not simply new ideas

ions on her own. The Zohar calls this


that we learn. With every mitzvah

“jewelry that never existed before.”

we perform and every Torah thought

The groom certainly takes pride in


that we absorb, we are changed and

seeing his bride adorned in the beau-

this question can be found in the


tiful standard pieces of jewelry, which

Zohar (parshas Mishpatim 95a). The

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2.0 WINTER 2018

The Zohar further explains that a

are more professional and expensive.

There is, however, a deeper ex-

a soul offers to Him a brand new

words from a generic request for par-

citement that comes from seeing a


nassah into one which has never been

customized piece, as it’s something

What, however, is this “new jew-

recited before.

completely new that he has never

elry” that each of us offers Hashem?

seen before (see Be’er Mayim Chaim,

We know that one of the 613 mitz-

chassidic literature recommends that

parshas Shemini).

vos is not to add or detract from the

while we daven, we imagine that no

Torah. Even Chazal, who are charged

one else has ever recited those words.

are two aspects of avodas Hashem.

with expanding Torah through cre-

This isn’t just a motivational tool; it’s

One is the “standardized” side of

ating rabbinic decrees and enact-

a deeper truth. Although the text was

Yiddishkeit. We all put on the same

ments, must do so only in a way that

produced thousands of years ago for

tefillin. We all keep the same Shab-

safeguards or enhances a preexisting

all of Klal Yisrael, its inner aspect is

bos. We all daven from the same

mitzvah. So of course, we cannot

produced at the moment it is recited

basic texts. Each of these mitzvos is

create new mitzvos.

by any particular Jew.

So too, explains the Zohar, there

a different piece of standard jewelry

The amazing nature of mitzvos,

For this reason, we find that

The same is true for all the mitz-

that we wear to bring joy to our

however, is that while the external

vos we perform. With every mitzvah

Chassan. At the same time, they are

act of each mitzvah is the same for

a person does, one should realize

“jewelry that already exists.”

every person, the personal experi-

that no one has ever performed this

ence, devotion, and perspective of

mitzvah at this exact time and place,

keeping the “standard” mitzvos,

Just as we are all charged with

each person is unique. This personal

with his particular life experience,

each soul is also given the task of

experience leaves its own imprint.

motivations, and challenges. By

creating for Hashem new mitzvos.

For example, you can have two people

doing this, the mitzvah takes on an

The different circumstances that

davening Shacharis from the same

entirely new and fresh identity. Every

each individual person finds himself

siddur, but each one’s life and experi-

mitzvah, although finite and defined

in, his personal challenges, back-

ences are so different that their dav-

by particular rules and regulations, is

ground, and nature, are there to give

ening is completely unique as well.

expansive enough to be both “jewelry

us an opportunity to offer to Hash-

When a person recites the brachah of

that already exists” and “jewelry that

em a completely new avodah. No

Bareich Aleinu, asking for parnassah,

never existed before.”

two people are given the exact same

although the words he recites are the

life situation because each soul has

same as those said by his neighbor,

comes the opportunity to give

its particular innovation in Divine

if he thinks about his own personal

Hashem something beautiful

service that is uniquely its own.

financial stress, this transforms the

and innovative.

With each personal challenge

MAKING IT PERSONAL The “customized jewelry” that each person creates through his personal struggles may not be as beautiful and flawless

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

as the standard pieces, but just as

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

we see that people take a unique

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

pleasure in experiencing something

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

new, we learn that Hashem gets

makes him a highly sought-after lecturer.

unique nachas, so to speak, when


2 . 0 | 65



Author | The Gift of Stuttering (Mosaica Press, 2016)


Runs business development for HomeTalk

BUSINESS LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY RECENT SNOWBOARDING TRIP I wrote these thoughts from New Gudauri, a gorgeous skiing village in Georgia (the Eastern European country, not the US state). A group of friends from Israel was organizing a small trip earlier this year — kosher food and minyanim included — so I decided to tag along.

When I arrived in Georgia and finally

It all came back to me — the beauty,

hit the slopes, I was nostalgic: I grew

the thrill, the challenge — and I was

up in Toronto with tons of snow, and

loving it!

snowboarding was my favorite sport

But while snowboarding this time

throughout my teenage years. But

around, with a more mature lens, I

I hadn’t been snowboarding since I

was left with three poignant business

moved to Israel nearly six years ago!

— and life — lessons:

At an altitude of 10,000 feet, it was

66 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

exhilarating to have my feet strapped


to a board once again, carefully ma-

the first few hours of snowboarding, I

neuvering myself down the mountain.

enjoyed multiple quick runs down the

green (beginner) and blue (interme-

himself to take the next step. Just

diate) slopes, and I didn’t fall even

like a great coach or manager, this

once. While I was proud of myself, I

father encouraged his son to step up,

know what that really meant: I wasn’t

to reach new levels, and the son was

challenging myself enough. When

truly thankful that he did.

I finally pushed myself harder and

In life, if we don’t push ourselves

wiped out a few times, I knew that

to innovate, to invest in ourselves, in

I was having a “successful” day of

expanding our horizons, we’re going


to stagnate. The same is true for

This sentiment was reinforced by

business — if we don’t invest in new

the end of day one, when one of the

technologies or marketing strategies,

guys told me about his teenage son’s

our business will stagnate; there’s no

first-ever day on skis. He had taken

room for growth. Failing (or falling)

a skiing lesson and had spent many

is not only a necessary part of the

hours on the introductory hill. Then,

game but is also a barometer for us to

shortly before the ski lift closed, his

determine whether we’re proactively

father convinced him to try a larger

pushing ourselves and our businesses

slope. His son didn’t want the chal-

to new levels.

lenge; he wanted to take it easy. How-

Enjoying the surreal view at 7,000 feet

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Am-

ever, his father knew how much he’d

azon, agrees: “I knew that if I failed, I

be able to accomplish if he challenged

wouldn’t regret that, but I knew WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 67





the one thing I might regret is not

his popular talk at Google, bestselling

trying.” This sentiment is echoed in

author Simon Sinek explains that if

Adam Grant’s popular TED Talk from

we’re always out to beat our compet-

February 2016, about the surprising

itors, we’ll never become the market

habits of original thinkers. He posits

leader. To describe this seeming par-

that “The greatest originals are the

adox, he tells over the experience of

ones who fail the most, because

speaking at an education summit for

they’re the ones who try the most.

Microsoft and at a different summit

You need a lot of bad ideas in order to

for Apple:

get a few good ones.”

At the Microsoft summit, 80 percent of their executives spent 80


percent of their Powerpoint presen-

SELVES. One of the most beautiful

tations speaking about how they’re

aspects of skiing/snowboarding is the

going to beat Apple. At the Apple

unique competitive dynamic. Unless

summit, however, one hundred

we aspire for gold in the Olympics,

percent of their executives spent one

the only competition on the slopes is

hundred percent of their presenta-


tions speaking about how they were

During the trip to Georgia, many people in my group talked about what

going to change the world. Clearly, Microsoft was obsessed

they hoped to accomplish during our

with beating their competition,

four days on the slopes. The begin-

while Apple was obsessed with their

ners who had never skied before

journey, their vision, and their cause.

were looking forward to doing some

And as Apple just hit a $900 billion

clean, quick runs by the end of the

market cap and claims the trophy for

trip; those more experienced wanted

the world’s largest and most profit-

to attempt skiing on the arduous,

able company, you can decide which

advanced terrain. (Some even con-

approach is more strategic for your

sidered heli-skiing, jumping out of


a helicopter onto nearby untouched mountain peaks!) Unlike football, basketball, or

2.0 WINTER 2018

THE DESTINATION. It was becoming

hockey, there are no teams when

routine: Ascend the mountain on the

you’re skiing or snowboarding;

gondola, take a minute to appreci-

we’re alone out there, challenging

ate the view while strapping my feet

ourselves to improve with each run

onto my snowboard, and begin my

we take.

flight down. I found myself speeding

This may seem counterintuitive

68 |


through dozens of trails, albeit miss-

in the business world, because we’re

ing the variety of scenic views along

always analyzing our competition

the way. There was so much beauty,

and trying to be “number one” in our

so much to see, so much to take in…

given industries. But guess what? It’s

but I was too hyper-focused on what

absolutely true in business, too. In

was in front of me to appreciate it all.

multiday vacation away from the hustle and bustle of my office in many years. My startup had just celebrated its most successful month with video engagement (a whopping 380 million video views in January alone!), and we’re about to launch a new, revolutionary product. It’s super-busy, and there’s unprecedented pressure to achieve targets. How could I slip out for a few days? What signal would that send to my CEO? I know I’m not alone in feeling that it’s difficult to take a vacation, because a recent survey found that 48 percent of millennials think it’s good to be a “work martyr” who never takes time off. Nevertheless, just like I carve out time each day to teach a daf yomi shiur and spend time with As such, on day two, I decided to

Moe, his father-in-law, and some friends taking a break from the slopes

my family, I’m learning that it’s im-

take short breaks midway down the

portant to do so on a macro level, too,

slopes. During my descent, my breaks

by taking mini-vacations like these.

allowed me a few minutes to reflect

It’s been very healthy to reflect on

on my performance so far, to discover

personal and professional achieve-

new trails I wanted to explore, and

ments, celebrate my successes, and

to marvel at the unparalleled beauty

create new goals for the future.

that surrounded me. This short oasis

So whether we ski or snowboard, I

of serenity enhanced my appreci-

recommend incorporating these three

ation for the entire journey down

ideas into our personal and profes-

the slopes, not just my arrival at the

sional lives: First, if we’re too pru-


dent in our business practices, we’re

On another level, this was my first

limiting our ability to maximize our success. Second, remember to be like Apple — not Microsoft — by focusing

Moe Mernick runs business development for HomeTalk, where he

our energy on creating a better and

spearheaded influencer partnerships that generated 700 million video

brighter future, not on beating our

views. He holds an MBA and semichah, and published his first book, The Gift

competition. And third, relish the ex-

of Stuttering (Mosaica Press, 2016). He also teaches a daf yomi shiur, produces

hilaration, challenge, and opportuni-

inspirational videos for Aish.com, and writes a business column for Mishpacha

ty of our business ventures through-

magazine. Moe lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with his wife and children, and

out the entire journey; it would be a

travels around the world to speak to audiences of all kinds.

shame to leave all that satisfaction to the elusive destination. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 69

Students developing reading, comprehension, and analytical skills on Mercava; each at their own pace and in their own learning style.

70 |

2.0 WINTER 2018




MERCAVA: THE OS OF JEWISH EDUCATION “It’s impossible,” he confessed. “They were right, it’s impossible.”


had hedged all my bets on Ariel Isaacson — the young Johannesburg-born software engineer extraordinaire who, at the age of five, wrote his first computer program, and at nineteen, headed the technology investment portfolio at a high-flying private equity firm —

and now he’s telling me it’s impossible?! It was the fall of 2009. We were nine months into building

Mercava, the operating system of Jewish education — a digital platform with interactive seforim and lessons, infinite layers of textual and visual content, and dozens of learning apps, teaching apps, and publishing and collaboration apps. Similar to how Windows and iOS paved the way for countless breakthrough innovations, so that for anything imaginable “There’s an app for that™,” we were building a platform that would empower organizations and individuals to solve some of the greatest challenges of our generation.


2 . 0 | 71




We imagined a world in which talmi-

architect par excellence, also South

I’ve raised people’s hopes and taken

dei chachamim could share chiddushei

African-born, who developed and

funders’ money! What am I going to say

Torah with each other for peer review.

sold an educational platform to the

to them now?

Readers would subscribe to their

Guardian Media Group, which is still

favorite channels to receive on-de-

in use today in over 4,000 schools.

the tone of Mercava’s future. With

mand illustrations, notes, or trans-

He also developed secret components

a shade of surprise in his voice, he

lations. Rebbeim and teachers would

for Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet.

replied, “Did I say we weren’t going

create state-of-the-art interactive

If the prime minister of Russia was

to do it? I just said it’s impossible,

lessons and instantly share them with

willing to put his nation’s security in

but we’ll do it.” And with his trade-

hundreds of schools. Parents would

the hands of this young man, could

mark cool composure, he hung a “Do

receive reports and analytics of their

I have been mistaken in doing the

not disturb” sign on his office door

children’s strengths and weakness-


and requested just two things: peace

es on a daily basis. And never again would our children fail. We were building a suite of tools to

We formed a nonprofit organization. We raised donations. And I

But what Ariel said next would set

and solitude. Three days later, the Mercava

sourced the raw texts for hundreds of

AI-generated Talmud was born.

assist children to successfully develop

seforim — Mikra, Mishnah, Talmud,

We had developed the world’s

their reading, comprehension, and

Midrash, halachah, and every other

only artificial intelligence capable of

thinking skills, constantly advancing

category of Torah — while Ariel and

automatically generating the original

towards mastery in Torah, no matter

Aharon set out to transform these

page layout of every single page in

what learning difficulty label they

texts into beautiful interactive se-


were slapped with or how far they

forim. We chose the Talmud Bavli as

outpaced their peers. Our mission was

our test case, because its tzuras hadaf,

layout engine that could display these

to unlock the beauty and wonders

its trademark page layout, would be

complex pages on any device and at

of our Torah for every single person

the hardest to recreate. If we could

lightning speed. Seforim looked stun-

worldwide, and we knew how to do it.

figure this out, everything else would

ning on an iPad, a laptop, even on a

be a piece of cake.

