2.0 Issue 5, August 2019

Page 1



SPICE AND ZEST on the rise of her sourdough bread business



Nursing Students

SWIMPLY GENIUS Bunim Laskin’s pool-sharing service is making waves


Virtual Reality

has to do with Torah


August 2019



have a confession to make. Sometimes, I’ll have an amazing Shabbos and finish it feeling empowered and grateful, only to turn on my phone on Motzaei Shabbos, scroll through social media, and develop a pit in my stomach. That special Shabbos feeling slips through

B6. Every Second Counts

my fingers like sand, as I find myself comparing my life to the lives of those around me. In

This trick will change the way

mere seconds, that positivity turns into negativity as pessimistic thoughts creep in, taunting me

you make decisions

about the things I lack. How did that turn around so quickly? I know I’m not alone — getting out of that pattern is a constant avodah for many (and

B8. Nursing Redefined

occasionally setting a social media ban or break does wonders, I’ve found). But for lasting

Why men should consider this

change, a person needs an internal peace and confidence that they’re in exactly the right place

traditionally feminine career

for them. When I get to that place, I remember that Hashem has a plan tailor-made for me, and


I’m exactly where I need to be. If you’re good with you, you won’t feel the pressure to change. The amazing people featured in this issue have inspired me to continue on that course because

B10. The Breadwinner

they display an internal confidence that is truly astounding. Choosing a path as an entrepreneur

How Chaya Suri Leitner of

takes a level of self-assurance that I believe is really underrated. It’s one thing to think of an

Spice and Zest turned her

idea, but it’s another to start acting on it, to put yourself out there in all your vulnerability for

passion for sourdough into a

people to critique and analyze, and furthermore, to know that failure could be a very real part of

full-time job

the process. When Bunim Laskin, just a 19-year-old yeshivah student at the time, thought of the idea for

B14. Parallel Universe

his pool-sharing service, Swimply, he got dozens of doors slammed in his face (quite literally)

What virtual reality can teach

before getting even a couple of yeses. And the work was just beginning. For Chaya Suri Leitner

us about Torah

of Spice and Zest, baking sourdough bread was a way to heal her family. Once she made it a brand, people could have told her it was a silly business idea, but she stuck with it, knowing how

B16. A Seamless Experience

valuable both she and the product were.

Bitbean is transforming the

One of the hardest things to do is to put yourself out there and risk rejection, failure, and

way businesses operate

others’ negative opinions. But at the end of the day, it’s your life, so you have to put those blinders on, grab your idea, and run with it. Whether it’s taking that step and leaving your phone

B20. Diving In

off on Motzaei Shabbos or talking about your brilliant plan for the future (even if others might

Why cutting-edge pool-rental

think it’s not so brilliant), you have a lot to gain. There’s a path tailor-made for you. You just

company Swimply is one to

have to take the courageous steps to find it.


B26. Boost Your Productivity Top professionals share their Alex Abel, Editor in Chief

best tips

P.S. We love to hear your feedback! E-mail me any time to share at alex@20magazine.com. Managing Director, 2.0: Asher Weinberger  |  Editor in Chief, 2.0: Alex Abel Chief of Staff, US Office: Michal Frischman  |  Production Manager: Esti Vago  |  Production Assistant: Hadas Stern Graphics: Devorah Cohen, Chaya Perel Nojovitz  |  Copy Editors: Chaya Baila Lieber, Shainy Borenstein, Malka Winner  |  Proofreaders: Shana Halpert, Chaya Leeder E-mail: EDITORIAL@20MAGAZINE.COM • ADVERTISE@20MAGAZINE.COM Cover photo: Marko Dashev B2 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019




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2.0 | 3


PRODUCTIVITY HACKS How To Work Smarter By Isaac Bardos

HOW CAN I PUSH PAST PROCRASTINATION? What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when your alarm

a distraction or not, sticking to my

goes off in the morning? Hitting the snooze button?

time-management system, or deciding

What does the voice in your head say when you have to submit that

to decide and do rather than only think

e-mail, make that difficult call, or do unavoidable work you keep

about getting something done.

pushing off? For many years, it was a struggle for me to get up when my alarm went off. It was just so nice to stay in bed. Well, the same is true of

to go to the gym, because I would be able

Now, when I find myself hesitating about what I should be doing, I stop the internal conversation, make an executive decision that I’m doing it immediately, and count down from

your comfort zone. It’s comfortable to be there. Why push yourself

five. Even ten seconds is too long —

out of it? Even if you’re a passionate, driven entrepreneur, there’s

you might talk yourself out of it. And I

often an inclination to stay where you are.


purposely don’t count up, because I just might keep counting! It may sound simple or familiar.

used to have difficulty making decisions and taking action. I would think too

Since thinking about it myself, I’ve

much and wonder “what if?” for even inconsequential decisions, like whether

seen the idea in books by Mel Robbins

to order sushi or meat at a restaurant. When faced with choices, many people

and Malcolm Gladwell, but it’s a rule

freeze, flee, or choose indecision — also known as “paralysis by analysis.”

that has transformed my personal and

The problem with that, though, is that indecision is still a decision — but it’s almost

professional life. In my first business,

definitely not the one that moves you toward what you want.

