2.0 Issue 3, May 2019

Page 1


2.0 20


Jewish Students Across America Master Crucial Coding Skills

VENTURE CAPITALIST SECRETS: Why Should I Invest in Your Idea?


PURPOSE How Serial Entrepreneur Azriel Chelst Drives Innovation Every Day

1 |

Spreading Hope

Rachel Kraus Brings New Life to the World Trade Center and Jewish Souls Across NYC

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May 2019

ON THE COVER 12. ASK A VENTURE CAPITALIST Pulling back the mystery on how VC firms allocate their money

46. LEADING WITH A PURPOSE Azriel Chelst, vice president of Innovation Partnerships at Barclays Bank, walks us through his life as a serial entrepreneur

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40. STAYING SECURE Protect your small business from a cyberattack

54. REBUILDING NEW YORK How Rachel Kraus is working to revitalize the World Trade Center and Jewish souls alike

62. WHEN TORAH AND TECHNOLOGY MEET This new gap-year program gives high school graduates a leg up in Judaism and their careers

78. CROWD SOURCING Industry experts share the best business advice they’ve ever received

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MY DREAM JOB How Galit Winer of Kidichic created a children’s clothing empire


28. The Halachah of SelfDriving Cars

10. Improve Your Focus

The commentators discuss important issues that may arise: When only an algorithm is at the wheel, which life comes first?

This psychologist shares four tips to working smarter

14. Marketing 101

DEEP DIVE 68. The Next Generation Why STEM curriculums are the backbone of tomorrow’s job market

LAST BYTE 74. Products to Make Your Life Easier You’ll be boosting your efficiency in no time

76. Book Smart

One agency’s advice on leveraging influencers to boost your business


18. What’s Blockchain?

22. An App for That

The Floor, a financial tech company in Tel Aviv, breaks down the details

How this company is challenging search engines with their technology

30. Our Need to Innovate What Judaism can teach us about creating newness

Key takeaways from author Malcolm Gladwell’s Greatest Hits

36. Shadow Me

83. Tech Terms to Know

Follow a managing director at Meridian through his workday

Stay up to date on every new word on the street

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: Dovid Bashevkin, Yaeli Dorfman, Ariella Gluck, Ariel Gros-Werter, Rabbi Reuven Ibragimov, Rabbi Yoni Levin, Mimi Minsky, Abbey Wolin Chief of Staff, US Office: Michal Frischman | Creative Director: Tzivia Cohen | Graphics: Miriam Reifman, Brachi Berkowitz, Devorah Cohen Production Manager: Esti Vago | Production Assistant: Hadas Stern | Copy Editors: Chaya Baila Lieber, Shainy Borenstein, Malka Winner | Proofreader: Shana Halpert Chief Sales Officer, Israel and Europe: Rachel Levitan | Advertising/Agency Manager, US and Canada: Nina Feiner | Sales, US and Canada: Nina Feiner, Yaakov Gerstel, Duvi Vogel | Sales Manager, Israel and Europe: Mazel Chifrot | Sales, Israel and Europe: Chanie Friedman OFFICE NUMBER: 718-686-9339 • E-MAIL: EDITORIAL@20MAGAZINE.COM • ADVERTISE: 718-686-9339, ADVERTISE@20MAGAZINE.COM Cover photo: Naftoli Goldgrab This magazine contains some sponsored content.

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have an accurate mental record of many commodities and their relative value to his corn. As you can imagine, this process is very limiting. As larger cities developed and the economies grew more complex, this system became problematic.


have a habit of asking people

Money, however, has no intrinsic

what their favorite pesukim in

value. Its worth is based sheerly on

Tanach are. I find that I can

the collective imagination and trust

learn a lot about people from their

of people — it’s a social construct

responses, or I at least enjoy gaining

that gets its value from our very

new insights into words previously

love for His people and His concern

belief that others will agree with


for our financial welfare.

our designation of value. Why do we

I’m not sure what this says about

Economics is a topic that appears

believe in the dollar bill? Because we

me, but lately I’ve been thinking

often in both Torah shebichsav and

assume that our neighbors believe

about these seemingly random

Torah shebe’al peh. Chazal even tell

in it, and they assume that we do,

verses in parshas Bereishis. Smack in

us that Avraham Avinu and Yaakov

too. This allows our corn farmer to

middle of describing the spectacular

Avinu were involved in the establish-

sell his corn for coins or bills and

process of Creation and the mysteri-

ment of the system of coinage. Pre-

then confidently go the marketplace

ous rivers that flow from Gan Eden,

viously, people had relied on a barter

knowing that whichever stall he

the Torah says, “Shem ha’echad Pis-

system or transacted with gold and

shops at will accept his payment,

hon; hu hasovev es kol eretz hachavilah,

silver ingots based on weight. How

simply because they can do the very

asher sham hazahav. V’zahav ha’aretz

this is reconciled with the secular

same thing.

hahu tov; sham havdolach v’even

historical and archeological consen-

hashoham. The name of one is Pis-

sus that the first coins originated

author Yuval Noah Harari, money

hon; that is the one that encompass-

in fifth- or sixth-century Lydia (an

is based on two universal systems:

es all the land of Chavilah, where

ancient country bordering on the

the system of convertibility and the

there is gold. And the gold of that

Aegean Sea), is an issue the Chasam

system of trust. With money as a

land is good; there is the crystal and

Sofer and others deftly resolve.

medium, corn can be converted into

the onyx stone” (Bereishis 1:11–12). Interesting, no? It’s almost like

What was wrong with the barter-

In the words of historian and

real estate, and people of differing

ing system, and how did the insti-

backgrounds and opinions can coop-

Heaven interrupts its narrative,

tution of coinage shift the economic

erate on any project.

leans over, and says, “Psst, chevreh,

ecosystem? Say, for example, an

I’ve got a hot tip for you.” Even the

ancient farmer grew a crop of corn.

idealistic notions (were those ideas

popular weekly business networking

After eating his fill of corn, he would

the motivation of the Avos?), the flip

event known as the “Erev Shab-

require other foodstuffs and dry

side is that money enables people

bos mikveh” doesn’t yield such a

goods, like a fur coat for the win-

to amass wealth. There was only so

guaranteed profitable investment —

ter. He’d then have to find a furrier

much corn our farmer friend could

Hashem Himself is divulging the X

who just so happened to need large

barter before his needs were met,

that marks the spot! Kidding aside,

amounts of corn and was willing to

after which it would lose its value to

maybe this textual diversion is in-

make a trade. On any given day, in

him (or rot). Money, however, can be

deed a profound symbol of Hashem’s

order to survive, the farmer had to

accumulated endlessly and reserved

6 |

While indeed trust and unity are

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for future purchases, or even just for a sense of power. We have all witnessed the results of money being an insatiable lust and goal unto itself.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

As mentioned, at its core, money is based on the concept of trust. Who knows — maybe that’s why we have the famous phrase “In G-d we trust” on our currency? With the advent of cryptocurrency, the idea of trust-based currency is now manifesting at a more extreme level. Standard currency not only relies on the concept of universal trust, but also ultimately on a powerful entity such as the U.S. government to back it up. Aside from our trust in each other, any government-issued currency is essentially an object that conveys a message: “We, the powerful entity, confirm that this object has value and will punish anyone who dares to challenge that.” Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin for example, remove the safety net from the picture, relying solely on peer-to-peer trust to give them value. Judging by the wild fluctuation of cryptocurrencies’ value and the rancorous debate about them, the jury is still out on whether humanity is ready for this disruptive phenomenon. On a deeper level, the seforim hakedoshim tell us that in these final days before Mashiach, the primary emphasis must be on the development of real and integrated emunah and bitachon at every level to prepare the world for a time of “U’malah ha’aretz deiah es Hashem, and the world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem.” Nothing is a coincidence. Could it be that even at an economic level this message of profound trust and faith is being communicated to humanity as one small part of the general progression toward a more believing world? I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if that were true… But don’t take that as investment advice!

Asher Weinberger,

Take it from Honest Abe. If you’re doing something, make sure your tools are sharp enough for the job. If you’re splitting rails, sharpen your axe; if you’re giving charity, use The Donors’ Fund. It’s the charity program that makes quick work of giving. Best of all? We already sharpened the program – so you can enjoy a hassle-free giving experience. It’s simple. You deposit a lump sum in the fund and get a tax deduction for the entire amount – before you make a single donation. Then you log onto our user-friendly online platform to manage your charity, from issuing grants to getting complete accounting reports. So if you have an axe to grind with the technical side of giving, or if you want to take your charitable experience up a notch, call The Donors’ Fund today.

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NEVER SAY NEVER Alex is the Editorin-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.


ever in a million years would I have thought I would be living in Russia. It was such an unexpected turn, that

even after nearly a year, I often take a step back and wonder in disbelief at the way things have gone. To be honest, though, that’s how many major parts of my life have turned out. I remember a distinct time before my baalas teshuvah experience (or, really, at the very beginning of it) when I was in a Torah class and I thought to myself, “Well, I’m never going to be religious, so…” Never say never. I became observant while working in New York City. While I loved my job in magazines, I eventually got to the point where I needed more learning. So I quit my job and moved to Israel to go to seminary. While I was there, I met my now husband, which is a story that took me back to America, then to Israel again, and now to the land of Putin, fur coats, and borscht. At this point, “never say never” is an idea embedded in my bones. It’s a feeling that seems so aligned with the state of the world right now. Looking around, things that were once

your wardrobe, change the temperature in your house, keep a close watch on your doorstep, and so much more all from the comfort of your couch. Reflecting back on the content in this issue, I’m made even more aware of the innovation and technological advancements that are upon us. With everything that’s at our disposal, you can essentially banish the term “never” from your vocabulary, because unprecedented possibility is flowing in the here and now. Thanks to the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education, young people at schools across the United States are learning how to code, create apps, and solve important problems (see what they’re making on page 68). That’s more than I ever thought I could do at that age (or ever), and it’s inspiring to see teens at the helm of the inventive process. Torah Tech, a brandnew gap-year program in Israel, offers learning and simultaneously sets high school graduates up with internships in Tel Aviv, where they’re essential parts of startup teams. They’re programming systems, researching cures for cancer, and improving access to things like physical therapy — utilizing technology to allow you to do it from your home (page 62). Azriel Chelst, featured in our cover story, has been challenging the idea of “never” from a young age. He built an eiruv in Washington Heights when he was in college, and now he has the word “innovate” in his title, working as the vice president of innovation partnerships at Barclays Bank. We’re living in a time in which anyone, at any age, has more access than ever to the resources they need to accomplish their wildest dreams. It’s exhilarating, empowering, and completely encouraging. I urge you to explore whatever that “never” was that you filed away in your brain. Let me know what you discover!

only reminiscent of The Jetsons or some sort of hypothetical futuristic film are surrounding us. You can grocery shop, order takeout, hire a carpenter, restock 8 |

Alex Abel, Editor-in-Chief | alex@20magazine.com

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At this point, you’ve probably heard the word blockchain tossed around once or twice. But its meaning may still be a bit confusing, and in truth it’s actually way more layered than you may think. Uriel Ekstein, fintech consultant at The Floor, a global fintech innovation platform based at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, fills us in on some of the details. PAGE 18



9 |

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Clinical Psychologist | New York Specializes in trauma, addictions, and financial performance


HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FOCUS IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE Having laser-focus on our goals is one of those things that we know is

something that gives us meaning, 2)

good for us — you want to get that assignment in early, come up with new

have some level of mastery at what

and great ideas for your company, learn as much as you can about your

we are doing, and 3) be sufficiently

industry — but it seems harder. With all the new devices we have today, we seem to have more tools than ever to help us, but in actuality, these

challenged by the task. Yet, even with all that, the most important prerequisite achievement is fully

same devices can make us even more distracted from what we’re really

engaging in the task in a way where

looking to accomplish.

one’s senses are engrossed to the point that all else falls away.


f you closely study the habits of

of bringing it to life. It’s one thing

accomplished individuals across

to have an idea; it’s another to put


a wide range of industries,

in the time to carry it out.

All of this sounds nice in theory, but

you will notice that a pat-

That doesn’t mean sitting on an

we all know it’s much easier said

tern emerges. Success leaves clues.

idea is all bad, though. An important

than done. So how do we get to that

Uncovering those footprints can help

first step is letting an idea marinate,

point of feeling truly focused? Prac-

guide those who are just beginning

to allow it to mature and develop.

tice. Focus is a mental muscle that

their foray into the business world,

Action occurs simultaneously. For

can be exercised. Here’s how:

and even those who are already well

example, you can have discussions

underway. So let’s begin.

with people to get their insight and

1. START SMALL. Research shows that

A standout quality of the super-

research in the area you’re look-

making even simple changes can

successful, despite distractions from

ing to go into. The idea shifts as it

have big benefits. Start small by

within and without, is the ability to

matures and morphs into something

spending just two minutes a day

stay completely focused on a goal.

more sustainable and realistic.

paying attention to your breathing.

While many people come up with

Once you’re ready to move for-

Ignore all distractions and think

creative ideas and products, the

ward, however, focus drives produc-

about your breath as a way to guide

people who achieve results are those

tivity like the quiet hum of a rudder.

you to a focused, meditative state.

who stand by their vision throughout

In order to achieve such a state of

Then you can bring that mindset to

the long and often arduous process

flow, we need to 1) be working on

your work.

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MANAGE Crises & Pressing Problems

ous, but it needs to be reiterated.


Shut off your cell phone for a set


This next time may sound obvi-

block of time to make the most of the minutes you have. You’ll tackle your to-do list much faster.

2. PRIORITIZE. We’re all confronted with endless tasks on a day-to-day basis. A successful person knows how to pick and choose which ones he has to attend to at any given moment. How can we figure out what our

struction may think it would be good


to take on another home renovation



LIMIT The Trivial & Wasteful

and non-important, and last are


those that are not-important and


and non-urgent, next are urgent

not-urgent. Covey notes that most

into the commercial world, taking this job is a disservice to the greater vision he has for the long run.

4. NURTURE YOUR GOAL. It’s not enough to put the wheels into motion when building an idea; you need to constantly put fuel in the car by reminding yourself why you’re so excited about what you’re doing in the first place. Focus needs outside help. How do you do this? Here are some examples: a) Envision and think about your goal at a dedicated time every day, b) create a picture board of

people get caught up in the urgent moment-to-moment crises, but real

job, but if his sights are on shifting

Interruptions & Busy Work


are the items that are important

in order to keep his focus fixed on the

On Strategies & Values

responsibilities into four quadrants. that are important and urgent, next

spend his time on but decides not to goal. For example, a person in con-

his book, First Things First, divides First comes the items in our lives

ers and the good things that he can



top priorities are? Stephen Covey in

should enumerate both time wast-

what the goal looks like to glance at pline and reminder to pay attention

when you’re frustrated or distracted,

our time and focus in the important

to the important but non-urgent

and c) speak about it regularly.

but non-urgent category.

parts of our lives and businesses.

growth lies in our ability to spend

Focus can be a lot of work, but making sure to nurture that purpose

If you think about it, all growth and vision is by definition going

3. SAY NO. It can be tempting to agree

will give you the strength to keep on

to be important but rarely urgent.

to every little thing that comes your


For example, starting a new branch

way, but it’s just as important to

If you want to see success in your

in your business usually doesn’t

know when to decline so you can

business — or in any area of life —

classify as urgent compared with

stay focused on the priorities you just

staying focused is the key. Learn

answering an irate costumer, but

made. In his book Good to Great, Jim

how to reduce distractions, prioritize

it’s arguably just as important, if

Collins writes that one of the big-

your tasks, say no when necessary,

not more so, to your overall success.

gest predictors of success is having

and remind yourself regularly of

Growth therefore requires the disci-

a “not-to-do” list. On this list, one

your goal: you’re on the way.

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. M AY 2 0 1 9

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By Jordan Odinsky


three times the length of the standard federal income tax form — takes you down a dark journey riddled with confusion. In fact, the application process is such a pain that every year $20 billion in financial aid — including $3 billion in Pell Grants — is left


on the table. Of 45 million people in

The mystery behind how VC firms allocate their money is

tious mission to radically change the

being pulled back a bit. In the last issue, we dug into some of the most-asked questions these companies get. Now, Jordan Odinsky at Ground Up Ventures is back, zooming in on a specific brand so we can learn the strategy behind

the United States who are eligible and seeking to enroll in some form of higher education, only 20 million submit their financial aid forms.

MEET FRANK Frank is on an ambirelationship between students, their finances, and quality yet affordable education. Frank has overhauled the FAFSA application by drastically simplifying the process in plain English and retrieving data from other sources

how they got their funds.

where students have already answered similar questions. To put this


in outstanding student loans. It’s

in context, think of the impact that

out the year, we meet with hundreds

the “second-largest consumer debt

TurboTax made on those who prefer

of startups. Sometimes those meet-

segment in the country after mort-

to file their own taxes.

ings consist of a founder introducing

gages, and it keeps growing.”