60-inch screen, and we reveled in our


The traditional approach to doing

In parallel, we developed a page

newfound breakthrough.

this would be to raise millions of


But even the fundamental idea of

dollars and hire manual laborers to

interactive pages with complex lay-

typeset every single page, line by

outs, like what would be required for

line, all 5,422 pages. But not only

the Talmud, was considered by the

could we not afford that, we didn’t

global software community to be an

want to afford it — we would develop

accuracy; almost every page had

impossibility. “Universities have been

new technologies that would drop

multiple mistakes. Machines aren’t

trying to do this for over a decade,

expenses down to a fraction of the

perfect. It was time to tap into RI,

and you believe your peewee team can

cost. Everyone was counting on us to

real intelligence, but in an innovative

do it?”

succeed, and this was the foundation

way. Ariel went on to develop our first

stone of everything to come.

publishing app — a layout editor,

By “peewee team,” these well-meaning naysayers were

So, after nine months of antic-

But we had a problem. The AI plateaued at 95 percent

one so easy to use that typesetting

referring to Mercava’s three found-

ipation and promises, when Ariel

on Mercava felt more like a game

ers — Ariel Isaacson, Aharon Perkel,

admitted this really was impossible,

than work.

and myself. Aharon is a software

I was dumbstruck. Now you tell me?!

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2.0 WINTER 2018

We called the app “Spaceman” and


Crowd-generated content layers Add layers upon layers of creative content to Mercava’s seforim - and share them with the world.

ma, Chali, Rafi, or any of the other competitors were in this for the prize. They could see where Mercava was headed and wanted to be a part of it. We were tapping into a phenomenon known as crowdsourcing — a term, coined in 2005, meaning outsourcing to the crowd. Companies across dozens of industries have achieved wonders through

kick-started a global competition

seches Kiddushin, fixing all 162 pages.

crowdsourcing. Open source soft-

to fix the glitches. Young teenagers

“Spaceman was more fun than the

ware has seen thousands of coders

around the world competed against

games I was playing, because I knew

around the world volunteer their

each other, correcting and perfecting

I wasn’t wasting my time,” she

time and expertise to create software

our Talmud’s tzuras hadaf, page after

declares. “This is how my generation

they don’t own. In 2004, Goldcorp,


is going to learn Torah for the next

a Canadian gold-mining compa-

hundred years.”

ny, had more gold than the central

One of the players who stood out from the crowd was Nechama, an

It was 16-year-old Chali from

banks of 45 countries because they

11-year-old girl from a small town in

South Africa who swept the compe-

invited anyone and everyone to help

Israel. Her family’s policy restricted

tition, scoring 1,522 pages — more

them decide where to drill. TED, the

iPad usage to one hour a day, and as

than one quarter of Shas, followed by

media organization that posts free

soon as she heard about the competi-

her twin brother, Rafi, who complet-

talks online, has viewers voluntarily

tion, she traded in her action-packed

ed 1,018 pages. They worked as a duo

translating TED Talk transcripts into

Candy Crush hour to join Mercava’s

and were awarded as a duo, winning a

dozens of languages. Such is human

Spaceman project.

two-week combo trip to Israel.

nature — people want to take part in

Nechama completed all of Ma-

Make no mistake, neither Necha-

something bigger than themselves. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 73




MORE TOOLS, MORE CONTENT In Mercava’s case, the motivation originates from even higher planes. The Torah is our collective heritage, deeply rooted inside every one of us: “Vechayei olam nata besocheinu — An eternal life was implanted within us.” Every individual has a share in Torah that only they can tap into, without which Am Yisrael will never be able to fully unlock the beauty and wonders of our Torah. Mercava is, by definition, an Am Yisrael project. The crowd was sensing this deep down, realizing that they are already a part of this, that this venture is theirs to make happen, each individual in his or her unique and special way. “Hatzaddikim hen hen haMerkavah; ve’amech kulam tzaddikim — The righteous are the Merkavah; and Your nation are all righteous.” Peel away the wondrous apps, engines, and AI, and you will discover the heart and soul of Mercava — a beautiful tapestry of diverse talent, made up of rabbanim, educators, writers, artists, engineers, curriculum designers, pedagogical experts, yeshivah bochurim, and school students. Especially students. And the more tools we built, the

Beta-testing new innovations with a group of students | A visualization of the classic heichei dami structure (Baba Metzia 21a).

more content users were creating. captivating way; so we built an app

technology in the classroom; so we

ers of visuals to our seforim — maps,

for that. Rebbeim desperately needed

created a kosher device, allowing

illustrations, visual dictionaries, and

a way to develop students’ compre-

access to Mercava, and nothing but

3D models; so we built an app for that.

hension of shakla v’tarya, the dialectic

Mercava. Students can’t even plug in

Resource room teachers asked us to

debate of Gemara; we built three apps

a thumb drive. Credit goes to Rabbi

help them improve their talmidim’s

for that.

David Ozeri, shlita, who proposed the

Learners were thirsting to add lay-

kriah skills; so we built an app for

Every challenge we encountered

idea. Then there were the schools

that. Teachers asked us to help them

advanced us further. There were

and organizations who declared, “We

impart dikduk skills in a colorful and

yeshivos that were reluctant to use

can’t use this if others are using it”

74 |

2.0 WINTER 2018


them into the hands of successful,

greatest tech companies in the world,

networks, informal education net-

always learning, always innovating,

works, women’s networks, and even

always leading, we are a 501(c)(3)

an international daf yomi network.

organization laser-focused on Torah

One of these partnerships is with Torah Umesorah, which will be

so we created Networks, empowering

How is all this possible? How does Mercava do it? By sheer combination

of over 20,000 educators across 760

of stellar talent, AI, the crowd, a fan-

educational institutions. This is a big

tastic board — and birkas tzaddikim. Over a period of many years, I had

have access to top-quality content, all

the zechus to have multiple conversa-

with a TU hechsher, ready for instant

tions with Hagaon Harav Aharon Leib

use in the classroom.

Shteinman, zt”l. The very last time

“Time and again I’ve heard rab-

tifying their definition of “others”);


administering a teachers’ network

deal for mechanchim, since they’ll

(each organization interestingly jus-

While Mercava is on par with the

large-scale organizations. Day school

the Rosh Yeshivah was sandek in pub-

banim, principals, and educators

lic was for my youngest son’s bris,

speak excitedly about Mercava,” says

five years ago. His last words to me

Rabbi Zvi Bloom, Torah Umesorah’s

were, “Kol mah shetuchal laasos bishvil

executive director. “They especial-

chinuch Yisrael taaseh vetatzliach — Do

ly appreciate Mercava’s role as a

whatever you can for Jewish educa-

software development partner for our

tion — and you’ll be successful.”

schools, and it’s long overdue that

There is no impossible. Do what-

we have a tech company on this level

ever you can for Jewish education —

solely dedicated to the klal.”

and you’ll be successful.

schools and organizations to manage their own private private communities on Mercava.


This is the first in a series of articles on innovation in education. Follow Yehuda Moshe, CEO of Mercava, as he introduces the players, shares stories from the battlefield, and showcases the latest developments from Mercava and its partners. What challenges would you like to see solved in both formal and informal education?

Now we’re taking the power of

You can reach Yehuda directly at yehuda@themercava.com. For more information on

networks to a higher level by putting

Mercava, see themercava.com/app. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 75




(410) 484-2500 or inquiries@GalkinLaw.com www.GalkinLaw.com 76 | 2 . 0 GluCkreative.com





When Michael Eisenberg’s rosh yeshivah told him that the best way to fulfill the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel was to move there and create 10,000 jobs, he took it very seriously. Now, at 47, he’s well on his way to accomplishing that very goal. He’s the co-founder of the venture capital fund, Aleph, where he uses his skills and resources to empower entrepreneurs who want to create massive change. PAGE 78


2 . 0 | 77




Cofounder of Aleph | Israel By Alex Abel


78 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

DISRUPTOR: A Talk with Michael Eisenberg, Cofounder of Venture Capitalist Fund Aleph


hen Michael Eisenberg’s rosh yeshivah

is about the entrepreneur and his risk-taking,” he

told him that the best way to fulfill

explained. “I think everything needs to be consid-

the mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael

ered and reconsidered.”

was to move there and create 10,000 jobs, he took

Reconsidering is something Eisenberg had to do

it very seriously. Even though he was just 19 at the

early on in his life. He majored in political science

time, spending a gap year in Israel at Yeshiva Har

at Yeshiva University and, after making aliyah (just

Etzion in the Gush, and completely unsure of how

six weeks after he married his wife and eight weeks

and when he would make that happen, it was never

after he graduated), got his first job as a political

something he was able to shake. Now, at 47, he’s

consultant. But after only a year and a half, he was

well on his way to accomplishing that very goal.

laid off without warning. “They just

The cofounder of the venture capital firm Aleph, Eisenberg works to give others the opportunity to

stopped paying,” he shared. “I was in a hole… I had a hard time finding a job.”

succeed. He meets with an endless stream of entre-

The solution? Starting his own in-

preneurs who claim to have the next big thing and,

vestment bank, despite knowing noth-

based on a mixture of intuition and what he credits

ing on the subject. Through hard work

as G-d’s blessing, sometimes picks the one that

and asking people who knew more,

takes off. He can now count WeWork, the innovator

he learned what he needed to know

in shared office space, which as of last year was val-

to build up his company, eventually

ued at over $20 billion and growing, and Lemonade,

partnering with a consulting business

an insurance carrier for homeowners and renters

with a big firm in the U.S. After that,

that donates any underwriting profits to charity, as

he moved to Israel Seed Partners, a

two major investment wins.

Jerusalem-based venture capital firm,

Eisenberg’s excitement over these two companies and any others he chooses to work with comes from their ability to disrupt the industry they’re in. They

and then to Benchmark Capital, where he stayed until Aleph was formed. But it’s not just business and career

think outside of the box and change the way things

lessons he’s learned over the past 20

have always been done. “Things that are ground-

years. His faith and conviction in the

breaking are things that involve risk. This business

Torah have grown and expanded as


2 . 0 | 79




well, mainly as a result of living in

cover for each other. Aaron joined

world is going in five to ten years and

Israel. “So much more of Judaism

us at age 26 and came in as an equal

are going there. We generally look

makes sense here, from ritual to

partner from day one.

for some breakthrough technology.

halachah to the calendar to under-

The second thing is that we have a

And finally, just incredible ambi-

standing passages in the Tanach

service mentality. It’s not, “We have

tion, where you don’t take no for an

and Gemara,” he says. In addition to

the money, come and kiss our feet.”


learning every morning, he’s written

It’s the opposite. You’re the entre-

two books — one on the Talmud

preneur — you matter, not us. We

Yerushalmi and another on Megillas

want to service you. The opening line

Esther — and has a third coming out

of the employee handbook at Aleph

on economics and parshas hashavua.

says that we exist to service entrepre-

We caught up with Eisenberg at his Katamon home one morning during

neurs. The third thing is we have a deep

Chol Hamoed Succos, with his kids

belief in the Israeli ecosystem, mean-

milling about making breakfast, and

ing the talent here. We’re focused on

talked about everything from the

Israel, and if you invest in the broader

Rambam to his key determinant of

ecosystem, good things happen and


more talent comes, so we do a huge amount of investment in the com-


munity even if it’s not in our portfolio companies. We’re excited to see others succeed. The fourth thing is we want to

that it’s an equal partnership. I think

build giant companies, so that means

that’s important. I learned that from

recruiting management. I think we

my time in yeshivah, when the two

do a particularly good job of recruit-

roshei yeshivah were equal partners.

ing first-class management at these

If you want to get the best people,


you need them all to be on the same level. Keeping your thumb on people

AS A COFOUNDER OF ALEPH, YOUR JOB IS TO LOOK FOR ENTREPRENEURS WHO ARE WILLING TO TAKE A GAMBLE ON A NEW IDEA. INVESTING ITSELF IS A RISKY BUSINESS. WERE YOU SOMEONE WHO TOOK A LOT OF RISKS GROWING UP? I can’t say that. I worked hard. When I was a teenager, I worked for six years for minimum wage in Miller’s Cheese, a fish and cheese store on the Upper West Side. There’s no substitute for hard work in anything. I have a coworker who says, “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” and I tend to believe in that. That being said, I invest money in high-risk ventures for a living. On the one hand, I have an iron stomach because I can stomach the risk. On the other hand, you don’t know what you don’t know. In this business, you live with insecurity, but that’s okay.

is not very helpful. If you’re a partner,



you can write a check, you can make

YOU? People who don’t have to be the

TAKE ON SOMETHING? I lose money on

decisions, you have an strong voice,

smartest person in the room. My two

50 percent plus of my investments.

and you have equal economics. I think

partners are way smarter than I am. I

I’m reminded every day about what

that’s critically important.

think that’s important for entrepre-

they say in the Gemara, that my sins

neurs to hire people who are better

are in front of me. I just try to learn. I

son and Eden Shochat. We are all so

than they are. Also, it’s important to

think everything in life is an oppor-

different in age, in background, and

have an idea that’s on a future trend.

tunity to learn. If you make a mistake,

in perspective. We may look like three

The hockey player Wayne Gretzky

whether it’s in business or in life,

Ashkenazi Jewish guys, but we come

used to say, “You want to skate to

you have to own up to it. People often

from very different backgrounds

where the puck is going, not where

run away from their mistakes, but we

and places and have so many diverse

the puck is.” So we look for people

all have them. You need to confront

strengths and weaknesses that help

who are thoughtful about where the

them. I’m always fascinated by the

My partners are Aaron Rosen-

80 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

“I have back problems and already sit too much due to meetings and my commute from Jerusalem. A standing desk is healthier and helps me concentrate.”