I coached people in the health and

One day, my child dropped food on the floor, and I was thinking about whether I

wellness sphere. There, I found the

should teach her the “five-second rule,” that it’s okay to pick up the food since it

five-second decision to be crucial in

was on the ground for less than five seconds. In that moment, I realized the wisdom

making diet decisions.

of this five-second period. In this short amount of time, you can calculate a decision,

It goes like this:

turn inward for directive wisdom, and take action. I realized that if I apply the five-second rule to my daily choices, I would be unstoppable. It would give me inner decisive power for getting out of bed, entertaining B6 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

Stimulus: Chocolate cake → Desire: Eat delicious food → Decision (to eat): Apply five-second rule.

says “vaya’asu, and they did,” in the past tense. Initially, the Jewish people set out to achieve tasks; in the latter parshiyos, they took the actions, made the decisions, and achieved them. It’s the difference between setting out to achieve and reaching completion. I always remind my clients, in business and life, either you’re moving forward or you’re not. This practice also applies in areas aside from procrastination. In five seconds, we decide on the initial meaning we will give to a situation. Whether we feel positive or negative about someone or something, and whether we will take personal ownership of the issue or place the Then, I’m able to decide quickly that

repetitious, but we know there’s no

responsibility or blame elsewhere, can

I don’t want it, walk away, and choose

repetition in the Torah. Rav Avraham

all be decided in five seconds.

to feel proud and powerful. In just 5, 4,

Pam writes that the difference between

For most of us, these five seconds

3, 2, 1 … you get a result that leaves you

parshas Terumah/Tetzaveh and Vayakhel/

are not conscious, and that’s precisely

feeling great and reveling in the pleasure

Pedukei is subtle — it can be found in

the problem. My transformation

of being in control of desire instead of

the commandment of action.

began when I became aware of the five

being controlled by it. I used to be a chronic doer and a chronic “non-completer.” You know

In Terumah/Tetzaveh, the pasuk says,

seconds and understood how to use

“ta’asu, and you shall do,” in the future

them. Then I developed a system to

tense. In Vayakhel/Pekudei, the pasuk

take each one to the next level.

the type: 30 tabs open on the browser, five projects in the works, and writing three e-mails at the same time. With many coaching clients, the issue is

Yitzchak (Isaac) Bardos is an innovative business performance coach, nationwide speaker, and author of the forthcoming book, Your Emotional

they start and don’t finish. Part of it is

Wealth; How to Achieve Excellence in Today’s World. With over a dozen years of

personality and habit, but part is also

experience speaking and coaching, Yitzchak is the founder of The Unstuck Method,

not having a powerful structure for

which has dramatically impacted the lives of his clients, including entrepreneurs,

decision-making to overcome their

professionals, and executives. He has been a featured speaker at private retreats,


scholar-in-residence programs, professional organizations, and shuls. He has been

Parshas Terumah/Tetzaveh and Vayakhel/Pedukei take this idea a bit

highlighted in secular and Jewish media, ABC News, radio, podcasts, and more. He lives in Boca Raton with his wife and family. Visit him at www.IsaacBardos.com.

deeper. At first glance, they seem AUGUST 2019

2.0 | B7


THE NEW WAVE OF NURSING Choosing a Career By Yael Dorfman


tion), the American Assembly for Men in Nursing recently launched a large-scale, widespread campaign to recruit male nurses. Their goal: a 20% increase in the male nurse population by the year 2020. (Currently, 88.6% of RNs are female.) They operate under the slogan “Are You Man Enough to Be a Nurse?” and illustrate their campaign with images of manly men dressed for (stereotypically) masculine hobbies: football, rock

Men are doctors, women are nurses.

climbing, karate, golf, fishing, surfing,

It’s a stereotype that’s been in effect since the days of Florence Nightingale, heavily reinforced by children’s books, costumes, and, in reality, visits to the doctor’s office. While female doctors have successfully defied the pigeonholing (in 2017, women’s enrollment in medical schools outnumbered men’s), when it comes to nursing, male nurses still find themselves the minority in an overwhelmingly femaledominated industry. Fortunately, the stigma is steadily dissipating.

the stigma (ironically, while enforcing

and the like. They’re designed to break other biases), but anyone who is familiar with nursing will recognize that it’s an ideal career choice — for men and women — for many reasons. Many men are drawn to the caregiving aspect and others to the adrenaline of the work. The men who attend the nursing program at Touro

MEN IN DEMAND Today, there’s

specialties — especially the more

College often have a background in

an enormous — and constantly

stimulating, technical, and adrenalin-

health sciences and may be trained

growing — demand for qualified

inducing ones, like emergency room

as EMTs or phlebotomists (people

male nurses in every healthcare

and flight or transport positions —

who draw blood for medical testing,

field. As acceptance and tolerance

tend to attract more men; data shows

donations, and the like). The students

become increasingly emphasized by

that approximately 41% of nurse

make a conscious choice to become

a rapidly diversifying population,

anesthetists, one of the most lucrative

nurses over doctors or PAs; they

society recognizes the need for a

specialties, are male.

don’t settle for it simply because they

more representative workforce. That

“The trend is changing, and it’s

“couldn’t hack it in med school,” but

diversity is especially important in

more pronounced every year,” observes

because they appreciate the importance

healthcare, where patients are often at

cardiology nurse Hillel Devor, who

and the advantages of the profession.

their most vulnerable, and the ultimate

graduated from Touro’s nursing school

goal is patient comfort.

in 2017. “I’ve seen classes and cohorts

a significant advantage over other

of nurses with a large percentage of

healthcare careers. It’s one of the

is far from an exclusively feminine trait;

frum men; in some groups, the female-

highest-paying jobs for those who

men can — and do — excel in the field.

to-male ratio is as close as 60:40.”