By using Frank, students and par-

So after thoroughly researching

ents can complete the entire process

never previously considered. Oth-

the causes of student debt, Charlie

in under four minutes. The company

er times, we meet a founder who is

concluded that the problem with

breaks it down into very easy ques-

actualizing an investment thesis that

college affordability starts at the

tions and then uses its algorithms to

we’ve long been convinced of. Frank

very beginning, with financial aid.

fill out all of the formal paperwork

us to a market opportunity that we

without you ever having to see it. It

was the latter.


therefore comes as no surprise why

ness School, Charlie Javice, founder

you haven’t had the pleasure of going

over 300,000 families have already

and CEO of Frank, explored how

through the FAFSA (Free Application

used Frank to receive over $7 billion

to best approach the problem of

for Federal Student Aid) process, you

in aid, with thousands of new users

college affordability. It’s no secret

should count your blessings. FAFSA

signing up each week.

that student debt is a major eco-

is the process by which the federal

nomic crisis plaguing the United

government determines and distrib-


States. According to the news site

utes almost all college financial aid.

from creating a real impact on the

Bloomberg, there is over $1.5 trillion

The paperwork — which is nearly

world, Frank is well-positioned to

Since studying at Wharton Busi-

12 |

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A snapshot of what you’ll see on Frank’s website

and should be open to purchasing those products from a provider they know and trust. build long-lasting relationships with

There are three steps to success-

Naturally, the risky part of ven-

its customers, beyond assisting them

ful implementation of the inflection

ture capital is that we don’t know if

with financial aid.

point strategy:

it’s a good investment until there’s

1. Create awareness of the alter-

some sort of exit (either a merg-

In a post by Angela Strange and Alex Rampell on the Andreessen

native solution offered by the

er, or acquisition, or an IPO). What

Horowitz blog, the authors highlight


we can say is that Frank has made

that the best strategy for financial

2. Provide a better product.

tremendous progress since we’ve

tech (fintech) startups to gener-

3. Build a trusting relationship with

invested — they’ve helped 200,000

ate customer demand quickly and

the consumer through multiple

more families through the process,

cheaply is to target customers at what


launched new products that sim-

are called inflection points. These

The benefit to step #3 is that it

plify the college application process

inflection points can be life events

also provides a solid foundation

further, raised a subsequent $10

or milestones such as graduation,

for scaling the company. Once the

million, and expanded with 17 new

immigration, or marriage that mark

trusting relationship with the con-

employees — so the team is proving

a new set of circumstances where

sumer is established, the startup can

to be making a real impact. We look

customers are open to making a

expand by offering additional prod-

forward to seeing them fulfill their

change in their financial products.

ucts. And since Frank is acquiring

mission of making college more

This open-mindedness enables these

its users at such an early inflection

affordable for all.

customers to be acquired at much

point (end of high school), the users

lower customer acquisition costs than

have not yet adopted the financial

more general customer segments.

products they will need in the future


To learn more about Frank, visit withfrank.org.

Jordan Odinsky is an investor at Ground Up Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in the United States and Israel. Prior to joining Ground Up Ventures, he led portfolio development at OurCrowd, managing and supporting 130+ startups with business development, marketing, and fundraising. Jordan is also a Global Mentor at WeWork Labs, WeWork’s global innovation platform for startups. Originally from New York, Jordan has a degree in economics and business from CUNY Queens. Ground Up Ventures was founded in 2018 by Cory Moelis and David Stark. It is a generalist fund that invests in pre-seed and seed stage companies. Ground Up Ventures has invested in eight companies to date across the insurance, retail, financial, real estate, and enterprise verticals.

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Marketing 101


By Tzivia Cohen




irst, let’s define what an influencer actually is. An influencer is an individual who has built an attentive

audience by publishing authentic content about a specific topic. Influencers can affect the purchase decisions of their audiences, making them an ideal partner to help brands promote their products or services; and this is known as influencer marketing. The bulk of influencer marketing today takes place on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Here are some important tips on working with influencers.

FIND THE RIGHT INFLUENCERS TO WORK WITH. It’s important that the collaboration feels authentic and not overly promotional. Choose influencers who regularly engage with your target market and whose personal brand is a natural fit for the product, service, or cause you want to promote. In addition, only


work with influencers who have a small sponsored-to-organic content ratio, which means they carefully curate the brands they work with and don’t spam their followers with ads. Once you’ve found someone who seems like the right fit, check the engagement rate on their posts to make sure they

Meet Tzivia Cohen. She started her marketing agency,

have a meaningful relationship

14Minds, to give businesses the resources to market

with their audience.

themselves. This column will provide useful advice and


answers for entrepreneurs to help them navigate the complex process of growing their businesses. 14 |

CONTENT. Many businesses assume that influencers are simply a marketing channel for distributing

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their advertising. Influencers, however, are creators, not distributors! They’ve built a rapport with their followers by creating unique, authentic content. Instead of trying to push your creative view on them, share your specific business goal, so they can help you achieve it within the parameters of their own personal brand.

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS FROM THE OUTSET. Clearly define the details of your collaboration before you start, preferably in writing. Some im-

THREE INFLUENCERS WEIGH IN ON THE QUESTION: “WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING BUSINESSES SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WORKING WITH AN INFLUENCER?” “I think it’s really important to have connections and relationships with other influencers. No one can grow alone; it’s about partnerships and networking. Use the influencer’s networking skills to help grow your brand.” NAOMI NACHMAN, THE AUSSIE GOURMET

portant questions to ask are: What is being provided by the business in exchange for the influencer’s services (e.g., a product or service, or a cash payment)? What is being provided by the influencer? Will they be posting on their own accounts, and if so, how many times? Can you repurpose influencer content, and if so, in what context?

“The single most important thing about working with an influencer is if they actually have an influence and can prove it. And that’s not judged based on how many followers they have or how many views they get, but about the engagement and action. Do people react and talk about what they post in a positive way and tell others?” ELAN KORNBLUM, PUBLISHER AND PRESIDENT, GREAT KOSHER RESTAURANTS MEDIA GROUP

Having a plan in place before you start will not only eliminate unnecessary frustration, but will also ensure you get the maximum possible outcome.

TRACK RESULTS. Finally, decide how you will track whether the col-

“That we do care [about your business]. We truly do. We want to help, support, and offer all of your services or products to everyone! However, sometimes it simply does not work out [as we had hoped]. Some things are out of our control, as we can only do the best we can on our part.” BETTY GULKO, INFLUENCER AND DESIGNER

laboration was successful once the agreed-upon terms have been executed. Engagement and reach are two important metrics to use for social media; for longer term collaborations, you can also measure sales. Having these metrics in mind

Tzivia Cohen is the founder and CEO of 14Minds, a marketing agency that specializes in growing businesses and non-profits with innovative,

throughout the entire process will

results-driven campaigns. Do you have questions for Tzivia? Send them in to

help both you and the influencer

tzivia@14minds.com for a chance to see them appear in our next column!

stay focused.

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TOURO COLLEGE OF DENTAL MEDICINE Choosing a Career By Yael Dorfman


visit to the dentist is a

implants, orthodontia, and crowns.

printed and inserted, and the satis-

chore at best, a night-

With a simple scan, we are able to

fied customer leaves the office with

mare at worst. The scrap-

treat patients with a virtually non-

an intact (and genuine) smile.

ing, the drilling, the discomfort of

existent margin of error, in a shorter

keeping your jaw wide open while

amount of time, and with greater

prove the efficiency and workflow

attempting to answer the hygienist’s

comfort and precision.”

of dental offices while providing

small talk — all these make things

These tools are designed to im-

patients with minimally invasive,

unpleasant… and the irritation level


skyrockets with the need for any

capabilities of new and emerging

additional work. It’s no wonder that

dental technology are staggering,

vation includes highly sensitive

approximately 15 percent of Ameri-

and they’re equally helping patients

screening devices for early detection

cans avoid going to the dentist at all.

and dentists when it comes to im-

of cavities and oral cancer, and other

plants, crowns, and dentures. What

futuristic developments in bioma-

pointment just yet — like count-

once was a gag-inducing and often

terials (such as organic prostheses

less industries today, dentistry has

painful affair is now completely

that can be completely accepted by

received a digital facelift that’s

transformed. “Even the most skilled

the body) and robotics (the first

modernized the conventional visit.

dentists and lab technicians are nat-

robot for oral implant surgery was

Thanks to innovations in software

urally not infallible, and even tiny

approved by the FDA in 2017).

and equipment, dental work is more

distortions in the impression can

accurate, more streamlined, and,

lead to improper fit and discomfort,”


most importantly, more comfortable.

says Dr. Farkas.

reality has a place in dentistry —

But don’t cancel that next ap-

“In the last decade, technology

precise, and even pleasant treatment. More importantly, dental inno-

With digital dentistry — and spe-

it’s used to train dental students

has dramatically improved dental

cifically the usage of computer-aided

with realistic, hands-on software

practice,” states Dr. Edward Farkas,

design and computer-aided manu-

and equipment.

vice dean and chairman of dentistry

facture (CAD and CAM) — the expe-

at the recently established Touro

rience is entirely transformed. The

who are extremely comfortable

College of Dental Medicine. “Digital

patient’s mouth is scanned using an

with technology,” explains Dr. Alan

dentistry equipment has revolution-

intraoral scanner or camera (no need

Jurim, director of digital dentistry

ized standard procedures including

to open wide), the apparatus is 3-D

at Touro. “We’ve developed a digital

16 |

“Students today are digital natives

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a large-scale class-

the country’s best healthcare, best

room setting rather

STEM, and best-paying careers,

than dentists’ offices.

determined by several factors such

The state-of-the-art

as salary, stress level, work/life

simulation lab is fur-

balance, employment rate, upward

nished with 113 seats,

mobility, and job satisfaction.

each of which features a

The Bureau of Labor Statistics

lifelike, high-tech “pa-

projects 19.4 percent employment

tient” mannequin in a

growth for dentists between 2016

chair, with all the light-

and 2026, with an estimated 25,700

ing, drills, and other

jobs to be added in that time period.

equipment, as well as a computer station with dynamic software. Once the students progress to the clinical years of dental school, they will begin to practice on live patients in the integrated Touro Photo Credit: Touro College ecosystem so that students and faculty have access to these tools anywhere on campus.” Due to the rapid pace of progress in the tech world, established dentists — and dental schools — struggle to keep up. “Many schools are scrambling to update their technology, and they

Dental Health, a fully operational 81-chair practice, with expansion plans slated for completion this summer. Beginning in June, thirdand fourth-year dental students will provide excellent dental care in teams of two, using the latest techniques and technology under the attentive supervision of veteran dentists. Every dental specialty,

need to train their instructors first,”

from orthodontics to oral surgery, is

Dr. Farkas adds. “Our students have

available to patients at significantly

access to the latest tech, as well as

reduced prices.

a curriculum designed and delivered

To the average student, dentistry is an excellent career choice; to those living a Torah lifestyle, it becomes even more enticing. Dentists typically enjoy the benefits of a career in healthcare — satisfaction derived from helping others, intellectual stimulation, sufficient income to support a family in a Jewish environment — with the added advantages of a family-friendly predictable schedule, abundant job opportunities, and fewer years of schooling. It’s even an aliyah-friendly career path for those inclined; English-speaking dentists are in high demand by Anglo populations in Israel (though they are required to take licensing exams in Israel). “The faculty at Touro includes young, shomer Shabbos dentists — male and female — who serve as both teachers and mentors to us,” says Betzalel Krasnow, a first-year

by professors who are experts in


student at Touro College of Dental

digital dentistry.”

several consecutive years, dentistry

Medicine. “With daily minyanim,

Touro’s brand-new, 100,000-

and orthodontics were named “best

weekly shiurim, and an eiruv, the

square-foot (9,290-sq-m) dental

job in America” in U.S. News & World

faculty goes above and beyond to

school is fully equipped with so-

Report’s annual rankings; in 2018,

ensure that we have everything

phisticated dental and informational

they were edged out only by soft-

we need — both scholastically and

technology; it’s the first institution

ware developers. Both industries


to utilize the available technology in

continue to rank in the top 10 of M AY 2 0 1 9

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a solution but works together with the banks to create

“blockchain” tossed around once or twice. But

it. In addition to its banking partners, The Floor also

its meaning may still be a bit confusing, and in

has strategic partnerships with Intel and Accenture to

truth, it’s actually way more layered than you

make these solutions happen.

may think. Uriel Ekstein, fintech consultant at The

Here, Ekstein breaks down blockchain technology

Floor (founded in 2016), a global fintech innovation

and puts it into terms that will allow you to get on

platform based at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, fills

board, too.

us in on some of the details. First, let’s talk about what he does every day. The purpose of The Floor is to provide technology solutions for issues its six banking partners — HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Santander, RBS, SMBC, and Deutsche Bank — may experience in the areas of fintech and cybersecurity. This is done through The Floor’s three

FIRST, WHAT EXACTLY DOES “BLOCKCHAIN” MEAN? It would take hours to dive deep into the meaning and technical specifications of blockchain technology. So, to keep it simple, when sharing a database or ledger with someone else that you don’t trust, you need to do it through a middleman (probably for a fee) that both

different models: technology adoption, venture

parties trust. Every change on that database needs to be

building, and a co-innovation model. With technology

approved by that middleman (for additional fees). Think

adoption, The Floor scouts for existing companies that can provide the solution. The venture building model is when the solution does not exist and The Floor creates it from scratch. The co-innovation model also creates 18 |

of an escrow agent, a financial intermediary, or a broker. This is one of the things that blockchain solves; it eliminates that intermediary. In other words, it’s a way for untrusted parties to agree on the status of an Excel sheet, ledger, or database without using a middleman.

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We’re still in the very early stages,

currency. Santander came out with

but I believe it will eventually be-

a payments app last April, One Pay

come second nature, the same way

FX, using Ripple’s technology, which

e-mail or the Internet initially seemed

gives its customers the ability to send

arbitrary and took time to be adopted

cross-border transactions at much

widely by the public. The growth has

faster speeds than its competitors

already been substantial. Back in 2015,

can. Ripple recently announced that it

there were only five blockchain com-

had partnered with over 200 financial

panies in Israel. Now there are 200.

institutions and banks that will even-

It’s also important to note that many people confuse Bitcoin with

Your Blockchain Dictionary:

tually use its services. KYC (know your customer) and AML

blockchain. This is because Bitcoin

(anti-money laundering) are other

was the first application of block-

examples of systems that are going to be

chain. But blockchain is just the

used with blockchain technology. Today,

technology used for Bitcoin, as it is

they cost banks hundreds of millions

for other cryptocurrencies. Today, not

applications, processes, or

of dollars annually. Every bank has his

products to improve areas

only cryptocurrencies but also appli-

own data on its customers, which is

of the finance industry

cations are built using blockchain to

manually recorded and has to be redone

have them decentralized.

by another financial institution for the

HOW DO BANKS USE BLOCKCHAIN? Banks have been showing a great

same customer. This process can be avoided by storing it on blockchain. In my opinion, blockchain will be

FINTECH (N): Financial technology; the use of new, innovative technologies,

CYBERSECURITY (N): The protection of any and all Internet systems from data breaches, unauthorized access, or other damaging

interest in blockchain for a while now.

used for most, if not all, of the business

At this point, the main reasons a bank

lines within the bank. It provides a de-

would use blockchain are for trans-

manding level of security and reliability


actions and cross border-payments.

dealing with money and data which are

A digital or virtual curren-

Santander Bank, one of The Floor’s

key for the finance industry and bank-

cy that uses encryption

bank partners, is one of the earliest

ing. This is just the start, and there is

investors in Ripple, another crypto-

so much more to explore.


technology to regulate and verify the transfer of funds

BITCOIN (N): A new payment system or form of cryptocurrency that doesn’t have a centralized bank or administrator

INTELLIGENT BOTS (N): Chat bots or digital assistants that allow a customer to engage in conversation with a business

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An inside look at The Floor's headquarters, located at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

HOW IS THE FLOOR EXPLORING BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY? In early 2018, The Floor got the opportunity to build a securities lending platform using blockchain technology in collaboration with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Accenture, and Intel. Since then, The Floor has been attracting young startups using blockchain technology for fintech and cyber solutions seeking to provide solutions for our bank partners. So far, we have three companies (two of which are part of our venture building model) that are blockchain-related. The first is called Pai-Tech. It provides a real-time autonomous and decentralized platform for intelligent bots,

as collateral. So, for example, people

company more than two years to get

who have a lot of cryptocurrency

to an integration with a financial

like Bitcoin, but don’t want to sell

institution. Through The Floor and

because they think it will go up in

our partnerships, we can shorten

value, can use the amount they have

that time to around a year. This is a

as a way to get cash.

huge advantage.

The third company is called Nitro-

so you are able to automate almost

mia, which developed quantum-safe

any digital or manual process. This

cyber security technology for privacy

is relevant for banks that are looking

and cryptography. Nitromia enables


for a platform that is safe, autono-

companies to harness the power

We don’t believe that. We believe

mous, and without a single point of

of cloud infrastructure, run AI and

they’re going to adapt themselves and

failure. They already have existing

analytics, and collaborate on their

change their behavior. They’re going

clients they’re working with.

data, while keeping the data secure

to act as a platform with loads of ap-

and encrypted — without exposing

plications to do all banking needs. In-

or compromising sensitive data.

stead of replacing, it’s more of a way

The second is called Teneos. It enables lending companies to offer cash loans secured by crypto-assets

Normally it takes a high-tech

of shaping the bank of the future.

Uriel Ekstein made aliyah from Antwerp, Belgium, in 2005. Before joining The Floor as a fintech consultant, Uriel was in charge of creating high-level business relationships in the financial industry as a private banker and licensed financial adviser at leading banks in Israel and Switzerland. He’s passionate and proactive about building meaningful connections within the venture ecosystem, which includes investors, entrepreneurs, and industry players.

20 |

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Superfy is challenging search engines, taking the idea of asking for advice to the next level. Through the app, users type in a question and then real experts respond to it with personalized feedback or advice. Tech expert and marketing consultant Hillel Fuld sat down with husband and wife founders Gil Schoenberg and Michal Tamir to talk about the impetus behind the company, where they’re at now, and what challenges they need to combat in order to get things to explode. PAGE 22


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A conversation with the founders of Superfy By Ariel Gros-Werter

WISDOM IN A TECHNOLOGICAL WORLD A MEETING WITH THE FOUNDERS OF SUPERFY It’s easy to get any question you have answered by robots and search engines in a matter of seconds. Typing a few symptoms into Google leaves you with hundreds of thousands of articles about exactly what might be causing you pain — of course, to varying degrees of accuracy. This is what the founders of Superfy want to fix. Their app has users type in a question and then real experts respond to it with personalized feedback or advice. You can ask anything about anything and everything. Tech expert and marketing consultant Hillel Fuld sat down with husband and wife founders Gil Schoenberg and Michal Tamir to talk about the impetus behind starting the company, where they’re at now, and what challenges they need to combat in order to take things to the next level. A screenshot of what the app looks like internally, with a sampling of questions users might ask.

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HILLEL: Let’s start with some background. What is Superfy?

MICHAL: Superfy is an app that allows any user to ask any question in the world and get an answer from a real person. It works by using superior artificial intelligence.


Term Sheet

Silicon Valley. Seed period is usually

SEED FUNDING: The initial funding used to begin creating a business or new product

to beta in December.

love doing. For starters, you said it’s an app. You’re not an app. The app is the front end, or the symptom of the tech-

SEED PERIOD: The period when a company has just launched and is working on getting funding

don’t simply find the answers, because if I need answers I’ll go to Google. You find me people, you find me wisdom.