My favorite book in the world is The Defining Moment, by Jonathan Alter, about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was a deeply flawed man who made a big difference in the world. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be wonderful people. Human beings are human beings; they’re not sarfei kodesh, holy angels.

YOU’RE KNOWN TO BE SOMEONE WHO LIKES TO SHAKE THINGS UP, SO TO SPEAK. YOU’VE WRITTEN ON MEDIUM ABOUT WHAT IT TAKES TO DISRUPT A REGULATED INDUSTRY. HOW DOES THAT MENTALITY PLAY A PART IN WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO INVEST IN? When we look at investment as a group, if everyone thinks something is a good investment, it’s probably not because it’s Rambam’s explanation of why a person should say Vidui on the same sins every

too obvious. The great ideas are

year. You didn’t take care of it last year? The answer is if you don’t continually

non-obvious, the great founders are

own up to your flaws, they’re not present in your life, and you can’t grow from

non-obvious. They are conflicted,

them. We have to grow from them.

they are debated, they are discussed. Our best investments have been the

WHAT FLAWS HAVE YOU GROWN FROM? I was deeply unemployed, in debt, and

ones that were most hotly debated

couldn’t find a job. It was a frightening situation. I think the typical reaction

and contested. My investment in We-

would be that there must be something wrong with him, why can’t he earn a liv-

Work barely passed the partnership.

ing? The greater the person is, the more likely it is that they were deeply flawed

It looks like a pretty good one right

at some point. Greatness comes from being imperfect.

now. Time will tell. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 81




turing economy, which requires lots of physical space and equipment, to an ideas economy where it’s human-driven, and ideas happen because people collide. If you live in the ‘burbs you don’t see that many people, but if you live in the cities, you’re bouncing into people all the time. The second reason is that real estate is the largest market in the world and it has never been disrupted, it has never been branded — and Adam Neumann, cofounder of WeWork, did that. That was his vision. Third, and this is important, people need community. People are lonely, people need human touch. I think these screens, what they call the iPhone where I can’t see you because I’m an “I” and not a “we,” are a short-term phenomenon. People want to be with people; they want to talk, they want to touch people, they want to hug people, they want to be with other people. People matter. I think that is a huge trend for the next 50 years, and WeWork is a big part of that. Finally, work is changing. The corporation is decomposing into more agile small units that can come together for projects. So small busi-


nesses and medium-sized businesses


er across a trust platform, meaning

a few things. One, there’s a giant secular trend of peo-

I can trust you because you’re a

ple moving to cities. The jobs in cities tend to be “ideas

WeWork member, is the future of

jobs” as opposed to manufacturing jobs. Cities are

business. It’s already happening at

growing in importance, and mayors are more import-

this point.

that can collaborate and work togeth-

ant than presidents in some regards.


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THAT? The Internet has enabled us to

moving from a 20th-century industrialized manufac-

reach far more people directly. Ben

analyzes the strategy and business


side of technology and media, whom

FAMILY OR FRIENDS? If you ask my

I think is one of the most important

kids, they’ll say Dad’s on the comput-

writers of our generation, articulates

er a lot. That’s because it substitutes

something called aggregation theory.

for writing and reading and a million

Because of the nature of technology

other things, but at the same time,

and frictionless interfaces like the

I sit around and talk. You have to be

iPhone, I can come to customers

non-distracted, that’s the key. If I’m

directly, and I can aggregate far more

sitting and writing, I want to write.

customers than I ever could in four

When I’m sitting with you, I’m not

walls, which is retail. Companies that

checking my phone. When I’m in a

are able to aggregate those customers

meeting listening to an entrepreneur,

in a frictionless method have become

my phone isn’t in front of me.

Thompson of Stratechery, a site that

very powerful businesses, whether it’s Facebook, Google, or even Lem-



onade, our insurance company, and that’s incredibly valuable.

IN YOUR OWN LIFE? I don’t believe in


this thing called work-life balance. I

a good question. I spent six months

think balance is for character traits,

working on a post about this top-

like the Rambam says. In most other

ic, especially since my life goal is to

things, you want to strive to be the

create 10,000 jobs. I think the dark

best at this and that. They come into

prophecies that people won’t have

conflict, and that’s okay. In character

work are false. We do go through

traits, on some level you also need

periods like when we went from the

ambition, and lots of it, but you need

agricultural economy, the agrarian

a lot of humility, and they come into

economy to the Industrial Revolution

conflict. They bounce off each other,

and the 20th-century industrial econ-

and you hope to come to some level of

omy, where factories and manufac-


turing machines took over the jobs

The same is true in digital devices.


of humans. So there is a growth in

I need to be on a lot, but I don’t want

unemployment or underemployment.

to be on to the point that it’s dis-

We’re in the middle of that, make no

tracting, either to my family or to my

mistake. Large parts of America are

human interactions. I want to interact

underemployed, but every technolog-

with humans a lot, but there’s a fair

ical revolution created more employ-

amount to do in being responsive on

ment than the previous one. Other-

email, producing videos, and reading

wise, eight billion people who live in

on these devices.

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2 . 0 | 83




ple if you go through the Industrial

very rapidly by corporate legal de-


Revolution with more machines? The

partments. It’s replacing the work of

FROM? Here’s what I can tell you, I

answer is technology creates jobs.

a lot of entry-level lawyers.

have a deep belief that the future of

How do you employ all these peo-

You have dips, and they take a couple

do contract review. It’s been adopted

Our CEO of Lemonade, Daniel

the Jewish people is in Israel — not

of decades plus to work themselves

Schreiber, predicted that in 25 years,

in America, not in England, not in

out. But ultimately, there will be more

there will be no insurance brokers.

Argentina, and not in Brazil. After

jobs created.

I don’t know if that’s true, but there

I started to do better at Jerusalem

will be a lot fewer. So a lot of these

Global, I had a job offer for a lot of


jobs are going to be blocked to people.

money to move to California, and

If you’re in the top 1–2 percent or

I afflicted myself for many days

5 percent of any profession, you’re

thinking about it. Then I became


going to be okay, but that’s not ev-

angry at myself. I didn’t move to

education system needs to adapt

eryone. We need to be confident and

Israel for money, I’m not leaving

itself in order to educate people for

strong that we can do this. I think we

Israel for money. It would’ve been a

the next set of jobs. It needs to catch


life-changing amount of money at the time. That was a moment of what

up to where the world is moving. I think, more than anything, you need


I think is a deep belief in the future of

an open mind because things are


the Jewish people.

changing so quickly. Every business is

thing’s going to change. I wrote an

being challenged by technology right

article about the innovation of eleva-

now — from real estate, to freight, to

tors, which came about because I got

manufacturing, to hotels, to nursing

sick and tired of waiting for the ele-


homes. There are going to be upstarts

vators in buildings. I started looking

YISRAEL? I have no idea. This is a

who shake these businesses, so you

around in Jerusalem and why certain

tough business to do it in because

really need an open mind and a lot of

people buy in certain buildings, and I

what happens, for example, when we

skills around English, math, physics,

realized elevators are a big part of

sold Shopping.com to eBay, and eBay

and critical thinking. People underes-

that. They have the light rail system

now has hundreds of employees here

timate critical thinking.

here in Jerusalem, where they’re

in Israel? I don’t know how many are

spending ten billion shekels dig-

because of Shopping.com. Do I count


ging up streets on Emek Refaim for

the number of people who were there

a train that no one seems to want.

when I sold it to eBay? Do I count the

TUNITIES? We need to make it okay

Why are they thinking about yester-

number of people who are there now,

for people to take risks and fail. We

day’s transportation, not tomorrow’s

or do I count zero because we sold

need to make it okay for people to do

transportation? Can we think about

the company?

things that weren’t necessarily Jewish

horizontal elevators? And yes, I know

professions 15 years ago. People think

that’s an oxymoron. How you move

basically telling me to work for life.

that law, accounting, and insurance

people around is interesting.

I have no idea how to count it, so I

are safe professions. I guarantee you

You want to fix this world, that’s

have to keep working.

they’re not. We have an investment

what G-d put us here for. To leave

in a company called LawGeex which

a better place for our children and

has an artificial intelligence lawyer


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So I believe that Rav Amital was


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Our Community’s Next Generation of Social Entrepreneurs By Gila Arnold



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ly giving back to the community, but there aren’t many places for nonprofit start-ups to turn to for guidance.” It was for the purpose of connecting these entrepreneurial newbies with the wealth of experience out there that the Impact Accelerator was born. An accelerator is a business guidance model for those in the early stage that supports them on a fast track to growth

An Initiative Incubating Our Community’s Next Generation of Social Entrepreneurs

through education, mentorship, and financing. The Accelerator program takes place over six months and involves a cohort of businesses, all of whom are thrown into an intense, immersive environment. It culminates in a Demo Day, where each of the participating start-ups presents their organization to philanthropists and community leaders.

Admit it: How often have you moaned about a lack or issue in the frum community,

For the frum community’s first-ever accelerator program for nonprofits, Jenna and her team carefully designed both the program

declaring, “Somebody oughta do something

itself as well as the selection process. The

about —!” Maybe you even went a measure

process began back in February of this year,

beyond. Maybe you itemized a step-by-step plan for exactly how that somebody ought to solve the problem. While some of us may be content to be armchair

when they started accepting online applications. By the time they closed acceptance in May, they had 57. The next step was to whittle these applicants down to the top 20, which was done by

communal problem-solvers, luckily, our com-

an internal peer review and graded according

munity is blessed with many individuals with the

to a predefined set of competencies. These

vision, drive, and sense of mission to do something

included the nature of the communal need

more. We are a nation of innovators and doers,

being addressed, the level of innovation, the

and it is that creative energy that the Orthodox

maturity of the company, the organization’s

Union (OU) decided to tap into with its new Impact

potential for impact, and the leadership,

Accelerator program — highlighting nonprofit

sense of mission, and degree of coachability

startups that address Jewish communal needs.

displayed by the organization’s founder.