enter the workforce with a four-year

Nursing is a caring career, and caring

Furthermore, nursing is a nuanced,

The schooling, for one, gives nursing

degree. Touro’s nursing track is a “2+2

skill-based profession that goes beyond

ON A MISSION To promote the growing ac-

program” that consists of two years

the conventional “mothering” role

ceptance of men in the nursing profession

of undergraduate studies (which may

some people may typify it as. Specific

(and thereby broaden the diversifica-

be completed elsewhere) toward a

B8 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

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FAMILY MAN “Nursing is an excellent option for the frum man,” asserts Dr. Rivka Molinsky, the associate dean of students and innovation at Touro College. “While most new graduates wind up with the less desirable shifts at first, there are boundless opportunities for advancement. Even the 12-hour graveyard shifts allow a husband and father to be home in the mornings or evenings with his children; plus, those shifts are only three times weekly, so he can take advantage of the remaining days to learn or spend time with his family.” For the driven, future-focused nurse, the career path is rich with opportunity and benefits. In addition to the upward mobility and relative flexibility, the salary is excellent, especially when compared Hillel Devor

Photo Credit: Touro College

with other jobs with a bachelor’s-level entry point. According to the 2018

Bachelor of Science and two years of

a huge variety of responsibilities

Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median

clinical nursing school, an RN-to-BSN

and situations, and we’re constantly

pay for registered nurses in 2018 was

program that comprehensively prepares

making decisions that can make a real

$71,730 across the United States and

students for licensing exams and a

difference in our patients’ lives.”

$88,000 in New York. The average nurse

seamless entry into the workforce. “Our students can enter the program

General nursing can be applied to a vast array of settings and roles.

practitioner’s salary in New York ranges from $119,627 to $140,050.

straight out of high school and exit as

Registered nurses work in hospitals,

full-fledged nurses,” says Dr. Sandra

doctors’ offices, home healthcare,

nurses is estimated to grow 15% from

Russo, chair of Touro’s College of

nursing homes, outpatient clinics,

2016 to 2026, significantly faster than

Health Sciences’s Department of

schools, and even the military. While

that of most other occupations, due

Nursing. “When they complete their

nurses enjoy the opportunities awarded

to several factors, including increased

undergrad courses with us, they

to them with a bachelor’s degree,

average lifespan, the aging baby

never have to worry about missing

they may also choose to advance

boomer population, growing rates of

prerequisites. We provide an extremely

their education and become nurse

chronic illnesses, and an emphasis on

well-rounded, highly academic

practitioners (NP) or directors of nursing.

preventative care.

curriculum with a built-in clinical

To become a NP, nurses can earn

The employment rate for registered

There will always be a need for nurses;

component, and our students graduate

their master’s degree while working.

outsourcing and automation cannot —

as true generalists who are prepared for

They must also complete 600 hours of

and will not — replace the human touch,

virtually every specialty.”

clinical training in various settings to

whether female or male. So go ahead —

prepare them for practicing in a wide

break that stereotype.

“It’s a fulfilling career,” Devor says. “We are trained to take on and manage

range of populations. AUGUST 2019

2.0 | B9




Spice and Zest | Lakewood, NJ By Abbey Wolin

MY DREAM JOB CHAYA SURI LEITNER OF SPICE AND ZEST 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.


haya Suri Leitner of Spice and Zest


began her culinary exploration as a way


of self-expression. She just wanted a place to


share the dinners she prepared for her family.


But after seeing a Pinterest-worthy image of


sourdough bread, she challenged herself to

I love cooking for my family and wanted

learn the art of artisan bread making. What soon followed was not just a burst of creative energy but a full-blown business. On a beautiful sunny day, I traveled to Lakewood to meet Chaya Suri in her microbakery (which is in her house). Over some light, airy, and delicious slices of sourdough

to share recipes and meals with my followers. I never really had a blog. I

I didn’t realize was the effect it would

tried starting one, but it never took off.

have on my family.

Instagram was the place to be at the time, so that’s where I started building


my community.

Sourdough is a healthier, fermented

One day, I saw an image of sourdough

bread that breaks down the gluten

bread on Pinterest and instantly fell

inside it. Because of this, it’s incredibly

and the wafting scents of more of that

in love. I challenged myself to learn

beneficial for gut health, as well as for

amazing bread in the oven, we discussed her

everything about the process.

people who suffer from inflammation.

early beginnings and how she’s made the

I love how each bread turns out

My husband had terrible sciatica —

art of sourdough baking into a business that

different, depending on the starter,

back pain caused by a problem with the

provides for her family in more ways than one.

spices, and scoring; it’s a real art. What

sciatic nerve —and my son had recurring

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2.0 AUGUST 2019

I EXCLUSIVELY EAT SOURDOUGH BREAD FOR THE GUT AND INFLAMMATION BENEFITS. AS SOMEONE WHO SUFFERS FROM SEVERE ALLERGIES AND AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE, I JUST FEEL BETTER WHEN I’M EATING IT, SO YOU’RE TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO DEFINITELY UNDERSTANDS. HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR BAKING? HOW DID YOU GROW YOUR ARTISAN BREAD BUSINESS? As I learned more about the details of the sourdough baking process and experimented with recipes, I started selling breads from my home. People loved them, but I soon found baking each week, coming up with new recipes, and managing my daily customers to be too time-consuming. It just didn’t work for my family. What I really loved was teaching

“AS I STARTED BAKING SOURDOUGH BREAD FOR MY FAMILY, I SAW A TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE IN EVERYONE’S HEALTH” strep. We completely changed our lifestyle, getting off gluten and sugar.