ALPHA: The first phase of an app’s release when the software is being tested with a small pool of users

If I want data, I go to Google. If I want

other people’s experiences, I’m not going to find that on Google. You find the person who knows the answer to the question that someone’s asking. And right now that’s in an app. Is it on both iOS and Android?

MICHAL: Just iOS. HILLEL: So you ask a question in a tex-

BETA: The second stage of an app’s release, when the app is complete but is likely to contain a number of known or unknown bugs. Developers use this stage to continue testing the app with some prospective customers and get it ready for an official release. The beta phase involves a much larger pool of users than the alpha stage

ting format.

HILLEL: Very cool. Now, tell me about the company — how many people work

B2B: Business to business, or the exchange of products, services, or information between businesses

there? How much money did you raise?

MICHAL: We raised seed funding [see sidebar] of about $2.5 million from friends and family. We currently have eight people working with us.

24 |

2.0 May 2019.indb 24

HILLEL: Last December, and we’re now in MICHAL: Less than three months ago, actually, and we’re already growing rapidly. The founders then go into detail about how

HILLEL: Okay, so what are the numbers? MICHAL: We already have almost 20,000 registered users and the engagement is great. Eighty-seven percent are asking answering questions.

HILLEL: That is so impressive. The challenge that every company faces, no matter how small or how big they are, is retention and engagement. Meaning that you want people that actually download the app to then stick with it, and not delete it. Forty-six percent is mind-blowing. Do you have to register to use the app?

MICHAL: Yes, you have to log in with Facebook. And, to clarify, the 20,000

MICHAL: Yes, the interface is a messaging app.

MICHAL: The app itself went from alpha

questions and forty-six percent are

social interactions, I go to Facebook. If I want wisdom, if I want to tap into

million, that’s incredible.

the app works.

nology you’re building. Actually, you’re a technology platform. Second, you

$100,000-200,000. You raised $2.5

February. So that’s three months ago.

HILLEL: Allow me to tweak your whole pitch, because you know that’s what I

HILLEL: $2.5 million is more like

number is for registered users, not just people who downloaded the app, but those who actually signed up.

HILLEL: You’d told me a story about when you were meeting with a big

B2C: Business to consumer, or the process for selling products directly to consumers

investor and while they were waiting for the meeting, they downloaded your app. As you started to pitch, they were playing around on the app and getting

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HILLEL’S TAKE “I was introduced to Superfy via one of its advisers, Avishay Abrahami, who happens to be the CEO of a small company called Wix. The founders set out to fix the

answers in real time to questions and

Hillel then digs a bit deeper, helping the

they got excited about the fact that

founders understand their challenges

problem of how questions are

and how they can actually use them to

answered in today’s day and age,

their advantage.

and they utilize deep technolo-

they’re talking to someone in the world that’s an expert in that field.

MICHAL: Yes, they actually asked questions that were quite challeng-

HILLEL: Who are your biggest competitors?

gy to find consumers the most relevant experts on any particular topic. Despite the heavy technolo-

ing, and they got great answers,

MICHAL: The answer is different

gy lifting involved, and despite the

so we didn’t even need to do much

from the users’ eyes and from the

massive challenge of answering

pitching after that.

investors’ eyes. The investors would

questions in a timely and effective

probably say Quora and also other

manner, they managed to build

Q&A sites and apps, and there are

a super user-friendly mobile app

HILLEL: How much do you want to raise? Is that something you’re talking about?

GIL: Five million, maybe more.

many. But I don’t think the users — and this is something we hear from them — see them as competitors. So

HILLEL: What’s the end game here?

for me, the challenge is to get people

What are you looking to build?

from where they are putting their

GIL: The Google of people that everyone uses to get an answer. And it’s

questions now — in social media, through WhatsApp groups and Face-

that gives you the familiar chat experience, only you’re chatting with a total stranger who happens to be an expert in the field you are asking about. Contrasting to Google that finds you information, and Facebook that finds you people, Superfy finds you experts

book groups — posting and hoping

and then gives you access to their

someone will see it and answer it.

insights. Their biggest asset is,

There’s a need, but we want to show

in my opinion, the team. They’re

them that they don’t need to try

very passionate and are not going

their luck that way. They can get

to stop at anything. Their biggest

real answers with Superfy.

challenge? Building a consum-

gone through that. We also have a lot

HILLEL: I think you’re wrong — very,

of people suffering from depression

very wrong. I think your competitors

difficult. They’re still at the early

who want advice. The more users we

are everyone on the Internet. When

against them — 95 to 98 percent

have, the more likely it is that anyone

I want an answer, I go to Twitter, so

of startups fail — but I do believe

can get an answer for anything.

you’re competing with Twitter. Now

in them.”

not just an answer, it’s a person. We have great stories about people asking about health questions, dealing with health problems, and finding the right person to talk to. That can be either because he’s an expert or he’s

er app, which is tremendously stage and statistics are working

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you’re telling me, “Don’t go to Twit-

HILLEL: How do people find out about

ter, go to Superfy.” You’re not facing

you? What’s your growth engine today?

competitors for your product, you’re


facing competitors for your users’ attention. You’re competing with Twitter, Facebook, Quora, with all the startups, and with Google of course;

movies on YouTube, we have an Instagram account which is really active, and we have Facebook.

you’re competing with everyone. And

HILLEL: In other words, organic.

the faster that you as entrepreneurs

GIL: That’s a part of it. We do have

understand that and internalize it,

ads also. By the way, one of the ads

the faster you’ll succeed. You’re

that is really effective is the slogan,

competing with the whole world!

“Are you still using Google?” That’s

Think about it, people are asking

all, it’s a simple message, but it

questions everywhere. So you’re

worked really well. People started

fighting for everyone’s attention,

sharing it.

which is super-challenging. The only way you’re ever going to succeed is if you understand that challenge. Now, let’s talk about other challenges you

HILLEL: You have the organic growth of people using it, you have the advertising. What else have you done?

might have. What are you foreseeing

MICHAL: We utilize influencers as well

over the next six months?

— through YouTube and social me-

MICHAL: First, there’s a lot of technological product challenges. The first obstacles we need to overcome are spam and people trying to use the system with hate.

GIL: We’re trying to make this a fun community, a nice place for people to be messaging. We don’t want rude people.

MICHAL: Also, we need to continue to educate people to move from the places they’re asking these questions now, and come to Superfy. It’s a challenge to make people not just download the app itself but actually use it. Even if they have a great first experience, in which they asked a question and they get a good answer, they need to remember that Superfy is the place to go. 26 |

GIL: We have people who did a few

dia. After raising some more money, we are considering doing events at colleges and having everyone download the app at the same time.

HILLEL: What about App Store Optimization? It’s kind of like SEO for the App Store. That means that, for example, if somebody searches for “questions and answers,” today I imagine people would get Quora. If you guys get to the top spot, or one of the top spots there, it’s just like Google and you can potentially get millions of downloads.

GIL: In our specific case, we have an issue with ASO because it’s such a broad topic. The concept is similar to Google, so it’s really broad in terms of what to search.

MICHAL: But we have stuff up there.

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HILLEL: Okay, so you can keep tweaking it and optimizing it, and creating key words.

MICHAL: Also, the more people we have, the more users we have, the


higher reviews we’ll get.

HILLEL: I’m reading a book now, Hacking Growth. It discusses how every leading company today has a growth team. On that team,





there’s an engineer, a marketer, and a designer building things into the product. Literally into the product, and then it suddenly stimulates and facilitates massive growth. The point is, you can make one little change in the product, easily enabling people to share. While you’re building the product, while you’re trying to raise capital, while you’re doing all those things startups do, you really should think about the things you can change in the product that can make you explode. Building a successful company in a country smaller than New Jersey, that’s in the most unstable region of planet Earth, is challenging. Especially for

WHAT DID THEY DO BEFORE THEY STARTED SUPERFY? Superfy is Michal’s third startup. She started as the VP of marketing and business development at Treato, a social health search startup, serving both as B2C and B2B. She then co-founded Shimeba, an indoor-navigation app startup, and together with her co-founder turned the idea into a selling company (later turning into a non-active partner). Michal received her BA and MBA from Tel Aviv University. For the past 20 years, Gil has been in the startup world, heading product and marketing, for both B2C and B2B companies. Prior to founding Superfy, he was VP of Product at Treato, where he worked alongside Michal. Before Treato, Gil was senior product manager at Wix, a platform for creating websites that went public on the Nasdaq, and worked on the company’s main product — the website editor. Before Wix, Gil was head of product at Quiksee, an online virtual tour product, which was later acquired by Google. His diverse record also includes consulting, freelance copywriting, and script writing. Gil received his BA from Mercy College, and a diploma from the Israeli Academy of Commercial Communications. He’s won multiple prizes in several worldwide advertising contests. Gil and Michal met eight years ago at Treato, where they worked side by side. As colleagues, they found that they worked and thought completely in sync. After a year, they got married.

a consumer company. Building a B2B company, I only need like 10, 15, or 20 partners and I’m good. You guys, to make a difference, you need 100 million users.

MICHAL: We are thinking about, for example, adding a feature that will allow people to forward the questions that they ask to Facebook.

WHAT ARE THEIR GOALS WITH SUPERFY? “We want to make an impact. We want to give people an easy option to search and get real answers to their questions. “There are a lot of AIs, Siris, and chat bots out there, but we realized that the answers to most questions exist in people’s minds (where Google can’t search for them), and what the technology can do is actually get you the person you need when you need them. Running a successful B2C company from Israel is ambitious. We have seen it happen in person (with Wix) and now we’re doing it with Superfy, as well,” Gil says.

HILLEL: That’s exactly the growth hacking I was talking about. M AY 2 0 1 9

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ARE SELFDRIVING CARS KOSHER? In our generation, it can feel like we’re living in the future — there are robots with human names like Alexa and Siri, and families everywhere have full-on conversations with them. One advancement that once seemed like an impossibility but is now becoming more of a reality is self-driving cars. And with new technology, questions of ethics and halachah naturally arise. A major issue that manufacturers are facing involves a last-second decision that must be programmed into the “brain” of the car.


Photo by DMJ Studios the car drive off the cliff to

single Jew to be killed. But

save the multitudes?

if the non-Jews demand a specific Jew by name, then we would hand him over in

feured by your self-driving car along the dangerous,


winding roads of the Pacific Coast Highway. The

There is a Tosefta on

the others.

breathtaking views of mountains and forests are off-

Maseches Terumos (7:23)

magine the following scenario. You are being chauf-

order to save the lives of The logic works as fol-

set by the jaw-dropping cliffs and stunning ocean views.

that addresses a simi-

lows. There is a concept in

As the car rounds the tight bend, its internal sensors and

lar question. If non-Jews

halachah called a rodef. A

cameras immediately perceive a crowd of people standing

approach a crowd of Jews

rodef is an individual who

in your path. The algorithms are calculating within mere

and demand that they

is chasing after another to

milliseconds. No solution will be good. Death is certain.

hand over any one Jew to

kill him. We learn from the

The questions are just who and how many.

be killed or else they will

Torah that one must kill

Does the car stay on course, sparing the life of its pas-

all be killed, the din is that

the rodef in order to save

senger, albeit at the expense of multiple casualties, or does

we do not hand over even a

the life of the other person.

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In the instance where one Jew is

that of Reish Lakish. As a result,

the contrary, it’s an act of valor. The

specifically named, his very presence

they would argue that the self-driv-

bystander’s intent was to save lives.

within the group endangers their

ing car should plunge off the cliff to

Granted, there were casualties, but

lives. Halachah therefore dictates

save the others.

in the end more lives were saved. He

that he has the status of a rodef and

The Rema, the final authority

may be surrendered to the outlaws.

in Ashkenazic halachic tradition,

is lauded as a hero. Now, what if the driverless car

records both opinions, thus making

was faced with this same predic-

that the passenger is considered

any real-life decisions quite compli-

ament? Imagine a case where the

“singled out”; consequently, the car

cated, compounded by the fact that

passenger was not in danger, but

should drive off the cliff to spare the

we are dealing with an extremely

rather one in which the car is driv-

others. But a look at the Yerushalmi

sensitive topic: life and death.

ing along its route and approaches a

At first glance, it would appear

crowd of people. Its options are ei-

(Terumos 7:4) complicates matters.


ther to continue driving through the

cords a critical debate between Rabbi

The Chazon Ish (Choshen Mishpat:

crowd or to veer off into a smaller

Yochanan and Reish Lakish about

Sanhedrin 25) addressed a differ-

crowd. If the programmers were

the scope of the individual being

ent question that can be applied to

to consult with Rav Asher Weiss, a

singled out. Rabbi Yochanan gives no

driverless cars. What is the halachah

world-renowned posek and rav, they

limitations; he claims that any Jew

in the following scenario? Imag-

would certainly opt for the latter

that is singled out should be handed

ine someone observes some kind of

option. Following the directive of the

over. Reish Lakish, on the other

missile heading toward a crowd of

Chazon Ish that this is considered

hand, says that one can only relin-

people. This witness has the ability

an act of “saving,” in addition to the

quish a specific Jew if he has already

to deflect or redirect the missile to a

fact that the programming is input

been legally convicted of a crime

different direction. In that direction,

well before the actual event may

punishable by death. Since death is

it will also kill people, but there will

ever occur, it cannot be considered

already his fate, handing him over

be fewer deaths. Should he remain

an act of murder.

to the assassins is not considered an

passive, lest he be considered to have

act of murder.

participated in an act of murder, or

versus the crowd? Rav Asher Weiss

should he take action and save the

felt that the responsibility of the

many at the expense of the few?

car and manufacturers are to first

The Yerushalmi (Terumos 7:23) re-

HOW DO WE PASKEN? The Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei Ha-

The Chazon Ish paskened that one

What about our case — the cliff

and foremost protect the passen-

Torah 5:5) rules like Reish Lakish.

should redirect the missile, even if

ger. Never do we find in halachah

Therefore, one should not hand over

that individual’s actions will lead to

that one must give up his own life

a Jew to save the others unless he is

the loss of lives that were otherwise

in order to save the lives of others.

already on death row. Accordingly,

not in danger. The redirection is not

Consequently, the car remains on

the driverless car should not drive

considered an act of murder. Quite

course toward the crowd of people.

off the cliff (unless, of course, the passenger is an escaped death-row convict and the car is somehow

Rabbi Yoni Levin is the sgan rav at Congregation Aish Kodesh, as

aware of it).

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

Others disagree with the Rambam, saying that we always follow the

of Rav Moshe Weinberger. Hundreds of his shiurim can be found on YUTorah, revealing his strong passion for both halachah and Chassidus.

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WHAT TOYS “R” US AND THE MOON HAVE IN COMMON Over the past few decades we have witnessed the demise of some of the world’s most famous companies and watched them fade into commercial history. The Toys “R” Us bankruptcy most recently taught us that if a company does not constantly innovate, it simply loses its ability to remain relevant in the rapidly changing marketplace.


n contrast, one of the first

have saved Toys “R” Us and an en-

over again. Time can be perceived

mitzvot that the Jews received

tire slew of companies from fading

as static and unchanging. Indeed,

at the time of Yetzias Mitz-

into oblivion.

time is the last entity to be inclined

rayim was hachodesh hazeh

Let’s see how they relate. The first

to true innovation. However, the

lachem — the mitzvah to declare

lesson the Jews were taught during

same old boring concept of time can

the new moon. Why was this the

the Exodus was one about time.

become truly innovative when it is

first mitzvah the newly freed slaves

Time is repetitive and uninspir-

infused with purpose or meaning.

received? It may seem disconnected,

ingly so. The same numbers, days,

but answering this question could

and months are recycled over and

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The Jewish slaves in Egypt were indoctrinated into a caste system.

2 . 0 M AY 2 0 1 9

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Once a slave, always a

measure of consistent behavior and

envelope of creativity beyond its

slave. The Egyptian sun

achievement. Our daily prayers, hol-

current state. Kodak, for decades the

god, Rah, the source of

idays, and even Shabbos all function

king of cameras, invented the digital

power for all of Egypt, was

as a constant reminder of the order

camera in 1975, but shelved the de-

a symbol that all things

and discipline we need to bring into

vice because it would have interfered

remain constant. The

our lives.

with sales of their film products. Had

sun’s appearance is the

However, if all we do is function

they found the courage to break free

same each day. Judaism

in a pattern of order and discipline,

from the familiar and allowed their

synchronizes the lunar and

those patterns become monotonous,

innovation to evolve, they would

solar cycles in an integrat-

and we become stale and stagnant

have been one of the most relevant

ed calendar that encap-

as people and a nation. In addition

companies in the world today.

sulates more than timing

to our order, we also need newness,

Yet, for innovation to succeed it

and seasons.

vigor, experimentation, and explo-

needs to be tempered with stabili-

ration. We need chiddush. The moon

ty. But, confusingly, it’s that same

the two primary celestial luminaries,

represents this chiddush, this new-

stability that can interfere with cre-

each represent different modes of

ness and innovation. The sun with

ativity and progress. Hashem wants

being. The sun is ever constant and

its constancy, predictability, and

us to live a life with this exciting

never changing. Even an amateur

stability represents our seder, or or-

paradox of stability and innovation.

astronomer knows with a fair degree

der. We need both. The moon waxes

of precision where to expect the sun

and wanes; the sun is unvarying.

The sun and the moon,

to rise and set each morning.