They recently announced the six winners, who will be the members of the first Accelerator cohort. “We wanted to do something to guide our com-

These top 20 organizations were then interviewed by OU staff and board members. From there, 12 were selected as semi-

munity’s next generation of social entrepreneurs,”

finalists, who, on September 4, pitched their

explains Jenna Beltser, founding director of the OU

companies, Shark Tank style, to a specially

Impact Accelerator. “People in our community are

selected board made up of experienced entre-

very growth-oriented and interested in active-

preneurs and donors in the frum community. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 87




strengths and weaknesses, and how to overcome their personal challenges.” What criteria did he use to select the finalists? “Since this program is designed to help nonprofits accelerate by leveraging the OU and all of its resources, I tried to think about the areas where the OU is highly successful and which candidates could benefit most from those assets. At the same time, I was also looking for chiddushim, for new ideas and approaches.” According to Beltser, there were several takeaways from the selection experience, one of which was That’s when things really began to get exciting. Imagine

seeing which issues are front and center in the frum com-

standing up in front of a panel of highly successful busi-

munity today. “Twenty-five percent of the semi-finalists

nesspeople and nervously articulating what it is you’ve been

focused on mental health. Clearly, we as a community must

dedicating your dreams and energies to for the past number

find ways to better support those who are suffering or have

of years. Imagine then being subjected to a series of sharp,

overcome mental health challenges.”

incisive questions dissecting that careful presentation. Now

Another significant takeaway was the importance of com-

imagine that this is happening in front of all the other com-

munity. This was evident, she says, as many organizations

peting nonprofits. Nerve-wracking, no?

were dedicated to building support communities for people

While the finalists did not deny the nerves, they all said

dealing with issues such as infertility or even those looking

that the process was extremely helpful in sharpening their

to spiritually re-energize their Judaism. That feeling also

own goals and messages — and that they had gained from

rose to the surface at the final pitch night, in the way the

listening to their peers’ presentations.

different teams interacted with each other.

Dov Perkal, owner and executive director of Shma Camps

“It was very exciting to see them all sharing ideas and

(Sternberg, Heller, and Magen Avraham), describes his

resources,” Beltser says. “The fact that they seemed eager

experience as a board member listening to the presentations

to learn from a community of like-minded social entrepre-

at the final pitch evening. “I was very impressed. All of the

neurs highlighted just how important this initiative is.”

finalists came in very polished and prepared, all had great stories to tell, and all responded very appropriately to the questions posed by the panel.” His role as a board member was not just to select the winning organizations, but also, moving forward, to serve

MEET THE WINNERS The top six nonprofits chosen to participate in the

as a coach and mentor. “As a businessman, my focus tends

cohort talk about their cherished organizations in

more towards the people aspect — on building relationships

their own words — what inspires them, and what

with staff, on helping people understand who they are, their

they hope to gain from the experience.

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1. GrowTorah

WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED: When I get an e-mail from a random parent (attached to an unsolicited donation) saying that their child came home

WHAT: Our nonprofit, GrowTorah, creates

raving about a garden lesson. Also,

educational Torah garden programs for

students’ gleeful reactions to eating

Jewish schools and organizations. Through

fresh food from the garden, say-

these programs, we want to impart four core

ing things like, “I want more kale,

values: 1) incubating emunah, 2) environmen-

please!” or “How did Hashem make

tal stewardship, 3) cultivating compassion

so many plants like this?” That’s the

for creatures, and 4) reimagining tzedakah.

type of natural emunah we want to incubate in

GrowTorah seeks to incorporate experiential,

our students.

nature-based, food justice, environmental, and animal-welfare education into the Jewish day school ecosystem.

WHY: Hashem’s amazing natural world inspired our Avos and Imahos to believe in Hashem. I believe every Jewish child should experience the same awe and wonder. Part of that must also include the Torah’s mitzvot to care for this beautiful earth, keeping it well-nourished and thriving. Being in a

OUR CHALLENGES: Pricing and scaling. Not every school can afford the program, and we’re not in a position to offer discounts. It’s difficult to say no for that reason, and I would love to figure out a solution. Also, being an entrepreneur can be lonely and is often misunderstood. At the beginning especially, I would get comments like, “That’s neat, but what do you do for your day job?”

garden while incorporating Torah texts gives


students a unique perspective.

must have gotten five or six different e-mails

HOW: I piloted the program informally at the Frisch School from 2014–2015. Then, with my wife’s encouragement, I took a leap of faith, quit my full-time teaching job, and officially launched the organization. From the start, several schools expressed interest. By the spring of 2016, we had programs at four schools, and as of Fall 2018, nine schools. Though I’d been gardening my whole life

Founder: Yosef Gillers

from friends who work at the OU telling me about this Accelerator program. I figured if everyone thinks we should apply for it, we might

Launched: September 2015

as well! The application process was awesome. I love writing, and have lots of internal planning documents where I brainstorm and free-write dreams for GrowTorah. The application was just a more focused brainstorming exercise. When I found out we won, I was so relieved

and had worked with summer camps, put-

and excited. It was incredibly validating — “The

ting together the first lessons was incred-

OU thinks we’re worth it!” The $25K seed fund-

ibly daunting. Baruch Hashem, we have an

ing is the icing on the cake and will enable us to

amazing team. By this point, we have the crop

implement certain projects we’ve been dream-

plan and hundreds of lessons, but no formal

ing about. Learning from the other entrepre-

curriculum. This winter, we’re hoping to

neurs is going to be incredible. I believe strongly

develop that so we can bring on more schools

in mentorship, so I’m really excited to have

and scale up faster.

more people helping to guide our organization. WINTER 2018

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WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED: As a new start-up, we’ve seen Hashem’s guiding hand at every step. We are privileged to have the professional expertise and invaluable guidance of our respected advisory board members, Dr. Shmuel Mandelman, Dr. Norman Blumenthal, and Goldy Jaroslowicz, LCSW. They selflessly make themselves available in every possible

2. imadi Founders: Chana Esther Schechter and Zeldy Oppen Launched: 2018

way to assist imadi. This support has given us the confidence we need to help fill this void.

OUR CHALLENGES: Getting imadi up and

WHAT: imadi empowers individuals and

running as quickly as possible, which means

families facing mental health difficulties by

creating the necessary infrastructure to

providing support, guidance, and educa-

service families in need. For this interim

tion. Families can become so overwhelmed

period, we collaborated with Lev Rochel Bikur

that they don’t even know what they need.

Cholim to be able to offer immediate services

imadi’s staff of professionals and trained

to families.

volunteers conducts a needs assessment, after which a family advocate is assigned, coordinating all of the support services and ensuring all of their practical needs are met. Services include meals, transportation, sibling support, and more.

WHY: In 2012, we cofounded Yad B’Yad, an organization which offers free mental health support groups. We would receive daily calls from both individuals and families of those individuals suffering, requesting additional services. This really drove home for us the extent to which mental health issues can wreak havoc on even the most stable, functioning family unit. Recognizing this unmet need for family support, we founded imadi to fill this gap.

HOW: We’re still in our first year of operation. Our initial stages involved meeting with organizations that provide social services, establishing a clinical advisory board, and recruiting volunteer family advocates.

OUR OU IMPACT ACCELERATOR EXPERIENCE: We were thrilled when we heard about the OU’s Accelerator program. As a new nonprofit start-up, we knew that the program’s curriculum, mentoring, and investment money was exactly what we needed to take imadi to the next level. We reached out to many wonderful professionals and business owners for help in preparing for pitch night. This was our first experience presenting our organization in a formal setting, and we were very nervous and intimidated, especially standing in front of such a prestigious panel! Luckily, it went well. When we got the e-mail from Jenna at 7 a.m. telling us we’d won, we were ecstatic, and immediately called each other to share the moment together. We’re now poised to move forward. We’ve just trained our first 35 volunteer family advocates. Over the next several months, we look forward to expanding further. We have so much to learn, and are so grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this cohort.

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3. Yedei Moshe WHAT: Yedei Moshe places struggling youth into skill building jobs, matching them with employers and providing personal mentoring and support. There are many youths who have dropped out of school because they feel unsuccessful or uncomfortable in the high-pressure environment. For an at-risk youth out of school even for a short time, the lack of structure can be devastating and can lead to

WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED: Thankfully, we’ve already seen many success stories. For example, we placed a talented young man who struggled with substance and alcohol abuse in the past into a job as an assistant to an executive. We’ve found placement with a caring employer for a young lady with severe anxiety that led to substance abuse. This employer has been extremely patient and committed to sticking with her, even through her ups and downs. But, really, we view every time we

depression, anxiety, and engagement

sit down to help a struggling youth as

in unsafe activities.

a success. Even if it doesn’t imme-

Our goal is to stop this downward spiral and facilitate success by matching at-risk youth with appropriate employment opportunities that build self-esteem and teach valuable

diately translate into a job, the fact that we’ve met with him, talked out his strengths, and invested time with him, teaching interviewing skills and

Founders: Yael Wedeck, LCSW, and Rivka Loewi Ariel Launched: May 2018

work etiquette, gives him a sense that he matters.

youth and screen them, and how

ive environment. We also provide a

OUR CHALLENGES: Once we started

to create and implement support

support program for both employer

making this happen, it was clear that

processes for both the employer

and employee, so that when problems

there’s a lot to understand about

and the employee.

arise they can be addressed effec-

each party before making a match. A


trial placement that started off well

pitch night, we had reached a

WHY: The problem of at-risk youth

but didn’t end up working out taught

place of confidence because we’d

us about refining our assessment

already successfully implemented

process. Taking more time at the be-

a pilot program. The hard part

ginning to understand the strengths

was to step back from all of the

and weaknesses of our clients, as well

details we’d been dealing with and

as understanding the needs and attri-

boil it all down into a five-minute

butes of the employers, is crucial.

presentation. We focused on our

anecdotal evidence have shown what


essential goal: to keep our sons

a difference successful employment

RIENCE: The application process was

and daughters alive and off the

can make in the lives of struggling

intense. At the time, we had no logo

streets, and give them the tools

youth. Even Congress is beginning to

or website, and weren’t even a legal

to lead productive lives. When

talk about the problem of “Oppor-

entity. We needed to figure out how

we won, we took it as a sign that

tunity Youth,” and how to facilitate

to get the right employers to work

Hashem is partnering with us to

their integration into the workforce.

with us, how to get the word out to the

help His children.

work skills in a positive and support-

today is rampant and only getting worse. It touches every type of family — chassidic, Modern Orthodox, yeshivish, at every socio-economic level. Most of us know at least one family affected. Both research and

By the time we reached the final


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4. NechamaComfort

WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED: Helping families achieve a measure of comfort. It can mean helping a family navigate bureaucracy so they can bring their baby home for burial after a late-term loss. It can mean helping a grieving couple get

WHAT: NechamaComfort

up, get dressed, and come to a support group meeting. It can

supports families of all

mean educating a local rabbi about how to best service the

Jewish backgrounds through

needs of his congregants when they face an infant or preg-

the trauma of miscarriage,

nancy loss. And, at the best times, it means helping a couple

stillbirth, or infant loss. We

through the fears and challenges of a subsequent pregnan-

offer individual and family

cy, and ultimately rejoicing with them in their simchah.

counseling, support groups,

OUR CHALLENGES: Educating our community and commu-

a network of peers, training

nity leaders about the legitimate need for our services. The

for medical personnel and clergy,

old adage used to be “Just get over it and have more kids.”

and sensitivity programs for com-

There was no acknowledgment of a need for a grieving pro-

munities and workplaces.

cess. We now know that this is damaging — psychological

WHY: In 1987, my husband and I

research shows that dealing with one’s pain instead of hid-

suffered the tragic loss of our first

ing it is much more helpful in enabling a couple to move on.

Founder: Reva Judas

child 12 hours after birth. There

Launched: 2016

On the flip side, as the need has become more accepted

were no support groups or orga-

and as word has gotten out about our services, so many peo-

nizations to help us deal with the

ple now feel comfortable reaching out to us for help that we

terrible pain. Our rabbi didn’t know

needed to bring on more staff to meet the demand.

how to help us or our community face this tragedy. At that time, our doctor’s best advice was to go home, have another child, and move on with our lives. We created NechamaComfort to make sure that no Jewish family would ever suffer the agony of infant or pregnancy loss alone.

HOW: Unofficially, I’ve been counseling families for many years. NechamaComfort unofficially started in 2008 and began expanding its services to include support groups and community awareness programs. In 2016, an increase in

OUR OU IMPACT ACCELERATOR EXPERIENCE: As soon as we heard about the Impact Accelerator, we knew this was something we wanted. The application asked us to take a hard look at our organization and our priorities — what we’re good at and proud of, and where we need help. Then we had to find the best way to share our vision. When you’re busy with the dayto-day work, you don’t often step back and do that. It forced us to identify clear priorities and concrete goals for growth. Everyone was so welcoming at our interview. They gave us great feedback, which we were able to use in preparing for the final presentations. It also gave us the confidence in our message and in our ability to have other people understand what we do and how important it is. When we found out we won, I was totally speechless — and, believe me, that never happens! Moving forward, our goal is to continue addressing the

staff made it possible to become an

needs of our growing client base and expanding list of com-

organization, expand the reach of

munities seeking our educational programs. Longer term, we

NechamaComfort’s services.

plan to develop counselor training programs. We’re looking forward to expanding our organization and putting it on the road to financial sustainability.