I have taught sourdough workshops for over four and a half years now, to all

people how to bake their own breads. As I started teaching my friends on Instagram and cultivating steady workshops and classes, my popularity grew, and soon I was known as “the sourdough girl.” It’s true what they say, “the riches are in the niches.” My favorite thing about giving

types of people suffering from a variety

workshops is sharing the little bits of

for my family, I saw a tremendous

of disorders such as Crohn’s disease,

knowledge that you can’t learn from

difference in everyone’s health. My

sciatica, ADHD — they make the bread

the Internet. I infuse my classes with

husband couldn’t get out of bed at

for their families and see a significant

the deep knowledge of the sourdough

times. He went to physical therapy three

difference, because it’s not causing

baking process: how to create your first

times a week and received cortisone

inflammation in the body.

starter, how to feed it, how to prepare

As I started baking sourdough bread

shots every three months. His memory

I’m not a nutritionist, but this is what

the dough, how to shape, score, and bake it. I love every minute of it.

was starting to be affected by the shots,

people have told me. When I read the

and he couldn’t remember things

messages from women who are making

at times. Once sourdough became a

bread for their families and helping

knowledge, and they always know that

staple in our family meals, I noticed a

them live their best life, that’s the best

I’m there post-workshop if they have

complete turnaround within a month.

nachas in the world.

any questions.

What my students get are my years of


2 . 0 | B 11




YOU RELEASED AN EXCITING NEW PROJECT EARLIER THIS SUMMER THAT YOU HAD BEEN WORKING ON FOR MONTHS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT? Yes, and I think this is the most excited I’ve been for a really long time. I launched my first-ever digital course, which is a complete guide to baking sourdough bread. As my popularity has grown, so has the number of workshops I’ve been booking on my calendar. The work-life balance struggle is real, and I needed to find a solution to the many requests I received to travel all over the place. The digital course world is booming, and believe it or not, there is no online sourdough course available — kosher or otherwise — or at least not the way I teach it. Now I can teach anyone across the globe without it affecting my family life. It’s the best of both worlds. The online course includes how to create your very own starter, feed it, take care of it, get it ready to bake, bake it, and any troubleshooting along the way — like when you think it’s dead

you are doing so, I will be there to walk

students my full attention — I have an

and how to store it. It’s so much more

you through every step. I have pictures

online community for them specifically

than my live three-hour classes. I can

of what it looks like on day one, on

on my site. And since many of them

provide so much additional information

day two, on day five, what it looks like

are starting at the same time, it makes

and content this way. Usually after

before you feed it and after you feed it.

it easier for me to help and guide as a

a workshop, I will get an onslaught

My goal is to teach any person who


of questions from people. I collected

wants to learn the art of sourdough

all those questions and made sure to

baking — and to guide them from start


include them within the course.

to finish, so they can be baking their


first breads within a month. At this



point, the first round of the course is

The whole idea behind the digital course


closed, and while I don’t have an exact

is to have more time with my family and

If you’re creating your own starter from

release date for the next, I should be

to make money in my sleep. It’s about

scratch, it will take you about three

opening it again in the next few months.

putting in a ton of work, setting up the

weeks to be ready to bake with it. And as

I limited enrollment so I could give the

entire system, and allowing for the sale

B12 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

anyone asking me questions after

for sourdough baking. My e-mails

watching the videos. There’s also the

are chock-full of recipes, stories, and

marketing and the back-end technology

different things I’ve learned along my

behind it. I had to do so much research.

baking journey.





Instagram used to be my only go-


to. I never had anything to push me

Do not compare yourself to others.

otherwise. My workshops always filled

Don’t ever look at your competition.

up, and the requests were so numerous

When they jump, you run! Don’t ever

that I never felt I needed anything

look at their numbers, don’t look at

beyond that platform. That’s where I

their pictures. Mute them!

started, and that’s where I stayed [she

of the course with minimal effort on

As much as you may be similar to

now has over 13K Instagram followers].

them, everyone has their own strengths

I’ve gotten a lot of students that way.

in different areas. If we focus on our

Social media is an incredible tool, the

own strengths, then we can really shine

best word-of-mouth.

and complement one another instead of

That being said, it shouldn’t be

my part going forward. I want to be in

anyone’s main focus when growing a

control of my schedule and not have my

successful business. If Instagram shut

schedule controlling me.

down today, you would have nothing.

being in competition.


You need to build your own place to


I want to make money without working so

nurture your community. I decided to


hard. I don’t want to be working until the

start an e-mail list, which tripled my


second that Yom Tov starts.

correspondence with my audience.


undertaking. From the site you’re



going to build it on, to the filming



and the content you will be showing



and teaching, you have to think of



everything, because no one can ask you

No, anyone can sign up for my

questions live.

e-mails. They include tips and tricks

I am a mom first, and my kids need me.


Creating a digital course is a huge

I recorded it, showed it to my team, made changes where it wasn’t clear, made changes again, recorded it again,

Abbey Wolin is the founder of her own eponymous hand-painted glassware company. She has amassed more than 14,500 followers on Instagram and con-

showed it to more people, and made

tinuously empowers them with her stories, posts, and 30-day business challenge. As a

more changes.

result, she’s helped more than 1,000 women grow their profits and spend more time

The whole process took three

with their families. Abbey lives in Passaic, New Jersey, with her husband and children.

months, until I had it down pat without AUGUST 2019

2 . 0 | B 13





knows of it mainly from the world of video games. The idea behind using VR in a video game is the same as it is when it comes to the Kosel’s “A Look Into the Past.” Game manufacturers want the player’s senses to be fully immersed in a particular environment. Taking the idea of VR video games farther, we can use it as a parable for our own beliefs. The goings-on in the world in general, and in our lives specifically,

Virtual reality is an up-and-coming industry. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s becoming more and more

are “programmed” by Hashem. In a VR game, when a particular scenario or level is difficult to pass, every gamer

common, and is being utilized in many different ways —

knows that there must be a way forward.

from entertainment to medical training, and even military

After all, who would design a game

instruction. Hashem has given society this phenomenal tool. What can virtual reality teach us about avodas Hashem?


without a solution? We need to place that same trust in Hashem. He placed us in this virtual reality in which we live, and there’s no

n a recent trip to Eretz

Hamikdash. What a great moment,

question that the mission he sent us on

Yisrael, I had the

feeling as if I was actually seeing the

has a solution. This important reminder

opportunity to visit the

edifice of 2,000 years ago — even as I

can be drawn from not only VR games,

Kosel. While I was there,

knew that I was certainly not.

but really from any game at all.