How do you inspire a people or a

Seder and chiddush are the tools and insight needed to redeem Am Yisrael, back then and even now. In

company to get out of systems that

order for our relationships to devel-

changing and never looks static.

are functioning but tired? You re-

op and nurture connection — with

Each evening the moon is observably

mind them about the need for inno-

our spouse, with our children, in

different. The average individual

vation. Just as the moon waxes and

our educational institutions, in our

doesn’t know where it will rise

wanes, we, too, have the ability to

communities, and with HaKadosh

renew our reality. The past does not

Baruch Hu — we must let this first

define the future. Just because this

mitzvah of kiddush hachodesh be our

worked yesterday does not mean it

compass. It is the constant reminder

will do so today or tomorrow.

of the necessity to innovate beyond

The moon, however, is ever-

and set each night. The moon governs each month, known in Hebrew individually as a chodesh. Chodesh shares the same root word as chadash, meaning new, and chiddush, meaning innovation. The

Hashem challenges us to always think about how we can push the

order, ensuring that we never fall into the seder trap.

sun governs our year, shanah, which means repetition. We need both systems. We need to build order

Rabbi Reuven Ibragimov is the COO and innovator of RAJE-NY. He

for ourselves through constant

and his wife served as campus chaplain and program director at

repetition, and we need innovation. Perhaps this is why we begin Pesach with a Seder, which means order. The need for order creates

Brooklyn College and Long Island University. Rabbi Ibragimov has been developing cutting-edge programs for college students, young Jewish professionals, and newlyweds in the New York area. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Nalini, educational director of Souled, and their six fabulous children.

keystone habits that guarantee some

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Kidichic Children’s Clothing By Abbey Wolin


We all have our dreams and passions. What makes one follow them to make money? How do you go from idea to full-on company? What were the steps you took along the way? Was it a conscious decision or organic growth? This column will explore different avenues and paths various entrepreneurs have taken to fulfill their dreams while following their passions and making a parnassah.


Originally developed in Israel, the company


has seen rapid growth in America —

Most people don’t realize that Kid-

opening six stores and an outlet store

ichic is an Israeli brand. It ended

idichic is most known for its affordable and stylish children’s clothing.

upstate for the summer in less than five years. It has also cultivated a community of over 23,500 followers on Instagram as of press time, no easy feat these days. So what makes Kidichic so unique? On a windy March day, I battled the traffic into the city to an incredible office space in Midtown to meet Galit Winer, who, along with her husband, Yitzchok, runs the US division of Kidichic Interna-

up in the hands of an Israeli businessman named Kobi Binet and his partners. About eight years ago, I was working for my parents’ jewelry company and Yitzchok was selling within the wholesale Judaica industry. We met Kobi through Yitzchok’s

children’s clothing in modest styles

business partner at the time and

for younger and older kids. With

were given the opportunity to bring

that in mind, we dove into Kidichic

Kidichic to the US market.


At first, we didn’t know how

We decided to start with a pop-up

tional. She shared the company’s journey

Israeli fashion would be accepted in

shop in Lakewood before Pesach that

from its humble beginnings as an Israeli

American communities. But we felt

year to test things out. People were

clothing brand to what many people have

that there was a serious hole in the

over-the-moon excited. They were

called “a revolution in children’s wear.”

availability of affordable, adorable

standing there thanking us profusely

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one, “What kind of location is Coney

designing in-house and use our own

between J and K?” and she was like,

manufacturers, which enables us

“Are you kidding me?”

to have control over the quality and

After both of those locations were set, we developed an overstock prob-

pricing as well. When we look back on our growth,

lem due to a situation with a whole-

we realize how lucky we got and

sale customer. We could have taken a

now enjoy giving back to our various

loss, but instead we decided to open

communities any way we can. We

two new stores, one in Boro Park and

donate older styles to tzedakah orga-

one in Monsey. So we went from two

nizations as well as to private cloth-

to four stores quickly. The next year,

ing donations. The Israeli company

Kidichic opened two more locations,

does the same.

because of the high demand, in Cedarhurst and Williamsburg, making

our two other brands under the Kidi-


chic umbrella — Melange and Hadas.

As a little girl, fashion was always

Each of our three labels has a distinct

my thing. I was the only girl in my

look, ensuring that everyone finds

family, and my mother and I both

something they love. Now that we

loved clothes. She’s still a big inspi-

have multiple stores, we really try to

ration to me — she taught me how

We were so lucky to get the space

cater to each community’s modes-

to be trendy and classy at the same

we have. I remember asking some-

ty standard and style. We do all the

time. When I worked for my fami-

six stores in total. for bringing them such great clothes at such good prices. They could now afford to dress their whole families. After that, we established a permanent location in Lakewood and opened a second store in Flatbush.

We do all in-house designing with

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ly’s wholesale jewelry business, my father taught me sales and marketing techniques. So when this opportunity came to us, it was a no-brainer. We’re doing what we love every day and are so grateful to Hashem for our mazel. We live our lives and run our business with that in mind.

HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT TO OPEN YOUR NEXT STORE? WHAT FACTORS COME INTO PLAY WHEN DETERMINING WHICH LOCATION TO PICK? We’re always looking for new opportunities, but we want to do it right. The options at the top of our list now are Crown Heights, Miami, Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, Mexico, Australia, London, and LA. We know it’s time to expand when we feel comfortable and are in a good place with our business. Business shouldn’t make you feel comfortable. When that happens, you get complain another. It’s vital to maintain

ers that are physically there. Anyone

communication with your customers

calling our stores for sizing or style

based on the size of the Jewish

and to have an amazing staff who

inquiries is instructed to reach out

population in that location, and if we

understands your mission. You can

via Instagram, where I personally

feel that there is a need that we can

never just sit back and watch. When

take care of them.

fill. The ultimate goal is to have a

you finally get it right, something

store in each major Jewish commu-

will change.

cent and lose focus. We determine where to go next

nity and to continue to reach others

HOW DO YOU MANAGE IT ALL? Definitely not on my own! We have

by expanding our website.


an incredible team and staff that


We love our customers, so working

so my husband and I can focus on

with them is one of our top priori-

the growth and development of Kid-

ties. As we grow, it gets more chal-

ichic as a whole. We have managers

Retail can be hard! A job like this

lenging, but we take every comment

who take care of things like hiring,

needs constant work and focus on

and suggestion seriously. During

warehouse management, and buying.

improvement. You have to be patient

the holiday seasons our stores and

As the company evolved, we hired as

and take the time to learn what your

website are extremely busy, so we

we needed. We didn’t make a busi-

clientele wants and needs — what

instruct all our brick-and-mortar lo-

ness plan — sorry, Abbey. It’s Israeli

works in one place may not work

cations to first take care of custom-

style. (Laughs)

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oversees the day-to-day operations

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kids are amazingly understanding,

Today, in addition to Instagram, I

and I’m lucky to have help at home.

plan the content and media campaigns, oversee US photo shoots, and decision-

We’re a team, and we each have


our own place and responsibilities

I think we’d all like to do it all

within the company. It does get

ourselves. I hate having someone

busy. During the busy seasons, my

in my space. The mother’s guilt


husband walks in at 10:00 at night,

comes out a lot. But we figure it out.

I stopped looking for approval. I

eats supper, then goes back to work

That’s what life is about — the ups

stopped waiting for people to tell me

on the computer, and falls asleep on

and downs of managing a business,

if something was good or bad — now

the couch. I’ll usually go to sleep at

along with trying to accomplish

I just do it. I had all these voices in

2 a.m., after I’ve taken care of work,

whatever we can in the amount of

my head bringing me down, but I’m

family, and personal stuff. It’s hard,

time that is allotted to us. I think if

not looking back anymore. I do what I

but we love what we do.

we’re honest with ourselves about

believe in and continue to be genuine.

needing help and not feeling inferior

I love the marketing and meeting new

because of it, we’ll be happier.

people that comes from social media.


a part every day). Most of the time,


we still have a formal supper where

At first, I was much more behind the

think too much. Find something you

we all sit down together as a fami-

scenes in the company. Then I was

love and keep working at it. Stand tall,

ly. During busy seasons, it’s a little

looking for a place within Kidichic

look ahead, and find your passion.

harder, but we still try to make time

where I could be more vocal and

We all have talents — find yours and

to put down our phones even for a

connected, so I took over the Insta-

use it to succeed. No two people are

few minutes. We’re so lucky to have

gram account. After meeting Charlene

Shabbos, where we can catch up on

Aminoff, CEO and founder of Gali’s

everyone’s lives.

Couture Wigs, who taught me the ins

It’s very important to make time to enjoy life, whether it’s a date night or

making for future seasons, and conduct site visits to all of our stores.

traveling with the kids. I make time to say my Tehillim and a portion of Tanya every day (I’m not Lubavitch, but I’m in a group of ladies who says

I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy

and outs, I understood the power of

as I am now, but I’ve also never felt

social media. That was a turning point

more fulfilled. There’s nothing more

for me. Our Instagram grew quick-

satisfying than seeing what Kidichic

ly from 5,000 followers to 10,000 to

has become. It gets hard, but my

20,000 via content and giveaways.

The best advice I would give is not to

exactly alike, so what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. Find that inner strength, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The key is not being hard on yourself and to keep moving forward.

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

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Meridian Capital Group | New York By Alex Abel


JUDAH HAMMER Managing Director at Meridian Capital Group

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THE STATS: 36 years old Grew up and currently lives in Woodmere, NY Married with five daughters aged 13, 11, 7, 4, and 1 Meridian employee for 13.5 years Built his own team with two junior brokers, a senior analyst, and a junior underwriter



Meridian Capital Group is one of the

ridian in 2005 and am currently a

nation’s leading commercial real

managing director. Along with my

estate finance, investment sales,

team of four, I serve as a trusted


and retail leasing advisory firms.

adviser to a wide variety of clients and

HALB (Hebrew Academy of

As a full-scale real estate services

have successfully closed in excess of

Long Beach)

provider, Meridian assists owners of

a thousand loans across all property

properties in receiving the widest ac-

types from coast to coast.

cess to real estate investors and retail

“My team closes several dozen

tenants, in addition to the most com-

property acquisition financings a year

petitive financing terms available.

and over a hundred refinances a year

36 |

2.0 May 2019.indb 36

Rambam High School Sha’alvim Yeshivah in Israel Landers College (where he currently serves as a board member)

2 . 0 M AY 2 0 1 9

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across an assortment of asset classes,

days, when I arrive early for a ‘state

nights with my wife and children. I

including multifamily, mixed-use,

of the market’ meeting at Meridian’s

have a nightly chavrusa from 9 p.m.

hotels, office buildings, and shopping

One Battery Park Plaza headquar-

to 10 p.m., and will typically daven

centers, and has transacted with more

ters. This is led by Avi Weinstock,

Maariv at 10:15 p.m. Then I’ll reply to

than 40 unique lenders. At the core,

an executive vice president, for the

my emails, establish my goals for the

our job is to serve as an intermediary

purpose of discussing specific deals,

next day, and go to sleep.”

in commercial real estate transac-

bank programs, and strategizing in

tions, working to the benefit of both

a collaborative way with 40 to 60


lenders and clients. If a client wants

other brokers and analysts.

think of myself as a high-energy,

to purchase a building, for example,

“Other mornings, my workday

goal-oriented person. I’ve proven

we’ll assist them in obtaining a loan

begins with a meeting with my

myself to be reliable, dependable,

with the most favorable terms possi-

team to review our current pipeline.

and honest, as well as a dedicated

ble. By using Meridian as an interme-

We discuss what we have coming

advocate for my clients who is able

diary to get a better interest rate, loan

up, decide which deals require our

to get the deal into the end zone.

terms, and structure, our clients are

immediate attention, strategize

I’m extremely competitive by nature,

not only saving money but also using

solutions to any challenges that

which drives results; in everything

our experience to best align financing

have arisen, and review and process

I do, I’m focused on achieving the

with their goals for each property.”

paperwork for borrowers, banks,

best possible outcome.”

appraisers, and lawyers.

HOW I GOT STARTED “For the first

“Next, we’ll review our target deals


and clients we are pursuing, put-

BUSINESS “A good broker is

was calling prospective clients and

ting a plan in place to help us win

well-balanced: aggressive, but likeable

following up so that when the right

the assignment. We’ll also follow up

and trustworthy at the same time. Ad-

opportunity presented itself, I’d be on

with banks on outstanding quotes

ditionally, good brokers have positive

their radar. Once I’d sign up a deal,

and prepare the templates to display

attitudes. You can’t get knocked down

I’d focus on selecting the most com-

loan options for our clients in a way

— you have to be able to move forward

petitive lender based on the client’s

that’s easy to understand. With that

after receiving unfavorable news. You

needs and the deal metrics. The more

in hand, I’ll schedule conference calls

have to be competitive and play the

time I put in, the more I saw a shift

with clients and outline the pros and

long game, meaning you need to invest

from purely doing outreach to getting

cons of each loan.

the time to build your business little

two to three years of my career, I

referrals from existing clients. Now,

“Throughout the week, I’ll meet

by little and think 10 deals out, not just

I have junior brokers on my team

with lenders for various meals or

about the one in front of you. Patience,

whose job it is to originate new loans,

events. This helps foster a close and

thick skin, a competitive mentality,

while I focus on existing relationships

trusting relationship between Meridi-

and the ability to see the big picture

with clients and lenders.”

an and lenders, and allows me to keep

are key. Don’t be afraid of failure. You

my fingers on the pulse of the market

have to be able to shake it off and get

A TYPICAL DAY “My day starts every

to see what the banks’ lending targets

back into the game. Your mindset is

morning at 5:55 a.m., with Shacha-

are and where they’re going to be


ris at 6:15 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. A few

most competitive.

days a week, I’ll play tennis before

“Three or four evenings a week

heading into the office around 9:30

I’ll have dinner meetings or charity

a.m., with the exception of Tues-

events. I try to spend the remaining M AY 2 0 1 9

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STEPS FOR MAINTAINING A THRIVING FAMILY BUSINESS “In a family business, every decision and policy has to be evaluated based both on how it works for the business and also how it will affect the family dynamic – and that adds an extra dimension,” says Daniel Prebish, director of life event services for Wells Fargo Advisors. Here are six steps he suggests you can take to ensure your family business is positioned to thrive and survive:

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2. CLARIFY AND DEFINE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES. Family firms tend to be less formal than other companies, and that can lead to misunderstandings about expectations. Take the time to write formal job descriptions that detail each employee’s responsibilities and goals, and establish regular reviews. The older generation should also refrain from micromanaging. “Parents tend to constantly

1. PUT PEOPLE IN JOBS BASED ON ABILITY. It’s best to hire when

about the talents of their fami-

second-guess what a child is doing,

ly members,” Prebish says. “The

and then the child never feels like

you have a business need for a

oldest child may fit better in a sales

he or she is actually contributing,”

position, not because a family mem-

role than as CEO. Or maybe a child

says Jim McKown, high net worth

ber needs a job, Prebish says. Then

is better off being an artist and not

strategist for Wells Fargo Advisors.

choose the candidate whose talents,

affiliated with the business at all.”

“You need to think, If they weren’t

not lineage, best fit the job.

Sometimes, recruiting talent from

a family member, how would I be

outside the company is the best way

handling this situation? And that’s

to fill a job.

how you should handle it.”

“The most successful family business owners are very honest 38 |

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help secure your investment as you pass it on.

5. OUTLINE YOUR SUCCESSION PLAN. Passing a family business on to the next generation can be tricky, and that’s why it’s important to have a strong succession plan. “It should start with how you define success: Is it keeping the business as a family entity over many generations, or are you comfortable selling it to another firm with more resources that could build it into something better?” Prebish says. You will also need to consider how to pass along ownership in a tax-efficient manner, how company founders (and spouses) will be taken care of in retirement, how to replace the current talent and adapt it for a changing market, and how the business may (or may not) be a part of your personal retirement plan.


them to industry conferences and

family gatherings, especially at hol-

recommends encouraging them to

idays, weddings, and other special

work elsewhere before joining the

events. And refrain from bringing

family firm to establish themselves

personal drama into the office.

as employees and giving them an

getting them training to develop a skill the business can use. McKown

opportunity to mature and make


mistakes outside the business.

Invest in education and experiences

Having the next generation develop

for young family members, sending

a solid background in business may

6. KNOW WHEN TO SEEK OUTSIDE HELP. Many business owners consult with outside estate and financial planning experts to help with succession planning. But a disinterested third party can also help resolve disputes and look at the business rationally because there is no emotional attachment, McKown says.

This article was written for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Mike Stein, managing director of investments in Memphis, Tennessee, at 901-761-8151. Mike can also be reached via email with any questions at michael.stein@wfadvisors.com.

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ng a .”




en e

, s ne

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the payroll and paid them $23,000. The company was only able to block a small amount of that money from actually being paid. Wright Hotels, a real estate development firm, was another victim of cybercrime, in 2017. Hackers got access to the company’s email account and impersonated the owner, convincing the bookkeeper to wire money to accounts in China. So it’s clear that it’s important not

Many people write off cybercrime as a wrecking ball for big companies

to let any lack of awareness turn into

exclusively. They think a small company with fewer than 100 employees

a misstep when it comes to protect-

is insignificant in the eyes of cybercriminals. Unfortunately, however, that

ing your business’s digital universe.

idea couldn’t be more off. Companies of smaller sizes actually make up 71 percent of all attacks.


irst, let’s get down to busi-

Check out these stats if you need further convincing. • More than half the small businesses in America, over 14 million,

It may seem counterintuitive, but

have already been attacked.

ness on what cybercrime

cybercriminals gleefully prey on

is. It can include hacking

smaller companies. It’s that lack

es have been attacked this past

— someone accessing your

of awareness that makes them the

year, and about 44 percent have

• Over 55 percent of small business-

computer without your permission;

most vulnerable. Hemu Nigam,

ransomware — malware that gets

founder of the cybersecurity com-

inserted into your company’s com-

pany SSP Blue, points out, “Hackers

from breaches are estimated to be

puter that blocks usage and forces

love small businesses [because] they

158,727 per hour, 2,645 per minute,

you to pay the cybercriminal a fee to

don’t have the resources to put in

get it back; phishing — extracting

high-end cybersecurity protection

confidential information like credit

and they may not be consciously

many as 1 million new malware

card numbers, or username and

aware they are a target.”

samples are produced every day.

password information by pretending

One example of small cybercrime

been attacked two or more times. • The number of records stolen

and 44 every second of every day. • Anywhere from 230,000 to as

• On average, over half a year passes

to be legitimate; or identity theft —

in action involves a 2011 attack on

in which someone steals your iden-

Green Ford Sales, a car dealership in

tity and gains access to credit cards,

Kansas. Hackers broke into the com-

bank accounts, and other benefits in

pany’s network, and in less than 24

nesses go out of business within

your name.

hours, added nine fake employees to

six months of a cyberattack.