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5. YTI (Young Talent Initiative)

WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED: Here’s a beautiful story that serves as an example of what keeps us going. We got a call from a parent who said that

WHAT: YTI is the first organization that aims to max-

his son has been out of yeshi-

imize the spiritual and real-world potential of our

vah for three years, and he didn’t know

community’s most creative young people. Accord-

what was going to happen with his Yid-

ing to many professionals, an overwhelmingly high

dishkeit. However, his son was very tal-

percentage of Jewish teens that fall out of the yeshivah

ented musically. After about six months

system have highly creative, out-of-the-box person-

in our program, this boy changed his

alities. YTI provides a mental, emotional, and spiritual

whole perception of his place in Yiddish-

jump-start by unlocking its members’ unique abilities,

keit and how he could contribute to Klal

giving them professional music training, a produc-

Yisrael, and decided to return to yeshivah.

tion platform centered around accessing deep spir-

Today, not only is he a top learner, but

itual connection, and a robust mentorship program

he also runs a studio in his yeshivah to

designed specifically to bring out the best of these

give boys that same connection that he

personality types.


The boys (we now have 50) are fully trained in high-level music theory, music composition, audio engineering, and all facets of music production. They’re given incredible opportunities to showcase their newfound talents to the general public. However, the goal is not for these kids to become career mu-

OUR CHALLENGES: Even though we’ve would like to be at the next stage financially and have more resources to do our work.


success, and an identity within the community that

When we heard about the OU’s new initia-

they can be proud of.

tive to inject funds and knowhow into new

me for this role. I am professionally trained in music theory, composition, creation, arrangement, and engineering. I also experienced what it feels like to be that creative, out-of-the-box kid who is a total fish out of water in the yeshivah system. I was lucky enough to have a strong foundation due to my unique family background (my father is the founder of the

Launched: March 2017

been blessed with natural progression, we

sicians, but to give them a sense of self-respect and

WHY: My background and life experiences prepared

Founder: Chananya Begun

organizations, we decided to give it a shot. I was particularly inspired by listening to all the other presenters make their case with passion and a real desire to help Klal Yisrael. You couldn’t have picked a better roomful of people to epitomize “Mi k’amcha Yisrael!” I’m really looking forward to gaining

Miami Boys Choir, and simultaneously learned in

from the Accelerator in the coming

kollel for over 20 years) and a home full of connecting

months. With the right resources, the

to Hashem through music and creative expression. I

potential for ramping up our organization

thankfully found the right yeshivah and mentors in my

is huge. Our plans for the coming year are

formative years, but I deeply empathize with the kids

to expand our locations and, in the long

who are not as fortunate.

term, to open a girls’ division as well.


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6. TorahAnytime

WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED: As we were checking the demographics of people learning on TorahAnytime, we saw that

WHAT: TorahAnytime is the world’s larg-

we had hits from every coun-

est yeshivah without walls, recording and

try in the world — except for Greenland. Now, Green-

spreading over 7 million hours of Torah

land is pretty much a big chunk of ice with a population

learning a year. We forge relationships with

of under 57,000 people, but we knew businessmen who

great Torah educators and dynamic speakers,

were learning in the most remote parts of China, Mon-

purchase camera equipment, train volunteer cameramen, upload the recorded content to our website, and also post the video as an audio file that is available on our website, mobile app, telephone learning system, and Roku Channel. We record and upload 250plus shiurim a week, which are accessed by tens of thousands of Jews each day.

WHY: We started recording shiurim to fulfill our own need for easily accessible quality Torah, and quickly learned through a lot of passionate feedback that there was a really serious need for what we were doing. So voila! TorahAnytime was born!

HOW: When we got started, there were barely any Torah shiurim available on the Internet and what was available was mostly text and some audio. We were the first ones to video-record Torah and make it accessible

Founders: Shimon Kolyakov, Rubin Kolyakov, and Yosef Davis Launched: 2006

golia, Somalia, and everywhere else. So we set out to find a Jew in Greenland, and actually found one. It turns out that he’d been learning on TorahAnytime for over a year! So why weren’t we seeing hits? We investigated more and discovered that Greenland’s Internet comes from an underground pipeline in Canada. All IP addresses or hits were showing up as Canadian. So now we can say that we are teaching Torah to the entire world!

OUR CHALLENGES: As a technology-centric organization, we have all the same tech operations as leading video sites like Vimeo or YouTube. This comes with a ton of challenges. We need to stay current with every version

of every browser that comes out, as well as constantly update our technology to meet Apple and Android standards. We also have a very broad demographic, which ranges from stay-at-home mothers to overseas businessmen to homebound elderly and more. This is a challenge in itself, as we strive to satisfy

to a broad audience by posting it online. We

our audience’s needs, with only a small staff to handle it all.

started recording Torah classes in 2004 and


posted the first version of TorahAnytime.com

the Accelerator because, even as a 13-year-old organization, we’re

in March 2006.

just getting started. We have so much more to achieve and feel we

In 2007, nobody had enough bandwidth to stream video on their mobile devices like they do today. Internet speeds were still slow, and broadband was just being more widely adapt-

haven’t even scratched the surface of our potential. We recognize the power of working together and using our G-d-given talents to effect as much positive change in the world as possible. Our primary goal in working with the Accelerator is to take big

ed. As technology developed, we developed

steps towards becoming financially self-sustaining (while main-

the mobile app (iOS and Android), our phone

taining our commitment to keep every shiur free of charge), launch

learning system, and Roku Channel. Today

new features, improve our communication with our speakers,

we’re the largest library of originally record-

volunteers, donors, and users, and expand our staff. We’re looking

ed video Torah content in the world.

forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work!

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THE RUNNERS-UP Although they didn’t make the final cut, the following semi-finalists are certainly worthy of note.



Refuat HaNefesh

WHAT: Dedicated to bringing inspira-

WHAT: Bringing together the many

WHAT: Dedicated to decreasing

tion to Jewish communities around

talented and passionate young

the stigma surrounding mental

the country by sending groups of

Modern Orthodox Jews living on

illness through conversation and

students to create uplifting Shabbos

the Upper West Side and empow-

education, while providing a safe

experiences several times a year,

ering them to take an active part in

place for those affected where

thereby both strengthening develop-

creating meaningful religious lives

they can pledge their support for

ing shuls and also training students

by coming together for holiday

one another and use the support

to be future communal leaders.

programming, communal learning,

room to share experiences and

social events, and chesed opportu-


WHO: A team of six Yeshiva University and Stern College students,


WHO: Ariel Mintz, MD, and Avital

headed by rabbinical student Dov

WHO: Gabe Falk, Ron Shapiro, Jake

Mintz, along with Avi Gordon and


Wilner, and Etan Raskas

Etan Neiman

LAUNCH: 2015

LAUNCH: 2015

LAUNCH: 2016

No Shame on U

Yesh Tikva


WHAT: Committed to ending the stig-

WHAT: Creating a community of

WHAT: A web app providing up-

ma associated with mental health

support for Jewish couples and

to-date, accurate, and verified

conditions and raising mental health

individuals facing infertility by

information on Jewish resources,

awareness in the Chicago communi-

providing psychosocial resources

including shuls, kosher restau-

ty and beyond, through community

and tools to those struggling while

rants, minyanim, mikvaos,

outreach programs, classes, work-

raising awareness of the issue

eiruvs, and more, using the latest

shops, and an online community.

throughout the Jewish community.

in mapping technology. The goal

WHO: Miriam Ament, a member of

WHO: Gila Muskin Block and Elie

the Chicago community, who, after

Haller Salomon, both of whom

personally experiencing the isolation

were inspired by their personal fer-

of mental illness upon being hospi-

tility journeys to found Yesh Tikva

WHO: Peri Neuwirth

talized for depression, has made it

and give infertility a voice in our

her mission to combat the stigma.


LAUNCH: 2017

LAUNCH: 2014

LAUNCH: 2015

is to give the Jewish community the ability to find everything they need easily and accurately.


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President at comScore, Inc. | Cedarhurst, New York By Alex Abel

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: How Sarah Hofstetter Pushes the Advertising World to New Heights (and Still Manages to Make Shabbos)

And it’s followed by immense praise from previous colleagues all across the board. ComScore is a company that “allows media buyers and sellers to quantify their multiscreen behavior and make business decisions with confidence,” as Hofstetter’s press release explains. And that confidence is something that this woman embodies in all aspects of her life. Hofstetter grew up in Lawrence in a frum family and originally wanted to be a

teacher. “There were a lot who inspired me growing up,” she says. Once she got I once went with the CMO of Enterprise Car Rental all over

to Queens College, she pivoted pretty

St. Louis trying to find a phenomenal kosher restaurant,”

quickly and chose to focus on journalism.

Sarah Hofstetter, President of comScore, recently shared

After graduating, she made her way to

in a video interview with Fortune magazine. That one sentence

public relations, investor relations, and

sums up, in a nutshell, the double life she leads, working in the

corporate communications, working at

advertising industry as an Orthodox woman.

IDT for eight years. “I learned a lot at that

She has worked with brands such as Oreo, HBO, Nespresso,

job, but eventually, I hit my glass ceiling

National Geographic, and Canon, in her previous role as the CEO

and wanted to do something else,” she

of the advertising agency 360i. It’s an agency she helped build


up from 30 employees to nearly 1,000 when she left, and it has

What she did was venture out on her

garnered myriad awards for excellence with her at the helm —

own and start a whole new company,

it was recognized by Ad Age as one of the top advertising agencies

with one of her clients being 360i. “It

for eight years in a row.

was a small digital advertising agency,

Hofstetter brings that same conviction, confidence, and em-

and I took them on as a consulting client

powerment to her observance — actively speaking about her

for public relations,” Hofstetter shares.

values and practices to be an example for others and translating

From there, things took off, and she never

how, in turn, that gives off a solid and trustworthy vitality that her

looked back. “You never know where life is

clients both respect and admire. Even when it’s not easy (hence

going to take you,” she says.

the opening quote), she never puts herself in a position where she might have to compromise on what she believes in. The news about her career came out in early September, and she began her new role in early October. In the company’s announcement, they touted her as someone who “led [her previous agency] through a period of rapid growth to become a leading partner for translating data into creative innovation and business outcomes.”

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We sat down with Hofstetter and discussed everything from what it takes to run a company to how to honor what it means to be a committed Jewish woman.



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LET’S START WITH HOW YOUR CAREER BEGAN. YOU STUDIED JOURNALISM BUT ENDED UP WORKING IN DIGITAL MARKETING AND ADVERTISING. HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT TRANSITION? I didn’t aspire to run big companies at all. When I went to Queens College, I enrolled in a journalism class out of curiosity and fell in love with it. Then I got a great internship at the New York Times for a few semesters and planned to go into the field when I graduated. However, it was hard to find a job that would make ends meet, so I quickly took a turn into public relations. It’s like journalism with a bias.

AFTER THAT, YOU STARTED YOUR OWN COMPANY. WHAT WENT INTO THAT DECISION? I was living in Cedarhurst with two little kids in a highly male-dominated company. It was very inflexible. It was really hard to figure out what would be the right next step, but I knew what I loved. I thought I could get clients with relative ease due to my track record and connections, so I went for it. Of course, it was super scary.

HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT ADJUSTMENT FROM HAVING AN ENTIRE COMPANY BEHIND YOU TO ESSENTIALLY BECOMING A ONE-WOMAN SHOW? There was a learning curve. You go from working for an organization that has infrastructure to being the CEO, the accountant, and the janitor at the same time. You have to do everything. It was very rewarding because I was fully accountable. I couldn’t blame anybody else, so it taught me a tremendous amount.

which wasn’t something they were involved in at all as a company. I worked with the CEO to come up with the idea to do public relations for digital, which became known as influencer marketing — blogs were on the rise, Facebook was on the rise, YouTube had just been bought by Google. There was a lot of momentum, and it grew very quickly.


clients and joining 360i full time to start up their social media divisions. Over the course of a decade, I rose up in the organization and was CEO for the last five years.


30-1,000 EMPLOYEES

ity of the work. You have to set the standard and make sure it’s really good, whether that involves ad creating or ad replacing. The second is the people. You want to make sure that you reward and retain the best people. And


third is growth. I had to drive new business as well as build deeper relationships with clients to make sure we continued to rise.

THAT QUALITY OF BEING ABLE TO JUMP RIGHT IN IS CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS. WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS HAD IN YOU OR DID YOU LEARN IT? I wouldn’t say always. First of all, a lot of people made fun of me for focusing on bloggers. They would say, “What are you doing? Aren’t bloggers people who live in their parents’ basement?” That’s where I actually saw the opportunity because, generally speaking, companies were under-crediting social media influencers, and the influencers were opportunity to bridge that gap. There are always going to be times when you second-guess yourself, but one of the nice

thing that was going on in digital. I got very

things about joining an ad agency without

excited about the potential of social media,

having ad agency experience is that I wasn’t

2.0 WINTER 2018


pillars. One is being accountable for the qual-

working with them, I began to notice every-

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I ended up resigning all of my consulting

over-crediting themselves. It looked like an





blurred by the past or how things had been


done. I loved approaching things as an

ROLE? When you see where an opportunity

outsider and just thinking about the best answer based on the present and potential future.