I decided to try the “new” (it opened

This got me thinking. If the

The universe was and is constantly

a few years back) virtual reality

graphics don’t make the virtual

designed by Hashem, the perfect

experience, titled “A Look Into the

reality environment “real,” what is

Designer, and any time we see a

Past.” This technology allows one to be

it that’s tricking my brain and telling

microcosm of this idea, we should take

“transported” back in time, via virtual

me that I’m approaching the actual

chizuk from it.

reality, to the era of Bayis Sheini — all

Beis Hamikdash, even as I know that

Perhaps, though, there’s a lesson for

for just a few shekels. And I have to say,

I’m really not? I believe the answer is

us specific to VR games: A player in a VR

I was blown away.

contained in one word: Immersion.

game is given a headset and a controller

As you probably know, “A Look Into

The VR experience takes a person

of some sort, and is thereby immersed

the Past” is located just a few meters

and plugs his or her senses into a new

into a scenario. In that new “world,”

from the Kosel. And yet, something

environment. So, even though I was

the subject is presented with a goal or

about the VR experience made me feel

intellectually aware that I was not in the

goals, and he or she is provided with

like I was almost in the Beis Hamikdash.

Beis Hamikdash, my senses were able to

tools in that environment, by which the

Even though the images of the Beis

feel as though I was.

player can accomplish those goals.

Hamikdash were computer-generated

Where is VR utilized? The technology

But, as immersed as the subject is,

and not “real,” I still had this feeling

has many applications, but the average

and as plugged-in as his or her senses

that I was approaching the Beis

person who’s familiar with VR probably

are to the pretend surroundings,

B14 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019


the player still has an awareness

Just like in the VR game, if we look

throughout the game that the

around, we can tell that most of what

experience is not truly reality. He or she

we’re seeing is not real. Our rebbeim

knows that when the goggles come off,

and our parents teach us from a young

the real world will reappear.

age that the Torah’s values — and not

The VR experience brings home a

society’s values — are real and true.

fundamental concept in Judaism, one

Like my chavrusa’s mother, Rebbetzin

that is well paralleled in the VR game

Rochel Birnbaum, always said whenever

model. We’re taught that this world

something broke, “Nothing lasts

is the olam hadimyon, the world in

forever except Torah and mitzvos.”

which things only appear to be real.

PBX Systems

Hosted PBX

Data Service

Hashem puts technology into the

Simply put, Hashem created each of our

world for many reasons. Perhaps VR

neshamos in Heaven — and the soul’s

technology is here to remind us that just

natural environment is in that spiritual

as man has conceived a model in which

realm. Hashem took that neshamah,

a real person is completely immersed in

and placed it in a completely immersive

a fake world, so, too, Hashem conceived

environment. He attached it to a body,

of this model. Let’s do our best to live

and enabled that body to fully engage

our lives with the cognizance that when

with its surroundings. Each neshamah

the “headset” comes off, Hashem will

was given a mission. And throughout

be there waiting for us, in the Olam

our lives in this world, we’re given tools


to fulfill that goal.

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2 . 0 | B 15




Software Development Company | Lakewood, NJ By Alex Abel



hen Ephraim Arnstein was 25 and working at TheZone, a camp run by Oorah (an organization that works with families to

provide a Jewish religious education to kids and teens), he dressed up like Rip Van Winkle. He slung a fishing net with a few handfuls of candy over his shoulder and went looking for campers. It may sound like the start of an ominous tale from days gone by, but for Arnstein, it was an opportunity to create change. He got on the kids’ level and talked to the campers to find out who they were, where they went to school, what their hobbies were, what they wanted to be when they grew up, and more. He did the same for the staff members, and through this research, he created a database, pairing similar campers and counselors as a way of forging a mentorship and building a big brother or sister type of relationship. He wanted to make sure that those connections didn’t end when the summer did, but would continue throughout the year. Arnstein took ownership of this task, making sure it came to pass, and he held people accountable. “They needed someone who really believed in the purpose to push it and make it happen,” he explains. He didn’t know it at the time, but this idea would later become the basis for his company, Bitbean, a software development firm aimed at solving problems and turning businesses into the most efficient, savvy, and advanced iterations of themselves. Arnstein was first motivated to start Bitbean through his work at Eastern Union, a real estate company that works with those looking to buy commercial properties. They help the investor or buyer negotiate the best possible mortgage rate. When he was brought on as a consultant, the process and internal backend of the company

Bitbean's founder, Ephraim Arnstein B16 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

needed a lot of work. “Brokers were using paper to write down who to call,” he says. “Each one

was keeping their contacts in their

Now, at 37 years old, Arnstein runs

Batsheva Harris, project manager at

own inboxes. There was no sharing of

a company that boasts 35 employees

Bitbean, says that company execs often

information and a lot of hesitancy for

who work in software engineering

arrive at their door desperate for help.

collaboration. When I came in, I helped

and development, business analysis,

“When they come to us, they don’t …

them organize and create a better system

product, project management, and

usually know what they’re looking for,”

for outreach. This way, they could spend

UX design. He runs his office from

she explains. “They’ll tell us their needs

more time doing other things, and

Lakewood, NJ. While the company

and then we’ll present them with what

through that, the company grew.”