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before a business recognizes that it has been breached. • Some 60 percent of small busi-

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So, how do you protect yourself? Become aware of different methods of attack so you can be certain your IT team is taking the right steps. Delegating without being informed creates a black hole of misinformation and inaction that makes your business vulnerable. Some actions you should take are: • Implement an effective password strategy. If your system isn’t easy to hack, it could discourage the criminal. They will move on to someone else who is more blind to attacks. • Know your data. You cannot fully know how much is at risk until you understand the nature and the


8.5% A YEAR,

amount of data you have at stake. • Create file back-ups, data back-ups, and back-up bandwidth capabilities. This will help you retain your information in the event that a ransomware attack occurs. • Speak to an expert. Cybercriminals are continuously developing new methods. It’s essential to speak with an expert who can keep your company protected on a continuous basis. Putting all of these steps into play not only allows you to protect your business, but also your dream. It helps you protect the jobs for all of the employees

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counting on you. Cyberattacks are the second most reported crime globally. Protecting your company starts with recognizing the danger and taking the positive steps that will prevent this danger from affecting you in the future.

Want to learn more? Sign up for the 2019 ITCON Cybersecurity Conference next month. ITCON 2019 is a Cybersecurity Conference to give business owners, CIOs, CTOs, and their teams the opportunity to learn more about the growing number of cyber threats facing businesses today — and which strategies they can implement to protect themselves. Attendees will enjoy the chance to hear real, practical advice from the biggest and brightest minds in the industry, absent of any technical geek speak, in an engaging and stimulating environment. The conference is to be held June 20, 2019, in Parsippany, NJ. For more details and to register, visit itcon2019.com.


Moshe Fishman Alternative Investment Specialist 732-806-0017 WINTER www.tekeno.net

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By Yael Dorfman

IS YOUR COMPUTER SPYING ON YOU? An ad for your local pizza shop pops up 20 minutes after you

to attract advertisers, and they ac-

thought about ordering a pie for dinner. The perfect pair of shoes

complish that by offering effective,

for your new outfit adorns every website you visit. Your phone offers an ETA at your doctor’s appointment — and you never

sophisticated targeting based on tracked data. If you and a friend, coworker, family member, or acquaintance

requested directions.

perform identical searches on Goo-

Has the World Wide Web developed psychic powers? Well, the short answer is yes; the Internet is stalking you. No, it’s not as menacing as it sounds, and yes, you can (and should) protect yourself and your business from the adverse effects of Internet tracking.

gle, your results will be different. The Internet looks different to every user due to that tracking, which ensures that advertisers and marketers reach the most pinpointed audience possible. That’s why your phone seems to read your mind at times: if you’ve bought pizza every other Wednesday for a few weeks running, you’re likely to see a pizza ad pop


your data and direct highly relevant

up while you’re playing a game on

online activity creates a unique

advertising to your device. Google

Wednesday afternoon.

fingerprint that allows Internet

isn’t simply a search engine any-

giants like Google and Amazon (as

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al suspects like site visits, cookies

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their main goal (like Amazon’s) is

(small pieces of data that help a

42 |

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Tracking goes far beyond the usu-

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they’ll close the seller’s account without any warning,” explains Daniel Steen, cofounder and chief technology officer of MirageID, a Baltimore-based firm that provides identity-tracking isolation and protection. “It can happen to someone who entirely and legitimately manages several Amazon accounts, to two people who have the same name, or even to two cubicle-mates who have separate accounts. Sellers can be flagged and shut down for nonexistent infractions that are mistakenly linked by the tracking mechanisms, and since Amazon and other sites are consumer-focused, the sellers are the ones who are always at a disadvantage,” he says. Furthermore, sellers on online marketplaces face an additional website remember what happened

This information can then be sent

hurdle: Even if they successfully

last time you visited it), searches,

to advertisers as a unique finger-

avoid tracking methods, they are

keystrokes, and IP addresses (the

print to seek you out as part of their

still tracked by the very sites on

numeric address of a computer on

target audience.

which they sell and are unable to

the Internet). Every time you use

block. In other words, if you sell on Amazon, Amazon tracks you,

your processor, plug-ins, screen


resolution, graphics driver, mouse

cant impact on businesses, affecting

to avoid having your search results

movement patterns (even where you

virtually every industry in unexpect-

influenced by your personal Amazon

tend to hover!), and font usage are

ed ways. Multiple business owners

identity rather than by your audi-

all recorded.

and online marketplace sellers are

ence’s identity. Every search that

especially vulnerable to the negative

you perform will be tailored to you,

cell phone using data, sites you visit

aspects of tracking: they run the

not to your target.

can track your phone number, full

risk of being wrongfully accused of

name, address, and location with-

unethical business practices and site


in a few hundred yards. (When 5G

rule violations, which leaves them


networks become available in the

susceptible to sudden shutdowns.

your browser, you’re being tracked:

If you browse the web on your

next few months, location tracking will be accurate within a few feet.)

“If Amazon suspects that a seller possesses multiple accounts,

which makes it nearly impossible

The good news is that your company can still operate on the Internet free of interference and moniM AY 2 0 1 9

2.0 May 2019.indb 43

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5/15/19 1:55 PM

toring. There are several programs

computer; it can also encrypt the

plug-ins (though some may not be

and techniques that you can use to

data for added security. While both

installed, as they may compromise

protect yourself and your business

VPNs and proxies provide unique IP

your identity), and computer infor-

from the adverse effects of online

addresses, they do not block most

mation, without compromising on


tracking — your browser plug-ins,

productivity and familiarity. Usage

cookies, and computer information

is identical to the standard browser

are still tracked.


Virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers are popular security measures; both allow users

Another common solution is a

While tracking tech develops and

to appear as if they’re accessing the

virtual private system (VPS, not to

advances at mind-blowing speed,

Internet from a different location.

be confused with VPN). A VPS is a

the future holds exciting develop-

A VPN makes a private company

dedicated server hosted within a

ments, such as generating preset

network accessible over the public

bigger server; it shares the physical

identities to deceive tracking sys-

Internet, which connects remote

hardware with other VPSs but is vir-

tems. Companies like MirageID are

sites or users and encrypts the data

tually isolated. An individual VPS can

constantly engaged in research and

so that any interceptors can’t read

run its own operating system, so it

development to keep up with the

it; these networks are often used in

offers several advantages like unique

rapidly shifting technology, strate-

businesses that have multiple loca-

IP addresses, browser plug-ins,

gizing to use 5G and other nuances,

tions or travel frequently. A proxy

cookies, and computer information

to mask identities and influence

server channels all your activity

for every remote desktop. While the

tracking data to the consumers’

through a different server, making

concept is excellent, the execution is

advantage. Your habits and patterns

the traffic appear to originate from

often lacking: most users experience

may be tracked, but it still is possi-

the proxy rather than from your

very slow speeds and difficulty with

ble to be safe, secure, and protected

mobile device usage. Additionally,

as you confidently continue to use

since the actual machine in use is

the Internet.

remote, users can’t print from the VPS to local printers. Identity-tracking isolation com-

Daniel Steen, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of MirageID

“I worked with the companies that conceptualized and built these systems, and then, as I saw abuse

panies like MirageID are constantly

of those systems, utilized that

working on new ways to manipulate

experience to help consumers and

tracking to the consumers’ advan-

businesses protect themselves from

tage. They create isolated browsers

the relentless invasion of privacy,”

that keep multiple business and

Steen says. “Technology is transpar-

personal identities entirely separate,

ent. Someone built it, so anyone can

even on shared computers, to protect

learn about how it works. Every-

company privacy and circumvent

thing can be reverse engineered for

the disadvantages of tracking. These

your benefit.”

browsers are blank slates, providing unique IP addresses, cookies,

Daniel Steen, cofounder and chief technology officer of MirageID, spent years in the online advertising industry developing user-tracking solutions for better targeted advertising. His experiences there demonstrated the need for protection against such tracking systems and led him to found MirageID. For more information, you can visit mirageid.com, and Daniel can be reached at info@mirageid.com.

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Azriel Chelst, vice president of Innovation Partnerships at Barclays Bank, takes us through his journey as a trailblazer — creating startups, constructing an eiruv, and climbing his way to the top of the corporate ladder. His entrepreneurial spirit is fed by building new partnerships at work and with an idea that can “buy access to Olam Haba.” PAGE 49


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Photos by Naftoli Goldgrab and Ben Kanter M AY 2 0 1 9

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Azriel Chelst started his business training before he even hit first grade. At five years old, he stood outside a local Barnes & Noble with his older brother to sell bookmarks to customers. “It was my first taste of being an entrepreneur,” he says. This childhood stint shaped him in persistence, and may have been an experience that prepared him for a life of continually dreaming up businesses and ideas, and for his corporate roles at American Express, AnheuserBusch, Mastercard, and, most recently, Barclays Bank, where he has worked since October 2018.


n his role as vice president

the tech space; he’s one who under-

of innovation partnerships at

stands that there is often more out

Barclays, he works on strate-

there than meets the eye. He care-

gy, which is ultimately about

fully considers every detail and takes

how to better engage various

the initiative to make things happen.

audiences — whether they are em-

ployees, clients, investors, or startups


— to drive innovation. “My love for

The skills he’s honed over his

the role centers around my ability to

years in the corporate world, Chelst

his father taught at Yale, MIT, and

work on large-scale, complex prob-

says, were originally cultivated by

Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, the

lems while supporting a multination-

his parents. His father, Rabbi Dr.

family moved with him, giving them

al corporation,” Chelst says.

Ken Chelst, a musmach of Yeshiva

the opportunity to explore different

University, is a professor of applied

communities and lifestyles.

He explains that there are three stages to a good partnership — figur-

mathematics, and his mother, Dr.

ing out what you want to do, nego-

Tamy Chelst, is an audiologist who

Greece, Scotland, South Korea, and Ja-

tiating with someone to do it, and

works with the elderly. Chelst was

pan, and sent my brother and me on a

finally, delivering the product and/or

impacted by his mother’s kindness

backpacking trip through Switzerland

service. “My day is divided between

and guidance, and his father’s cre-

when I was just 13 years old,” Chelst

those three core activities,” he shares.

ativity and problem-solving abilities.

says. Hearing about these childhood

As a child, he traveled around the

experiences, it’s easy to see how he

After spending time speaking with

“He let us tag along on trips to

Chelst, it’s apparent that his humble

world with his parents. “Whenever

developed his aptitude to facilitate

demeanor, willingness to learn, and

my father was on sabbatical or had

complex solutions across the world.

ability to be forward-thinking have

a business conference, he took us

made him a valuable player within

with him,” Chelst explains. When

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Chelst remembers the deep impact left on him when his mother told

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“SOMETIMES PEOPLE LIKE TO MAKE A BIG SPLASH, YET THE HARD THINGS OFTEN NEED FEWER PEOPLE AND LESS NOISE” with YU’s rosh yeshivah and other members of the YU team, as well as departments in New York City to rectify the problem. “Through creating the YU eiruv” — which follows the halachic guidance of Rav Hershel Schachter — “I learned how to maneuver within an organization quietly to get things done,” he shares. “Sometimes people like to make a big splash, yet the hard things often

Chelst points to a chalkboard design with logos of companies that work in the Barclays’ Rise New York office.

him the story of Moshe Rabbeinu

need fewer people and less noise.”

seeing an Egyptian assaulting a Jew-


ish slave. “Moshe looked everywhere

While building the eiruv may

but didn’t see anyone stepping in to

have showcased his aptitude for

protect the slave. I learned from that

orchestrating change behind the

that I should look for opportunities

scenes, Chelst acknowledges that

to help where other people aren’t.”

great change often comes from

This is a practice Chelst has

seemingly subtle, small moments.

been applying since his early days

For him, one of those moments

studying at Yeshiva University. Back

occurred even before his time at

in 2003, building an eiruv was a

YU. In 12th grade, he dropped

sensitive topic in the Washington

out of high school and attended

Heights area. Chelst was determined

Wayne University instead. There,

to take on the challenge and include

his computer science professor

the entire neighborhood across

introduced him to HTML for the

Amsterdam Avenue. He worked

first time. By the time the two-hour M AY 2 0 1 9

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Chelst works out of Barclays’ Rise New York, a state-ofthe-art FinTech workspace in Manhattan that brings together some of the world’s top FinTech companies.


session ended, Chelst was planning

working on the redesign, Chelst

his first web-development business.

says, “I managed to convince YU

After high school, he studied in

President Dr. Richard Joel to fund

Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh (KBY) in

YU Torah, which is still my proudest

Israel for a year and then started

accomplishment to date.”

Yeshiva University in the fall of 1997.

YU Torah is a site with now nearly

After graduating in January 2000 and

150,000 shiurim that are shared via

beginning the YU semichah program,

webcast in audio, video, and text

Chelst partnered with his friends

formats by the YU community. For

from KBY to create the web business

Chelst, this is how he utilizes his gift

OutDash (formerly QuIC Solutions),

for technology for a higher purpose.

which worked to provide solutions

“I started off my career obsessed

for businesses and nonprofits look-

with bringing tech to the Jewish

ing to advertise and commercialize

world,” he shares.

their organizations on the Internet. Eventually, OutDash partnered

50 |

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with the Orthodox Union to build the

After receiving semichah, Chelst

first halachic zemanim website. “I

went on to earn an MBA from NYU

still remember writing the code with

Stern School of Business, with a

my friends and fighting through

focus on entrepreneurship and inno-

the bugs associated with the days

vation. In 2010, he joined American

when we change the clock,” he says.

Express, working in a research and

Then they landed a $250,000 project

development lab experimenting with

to redesign the YU website. While

new technologies. Eventually he

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stantly turn for guidance and good advice. What I love most about my new role at Barclays is that my boss is a great mentor and role model.”

AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN Chelst often applies his background in Torah learning to his corporate life. He’s always amazed, for example, when he opens a Gemara and learns something that applies to his life in 2019. He feels that, as Jews, we constantly view life with an element of

moved to another team to launch the

organization to determine the top 10

skepticism, always making sure every

Plenti Rewards Program, in which

that would work with the company.

question has an answer. This is a trait he utilizes often in the workplace.

customers were awarded points

After Mastercard, he took a break

at retail stores affiliated with the

from corporate innovation to develop

“I try to figure out what won’t fit in

program and could then use them

his own startup called It’s Broke.

advance or hasn’t been done before,

at other retailers. The program ran

The startup was going to launch

and then look at the bigger picture

successfully for three years.

an app designed to report every-

to see which ideas have the greatest

Next Chelst moved to beer giant

day problems, from broken Slurpee

chance for success. My favorite part

Anheuser-Busch. “I often joke that I

machines at 7-Eleven to fallen stop

is pressure-testing ideas with friends

worked in credit cards for five years,

signs in random locations. “Our goal

and colleagues to create an even bet-

then took a year off to drink, then

was to be a hub for complaints, a

ter solution,” he says.

went back to credit cards,” he says.

planet-wide 311,” he says.

“And I’m not even a beer drinker!”

But developing a startup takes

A self-proclaimed “puzzle person,” Chelst says he constantly tries

a good team, and when his chief

to create better solutions by asking

at Anheuser-Busch studying

technology officer left to take a

questions. “I’m always afraid to

on-premise innovation, which

paying job, he paused to regroup.

come across as the guy who asks too

means researching technologies for

He wasn’t sure what he would do

many questions. At the same time,

stadiums, restaurants, bars, and

next, but that same day, by a stroke

I think it’s important to understand

off-premise innovation — technol-

of Divine Providence, he received a

all aspects surrounding an issue to

ogies for groceries and convenience

call from Barclays inviting him to an

create clarity, avoid confusion, and

stores. He also managed a large


ultimately bring everyone together.”

He spent much of his time

industry data project to provide

“I got very, very lucky with my

For many people with big ideas,

detailed market-share insights for

new position at Barclays,” he says.

the questions or fears can often

specific geographic locations.

“It says in the Mishnah that one

become overwhelming. When asked

should ‘make for himself a rabbi.’

if he has any tips for someone who

at Mastercard as the company’s

Recently, I heard a shiur from Rabbi

finds it hard to take the next step

Global Director of Startup Engage-

Shay Schachter where this mishnah

to drive his or her own project, he

ment. His position entailed re-

was used to suggest that one should

says, “It depends on where you are

viewing hundreds of startups every

look for people — even within the

in the process. If you are in educa-

quarter and collaborating across the

workplace — to whom you can con-

tion mode, you need to seek unbiased

A year later, he landed a position

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feedback. I reach out to strangers and

who you are and what you’re trying

Mitzvah Coin. These coins will allow

friends to pressure test the concept. I

to do], sourcing opportunities [find-

users to show their hakaras hatov to

start by telling people I have a ‘wacky

ing opportunities with that person or

someone who has helped them. It’s

idea.’ Pretty soon, people are not only

getting introductions to others], and/

going to be the first cryptocurrency

providing constructive feedback, they

or execution [creating value for both

that can buy access to Olam Haba,”

also feel an urge to join you in the

parties]. Ideas alone have no value if

he says, adding, “It’s far more lucra-

brainstorming effort. Everyone wants

they aren’t brought to life.”

tive to be selfless than selfish.”

to be part of a creative process.

Another Torah approach that Chelst

As a father of four, aged thir-

uses regularly in his work inter-

teen to six years old, Chelst is most

best idea is to walk before you run.

actions is the concept of dan l’chaf

concerned with teaching his chil-

You need to find a way to validate

zechus. “I get into negotiations all the

dren that there’s a sense of pride in

your ideas with a ‘test and learn’

time where it’s best to try to un-

applying business skills to Jewish

scenario. I was doing this myself

derstand the other side, rather than

life. “It’s important to use your

a few weeks ago. I had a simple

think the worst of them,” he says. He

talents to create an impact for the

product that I wanted to test with

values listening and understands that

Jewish community,” he explains. In

a client. As I was working through

not everyone will always like what

addition to his early projects in his

the details, I kept seeing how my

you have to say, although he admits

college and semichah program days,

first test case was too complicat-

it’s taken him awhile to get there.

he’s used his successes in the cor-

“If you’re in execution mode, the

ed. Instead of pushing it through,

“I used to be the kid who thought

porate world to give back to others

I called up the client, discussed the

that he knew everything and could

as well. In fact, he sets aside time

challenges, and killed the test.

just force people to see things his

each week to advise others, sharing

way,” he shares. He recalls a time

his business acumen and other life

your fears is to try, fail, and try again.

when he was working on a website

experiences. For Chelst, it isn’t only

It’s a lot like the concept of ‘Sheva

with a large institution and tried to

about succeeding as an individual,

yipol tzaddik v’kam — The righteous

get a second team within the orga-

but about knowing that he’s helping

one falls seven times, yet gets up.’

nization to help deliver an inter-

others succeed as well.