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT GROWING THAT BUSINESS? Growth comes from bringing on new clients and business. So it’s bringing on



new companies to work with you, and then if they work with you for one service, maybe they’ll hire you for other capabilities as well. The social revolution was a big part of it. It was hard to find people who actually understood social media as well as advertising.




lies and you feel like not everybody’s seeing it, but it’s so obvious to you, it’s incredibly motivating. It’s knowing these guys are onto something and feeling like I can do a few things that will make an impact to help them see massive growth.

AS AN ORTHODOX WOMAN IN A SECULAR INDUSTRY, YOU’RE NATURALLY MET WITH A LOT OF CHALLENGES, WHETHER IT’S SHABBOS OR KEEPING KOSHER — HOW DOES THAT PLAY INTO YOUR IDENTITY? The identity thing is a weird one. There were so many times I would be out to dinner with clients at a treif restaurant and I wouldn’t eat. [Ed.: The poskim differ about whether maris ayin restricts one from attend-

are a lot of changes. It’s a media measure-

ing a business meeting in a non-kosher

ment company, so it’s a big difference, but

restaurant. One should consult with his rav

one of the reasons I’m joining it is that one

regarding this issue.] At first, I wouldn’t

of the biggest gaps in marketing today is

bother bringing in food, because I didn’t

trust — trust between advertisers and the media companies. We have to make sure we have full transparency in the space. So for me, it’s about building bridges as well as


want to make a big deal about it. Then, about 10 years ago, I just got really fed up with not being able to eat. We were in a restaurant in Beverly Hills, and

setting the right vision for where the oppor-

I had one of those LaBriute meals — it’s

tunities are.

shelf-stable food that you can heat up by adding water to create a chemical reac-

WHAT IS SOME OF YOUR ADVICE FOR STARTING A NEW JOB ON THE RIGHT FOOT? You have to have a growth mindset. I feel like I have to learn a whole new language. Last week, I started making flash cards of the terminology. I’m doing a ton of reading and asking a



tion. You don’t need the microwave, and it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. So I used to take those whenever I traveled because I never knew when I was going to get a meal. I was in this restaurant, and everyone was eating super fancy food. I was starving and

lot of questions. It’s a significant shift. That

just blurted out, “Do you guys want to see a

being said, I’m joining a measurement com-

magic trick?” and they were like, “Sure.”

pany that’s full of scientists and researchers.

So I took out my meal and showed them

They don’t need another researcher. They

what it did. It started smoking and looked

need someone who’s going to conceptualize

ridiculous, but people were interested, and

how to take all of their great stuff and get it

I explained my story and observance. It was

into market. And that I can do very well.

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HOW DID EVERYONE REACT? People weren’t judgmental; they just felt bad that we were in a treif restaurant. I was so afraid of being different, but then once I told them what the story was, it changed everything. Since that point, whether it’s with clients or at home, I’ve learned you just have to be who you are. I became much more transparent about who I am and more confident in who I am. It was a big deal for me.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANY CONFLICTS SINCE THEN, LIKE BEING ASKED TO TRAVEL ON SHABBOS? Thank G-d, no. I try not to travel at all on Friday so I don’t have any risk of that. There are times, though, when I have to trav-


el to weird places, and I can’t get food. I was at a dinner in the Swiss Alps, and it wasn’t

Right now, it’s 10:15 on Sunday morning. I’ve already done the food shopping for the week, and made our weekly menu, I got a blood test, I got cash from the bank. I cleaned up from Shabbos, I took down the decorations from the succah, and now I’m going to go to the gym. Does that mean I can’t have a lazy Sunday? I can, but you have to make choices.

WHAT ABOUT PREPARING FOR SHABBOS? THAT COULD TAKE A FULL DAY IN ITSELF. My husband usually cooks during the weekdays. He’s an English teacher at Yeshivah of Flatbush, so he’s home at around 6:30, which is earlier than I am. I make the menus, buy all the food, and prep as much as I can, but then he does the cooking. I cook for Shabbos and on Sunday.

anywhere near kosher food, so I just brought frozen meals

This is where tradeoffs happen. No one needs to have sev-

from Mr. Broadway in Manhattan. It was very complicated

en kugels at a Shabbos meal. We have better food on Shabbos

to explain it to the restaurant because I don’t speak French,

than we have during the week and it’s always more special,

but it worked out. I don’t think I’ve ever gone hungry; it just

but it’s not over the top.

takes a lot of planning.



ABOUT THAT? Like everything in the world, you’ve got to have

environment. Earlier on in my career, it was very hard to be

moderation. You can’t let yourself be consumed by any one

a woman, especially a mom. I didn’t feel like I got support,

thing, but you have to understand it in order to use it the

empathy, or flexibility. Moving up in the world and changing

right way. Of course, social media has elements that are su-

jobs hasn’t necessarily made it easier to be a woman, but

per polarizing. Navigating it is really where the opportunity

it has made it more comfortable. One of the things I really

is. So if I’m going to spend the time to help my clients use it,

enjoyed about my last few years at 360i, being in the CEO

that’s time well spent. If I’m going to get sucked into a black

position, was being a mentor to other women — particularly

hole of debate, well, that’s not a good use of anybody’s time.

those newer in their careers — and helping them believe their ambitions were possible. That was very rewarding for me.



ENOUGH TO EACH AREA OF YOUR LIFE? First of all, it’s never

WAY THINGS ARE? First, maternity leave. I only had six weeks

enough, no matter what. Even if you only had a full-time

off for each of my kids. I came back to work when I was still

job and didn’t have a family or if you only had a family and

recovering. So by the time I left 360i, I made sure they had

didn’t work outside the home, there are certain people who

a very robust parental policy and lots of support for nursing

are just never going to feel like they’ve done everything. For

mothers. It’s really exciting to be able to set a better tone for

me, it’s about being really smart about how I use my time.

the next generation.

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are still at the forefront of today’s

Picture this: It’s the flagship event of the

market. Other leaders include Dell, Staples, Office Depot, and

e-commerce industry, attracting people from all over

Hewlett-Packard, with the most

the country — 10,000 people milling about 250,000

music, books, computers, office sup-

square feet of expo space, fueling up at coffee

popular e-commerce categories being plies, and other consumer electronics. Speaking of Amazon, let’s dive a

stands, chatting with suppliers, and even enjoying a

little deeper into this e-commerce

game of table hockey with other attendees.

300 million active users and makes


giant. Currently, the company boasts billions in online revenue. They hold 49.1 percent of the United States’

his four-day event

ways for Torah-observant Jews to

e-commerce market share, and their

is called the IRCE, or

get involved and succeed in a highly

stock price has more than doubled

the Internet Retailer

saturated market?

over the last year. The company is

Conference + Exhi-

only stretching its hands into more

bition, and it takes


place every summer

In 1991, the Internet became open for

they bought Whole Foods, which at

in Chicago. More than 200 speakers

commercial use. In 1994, the general

the time was already the largest seller

and over 600 exhibitions pack the

public got on board, but it still took

of groceries online at 18 percent. Now

schedule, making it a not-to-miss

four years after that to develop the

that Amazon has access to the com-

event. Last year’s conference touted

security protocols allowing people to

pany’s brick-and-mortar locations,

executives from places like Paragon

really use dot-com safely. It wasn’t

they’re able to expand their reach

Sports, Coca-Cola, Warby Parker,

until 2000 that businesses started

and use them as distribution centers.

Nordstrom, and Facebook, just to

selling their products online and

They’re also continuing to push into

name a select few.

the definition of e-commerce really

areas like online pharmaceuticals,

changed. Initially, it was just used by

healthcare, overtaking clothing and

dozens of men began making their

companies to send commercial docu-

department stores, and advancing an

way purposefully to a quiet spot. They

mentation electronically. Then

at-home tech service to take the place

blocked out the noise, the opportu-

it became a place where people

of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

nity, the networking — and began to

could actually purchase goods and

daven Minchah.

services. By the end of 2001,

of marketing at NYU’s Stern School

business-to-business e-commerce

of Business, is a true e-commerce

are just an outward sign of a steadily

had made about $700 billion in trans-

maven. He founded the digital intel-

developing trend. The frum com-


ligence firm L2, which helps brands

And in the middle of all that action,

The Minchah minyanim at the IRCE

munity is already knee-deep in the

Let’s backtrack for a bit.

Throughout the following years,

areas as time goes on. In August 2017,

Scott Galloway, a clinical professor

to see how they’re doing against the

e-commerce industry, which involves

more and more people became

competition, identify and understand

anything to do with commercial

interested, and by the end of 2007,

their strengths and weaknesses, and

online transactions, and more con-

3.4 percent of sales were via e-com-

learn how they can improve in the

stantly join the party. But where is the

merce. Amazon and eBay were early

marketplace. His 2017 book, The Four:

industry going? And what are the best

players in the business and, of course,

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2 . 0 | 103



Facebook, and Google, became a New York Times bestseller. He regularly gives talks and speaks about the subject today. “Over the past decade, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and

Talking Tech Let’s talk acronyms. Entering the world of tech-

Google — or, as I call them, ‘The Four’ — have aggre-

nology and e-commerce is going to require you

gated more economic value and influence than nearly

to pull up your bootstraps with new words to

any other commercial entity in history,” Galloway says.

sound like you know what you’re talking about

“Together, they have a market capitalization of $2.8 trillion (the GDP of France), a staggering 24 percent share of the S&P 500 Top 50, close to the value of every stock traded on the Nasdaq in 2001.”

when networking at that next conference and, of course, to understand how to grow your company. Here are some key ones to study.

He goes on to say that they’ve managed to preserve their monopoly-like powers without heavy regulation. “Their massive size and unchecked power have throttled competitive markets and kept the economy from doing its job — namely, to promote a vibrant middle class,” he shares, further explaining that Amazon is by far the strongest culprit in destroying the middle class, making it far more challenging for the average retailer to stay afloat. As proof, the day Amazon announced it would enter the dental-supply business, dental-supply companies’ stock fell 4 to 5 percent. When Amazon reported it would sell prescription drugs, pharmacy stocks fell 3 to 5 percent. Within 24 hours of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, large national grocery stocks fell 5 to 9 percent. A whopping 64 percent of U.S. households have Amazon Prime, which gives access to exclusive deals, free shipping, and a variety of other content. In other words, they will not be stopped.


If you want to take a page out of Amazon’s

book and open an e-commerce business of your own, it’s important to take these trends and questions into consideration.

WEBSITE VS. MARKETPLACE Say you want to open an online store — how should you choose whether to launch your own website or attach yourself to a third-party marketplace? Let’s break it down. A third-party marketplace would mean selling your product on a website like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, or

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API — Application Program Interface; a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. B2B — Business to Business; the exchange of products, services, or information between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers. B2C — Business to Consumer; business or transactions conducted directly between a company and consumers. LTV— Customer Lifetime Value; a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. CRM — Customer Relationship Management; practices, strategies, and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. KPI — Key Performance Indicator; a set of quantifiable measures that a company uses to gauge its performance over time.

OMS — Order Management System; an electronic system developed to execute securities orders in an efficient and cost-effective manner. ROI — Return on Investment; a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. SEO — Search Engine Optimization; strategies, techniques, and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page. SEM — Search Engine Marketing; a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages. CPA — Cost Per Acquisition (sometimes CAC or Customer Acquisition Cost); how much it costs in advertising to convert one person from a visitor to a client for the company.

Etsy. There are a lot of advantages to

marketing side of things to let people

going this route, starting with conve-

know you exist.

nience. Because the platform already

So how to choose? A good rule of

exists, it’s user-friendly and the infra-

thumb presented by Medium, a ma-

structure is intact. The website has a

jor online publishing platform, can be

system in place to handle transactions

gleaned by answering the following

and payment, so there’s minimal work

question: Do you have intensive cus-

on the seller’s end. Plus, they’re obvi-

tomization and analytics needs, and do

ously already quite popular — people

you currently have the resources to build

are comfortable buying from there and

your own website? If you answered yes,

won’t have hesitations about trying out

focus traffic to your own space. If not,

a new service.

direct traffic to a rented space on a

The downsides? There’s a lot of competition, for one. If you’re sell-

third-party site. The truth is, though, in today’s

ing a product on a site that has tons of

online market, you don’t have to go just

other similar options, it’s going to be a

one route. Who says you can’t do both?

lot harder to stand out from the pack.