has grown immensely, the core idea

we think will solve those problems.

has remained true to those camp

They’re usually in a lot of pain when

Arnstein realized he could actually turn

While working for Eastern Union,

days. “We build custom software for

they meet with us. Some of them have

his consulting skills into a company

businesses striving to be industry

tried so many different providers and

of his own. His model involved

leaders,” Arnstein shares. “We work

[types of] software already.”

working with other businesses that are

to play to individual companies’

experiencing difficulties — identifying

strengths, so each one can highlight its

explains that they had one international

exactly what those issues are, creating

unique attributes. We go to the heart

client with offices in different countries.

solutions, and hiring the right people to

of the story so we’re not just building

They were using two different

put the correct tools in place. In 2011,

something, [but] we’re helping the

systems and the process needed to be

he incorporated, and Bitbean was born.

founder accomplish a true vision.”

streamlined. Initially, it seemed like

To paint more of a picture, Harris

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2 . 0 | B 17




the different offices had completely different goals, and that was why they couldn’t agree on a method. But after sitting down together with Bitbean’s team, they figured out that they’re really doing two versions of the same

Bitbean employees work out of the Lakewood, NJ office

thing. Through that process, they were able to come up with a solution that unified processes across all systems. Another more complex and longterm project Bitbean is working on involves Chabad’s Campus International initiative. The

“Sometimes when you are trying to

Draw fundraising system, the whole

organization has many programs

make a sale, you want to shrink it down

process became quicker and simpler for

running at more than 500 universities,

to size to win it, but Chabad on Campus

donors. As a result, Chabad raised more

all aimed at building Jewish life, as

needed to see this for what it really was.

money through that initiative than ever

well as the big Kinus Hashluchim every

We weren’t just trying to make them

before. They also restructured the kinus

year (an annual gathering of Chabad

feel good. We were being real.”

registration system, rebuilding the entire

emissaries), fundraising events like

Since taking on that task, Bitbean has

their Grand Draw, and more. That’s a

created entirely new systems, including

lot of details to keep track of.

separate shluchim, admin, and student

user experience and interface to make it seamless. Arnstein finds a lot of fulfillment in

portals. When a student attends an

his work, explaining that it’s not just

with a single developer. “He was great,”

event, they’ll have an account set up.

about the technology, but using all of

Arnstein says. “But he was one person,

The team has also worked to create an

today’s advancements to complete a

so he needed to take a lot of shortcuts to

extensive directory where one can find

greater mission. “There are so many

get things done fast. They soon realized

all universities which have a Chabad

things that need to happen in this

that in order to succeed and reach

on Campus. There’s a public version

world,” he shares. “I find meaning by

more people, they needed to up their

that anyone can access, as well as an

meeting with people and helping them

technology game.”

internal directory.

grow. The software is just a tool to

Before Bitbean, Chabad was working

The teams met and, after two months

“For something like this, we have

make it happen.”

of extensive research and information

people working on the front end who

gathering, Bitbean realized they would

deal with the creative design, and

that’s inherent in everything. “My

need to rebuild the organization’s entire

then there are the coders, the people

journey has been a spiritual quest

software. The project would take between

who have to figure out how to make

in identifying ways to help others,”

two and six years to complete, depending

it work really fast and really well [on

he says. “Hashem created such a

on how many people they dedicated

the back end],” Arnstein says. Each

wonderful world, and it’s our job to

to the assignment. This would include

granular aspect of the Chabad program

pull things out. People didn’t invent

recreating both the back and front ends

requires time, individualized focus,

airplanes. Flight is part of Hashem’s

of its websites and restructuring each

and tenacity, especially when working

world — we just had to find it. The

program it has to offer.

through layers of existing code rather

same idea can continuously be applied

than creating something from scratch.

— the more the mind imagines and

“We were very honest about what the process would look like,” Arnstein says. B18 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

Because of Bitbean’s work on the Grand

He goes on to stress the potential

explores, the more you can do.”




Swimply By Sabrina Brick


Los Angeles, California 20B |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

Bunim Laskin


hree years later, Laskin, now just 22, is the founder and CEO of Swimply, the world’s first pool-sharing

service — kind of like an Airbnb for pools. The company services thousands of people who want to “escape locally,” as Swimply’s tagline describes it. “It’s changed the game for so many, because now you can have a pool without owning one,” he explains.

GETTING HIS FEET WET Excited by the concept he’d come up with, Laskin went on Google Earth to

During the summer of 2016, 19-year-old Bunim Laskin was bedridden and recovering from surgery in his

search for all the homes in his area with pools. He then knocked on all those doors to share how they could use them

family’s home in Lakewood, NJ, when he got an idea. The

to make some extra cash. “I got a lot

oldest of 12 children, he was familiar with a little chaos

of ‘nos’ right off the bat,” Laskin says,

and craziness, especially in the summer when school was out. Though his parents owned a Suburban that seated 14, getting the family out of the house for a day trip — let alone a vacation — was quite an ordeal.

“which was actually a great learning experience, because I knew what that felt like face-to-face. I was already entering as a rejection veteran.” But he persevered. Eighty doors and four official sign-ups later,

Laskin’s bedroom overlooked his neighbor’s backyard

Laskin placed an ad in the local paper

pool, which had been installed for her grandchildren,

announcing the service, and people

who rarely visited. “I asked her if my family could use her pool, since it seemed empty all the time,” Laskin says. His neighbor agreed to let the Laskins use her pool on the condition that they contributed to the cost of

started calling. Laskin credits his early success with starting small. “It gave me an incredible amount of data,” he says. “I was able to deal with every user on the phone and figure out what they were looking for in

maintenance. His parents agreed, offering to cover 25

a pool and why they wanted it. So when

percent of the expenses. Soon enough, his neighbor was

it came to building our first website, I

renting out her pool to seven families, with each putting in 25 percent. Before long, she was making a profit.

already knew so much.” Just two weeks later, those four initial pools had turned into 32.