You could replace tzaddik with ‘en-

active and engaging portion of the

trepreneur.’ It’s okay to fail because

website. “After a frustrating session,

clear that being happy, for him, is

we all do. The key is to learn, to get

my client called me aside and said,

something that transcends personal

up again, to adjust your assumptions,

‘I know you’re right, but you aren’t

accomplishments. His happiness

and to try a new test case.”

helping,’” he says.

stems from serving other people and

“I think the biggest way to get over

While every person is bound to face

At that moment, he realized how

challenges on the road to success,

important it is to pick your battles,

Chelst likes to view every conversa-

and that sometimes it’s okay to set-

tion as another opportunity to learn.

tle for the greater good.

After speaking with Chelst, it’s

empowering them to find their own way to contribute to the world. “Originally I wanted to go into the rabbinate. Even though my career went in a different direction, I’ve

Some conversations may seem more valuable than others, but ultimately


lucked out. I was once pitching a few

if you maintain focus you’ll end up at

“The greater good” seems to be a

of my favorite startups to the CEO of

the right destination. “There are only

theme in Azriel Chelst’s life. He cur-

a US bank. During the conversation,

three things you should focus on in a

rently has another startup percolat-

I whispered to him, ‘I probably have

business conversation: branding your

ing. “My next Jewish project will be

the best job in the room. They pay

identity [making people understand

to launch a free cryptocurrency called

me to help others.’”

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VP of Marketing at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield | NY By Alex Abel


hink about the last time you went to a shopping mall. What did you see? Rows

of stores, of course, maybe a fountain, a few escalators, some seating areas. For Rachel Kraus, however, Vice President of Marketing at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, that’s not even a fraction of it. “There is nothing — nothing — accidental about a mall,”

By day, Rachel Kraus manages the experience 400,000 people have when they walk through the revitalized World Trade Center. By night, she’s inspiring Jewish souls — and nothing is small about the impact she’s making.

Kraus says. “It’s meant to look seamless, but it’s like a duck on the water. It seems calm, but its feet are churning underneath. A company like the one I work for fuels the whole operation. It’s the brainpower.” In her role, she manages and oversees all the marketing for the World Trade Center retail development, a job she’s held for six years. “When I started, the World Trade Center retail was just a blueprint,” she

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An aerial view of The Oculus, a defining feature of the newly designed World Trade Center, which houses 400,000 people daily.


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shares. Now, the sixteen-acre campus includes eight acres of completely “holy space” that are reserved for the 9/11 museum and memorial, in addition to four towers (one that is still yet to be built); the Oculus, which is the site’s transportation hub; and the mall itself, which includes multiple levels of retail. With all that going on, it’s no surprise that no two days are the same. At any given time, Kraus is overseeing government and public affairs, public relations and media, which includes social, digital, creative and brand strategy, and events. “We’re responsible for everything the customer experiences,” she explains. “It could be a major artist doing a pop-up concert or a class of fourth-grade students coming dressed up as Abraham Lincoln to recite the Gettysburg Address and everything in between.” She also manages all of the retail for the mall, which includes more than 80 stores, each with their own individual marketing plans, objectives, and sales goals. Sounds like enough to keep her pretty busy, but if you know Rachel Kraus, you know that’s just the start. She also serves as the director of community education at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side, alongside her husband, Rabbi Dan-

meaning and mechanics of prayer and develop a deeper

iel Kraus.“ There are about 1,200 families, so it’s a massive

understanding of the weekly Torah portion.

shul,” she says. In her role, she teaches weekly and monthly women’s

“Part of it is to create a sense of comfortability so you can walk into any synagogue and feel in the know, but it’s

classes on her own to about 30 to 50 women at a time, and

also about the underpinnings of what prayer is all about

also co-teaches classes with her husband. At the time of

and why we carve out time to do it,” she shares. “We do

this interview, they were in the middle of a five-class se-

an hour of parshah discussion as well, to connect the text

ries on Jewish history. She also teaches a mother/daugh-

with a sense of relevance and purpose to our daily lives. We

ter bas mitzvah class and does one-on-one lessons with

explain that it’s not just Moshe, for example, talking to the

kallos. Every Shabbos morning, she co-leads the begin-

Jewish people 3,000 years ago. He’s talking to us now.”

ner’s service at the shul, which helps those who haven’t had a formal Jewish education become acquainted with the 56 |

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If you’re wondering when this woman sleeps, you’re not alone. “Daniel and I joke that sleep is for the afterlife,”

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time with her four kids as pure


energy. “On an average night, from

When I started, I was working out

six to nine, let’s say, I don’t have

of the Garden State Plaza, which is

my phone with me,” Kraus explains.

actually one of the top-producing

“I am in full-on tickle, dance party

malls in the country. I was doing a

mode with the kids. It’s just cud-

combination of community engage-

dling, homework, singing, bedtime,

ment and working with retailers. I

and spending time together.”

was also part of a very small group

she says. But she also credits quality

We sat down with this pow-

of people who had started growing

er woman to learn how she got to

and expanding a revenue-generating

where she is today, what the status

department within the company,

of the retail industry is, and how you

all based on strategic partnerships.

can master a life of intention.

That was a first, not only for the company but also for the industry.


Later, I worked on the 2012 Olym-


pic Games in London, which was


adjacent to one of our properties.

Absolutely not. I had no idea. It was

They brought me out to be part of

through a combination of having

the development of a global think

an open mind and an insatiable

tank. I was working with some of the

curiosity that I ended up creating

Olympic brand partners to leverage

this pathway. It came through a

those relationships back to the home

lot of exploration, a willingness to

markets. Most recently, I was very

challenge myself, and being able to

fortunate to be a part of the rebuild-

answer opportunities as they came. When I finished my undergraduate degree, I worked at a nonprofit for a bit, but it wasn’t for me. Then an opportunity for an assistant marketing director role became available at a property based in New Jersey. I thought, Okay, I know nothing about

ing and redevelopment of the World Trade Center. And all of that happened just from that one job posting.

LET’S GO BEHIND THE SCENES. FROM OUR SIDE, IT LOOKS LIKE A MALL IS A MALL. WHAT GOES INTO YOUR JOB? It’s a fascinating and dynamic business. We need to think about

retail, I don’t even like shopping, I know

space, how it’s used, the retail mix,

nothing about real estate, but hey! I’ll

design, operations, what the cus-


tomer wants, and the demographic

So I applied and got the job. It was

profile of a particular area. We have

an entry-level position. From there

to create an environment that both

I was embraced by the company and

meets the needs of today and antic-

grew in many different ways, both in

ipates the needs of tomorrow. We

terms of breadth and depth.

also have to think about something M AY 2 0 1 9

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called districting, which is not just having the right retail mix, but also having a thoughtful and strategic placement of that retail mix. So a classic case is a mom with three kids in the car. She pulls onto the property and has to park somewhere with stroller accessibility. You want her to be able to park close to a particular entrance, and at that entrance you want to make sure you don’t just have a single children’s retailer, you also want to have a whole cluster of kids’ retail, activities, and food. It’s about the whole customer experience — the entire journey, from planning to parking to shopping to eating and leaving — how you’re anticipating and meeting their needs.

WHAT OTHER FACTORS PLAY A ROLE IN THE MALL DESIGN? Everything from the aesthetics to the lighting, including the retail mix, ease of navigation, placement of escalators 58 |

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versus elevators, how big the stores are, and even the

to the ground and anticipating what those next brands are

height of the storefronts. All of those things make such a

and what those next experiences are, because brands are

difference. From the pedestrian view, you may think, “I

relentless in trying to connect with the consumer.

don’t know the difference between an 8-foot-high entrance and a 15-foot-high entrance,” but there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between them, and some of these design elements impact the customer experience. Also, for every minute above a certain threshold that a customer spends in a mall, they’ll spend a dollar more. But eventually you want to move them out and have new customers come in instead. So within the retail space, it’s critical to think about that customer journey — how do I get someone here, make it easy for them to get around here, keep them here, but then also get them out at the right time because eventually you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns and rotation is critical. Shopping destinations have morphed into lifestyle destinations with theatres, bowling alleys, dining options, and all types of experiential activities and events, because all that keeps people longer, spending more, often connecting with others, with the mall becoming a more socially engaged environment.

WHEN WORKING ON A PROJECT LIKE THE WORLD TRADE CENTER, HOW DO YOU CATER THE STORES AND DIMENSIONS TO YOUR TARGET POPULATION AS YOU WOULD FOR A SUBURBAN MALL? IT SEEMS LIKE SUCH A BROADER DEMOGRAPHIC. We have an obsession with our customers and with maintaining a deep understanding of who they are and what they need. There are three main customer segments at the World Trade Center. The first category is the commuters or professionals. There are over 250,000 professionals who work within a three-block radius. You have to think about what needs they have on an ongoing basis. They need to eat, they need a place to hang out with their friends after work, they need a Duane Reade when they need a quick Advil, they need boutique fitness studios where they can go to before or after work, etc. The second category is the area residents — and not just the residents who live there today, but the ones who are going to be moving in 10 years from now. The population here has quadrupled since 9/11. Fifteen years ago, there were


incentives to move to Lower Manhattan, and now it’s the

Strong categories and brands in retail are doing well, and

families with kids, who need a place to go on a rainy day, a

weaker ones either need to reinvent themselves or they

place with activities, food, and easy stroller access. And of

will disappear. But the trends are indicating a belief in

course, the millennials — and there are many in the area —

brick-and-mortar. Digital brands are actually looking

and their behaviors, preferences, and spending habits.

for physical space to create environments where they

highest-income area in the borough. It’s thinking about the

The third category is the tourists. No one comes to New

can connect with consumers. One of my favorite brand

York City and doesn’t go to the World Trade Center. So

partners that I worked with was Google. There is nothing

there’s a whole subset of needs based on your one-time

physical about their brand, and yet they decided that if

visitors. Within that tourist segment, you have those here

they want to connect with consumers, they have to be in a

on business, those here on leisure, some domestic, some

physical space. The same thing is happening with Ama-

international, so you have to further distill all their needs.

zon, Birchbox, Warby Parker, Casper, and many others. At the end of the day, you can interact with someone

Maybe someone’s coming in on their way to work and grabbing coffee, or they’re meeting someone at the memo-

through a screen or device, but the impact of the per-

rial, or they’re going to One World Observatory. They could

sonal human touch and connection is so powerful and so

have a big meeting and spill something on their shirt and

dynamic that brands are seeking out ways to activate the

have to run to the closest H&M to get another one.

physical environment. The evolution and the innovation happening within the real-estate space is having our ear

While there are over 400,000 people walking through every single day, and we have to be macro-oriented, it’s also about M AY 2 0 1 9

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the specific needs of each individual person. Every individ-

Sometimes that translates into retail sales and sometimes

ual is important, and the experience they have makes all the

into a stronger Jewish identity.

difference. Sales are built on volume, but people make the decisions. That’s what I really love about this space.

In terms of the intersection, there have definitely been times where I’ve faced challenges with being out, like every September when we’re revving up to busy season and


I’m gone for three weeks out of the month. But I’ve never backed down on who I am. My Judaism is such a core part of my identity that I’ve never even allowed it to get to a place of tension.

This industry requires constant innovation, disruption, and


re-imagination. I thrive on the challenge of being at the

First, I really feel that when you do something you love,

forefront, on creating that next wave of the intersection of

it’s not work. I’m energized every day by the people I’m

retail and experience and humanity; that’s my oxygen.

meeting and the things that they’re doing. Torah learning

created opportunities for me to grow and cultivate my skills.

also fuels the spirit and my kids fuel my spirit. One thing


energizes the next. I am inspired by my kids, which fuels

I’ll answer that in two ways. Number one, I feel like I

work. All of those things are interconnected.

do the same thing professionally that I do personally.

my learning, which drives a thoughtful, creative process at I also play basketball — I played in high school and

My husband and I hold communal positions where we

college and really missed it, so I got together with a couple

teach and engage with the community. If you take a

of moms on the Upper East Side and started playing again.

step back and look at the broader picture, during the day

I love it.

I’m responsible for creating a space where people can

My husband and I also have a date night every week,

come, feel connected, and be moved to take action. The

no matter what. Sometimes it’s dating over a chavrusa, or

same thing happens within my communal role, but it’s

sometimes it’s over coffee and s’mores in our living room,

facilitated through creating a space where people come

but whatever it is, we make a point of always dating.

and feel connected to Jewish identity and their Jewish

That’s crucial to make sure our relationship is continu-


ously growing.

Through Torah classes, meeting one-on-one with people, and co-teaching with Daniel, there are portals of connection thought-starters that are engaging for the population of the


Jewish community. We have to think about their needs both

Try everything! Go in with a relentless hunger to learn.

now and moving forward and work to keep people inspired

Meet people, connect with every function of a business.

and engaged. So for me, I do the same thing by day and by

There are hidden gems of self-discovery in every corner.

night; it’s just I wear a slightly different hat at each. But it’s

You’ll either find out what you love or you’ll find out what

essentially the same thing. I am responsible for creating the

you don’t. The key is humility and curiosity — and this isn’t

space that helps to achieve an impact on the human spirit.

just vocational advice. You can apply it to everything.

being created. We come up with ideas, concepts, classes, and

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Benyamin Rapaport, Career Guidance Director, MS MAPP

5/15/19 1:57 PM




By Alex Abel


How This Gap-Year Program Is Infusing the New Workforce with Torah

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very year, a whole crop of Jewish high school graduates makes the decision of whether to go to yeshivah or seminary or to go straight to college. For many, it’s a no-brainer, as the extra year of learning has become the norm for observant families. For others, however, it’s not so simple. The urge to get out into

the workforce more quickly is causing some to forgo the yeshivah route altogether. That’s what Torah Tech is trying to change. The brandnew Israel program (which just finished its first year) launched under the Am Yisrael Foundation — an organization in Tel Aviv with many branches — is endorsed by Rabbi Mordechai Auerbach. The Torah Tech mission is to offer internships to graduating high school seniors and combine them with yeshivah studies so students don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Yehuda Goldberg, program director, explains, “We set out to create Torah Tech for those on the fast track to complete their degree, get into the workforce, and make their mark. What they don’t realize, though, is they’re throwing away this last chance to reflect and have time to assess what they want their future to look like… We basically found a niche that hasn’t been filled until now.” Rabbi Shlomo Chayen, head of the beis medrash and educational director of the Am Yisrael Foundation, says, “What we really want to do with Torah Tech is bring education into the practical essence of how I’m supposed to live my life. How do I take Torah with me? If I’m a busy guy and have to wake up early, get on the train, and get to work, how do I find time to learn? We want to show the students that the way you become a talmid chacham is to learn for the rest of your life. Every day, you devote time, whether it’s fifteen minutes or three hours. Just make sure you devote yourself and bring the Torah in.” The structure of the day is set to mimic a typical work schedule. It starts bright and early at 6:45 a.m. with morning seder. By 7:05, the students have their tefillin on and organize a minyan themselves, where they take turns being the chazzan. After davening, there’s a quick breakfast and then they learn either a perek of Mishnah or perek of

Photos by Elchonon Kotler

Tanach. After that, on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, M AY 2 0 1 9

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Yehuda Goldberg and Rabbi Shlomo Chayen pose at the program’s beis medrash in Tel Aviv.

the army come to speak,” Goldberg says. “They teach all about different halachah topics and how to act as a ben Torah in the workplace.” The structure also allows room for educational learning outside of

Yehuda Golberg, program director, with students (L-R) Elly Honig, Gavri Kepets, Daniel Weber, and Rabbi Shlomo Chayen.

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they’re all off to their internships

the classroom, with trips around

— which range from high tech and

Israel to see the places the guys are

medicine to photography and engi-

studying when they learn Tanach, or

neering. On Mondays and Wednes-

exploratory excursions that apply to

days, they have classes for the rest of

their interest areas. “Most recently,

the day. And then there’s night seder

for our engineers, we went to the

or an event in the evenings.

desalination plant in Ashkelon and

Their classes focus on the typical

then in Rishon L’Tzion,” Goldberg

studies you might see in another ye-

shares. “The guys were taken on an

shivah, but also bring tech into that

in-depth tour of how the cleaning

to keep the blend of engagement

process of the water works in Israel,

going. “We have professionals who

why it’s so important, and how

run 150-million-dollar VC funds

Israel is revolutionizing water reuse

and guys in the technology units in

around the world.”

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They also do outings to different workspaces around the


country. Recently they went to WeWork and learned about what


makes a good hire. HR representatives spoke about what they’re looking for on résumés, what they want to see on LinkedIn pag-


es, what kinds of attitudes they like to see, and more. Of course, there’s still time for some fun. The students go on camping trips, host barbecues, and play laser tag. Through this,

HOW I GOT HERE: “A rabbi who worked in my

the staff and students have a chance to bond, creating a space of

high school is a cousin of Rabbi Chayen. When I spoke to him, every single thing he said about the program was what I had described to my guidance counselor that I wanted.”

self-exploration where the graduates can come into their own while at the same time learning new lasting habits. “There’s a lot of social responsibility around what we teach these guys, like to be on time for davening,” Goldberg says. “It’s

WHAT I DO: “I do software engineering for a start-

now, Goldberg and Rabbi Chayen have built connections that are

up called A-muse. It makes software to be put into consoles, to use as digital physical therapy. With physical therapy now, you go to a center, wait, then meet with a specialist for 20 to 30 minutes and then leave. It takes a long time, and you feel like a sick patient when you’re doing exercises that you could be doing at home. But at home you don’t get feedback, and physical therapists aren’t coming to your house, so this addresses that issue. Right now it’s a supplement, but ultimately it will be a library of software for every different type of physical

coming full circle. “Rabbi Chayen has a dozen different chavru-


sas over the course of the week that come in, most of whom are

COOLEST THING I’VE DONE: “My company is in an accelerator with Intel and I worked on a project for it. When Intel’s representatives came in, they pulled up my project and were commenting on it, saying it was really cool. I was talking to these high-up people at Intel about my project, asking and answering questions. It was a crazy experience to be a part of that.”

not just about you. If you’re not there, your friends or community members aren’t going to have a minyan. We also want to show them strong role models and have it ingrained in them how to have a good morning seder and how to give back to the community.”