According to a separate article on

Further, even if consumers do buy and

Medium, if you want to get the highest

love it, they’re most likely going to

profit, you should take advantage of

associate it with the seller instead of

both strategies.

your individual brand, so it’s harder to maintain that market recognition. In


addition, if you’re looking to develop a

dive a little deeper. We spoke to a few

loyal customer database and a personal

professionals on what they would

relationship with your clients, it’s hard

choose when it comes to third-market

to do so on a big site, since websites

versus individual selling, and they had

like these usually don’t allow individual

some interesting insights to add.

sellers to communicate outside of their

“I’d rather be in the direct-to-

domain. And lastly, but maybe most

consumer business via my own brand

importantly, you’ll have to pay fees to

and own site than on Amazon,” says

the marketplace to list your product and

marketing professional Andrew Gluck.

give up a portion of each sale.

He cofounded Agency Within, one of the

So let’s talk building your own web-


fastest-growing independent digital

site. The first pro is that you’ll have

marketing agencies managing clients

full control over your brand and your

like Nike, Spanx, Shake Shack, and

customers, so you’ll be able to maintain

Etsy. “Amazon is building out almost

that relationship and try to get buyers

100 brands that will directly compete

to come back. But the converse of the

with you across fashion, tech, and other

above is that you’ll need to know how

areas. Unless you have something that

to get an efficient site up and running

Amazon cannot replicate, it’s only a

(or have the funds to have someone do

matter of time until they come after

that for you) and work a lot more on the

your customers. When consumers buy


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directly from your site, you own that

in one fell swoop. We spoke to one

adapting their businesses to exist in a

customer. You have the data on them

business owner, Moshe Farkash (not

new world order are the ones that will

to get them to keep coming back.”

his real name), who sells health and

survive and thrive.

Elimelech Blumstein is the co-

beauty products on Amazon. Farkash

What are those lessons? “Consum-

founder of Twillory, a leading

says that the company shut down

ers want convenience, transparency,

direct-to-consumer menswear start-

his account for two weeks last year.

social responsibility, flexibility, and

up. He focuses primarily on his own

“Three people sent in complaints

great storytelling,” Blumstein says.

site but leverages the power of Ama-

about the product, and boom, they

“Brands that hide behind bureau-

zon as well. “Selling on Amazon after

just shut my account down,” he says.

cracy, policies, outsourced customer

you’ve established your brand and

Farkash hired Ed Rosenberg, the

service, inauthentic marketing tac-

a following might make sense,” he

founder of Amazon Sellers Group TG,

tics, and uninspired experiences are

says. “But I’d still keep some styles

for help. Rosenberg created a whole

doomed in the long run.”

exclusive to your site. Or release them

business to be an advocate for those

to Amazon a season behind.”

who fall prey to Amazon’s account


suspensions. He specializes in the

Many are predicting the collapse of

comes down to two forever busi-

company’s compliance issues, so he

retail, and while the statistics are

ness essentials: time and money. “If

can be an extremely useful resource

concerning, they don’t point to a

your goal is to build a valuable brand

to get your site back online, and he

collapse, but a shift. And many brands

long-term and are okay not turning

did just that for Farkash. That being

on both sides of the equation are not

a profit for years, then the way to go

said, it’s not cheap. Farkash had to

only adjusting properly but are actu-

is your own website,” he explains. “If

pay $2,500 for Ed’s services and ob-

ally capitalizing on the opportunity

the goal is to keep costs low and turn

tained an invoice from a supplier that

afforded by the chaos.

a profit early on, with no clear plan to

Amazon honors, which set him back

sell the business, then stick with third

another $500. But it was worth it to

only” trend, there are still many

party sites.”

get back up and running.

ultra-successful brands utilizing

Blumstein argues that the decision

Further, he explains that it’s

Self-motivation, Farkash says, is

In stark contrast to the “digital

brick-and-mortar experiences. Most

important to keep in mind what he’s

key. “You’ve got to be a hustler and be

of these stores are discount com-

seen as Amazon’s goal, and that is

very driven,” he explains. “You can’t

panies. For example, Ross Stores, a

becoming a monopoly and replac-

give up. I had a product that I sold for

discount clothing and home decor

ing all brands, including the sellers

months and months and made a kill-

chain, opened 40 new locations in

already on their site. “They leverage

ing off of it, and then some guy came

September and October and has no

their power to launch generic brands

along and sold it for far less. There

plans to stop. Its goal is to reach

of their own in any category that

was nothing I could do about it. You

2,400 locations, up from the 1,500 in

serves their interests,” he says. “The

just have to be motivated and go on

existence today. TJX Companies, the

investment in voice technology is

looking for the next product.”

parent of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and

proof: When someone orders batter-

HomeGoods, is opening 238 stores

it will be Amazon Basics. They also


have the ability to control the seller’s

there are numerous ways to make


money in e-commerce other than

Ernie Herrman says a “disruption”

starting your own online store. The

in retailing is creating a glut of

just shut large accounts, completely

brands that have internalized the

merchandise that TJX is scooping up

devastating successful businesses

lessons of the Internet era and are

at bargain prices. Ross has argued

ies, they won’t be receiving Duracell;

Indeed, Amazon has been known to

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this year, and Burlington Stores is opening up to 40. The reason? TJX Chief Executive

ENTREPRENEUR ELIMELECH BLUMSTEIN’S TOP FIVE DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER E-COMM STARTUPS It’s clear that it’s no easy task to get people to talk in the saturated consumer-based world we live in. But according to Blumstein, these companies have done it with flying colors. He goes into why and lets you take a note from each of their books.

A better way to travel

The best bed for a better sleep

Better shoes, made in a better way

Away’s founders Steph Korey and Jen Rubio created perfect luggage crafted with a lightweight and unbreakable shell. They offer free shipping, a lifetime guarantee, and a built-in phone charger. Away took the direct-to-consumer approach. The luggage pieces are made with the same top-quality materials as other premium luggage brands, but their overhead is much lower and they guarantee their quality — your Away suitcase will be with you for life. As their website tells you, “What you take with you matters. Your luggage should pull more than its weight — it should be your home between homes, your closet between closets, your outlet between outlets. If you’re looking down at your dying phone and broken bag, you can’t see up, out, and ahead to the world in front of you.”

Casper has reinvented the mattress shopping experience. Business Insider calls it “the Internet’s favorite mattress.” They have more than 40,000 reviews on Google, Casper, and Amazon. The mattresses ship super-fast so you’ll get them within three days. In terms of setup, it comes in a super compact box that’s really easy to unpack, and they offer at-home delivery for a flat $149 regardless of how much you buy. They recycle your old mattress as well so you don’t have to worry about that hassle. Bonus? You can try it out first. Casper lets you sleep on any mattress for 100 nights and then send it back for free if you don’t like it. One reviewer said it “stopped [her] neck and back pain for good.”

Allbirds made major waves in the shoe industry when they hit the scene with a new “wool runner.” The shoes are created from merino wool and they’re the first of their kind. Time magazine calls them “the world’s most comfortable shoes.” In their just two years of existence, they’ve quickly become the uniform of much of Silicon Valley. The company just celebrated selling its one-millionth pair and raised an additional $50 million in funding to now be valued at over $1 billion. They also offer a free return — you can keep the shoes for a full 30 days to try. “The assumption is that innovation is about adding stuff,” cofounder and ex-pro New Zealand soccer player Tim Brown told the Evening Standard. “But sometimes, it can be about taking something away, and in the case of footwear, it was very clear there was a problem with simple.”

The Internet’s favorite sofa Burrow has created “The most clever, comfortable sofa designed for your ever-changing life and living room.” They offer free shipping (and get it there in a week) and a 30-day risk-free trial. The sofas are also stain- and scratch-resistant and have a USB charger built in. The cushions are reversible so you can swap between tufted and untufted styles. Blumstein says the entire lineup is totally modular, so you can start with the armchair and it’ll go wherever your imagination takes you; you can just keep extending it. The furniture grows with you, so as your space changes and gets bigger, your furniture can too. Plus, by delivering their couch directly to you, they’re able to remove all retail markups and over 70 percent of standard shipping costs. That, plus the innovative shipping method, results in over $600 in sofa savings.

Perfect oral care, delivered This toothbrush has been called “the iPhone” and “the Tesla” of toothbrushes, so you know it’s got game. It’s very slim, has a vibrating timer, with multiple colors to choose from and a recurring head delivery service that’s just $5 so you’ll have a fresh brush every three months. The company believes in stripping electronic toothbrushes down, so it’s back to just the basics of what you need to get the best clean. They also sell manual toothbrushes and their own toothpaste.


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that the high costs of online shipping and frequent return rates mean it doesn’t make sense for Amazon to attack heavy-discount apparel sellers. “The economics just don’t work,” Ross’s president and chief operating officer, Michael O’Sullivan, told

The Launch Starting your own online business is certainly a challenge, but teaching yourself is doable. Uncompromising requirements? Commitment and work.

Goldman Sachs analysts last year. “If I was Amazon, I don’t think I’d be looking at the off-price space as my big opportunity.” Another common explanation is the inherent nature of the treasure-hunting experience. At these discount chains, merchandise constantly changes, and customers never know what they’ll find. That thrill keeps them coming back regularly and making emotion-driven whim purchases on things like digital picture frames and bath bombs. Considering all this, building a business that sells to or services the discount industry might be a good strategy.

REAL ESTATE WAREHOUSING — AN UNTAPPED MARKET? If you’re seeking to tap the e-commerce boom but prefer dealing with physical properties, remember that the brick-and-mortar of online still exists in its own way: Successful online businesses will eventually require warehouse space to store quantities of their product. So if you’re looking for a longstanding business to go into, the warehouse industry is certainly one to explore. “There has been a slight uptick in warehousing needs for online businesses,” says Avi Feinberg, a warehousing real estate broker of 34 years. So far this year, more than half of the 100 biggest leases for warehouse space have been signed by manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and other online sellers or their logistics services providers, according to CBRE Group Inc., a large Los 108 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

Here’s what you need to do:

1. DECIDE WHETHER TO USE A THIRD-PARTY PLATFORM OR BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE. An ecommerce site is the most direct form of online business you can start, compared to a business that uses a third-party platform or marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, or Airbnb. When you build and host your own e-commerce site, you’ll be selling your goods and services directly to your customers, without a go-between. The biggest advantage of this forum is that you have the ability to create a customized user experience, showcasing your products however you see fit and developing your own unique strategy to service and retain customers. In contrast, building a business through an ecommerce marketplace like Amazon can be simpler, since you’ll have to make fewer decisions and won’t have to build your own website. It’s a more attractive option for a quick start.

2. START BUSINESS PLANNING. One great option to utilize is creating a “lean business plan.” A lean business plan is what every business owner and aspiring startup needs to manage strategy, tactics, execution, and essential business numbers. It exists for internal management, not for outsiders. It keeps things simple with just bullet points for essentials and a collection of lists and tables. It should be reviewed and revised at least once a month so it stays fresh. A lean business plan steers the company toward its goals, and also helps to track and manage progress, expectations, and accountability. Your business plan should include significant research to confirm that there is a market for your product, competitors, and ensure you have the proper funding to get started.

3. MAKE IT LEGAL. Online business law differs slightly from brick-and-mortar. Make sure to brush up on it by reading through the Small Business Administration’s guides (there are a lot online). They’ll help you form an LLC, learn tax requirements, manage your day-today and eventually, help you grow.


Angeles commercial real estate ser-

by Silicon Valley’s latest product,

vices and investment company. Al-

Blumstein says e-commerce is

together, the 100 largest warehouse

accessible. “You can’t just wake up

leases represented about 67 million

one day and get into that,” he says

square feet of space, CBRE says. Of

about Silicon Valley’s tech industry.

that total, the square footage leased

“Amazon, you can. You can learn

for e-commerce use by various

how to operate [it] and sell product

companies totaled about 40 million

online. But to learn how to build

square feet, a comfortable majority.

technology requires a lot of training

Feinberg says a qualified broker needs good people skills and persistence. For a person just starting

and a cultural background in the field.” Once you start, you’ll learn to uti-

out, he says one needs some sort of

lize technology in new ways to help

savings or financial support for at

you continually reap the benefits

least the first three to six months

and, if you’re dreaming big, to stand

until he can surpass the learning

out as a market disruptor. Compass

curve and make his first deal. “Many

Real Estate is one such example of

years ago, I trained a young chassi-

doing just that. They’ve created a

dish fellow who just got out of kollel.