2 . 0 | B 21





his father, Moshe Hirsch, Hirsch called


After that summer, Laskin traveled

Laskin and said, “We’re making this

Laskin came home from Israel before

back to Israel, his birthplace and home


Pesach of 2017. For the next phase,

until age 14, to continue learning in yeshivah.

“He got involved because he was

he started small. At first, he was

passionate about a yeshivah guy

still following his normal schedule,

At that point in his life and career,

applying his innovative attitude not just

dedicating about 10 percent of his

pool sharing was a hobby, whereas his

to Torah but also to the world,” Laskin

time to the business. From there, he

Torah learning and commitment to


began dedicating 20 percent of his day

Jewish growth were Laskin’s highest

Hirsch promoted Laskin’s business

to it, increasing it to 30 percent, and

priorities. Though he had made more

and took on a mentorship role, asking

then more, until his business venture

money during that summer than he had

him questions that made him think, and

eventually became the prominent part

ever made before, Laskin felt he could

helping him bridge the yeshivah and

of his day.

grow more in his Torah knowledge

business worlds.

and personal development, so he went

“He helped me make the transition

At this time, he officially launched the company’s first website, then called

back to Israel for that, ignoring the

slowly. I didn’t feel like I left any of

PoolForU. About three weeks later, the

temptation of business.

those values behind,” Laskin says. “He

hard work already started to pay off.

made it clear to me that in the business

MSNBC heard about the company and

with a boy whose father is a creative

While in yeshivah, he became friends

world, there are ethics and morality. He

briefly mentioned PoolForU on the air.

producer at Warner Brothers. When this

removed that working-versus-learning

After that, the start-up’s site traffic

new friend shared Laskin’s idea with


surged. “That was when I was really convinced I was onto something,” he shares. The 32 pools turned into 75, and things were growing. It was then that they realized they needed a name change. PoolForU could be spelled too many different ways, and Laskin was looking for something more userfriendly and easy to search. To nail down the new name, he wrote 100 different options on a piece of paper and read them all aloud, until he felt that one stuck. Swimply stood out as a memorable name that could really take things to the next level.

DIVING IN FULL FORCE After the name change, Swimply got tons of press on sites like Lifehacker and Lonely Planet. Within two weeks, Miami, Florida

22B |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

the company had thousands of registered users, and pools in 22 states


and 2.0’s managing director, at an

having affordable access to a luxury.

event for Tribeworks — an organization

from, including three degrees of

Laskin found that Swimply appeals

aimed at helping Jewish start-ups.

privacy. Users can choose to book a pool

to a wide demographic, ranging from

The two instantly clicked. “Asher was

that’s “not private, kind of private, or

college students seeking study breaks

passionate about Swimply the way I

super private.” A super private pool

to businessmen renting pools on their

thought only I could be,” Laskin says.

is in a separate area that cannot be

lunch hour.

“He really helped us grow at a time

viewed from the owner’s home or the

when I really needed it. Now, he’s a

surrounding areas.

Once Swimply got its press in 2018, Laskin started raising real capital. He

fundamental part of our team as chief

raised $30,000 of pre-seed money

marketing officer.”

(funds that help a start-up get off the

In terms of the structure, about

There are many options to choose

Laskin uses a commission-based model. Swimply takes 25 percent of what the host charges, which includes

ground), showed investors what he

68 percent of Swimply bookings are

a 10 percent service fee from the

could do with that, and then followed up

“whim-based,” meaning someone

swimmer. Currently, the average pool

by raising $1.2 million of seed (money

decides they want to go swimming, so

costs between $50 to $60 per hour. That

that helps take a start-up to the next

they book a local pool for later that day.

being said, the prices really vary. The

level once it’s operational and has

About 32 percent are event-based —

cheapest pool now goes for $16 an hour

consistent revenue).

pool rentals for birthday parties, photo

in Houston, TX, and the most expensive

shoots, and other events. People can

is $150 an hour in San Jose, CA.

With that money, Laskin hired a chief operations officer, chief technology

also book pools for regularly scheduled

officer, two full-time customer

use, such as every day for multiple

states and Canada, and plans to begin

Swimply currently has pools in 26

service representatives, and part-time

hours for months at a time, if they want

operating in Australia as early as

programmers and designers. Also

to use them for swimming lessons,

November, when the summer season

around this time, Laskin got in touch

aqua therapy, lifeguarding courses, or

gets started down under.

with Asher Weinberger, entrepreneur

the like. AUGUST 2019

2 . 0 | B 23




Swimply has a solution for that, too. Because of multiple bookings occurring one after another on any given day, guests know they have to clear out of the pool area in time for the next visitors. If a host or subsequent guest reports that a user overstayed their pool visit by more than 15 minutes, that visitor is charged an additional fee.

THE NEXT LAP The way you expand at a tech company, Laskin says, is by figuring out what your users are interested in and giving them Houston, Texas

more of what they want. He offered the example of Airbnb understanding that their users are travelers who want more


In the future, the company plans

than just a place to stay, so they started

“The way it works is you book a pool

to offer pop-up notifications to pool

offering “Airbnb Experiences” with

on our app [now available on iOS and

owners when their pools are in need of a

local hosts.