NAILING THE INTERNSHIP Through working with the Am Yisrael Foundation for many years

VCs or heads of high-tech companies, so we’ve made amazing connections,” Goldberg explains. “We also run a fairly large community here in Tel Aviv. The Am Yisrael Foundation does between 10 to 15 events every month, and each one could have hundreds of people attending.” The team also works closely with the incoming Torah Tech students to build up their résumés and get the internships on their own merit — many already have incredible experience through high school internships or self-taught skills. The guys then interview with a few different companies, and by the time they arrive, they know where they’ll be working and who their bosses are. Often, they need to prepare in advance as well. Their internship supervisors can ask them to be familiar with a programming language, or how to work certain lab equipment. “The internships work with the students even before they get here to make sure that they hit the ground running,” Goldberg says. Of course, that requires quality guys to ensure they’ll be up to the challenge. This past year, they had more than 30

HOW THIS PROGRAM HAS CHANGED ME: “What they’ve done really well is show us how you can be in these super-high-tech fields but also have a religious life. The two don’t have to be separate. A lot of the program is about discipline and sticking to things. Seeing professionals 10 years down the line and how they live their lives Jewishly gave me great role models to look up to.”

POST-PROGRAM PLANS: “I’m going to Tel Aviv University for three years and then afterwards, as part of a contract with the army, I’m going to do intelligence in the IDF. Israel pays for your degree and then you use those skills in the army position.”

applicants and chose 10. For the upcoming year, they’ve hit M AY 2 0 1 9

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HOW I GOT HERE: “My uncle, who lives Israel, saw an ad in one of Israel’s classified sections about this program. He e-mailed it to me. At the time I wasn’t really planning to go to Israel, I was going to go straight to college. But after seeing what the program was about, I decided to give it a shot.”

WHAT I DO: “I work at Ichilov Hospital, which is the second-largest hospital in Israel, in the neurosurgery department, doing brain cancer immunotherapy. My team and I developed a method to better diagnose cancer in the brain. The foundation of the method had already been laid out — research stands on the shoulders of giants — but we’re developing a protocol to give to others so they can better diagnose cancers. I work specifically with the cerebral spinal fluid that flows through the meninges, the protective layer of the brain. In certain diagnoses, you tap and take some of that spinal fluid to research.”

COOLEST THING I’VE DONE: “I got to watch two brain surgeries, which was incredible.” HOW THIS PROGRAM HAS CHANGED ME: “It’s definitely pushed me to grow up faster. You have responsibilities and expectations and no one is on top of you, you need to step up. My relationship with Judaism has deepened as well. We have philosophical discussions and it’s very interesting to hear the different perspectives. We also have one teacher named Elon, who is the head of the startup incubator that the IDF runs. He gives a shiur on electricity on Shabbat, which really brings halachah into the modern era.”

50 applicants. In the future, they see the program growing

POST-PROGRAM PLANS: “I’m going to Johns Hop-

get out of a program like this.”

kins University in the fall and plan to double major in biology and neuroscience. Long term, I’d love to do something that disrupts the health field with technology.”

to about 25 to 30 students, and hope to expand to a girls’ program as well. “We’re looking for serious guys who are interested in being dedicated to something,” Goldberg notes. “We make it very clear to the guys beforehand that we’re going to ride them very hard. It’s easy for them to think, Oh, I got into college, I’m good, but that’s not what this is about. We need guys who want to be engaged and who understand the growth they can

TORAH AND TECH IN TODAY’S AGE A program combining learning with innovation seems like a natural development with the way the world is moving, yet, now more than ever, young people need encouragement to stay focused in a landscape built for distraction.

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“THE WORLD IS RUNNING AT A MUCH FASTER PACE. WE WANT TO TEACH THESE GUYS THE TOOLS OF PROFESSIONALISM, CONSISTENCY, DEVOTION, AND DETERMINATION, THINGS THAT AREN’T SO EXCITING TO THE YOUNGER CROWD, BUT ARE ESSENTIAL” “A person can become a phenomenon on YouTube or Instagram in a second,” Rabbi Chayen says. “So a lot of these guys are thinking, Let me already be the next Mark Zuckerberg, let me be the next guy who starts the new app, why should I waste my time on another year in Israel? The world is running at a much faster pace. We want to teach these guys the tools of professionalism, consistency, devotion, and determination — things that maybe today aren’t so exciting to the younger crowd, but that are essential.” They’re already noticing that work pays off. “After four months, they’ve already finished three or four books of Tanach, they’ve already finished a whole seder in Mishnah, and by the end of the year they’re going to finish three sedorim of Shas,”



HOW I GOT HERE: “Originally, my plan for my gap year was to try to find an internship in Israel on my own, or honestly to go straight to college. I realized that getting an internship would be unlikely, and early on, my mom saw an ad for the Torah Tech program and called up. It seemed like the perfect place.”

WHAT I DO: “I’m working as a software developer at a company called Autofleet. The company is only a year and a few months old. We’re building a service for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to optimize the utilization of their cars legally. Right now Uber has its own cars and drivers and when it gets a ride, it sends the nearest driver, but there are still a lot of cars not being utilized. The idea is to have shared fleets going and making sure all the cars are being utilized as often as possible. We’re also working on integrating autonomous vehicles into the service. It’s really cutting edge, and I don’t feel like an intern, I feel like an employee.”

COOLEST THING I’VE DONE: “One day we took two cars and filled them up with employees to simulate what it would be like to use our system on a very small scale. We drove around Tel Aviv as if we were ride-sharing drivers, pretending to pick up and drop off people, testing the system for any flaws. It was really cool because we got to see all of our work go into action for the first time. I was responsible for documenting all the bugs we ran into.” HOW THIS PROGRAM HAS CHANGED ME: “My mindset toward Torah has really changed. Throughout high school, I used to treat it as another class, but now I really see the value of taking it upon myself and having it in my life outside of school when I’m working. The program has surpassed all my expectations.”

Rabbi Chayen continues. “That’s incredible. They’ve been

POST-PROGRAM PLANS: “I’m going to Cooper Union

seeing that by being consistent and doing a little bit every day,

in the fall to study engineering.”

you can look back in a year and be amazed at how much you’ve accomplished.” M AY 2 0 1 9

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STEM at Jewish High Schools By Ariella Gluck



501(c)(3), the organization focuses on enhancing and enriching the quality of Jewish education throughout the United States. It started with computer-based learning for grades K through 5, and now offers programming for students in more than 200 yeshivos, Bais Yaakovs, and other day schools. Throughout the year, students learn about robotics, engineering, and coding through a variety of hands-on STEM programs and a specially curated curriculum.

icture this — a pair of

impact was detected. This idea was

glasses for people with ALS

created by Shoshana Meisler, Atara

that translates their blink-

Reich, and Ahuva Weg, three Bais

schools to implement these pro-

ing into Morse code and

Yaakov girls in Baltimore.

grams, but it also provides teacher

then into words. That’s an innova-

These aren’t isolated cases either.

Not only does CIJE work with

training and support, as well as

tion that was created by Aaron Sin-

More than a thousand students

mentors who visit the schools on

ensky, a bochur at Mesivta Shaarei

gather every year to showcase their

a weekly basis. These services are

Chaim in Far Rockaway.

engineering products and inventions

offered at a highly subsidized cost,

at Innovation Day — a one-day

thanks to extensive fundraising.

Imagine going out for a bike ride, then falling, and being unable to

science fair hosted by the Center for

communicate to anyone that you’re

Initiatives in Jewish Education, also

WHY STEM? If you’re new to the idea

in danger. Now envision having a

known as CIJE. It’s a culmination of

of STEM, let’s backtrack. The acro-

“smart” helmet with an attached

a year’s worth of studies.

nym stands for science, technology,

Founded in 2001 by the board

engineering, and math. It’s an area

sends a text message to an emer-

of directors at Gruss Life Monu-

of study that encourages creativity,

gency contact, letting them know an

ment Funds Inc., and now its own

problem-solving skills, innovation,

force resistor that automatically

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Students from Yeshiva Darchei Torah demonstrate their STEM capsule project. From left to right: Moshe Cohen, Avrome Szafranski, Moshe Shabtai Cohen.

and critical thinking. It is an interdisciplinary approach where students are encouraged to apply concepts in a hands-on way, resulting in out-of-the-box thinking that can help solve myriads of issues faced by individuals around the world. Adam Jerozolim, director of curriculum development and programming at CIJE, explains that the organization wants to make sure Jewish schools have access to these technologies and the curriculum to

career like this could offer. “The

away and advocated for the program

teach their students the skills neces-

message [the women] were able

at her son Aaron’s yeshivah, Shaarei

sary in a rapidly advancing world.

to give over was that the ability to

Chaim in Far Rockaway.

“Our students, regardless of where

work in tech and juggle a frum home

“I vouched for the program

they fall on the religious spectrum,

life is possible,” he says. “They

because I knew it so well,” Sinen-

are entering jobs that require more

told us how most of their work is

sky shares. “It allows children who

skills than [many jobs] did in the

project-based, so they can leave

would normally never have exposure

past,” he explains. “People who

work early on Fridays and continue

to anything like this to have it in a

can’t navigate these new areas lose

on Motzaei Shabbos if they need to.”

perfectly kosher environment. Aaron attends a very right-wing school,

accessibility to high-level careers.”


and he doesn’t have a computer or a

velopment at CIJE, explains the

with seven high schools, creating

cell phone. This program taught him

wide-ranging benefits programs

programs for teachers to implement

how to code and program, and he

like these give specifically to women

a curriculum that included coding

participated in the CIJE Innovation

in the workforce as well. “The tech

and robotics, and it caught on like

Day with all the other yeshivos.”

world has a desperate need for fe-

wildfire. Now it’s in more than 70

Sinensky was so excited to see

male employees,” he shares. “Every

high schools and works with over

the culmination of a year’s worth of

company is looking to hire more,

10,000 students. And that growth

work at the event. “My son felt so

they just can’t find them, so there is

has happened in just eight years.

proud and accomplished. His project

Philip Brazil, director of de-

huge opportunity.”

Roizy Sinensky from Woodmere,

[the Morse code glasses for those

New York was introduced to the CIJE

with ALS, as mentioned above] did

to Google to hear from eight frum

program as the science department

very well, according to all the judg-

women who work there and to

chairperson at HAFTR, a day school

es. It was amazing — Aaron created

become inspired by the benefits a

in the Five Towns. She was blown

it, coded it, and wired it. He didn’t

He took one group of students

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pected to gather at Bell Works in

Hanan Berger, Benny Jacob, G.J. Neiman of YUHSB-MTA smile proudly in front of their project

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE “STEM is spreading all over the country,” tech — that’s where it’s at. Under-

even need to use the Internet. He

standing this is a huge advantage to

never would have had this opportu-

preparing students for the real-world

nity if not for CIJE.”

job market, as well as allowing them to develop critical thinking skills,

mindset from studying STEM. “Aaron

learn about teamwork, and learn how

has a lot of hakaras hatov for CIJE,”

to fail and keep trying.”

she says. “If he becomes a profes-

tion Day, the culmination of their year of learning the CIJE-Tech high school engineering curriculum. The

Jerozolim continues. “The future is in

Sinensky’s son has changed his

Holmdel, New Jersey for Innova-

He adds, “We want to have peo-

students come up with an idea; visualize, create, and engineer their own invention; and present their results at the event. Last year, over 1,300 students attended Innovation Day at the New York Hilton, the largest Jewish STEM event ever held in the United States. The northeastern event is the biggest, but there are similar CIJE events held in Florida, Chicago, and the West Coast for students in those areas.

sional, which is his intention after

ple who can make decisions and

I-don’t-know-how-many years of

navigate these areas, not just for

learning, he now knows that he loves

our community, but for the world

in early June, six student teams

engineering. Because of CIJE, he’s had

at large. We want to help put these

compete in CIJE-Tank. Similar to a

a glimpse into the world of computer

kids in touch with people who are

shark-tank-style competition, these

programming, so if he wants to pur-

having discussions about and creat-

student teams present their ideas

sue it, other [programming] languag-

ing the future right now.”

to a panel of Jewish entrepreneurs.

es will be easy to pick up. The skills he’s learned are incredible.” 70 |

On May 19, over 1,500 students from the New York area are ex-

In addition to Innovation Day,

Last year, all the students who participated in the NY/NJ Innovation

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The CIJE Tank finalists get a tour of East Brooklyn Labs, a business run by Mitch Berkowitz that focuses on product development. The location housed the CIJE Tank event last year. Here the students are touring while the judges of the competition deliberated.

When the bike helmet, called the Cranium Cradle, is hit, it automatically sends out a text message that an impact was detected. This notifies a parent immediately that their child has fallen. Although the project didn’t win, the girls received a Day were eligible for the competi-

Dov Friedman, managing partner at

tion. All they had to do was submit

Imminent Capital, a VC fund whose

a two-minute video pitching their

mission is to fund the world’s most

product. The teams were chosen

innovative products.

from over 40 submissions. This year, the competition will

“It’s unbelievable to see how quickly the girls are picking up these

trophy, and they felt amazing. They were smiling ear-to-ear “from the moment they got in the car at 7 a.m. until we got home late that night,” Schwartz recalls. As for the impact it has on their futures, Schwartz says that some of

be open to all students nationwide.

concepts,” says Sarena Schwartz,

The winner will be chosen by the

a computer sciences high school

judges to work with a law firm and

teacher at Bais Yaakov of Bal-

start the process of filing a pat-

timore. She introduced the CIJE

ent for their invention. Last year’s

program to her students last year

CIJE-Tank entrepreneurs includ-

and has seen amazing results since.

ed Ezriel Rapaport, CEO of Malion

“They’re becoming so confident in

Holding, an experienced investor

their understanding of how things

with over 15 years in the business

function. When something doesn’t

world; Eli Finkelman, cofounder and

work, they try different tactics and

Even though the curriculum is

CTO of Teltech, a company focus-

look at it in new ways. To me, this is

tech-focused, the girls always bring

ing on new and innovative ways for

a life lesson. It’s okay to fail, to try

Judaism into the classroom. “They

people to maintain mobile privacy,

something new, and to approach a

started calling it ‘SHTEM class’ —

leverage the power of telecom, and

problem differently to come up with

science, Hashem, technology, engi-

use cloud-based services; Allison Jo-

creative solutions.”

neering, and math — because they

sephs, founder and director of Jew in

One of the teams at Schwartz’s

the girls are now interested in the field of engineering, which wasn’t even on their radar before. In addition, she says, “The confidence these girls are getting from learning how to fix something that is broken or not working is a life lesson in itself about how to look at things differently. It changes their perspective.”

realize that whenever they get some-

the City, an organization dedicated

school — the girls who created the

thing to work, it’s with Hashem’s

to reversing negative associations in

“smart” bicycle helmet — was cho-

help,” Schwartz says proudly. “They

the media about religious Jews; and

sen as a finalist for the CIJE-Tank.

say, ‘Hashem is so part of this!’” M AY 2 0 1 9

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WE ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF BUILDING PROGRESS! Are you in the construction or management industry ? At OJBA’s Citywide Event you get a chance to actively:

S h a re

your products, services and knowledge, while learning valuable resources.



with industry professionals, creating and cultivating client relationships.



M o t iv a t e

yourself and your employees in the presence of like minded individuals.






A project by:


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W. C I T Y W I D E E X P O. C O M

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For some, figuring out the best way to invest money can seem daunting. While traditionally people may have relied on a stock broker or financial adviser to help them figure out how to utilize disposable income, in 2019, those measures aren’t really necessary. These apps will allow you to make smart money moves from the comfort of your phone. PAGE 75



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Ready to Launch The startup world is all about getting the most eyes on the latest 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.


Power banks aren’t new on the scene, but one that can charge your phone up to six times is certainly an option you won’t regret upgrading to. Beloved by our own tech expert Hillel Fuld and many others, this dynamo can power three devices at once and charges back up quickly. If you travel for work, this will become your go-to.

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$11; Amazon.com

If you work from a desktop computer, you’re no stranger to the mess of monitor and phone cables that just seem to get knottier over time. If tracing a cord to find the source takes you more than a minute or two, you have a cable management problem. Enter this genius solution: a stretchy sleeve that zips over your cord jungle, keeping the mess in order and preventing long-term wear and tear. Customize it by cutting holes at the spots you need for varying cord lengths.



$30; Fidgipen.com

If you’re the kind of person who needs to fidget to self-regulate, this copper pen is for you. Instead of bothering your workmates by tapping your feet or drumming your fingers on the table, you can use the clicking switch on the side, the spinning top, and twisting gear at the finger grip to get your fix. It also uses refillable gel ink, so it’s easy to maintain for years.

In a business that requires high quality images? Trying to upgrade your Amazon sales with great product photography but can’t afford to hire a photographer? According to experts at B&H Photo Video, there’s one tool you should use before investing in new lenses or other expensive solutions: a phone tripod. Mounting your smartphone on a stable surface will greatly increase the quality of your imagery, making your pictures perfect for a listing, blog post, or social campaign.

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Investment For some, figuring out the best way to invest money can seem daunting. While traditionally people may have relied on a stockbroker or financial advisor to help them figure out how to utilize disposable income, in 2019, those measures aren’t really necessary. And besides, just because you can’t hire a brokerage firm to invest small sums for you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trading! Check out these apps, which will allow you to make smart money moves from the comfort of your smartphone.



Have some experience trading? The Robinhood app allows you to invest in stocks, options, and even cryptocurrencies for free. Because of its advanced technology, it doesn’t need to charge for transactions the same way other financial institutions do. At the same time, they use cutting-edge security so you can rest assured that your personal information remains safe. Within the app, you’ll be able to access real-time market data instantly and easily, and read up about your investment portfolio so everything you need is always at your fingertips.