“smart” version of the classic “for

He had good people skills and always

sale” sign. If you have their app and

tried to make connections with peo-

walk within 20 feet of a sign, you get

ple in the industry. Eventually, after

an alert that tells you custom infor-

about nine months of not hitting

mation about the home. The sign

anything, he hit a lot.”

also connects agents to potential buyers through Bluetooth and can


direct buyers who are far away to get

those who think the big technologi-

to the home through Waze.

cal world seems intimidating or too

Matthew Spangler, chief creative

hard to master, Blumstein assures

officer at the company and chief de-

that e-commerce can be very prac-

signer of the sign, said to CNBC, “We

tical for an observant Jew to earn a

see the sign as a part of a connected

living. “The reason why we get into

ecosystem of devices managing the

e-commerce is because technology

sale of homes in the future, every-

is out of reach for most of us, and

thing from open house management

this is an entry point into where the

to digital lockboxes.”

future is,” he explains. “Buying and

Gluck sums it up by saying, “What

selling real products is something

they’re doing to the fragmented

we know how to do. We know how to

real estate industry by leveraging

sell products and make money.”

their tech to be the best-in-class is

Instead of being intimidated



2 . 0 | 109




Busy in Brooklyn | Brooklyn, New York By Abbey Wolin abb


MY DREAM JOB Artist and social media star Abbey Wolin chats with others who made a business out of their hobbies and talents. Her first interview: Chanie Apfelbaum of Busy in Brooklyn cooking blog fame.







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Hi! My name is Abbey Wolin. I’m the owner of my eponymous

I found myself completely overwhelmed, and as much as I

hand-painted glassware company. I’ve always been into art,

loved what I was doing, I started feeling like a “jack-of-all-

but I actually started my career as a teacher, while keeping my

trades, but master of none.” So I did a 90-day transformation

own projects going on the side. Then, nine years ago, over the

and soon was spending less time in the studio and more

summer, I decided to teach myself how to paint on glass, and it

time with my family, and I saw profits increase by 10 percent.

snowballed into a whole new job.

I turned that into a 30-day business challenge for my

Things really took off. First, I had my pieces in five stores, then ten, and I’m now in ninety stores across the country. I credit a lot of that to social media. I got involved right when it was getting

followers, and at this point, I’ve been able to help more than a thousand women through it. I’m excited to keep that momentum going with a new

started, which is how people noticed my work. Now I have more

subscription-based goal kit to help my followers achieve

than 12.5 thousand followers, I continue to take my brand to new

any milestone on their list. I break it all down to make it easy

heights, and I get to do something I truly love every single day.

and doable. And of course, I’m always creating more. Keep

That being said, like many “momtrepreneurs,” I eventually got caught up in the work-balance struggle. This past January,

110 |

2.0 WINTER 2018


following my new column as we talk to others who turned their passion into a moneymaker.



Spread the Word



ol in


customers, spreading their message wide and clear. I have personally seen the power that social media can give to a

They say the best way to grow your

business. As an artist, I have my own

business is through word of mouth.

hand-painted glassware shop and

In today’s day and age, social media

studio. To get the word out, I started

has become that mouth, taking small

my own Facebook page just as the

companies to new heights by sharing

platform allowed for businesses to

ideas, pictures, businesses, and words

do so. I remember being so nervous

to other states and countries, and with a

opening that page and putting myself

now unlimited number of consumers.

out there! Slowly but surely, my page

Businesses throughout the world are harnessing the power of social media


less number of potential clients and

grew and I created a loyal fan base. About four years ago, I made the

to market their product or services.

shift to Instagram and never looked

Instagram specifically has begun to

back. This platform allows me to

dominate the marketing world. In 2018, if

connect to my fans in a whole new

you want to run a profitable business, an

way. I can talk to them through

Instagram account is crucial.

posts, show them behind-the-scenes in Stories, and even go “live,” where I offer a weekly business class. The

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Way back when, and we’re talking turn of the last centu-

community I’ve grown through so-

ry here, shoppers would go to their local market and shmooze with the pro-

cial media has propelled my business

prietor. Why would someone choose one store over the other? Connection — it

forward, and a lot of my profitability

was the relationship they had with the store owner. Everyone knew each other

success can be attributed to it.

personally, and there was a sort of kinship between store owner and customer. Then came big business. The Targets, Walmarts, and grocery food chain

We all have our dreams and passions. In this column, we’re going to

stores that began to dominate the country. No longer was there a personal

talk to individuals about how they

relationship, but rather a convenient shopping experience in an almost sterile,

dug deep to make themselves thrive.

anonymous environment. People began craving human interaction. In a world

We’ll answer questions like, “What

where technology dominates and people interact mostly over the phone, social

makes one follow their dreams to

media has boomed. Ironically, despite it being digital, it allows for human con-

make money? How do you go from

nection in a way that creates a bond and gives us a peek behind the scenes into

just an idea to a full-on company?

the companies we’re buying from.

What were the steps that were taken

I talk a lot about the “Know, Like, Trust” factor. Customers are more willing

along the way? Was it a conscious

to purchase from you when they know, like, and trust you. That’s why they

decision or organic growth?” This

choose to buy from a certain store over shopping at a more inexpensive or

column will explore different

convenient place. It’s how luxury brands exist. With the growth of social media,

avenues and paths various entre-

anyone who has an account has the ability to grow exponentially — everyone

preneurs have taken to fulfill their

is on the same playing field, and it’s how we use the platform that matters. By

dreams and make parnassah at the

harnessing the power of social media, brands have the ability to reach a count-

same time. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 111





Best known for her blog Busy in Brooklyn, Chanie Apfelbaum has over 51,000 followers on Instagram, earning her a celebrity status in the religious world and beyond. In May of this year, she came out with her first cookbook, published by ArtScroll, entitled Millennial Kosher. I was honored to be asked to design the artwork for the cookbook. I’ve known Chanie a long time, and I feel privileged to call her my friend. We recently met in Crown Heights to reflect on how far she’s come and to discuss how she went from cooking in her kitchen to virtually cooking for thousands of people throughout the world.

AW: CHANIE, CAN YOU BELIEVE WE’RE SITTING HERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR COOKBOOK RELEASE? I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE SOLD OUT YOUR FIRST RUN! CA: I know, it’s incredible! We just finished our second printing, and it’s already in stores.

OUR FOCUS HERE IS ABOUT HOW YOUR PASSION MAKES YOU MONEY. SO WHAT IS IT THAT YOU’RE MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT, AND HOW DID YOU CREATE A BUSINESS OUT OF IT? I am most passionate about food, family, and tradition. Food is what brings us together around the table, and it’s how we celebrate our heritage. The turning point for me, when I knew that I wanted to do this forever, was when a reader e-mailed me, yes, e-mailed me — this was before Instagram Direct Messaging! — a picture of her whole family sitting around the table eating my Chili Pie in Jars. It was so powerful for me to see my recipe being used to bring this family together.

SO HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO MAKE A PROFIT? It was really an organic growth. I never went into it thinking I would make money. I’m a very creative person, and I needed an outlet for my creativity. My blog allowed me to craft recipes that people loved, and it kept me busy while my kids 112 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

were in school. Even today, I don’t think about how much money I need to make per month, I just do what I love, and if I make money, great.

HA, WE’RE TOTALLY DIFFERENT! I’M EXTREMELY INTENTIONAL WITH HOW MUCH MONEY I NEED TO MAKE EACH MONTH. BUT I RUN A PRODUCT-BASED BUSINESS, AND YOU RUN A SERVICE-BASED BUSINESS. AS A SERVICE-BASED BUSINESS, WHAT ARE YOUR REVENUE STREAMS? Most blogs get revenue from ads. I don’t have that right now because I care more about the user experience. I want to keep a very clean design — I don’t want anything to distract my readers and take them away from my content. I’ve tested out several ad networks over the years, but I haven’t found the perfect fit just yet. Currently, the only blog revenue I receive is from working directly with brands to create sponsored posts for them. I create a custom recipe using their products and incorporate their packaging into some of the photos. Another form of revenue for me is food photography and sponsored social media content, such as posts on Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, and takeovers. I’ll often package deals to include social media posts along with blog posts. My newest source of income is cooking demos and the sale of my book. Of course, I was doing demos before my book’s release, but the amount of traveling and events has dramatically increased. Organizations, schools, and Chabad houses like to host cooking demos because they’re fun and educational. I give a one- to two-hour presentation where I cook my way through a three-course dinner and give lots of cooking tips and tricks along the way. After the demo, I

type in anything, and they’ll find what they are looking for. Last night, a reader told me, “I just type in the ingredients I have in my fridge into your search box, and whatever recipe I find, I cook!”



Never. It’s my home. Even with social media, people need a

First, I answer e-mails. I set my blogging calendar six

place to go. People ask me all the time, “Why not just post

weeks in advance, so depending on sponsored posts and

recipes on the feed?” The answer is because it’s not easy to

other recipe-development deadlines, I’m usually testing

access the feed. There’s no search button on Instagram. If

and shooting recipes a few times a week. Once a week, I do

someone wants a specific recipe, they have to look through

photo-editing and write a blog post, and I often have phone

the whole feed.

meetings set up. I also go to the grocery store almost every

sign copies of the book and take pictures with the attendees if they’d like.

With a blog, all they have to do is go to my search box and

day, but it totally inspires me. I love grocery stores. WINTER 2018

2 . 0 | 113




I’M CURIOUS, WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU HAD YOUR BLOG? I went to school for Web design and worked for a range of online businesses over the years (back in the day before Amazon took over the marketplace!). When I had my third child, I decided to leave my job to focus on my family, but I quickly realized that I needed something to stimulate me and allow me to express my creative side. Every Shabbos, we would sit around the table and try to brainstorm different things I could do from home. I started posting some of my dishes and crafts on Facebook, and requests started trickling in for recipes, so my husband encouraged me to start a blog. I thought it would be like all my other hobbies that had come and gone through the years; I never imagined it would turn into a business.

HOW DID YOU MASTER THE MANAGEMENT ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS? WAS THERE A LEARNING CURVE? I’ve never been very business-minded — I’m much more of a free spirit — but thankfully, I married someone who is. My husband runs a successful online marketing company (Ajax Union), and while I usually manage my business on my own, I go to him for advice on how to work out partnerships and how to approach different opportunities that come my way. He also helps me with all the technical behind-the-scenes blog stuff. I don’t know what I would do without his help! I’m also lucky to have a great group of blogging friends that I rely on for support and advice in different situations. It’s so important to network

thing for me. Instagram just became more fun, and I started

with other people in your industry because it really helps

spending more time there. Unfortunately, you know how

you grow.

the algorithm works; the less you engage on a platform, the less your audience sees your posts. Well, because I started


spending more time on Instagram, I naturally began grow-


ing more of an audience there, and the rest is history.

It takes me a long time to get comfortable with things, and I was very happy on Facebook. So when everyone started talking about Instagram, I waved the idea away. It took


time for me to change. The first time I posted to Insta-

There was a time I was thinking about being more inten-

gram was about five years ago. So many people ask me

tional, but for me, it’s just not sustainable. As a food blog-

how I got so many followers so quickly and how they can

ger, I’m posting my life as I live it — I’m not intentionally

replicate it. It wasn’t quick! It was all organic growth over

planning out my posts, so I’ll usually post something I’m

a long period of time.

actually eating or doing that day. Sometimes, I’ll need some

When Instagram Stories came out, it changed every114 |

2.0 WINTER 2018

filler content, but I’ll often archive it afterwards if it doesn’t

and access a direct link to my newest recipe. I’ll also put a look streamlined on my feed. I do care a lot about what my

link to my latest post in my bio.

feed looks like, and I’ve turned away opportunities because they weren’t the right fit for me. Just because a company is willing to pay me to promote something, it doesn’t mean I’ll accept it. There has to be a synergy between me, the food, the recipes, the brands, and my social media feeds. And most importantly, I’ll only promote things that I really love; otherwise, I’ve lost all credibility.

WHAT’S YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY? WE TALK ABOUT THE KNOW, LIKE, AND TRUST FACTOR A LOT. HOW DO YOU DO THIS? CLEARLY, YOU’RE DOING IT SUBLIMINALLY, BUT THERE ARE SO MANY BLOGGERS OUT THERE. HOW DO YOU STAND OUT? It’s just about being real and normal. I’m a real person. You have to have a personality and persona is important, but it shouldn’t be fake. It should be authentic. I used to think about cooking just for Instagram Stories, but then I realized


it shouldn’t be about living my life around the platform. In-

I hardly ever post recipes on Instagram. Whatever I post to

busy, but when you’re vulnerable and you show people that

my feed is also posted to Stories. The viewer can swipe up

you’re real, they feel like they can connect to you.

stead, Instagram needs to be a reflection of my life. Honestly, it’s happened more out of necessity because I’m just so


2 . 0 | 115

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