Stockpile turns investing into something so simple, straightforward, and low risk that anyone could do it. The app allows you to invest in fractions of shares of stocks, using as little as $5, which can be bought directly or as gift cards. Stocks are divided into categories to encourage users to invest in companies they’re interested in. The app relishes the teaching process and offers 20 fun mini-lessons to help make words like dividends and ETFs way less daunting. Plus, they keep their own fees low at $0.99 a trade and keep transactions between your bank account and the app free of charge.


Investing isn’t just for the elite few with liquid millions in the bank. Even just a few spare dollars can become worthwhile on the Acorns app. Acorns Core automatically links to your spending and rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar, then takes that spare change and invests it in small increments over a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds. If you’re concerned that the risk of investing money in the stock market is too high for you, this is a way of risking a small amount of money just to get your feet wet. They also have an option to save for retirement with Acorns Later, as well as a feature called Acorns Spend, which is a checking and debit account that saves and invests for you. M AY 2 0 1 9

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I READ IT FOR YOU: MALCOLM GLADWELL You can learn a lot about

lies a secret history

Malcolm Gladwell and his

of incredible stories

books from the way they’re parodied. In June 2016, a spoof issue of the famed

that have the power to change everything.

New Yorker magazine,

Or at least around 60%

entitled Neu Jorker, was

of things.

anonymously published

65% tops.

replete with articles, cartoons, and even ads satirizing the famously high-brow self-serious publication. Inside the satirical magazine was a spoof advertisement for a mock Malcolm Gladwell book entitled Ballpark: The Counterintuitive History of the Power of Guesstimates. The ad mockingly promotes: Behind the world we know 76 |

criticism of Malcolm


Gladwell’s books is

Gladwell’s breakout book studies how

that his narratives

trends begin. For anyone who has ever

Indeed, the primary

sometimes overwhelm

wondered when everyone in finance decided to wear those Patagonia vests

the data they are built

(me), or how UGGs became so popular

upon. Nonetheless, he

despite being so strange looking (also

has several important works that are vital for any bookshelf hosting entrepreneurial and business classics. Here are a few reviews on some of my favorites.

me), or why everyone in Brooklyn seems to own the same Ferragamo belt (definitely me), this book provides a fascinating look at the mechanics of social movements. His model, which is built upon coordination among three groups of people — connectors, mavens, and salesman — offers a neat (some would argue too neat) approach for how you could begin the next major social trend.

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OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS This book examines the ingredients

reputable “white shoe” or prestigious

better-established competitors. The

law firms. Instead, he was forced to

phrase often used to describe this

join a rather unremarkable emerging

now is “disruption.”

field at the time, namely mergers

In many ways, both in Gladwell’s

and acquisitions (M&A). He trans-

retelling, but more importantly with-

formed his rejection into his success.

in Torah, Dovid was the ultimate dis-

While others paid attention to more

rupter. When he is first introduced,

established areas of law, he was able

he is described as having “beautiful

to hone his craft in what was then an

eyes” (I Shmuel 16:12). Rav Shlomo

overlooked field. With his vision and

Freifeld commented on this descrip-

discipline, he established M&A as one

tion, “Do you think that means that

of the preeminent fields of law. So

he had blue eyes? It means that he

instead of focusing on what the cur-

had a good pair of eyes… He knew

rent trend is, Gladwell suggests his

how to see.” The power of disruption

readers look ahead and cultivate skills

is not about size — it’s about vision.

in areas that are newly emerging.

Underdogs may be smaller, but that also makes them more agile so they

that led some to disproportionate

can better position their vision and

success. At the center of much of

turn it into action.

his theory is the 10,000-hour rule, which attributes success to those early adopters who were able to spend 10,000 hours fine-tuning a craft or an expertise in an emerging field. For a few reasons, the book is particularly relevant for Jewish entrepreneurs. First, the book dispels the notion that success is to be found overnight in get-rich-quick schemes. He emphasizes that sustained advantages are cultivated by spotting an

order to develop mastery in the field.


Greatness emerges from vision culti-

This is his most recent book, which,

vated through focus and vision.

as the title suggests, is based on the

emerging trend and then dedicating a disproportionate amount of time in

Second, one of the prominent

story of Dovid Hamelech in I Shmuel

examples he highlights is Joseph

17. As we study in Tanach, a young

Flom, a child of Jewish immigrants

Dovid managed to defeat the giant

who pioneered much of the field of

Goliyas (or as Gladwell calls him,

mergers and acquisitions in law. As

Goliath), which prompts Gladwell

a Jew, Mr. Flom was unable to find

to ask how seemingly underdog

employment in many of the more

companies are able to topple their

Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, director of education for NCSY, teaches Jewish Public Policy at Yeshiva University’s Sy School of Business and is currently completing a dissertation in Public Policy at the New School, focused on crisis management. His book, Sin•a•gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought, was recently published by Academic Studies Press. He has been rejected from several prestigious fellowships and awards.

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SOLOWAY View yourself as a gardener. Your job is to plant the tree and do what you can to keep it safe and watered. But only G-d has the power to let it blossom and grow. Once you understand that, you won’t experience frustration when things don’t go your way. That’s just the reality of business. Do your job and remember that the results are hardly ever within your control.

Moish’s consulting company, 313 Group, specializes in providing market entry, communications, and brand-development services to international and domestic firms. He is a former director of communications at the 9.8 Group, a New York-based holding company with a portfolio of marketing and fintech companies. Some of his clients include Novartis, DirectTV, Cablevision, Lufthansa, and The New York City Department of Health. He plays an active role in several nonprofit organizations and regularly lectures on branding, marketing, and promotions at the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurship Boot Camp initiative.

BRYAN Wouldn’t you love to walk into the office of professionals all over the world and pick their brains? Yeah, us

LEEDS The best business advice I’ve ever received is to keep it simple! Business consists of the product (or service) and marketing. All other business activity should only support those

too. So we put that idea into action

two objectives. Keeping it simple, focusing on what’s truly

and polled some of the top movers in

important to your product and its marketing, and ignoring

their industries. All you have to do is

everything else — those are the keys to success.

sit back and soak it all up. Bryan Leeds is the cofounder of Viter Energy, a company which makes caffeinated breath mints fortified with B-vitamins to deliver energy and fresh breath in a convenient, great-tasting mint. Learn more at goviter.com.

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FELDMAN Experts say that more than 70 percent of jobs are found


GOLDOFSKY Recognize that what got you here today is not

through networking. Staying connected professionally

what will get you there tomorrow — otherwise you

and building a network is critical to being successful in

would have skipped a step and gone there directly.

business. I keep in touch with everyone — from peers to

In every role in your life, strive to absorb the traits

managers, directors, executives, and clients — who con-

and skills required for your next desired position

tinue to provide advice and guidance. Even those who have

while performing exceptionally well in your cur-

moved into C-suite roles still make time for me because the

rent role. If you do so, you will always be the logical

relationship has continuously evolved. Social media is an

choice for a promotion. Do so while being trans-

effective way to keep the lines of communication open on

parent and upfront with your team and manage-

a regular basis without being intrusive. When communica-

ment, and if they are good at their jobs, they will

tion is ongoing and consistent, it is more natural to ask for

appreciate your honesty.

things such as a reference or a letter of recommendation.

Shifra (Sharon) Feldman was an executive sales representative for both J&J and Amgen Biotech and has 20+ years’ experience in pharma/biotech sales. In August 2018, she, her husband, and their two younger daughters made aliyah from Manhattan. Shifra recently landed her current role as marketing and communications manager at Orgenesis Ltd., a startup biotech company in Rechovot. She has taught multiple Torah-based workshops on self-growth and has helped women achieve clarity in their personal and professional lives.

Sian is an associate at ICV, an Israel-based venture capital firm. Prior to joining ICV, Sian worked at CA Technologies (now Broadcom) as a cyber-security enterprise consultant, analyzing and advising Fortune 500 companies, with a client base restricted to companies with an annual revenue greater than $1B. Sian holds an MBA in Management of Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship from Tel Aviv University and graduated cum laude from Binghamton University.


WOLMAN My father used to tell me that there were two paths to accomplish anything in life: the “long-short way” and the “short-long way.” Sometimes taking a shortcut will cause setbacks and it will ultimately end up taking a lot longer to accomplish your goal. Conversely, taking the time to do something right can often end up getting you where you need to be in the most efficient manner. This is true in life and certainly in business.

Isaac, or Zevy, Wolman is the CEO of Make It Real, a toy development and distribution company, and the founder of The Jewish Entrepreneur, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses through mentoring and guidance.

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GOLDSCHMIDT Your best advice will not always come from so-called experts, businessmen, or advisers. It will come from your customers. Before embarking on any new feature, develop the cheapest prototype to test it, and then reach out to your current customer base to see if they would use it. If you don’t have a base yet, reach out to friends and family. Test, incorporate modifications, and test again. I learned the hard way by working for two months on a new website, but when we launched it, we couldn’t get anyone to use it. With ShopDrop, we did the opposite — we started with Instagram posts, surveys, sketches, and talking to sample-sale shoppers. By receiving all this information, we understood what worked and what didn’t, and only then did we start working on the design and technical capability of the app.

Estee Goldschmidt is the cofounder and CEO of the ShopDrop app, a virtual GPS to sample sales. When working at Estée Lauder, Estee struggled to dress in designer clothes while earning an associate’s salary. After discovering her first sample sale, where $2,000 items were selling for $200, she got involved with ShopDrop — a single, easy-touse app to answer every sample-sale need. Estee grew up in Moscow and holds her MBA from the Stern School of Business. She currently works for Spotlyte.


WOLFSON The best business advice I got was from my dad. My father’s first job was working for my grandfather in the 1980s. My grandfather owned office buildings and my father was tasked with finding him tenants. So my father would make cold calls and pound the pavement, walking into offices asking to speak to the management. Every day he would get a ride home with my grandfather, who would ask, “How many people did you talk to today?” My father learned that he was being judged by his efforts, not by his results. He closed on his first tenant within a month. He also loved to tell the story of his interview with a successful investor. When he asked the investor how he’d become successful, he answered, “Good decisions.” “How do you make good decisions?” “Experience.” “How did you get experience?” “Bad decisions.” My father also told me that if two partners always agree, one of them is unnecessary.

Srully Wolfson is an investor in real estate, venture capital, and media. His father is Moshe Wolfson, and his grandfather, Zev Wolfson, a”h, was a real-estate entrepreneur who was one of the biggest Jewish philanthropists of our time.

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as a cost-saver as well. “Instead of hiring someone to package our orders, I’ll stay up until three in the morning to do it,” she explains. “This way, you can make the most profit.” 4. DON’T DISCOUNT THE DETAILS. Feld

When Rivka Weingot and Aviva Feld noticed so many people struggling to take care of a family, work, shop, prepare for Shabbos and more, they created a brand called Driven Day, with a planner specifically devoted

shares. “It will make you feel good that you already accomplished something.”

explains it’s the little things that push a business over the top. “I spent hours on YouTube figuring out how


Instagram works,” she says.

VESTMENTS. “It’s easy to lose

“Even when it came to the

money quickly,” Weingot

boxes we ship our products

to come out this year. The goal is to make sure nothing

says. “We focused on smart

in, I had a meeting with the

falls through the cracks while keeping all your priorities

spending, using Instagram

post office to find the most

organized. Here, they share their entrepreneurial tips

or a free e-mail subscrip-

efficient method of ship-

tion platform instead of

ping that would allow us to

spending right away on ad-

provide the best service to

vertising.” They also made

our customers. You have to

sure to maximize their time

be willing to learn.”

to the Torah-observant consumer. Now they have printables and pads, and even more new products set

for success.


ple say, ‘I’ll start doing


amazing things when we

be discouraging to post

have enough followers.’

Rivka Weingot, a wife and mother of four and former

great content when you

But if you have the content,

middle school teacher, can usually be found with her nose

think no one is watch-

people will come.”

simultaneously in four books or planning her next family vacation. Her positivity and “think big” personality allow the Driven Day

ing. Weingot says that a powerful tool was treating


planner to always push the envelope and keep her constantly

the business as if it already

It’s easy to feel intimidated

thinking up new content and products.

had 50,000 followers. “The

by all you have to get done,

key to our social pres-

so to combat that, Feld says

A wife and mother of two, Aviva Feld hustles both Driven Day

ence [they now have over

they start every meeting off

and Aviva Feld Design, where she helps small businesses from the

11,000 followers] is that we

with a “quick win.” “Start

bottom up with graphics and marketing. When she’s not keeping

always worked on it as if

your day with a five- or

the website up-to-date or spearheading the next viral Driven Day

we had thousands of people

ten-minute task you can

printable, she can be found beating the clock in an escape room or

watching,” she says. “Peo-

check off right away,” she

enjoying game nights with friends.

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THE DO’S & DON’TS OF FINDING A MENTOR Having a mentor is essential at any point in your career, but it can be hard to find someone you respect and trust. Here, Robert Safren, the executive director of The Jewish Entreprenur (a pro bono organization that focuses on matching mentors with mentees) shares his tips on how to find the right person and sustain the relationship along the way.

capabilities am I missing that you can help me with? •• What are some examples of your past experiences helping other mentees? 3. Utilize them to help you with your priorities. Working together to nail down this list will be a good starting point and see how you connect.

STEP 3: MAINTAINING THE RELATIONSHIP 1. When it comes to staying in contact, the mentee must take responsibility. This includes setting up the meetings and following up on all homework in a timely fashion. This shows sincerity in utilizing the mentor’s time.


especially true for those who have

1. Check with local agencies to see

used mentors in the past.

if they sponsor mentors or can

2. The mentee must understand that the mentor is not a consultant who does the work for them or a coach who holds their hand and ensures

to get started are, of course, The


Jewish Entrepreneur, as well as

1. Understand the preferred meth-

were discussed. The mentor’s job

organizations like the JCC and free

od of communication with the

is to be a sounding board to allow

loan societies.

mentor, whether it’s by phone in

them to learn from someone else’s

person, or via e-mail.

experiences and help them become

recommend them. Ideas of places

2. Check with community leaders for business mentor recommendations. 3. Use social networking resources

2. Make sure they’re a good match. Try starting off the relationship by

they complete the action points that

independent in their growth. 3. To avoid any miscommunications,

like LinkedIn and Facebook and


make sure to set up regular review

request connections.

•• How can I grow my business

timeframes with the mentor in

4. Get ideas from friends, family members, or coworkers. This is

successfully? •• What skills, resources, or

advance with a listing of key expectations for each meeting.

Robert Safren is the executive director of The Jewish Entrepreneur (TJE), a pro bono mentoring service for startup and growing Jewish companies. He has worked in the semiconductor and plastics industries most of his life in various management roles. He joined TJE as a mentor a couple of years ago and has been managing their operation for the last year, in conjunction with his wife, Jewel. The Jewish Entrepreneur (TJE) is a fast-growing nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase revenue in the Jewish community. We provide very experienced mentors to entrepreneurs who are looking to start up or grow their business. This is a totally free service; it is all done on a volunteer basis. To date, TJE has helped over 850 businesses and has over 180 mentors. To get involved as a mentor, contact Robert at robert@tjenetwork.com. To apply to be a mentee, visit tjenetwork.com. 82 |

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Word on the Street


Tech terms to know in 2019

BIOMETRICS (N): Unique, physical characteristics that can be

Meet Scott Belsky. He’s an executive, entrepreneur, author, and investor. He currently serves as Adobe’s chief product officer and executive vice president of Creative Cloud. He’s become famous for his creativity and desire to spark that within others. He wrote two books: Making Ideas Happen, which teaches readers how to implement a project and take an idea from a thought to completion; and The Messy Middle, which offers skills and guidance when challenges arise as you’re building your dream. Here are a few quotes of his to remember whenever you need a little inspiration and support.

used for automated recognition, such as fingerprints, face scans, and voice passwords.

CLOUD COMPUTING (N): The process of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than using a local server or personal computer.

CASHLESS SOCIETY (N): A world in which stores only accept electronic payments, not allowing or

“Constant motion is the key to execution.” “Success corrupts and limits potential as soon as you start to think you could do it alone.”

“Creativity is a double-edged sword. The more ideas we have, the less likely we are to stay loyal to one. So the creative mind ends up jumping from idea to idea, and none of them happen.”

“When 99 percent of people doubt your idea, you’re either gravely wrong or about to make history.” “Share ownership of your ideas. The more people who lie awake in bed at night thinking about your idea, the better.” “The way you organize projects, prioritize, and manage your energy is arguably more important than the quality of the ideas you wish to pursue.”

“Self-leadership is about awareness, tolerance, and not letting your own natural tendencies limit your potential.” “Nothing extraordinary is achieved through ordinary means.”

operating with cash. Many critics say this discriminates against the low-income sector, who often use cash as currency.

GUI (N) (PRONOUNCED GOOEY): Acronym for “Graphical User Interface;” an interface that uses icons or other visual elements such as windows, icons, and buttons as a way to interact. Nearly all digital interfaces today are GUIs.

LI-FI (N): Light-based technology that would allow people to remain online during an airplane’s takeoff and landing. It works with overhead LED bulbs that turn on and off millions of times every second, so fast that the change is undetectable to the human eye, and can send data a hundred times faster than traditional Wi-Fi.

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teamwork achieves the impossible. Thomas Edison called his team ‘muckers’. We call our software team Yiddishe Kups.

Teamwork Advances Civilization. Thomas Edison introduced the Menlo Park idea of using sizable teams of ‘muckers’ to complete the research and development of his inventions. His idea bore fruit with over 1,000 successful patents. This team concept has become the standard for research and development in science, medicine and industry throughout the world. At Bitbean, our carefully selected Yiddishe Kups bring a range of disciplines, expertise and talents to each project. With our Shifting Perspectives™ critical analysis methodology, our teams produce software that expands the potential of what your company can truly achieve. We are located in Lakewood, New Jersey (not far from Menlo Park) making it easy for you to be informed and a participating member of our collaborative process. Working together, the impossible becomes possible. | 2 . 0 M AY 2 0 1 9 To84learn more go to www.bitbean.com or call us at 732.806.1125

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Shifting Perspectives™ in Software Development

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