Android.] Then you get an e-mail with

tune-up, and instead of the pool owner

the address, and entrance and exit

having to pay out of pocket, the money

expand into additional areas that users

instructions — how to enter the pool

will be deducted from what’s owed to

may be interested in. First off, he’s

area, how to exit the pool area,” Laskin

them by Swimply.

discovered that many of the pool owners

explains. “The hosts receive the request

While potential hosts also might feel

As for Swimply, Laskin wants to

also have tennis courts, basketball

and can accept or decline. Once they

uncomfortable about strangers on their

courts, grills, and hot tubs that they can

accept, Swimply takes care of the rest of

property, Laskin says that once they see

rent out along with their pools.

the process.”

how fluid and effortless it all is, they

Safety is naturally a top priority of the

“Right now, Swimply is

become more at ease. Plus, all users

democratizing the luxury of the

company. Each pool is examined by a

receive background checks before being

swimming pool,” he says. “We’re

third-party franchise called PoolWerx.

able to book, so hosts can have that

thinking that Swimply can evolve into

It’s a business that certifies the pool and

extra assurance. Users are also required

democratizing any kind of luxury.”

makes sure all is up to code before the

to sign a liability waiver before arrival.

listing goes live on the site. Partnering

At this point, the company has placed

Of course, managing a start-up comes with all sorts of new daily

with pool maintenance and contracting

around 100,000 people in pools with

challenges. Laskin’s biggest is one he

companies like Poolwerx also helps

zero incidents, not counting a damaged

calls “the chicken and egg”: “Every

Swimply’s supply continually expand by

beach chair and a light fixture that

location needs to have the supply of

facilitating cross marketing.

was broken by an errant basketball. To

pools, or swimmers will get frustrated

compensate the owner, the swimmers

at the lack of selection,” he explains.

were charged for the damage.

“But, at the same time, the supply

Then, after the pools are on the app, they have a review system to keep the accountability going. Any pool that falls below a 3.5-star rating gets removed. 24B |

2.0 AUGUST 2019

And if pool owners are nervous about guests overstaying their welcome,

needs to have swimmers who are in demand or pool owners get frustrated at


After work, Laskin learns at a local

that takes a lot of data-driven testing

night-seder program and goes to

and marketing to accomplish so it

Maariv. Then, he’ll work out and end

doesn’t become a circus.”

the day by responding to any additional e-mails that came in. “I deal with


people in all different time zones, so

Laskin says his life changes by the

there’s always something to do,” he

day, but he makes sure to keep his own

explains. At night, he’ll also get his

personal seder. He’ll wake up and head

thoughts together for the next day’s

to Shacharis. Then, if he doesn’t have

Pirkei Avos idea.

any special meetings, he’ll learn at

Like many entrepreneurs, Laskin

the beis medrash until 10 a.m. General

chose a path that can be lonely when

office hours at Swimply run from 10

other people in your circle are doing

a.m. to 6 p.m., and they make a big

different things — it’s a life that

effort to integrate Torah learning into

requires real tenacity and passion.

the workday. “We begin every day with

“When 95 percent of your friends

a thought on Pirkei Avos,” he says.

aren’t living lives that resemble yours

During the day, Laskin is often in

at all, it can be difficult,” he shares.

meetings with different Swimply teams.

“There are days when I think Swimply

He’ll discuss their digital marketing

will rise over the world, and then there

strategies, public relations, creative

are other days when it feels like it will

ideas, and meet with the company’s

all disappear. It’s an emotional ride if

CPA to talk about how the market is

there ever was one.”

responding. He says that each day is also

He continues, “I live by the idea

filled with innovation. “We’re constantly

that ignorance is bliss. If I had known

working on solving problems that are

everything involved on day one, I never

stunting our growth and coming up

would have started. Now, I take it day by

with fresh ideas to improve the Swimply

day and focus on knocking it out of the

experience,” he says. “Then, we delegate.

park — I know that’s what I’m going to

As the oldest of 12, I’m good at that part.”

do with Swimply.” AUGUST 2019

2 . 0 | B 25



WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST PRODUCTIVITY SECRET? Wouldn’t you love to walk into the office of professionals all over the world and pick their brains? Yeah, us too. So we put that idea into action and polled some of the top movers in their industries. All you have to do is sit back and soak it all up.

B26 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019





“Routine and habit are my secret productivity tools,

“Getting up early. I was on an airplane sitting next to an

but they can also be my enemy. Positive ones include

officer in the US Army who was passionate that if you wake

a ‘seder’ for daily reading — I read three hours per

up past 5 a.m. you’re losing part of your day, and I really took

day on average. Not kidding. And, exercise. When my

that to heart. Waking up earlier than I typically would have

body is in sync, my brain is in sync. Bad routines can

has changed everything. In my case, I learn early. You get to

be an enemy — I try to make equally sure that I’m not

start your day without the treadmill of life happening yet.”



falling into ‘comfort zones’ or bad routines that prevent me from experiencing or exploring new things or

Charlie is a business executive, author, and prolific speaker, known

confronting challenges, because I’m stuck in a familiar

internationally for his charismatic, passionate, and sophisticated

cadence or rut.”

lectures, seminars, and keynote addresses. He can be reached via charlie@charlieharary.com.

Ben is the managing partner of Jumpspeed Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology start-ups in the Jerusalem area. He can be contacted at ben@jumpspeed.co.





“If I start feeling sluggish or unproductive, I walk away from my computer. I take a break outside if it’s a nice day or have a chat (that’s unrelated to work) with one of my coworkers in our lounge. I’ll even take a longer lunch break if I need to, to disconnect and reconnect.”

“I practice meditation every morning for 10 minutes. Mindfulness has allowed me to ground my day,

Ester Rosenberg is a project manager and freelance marketing

increase focus, and clear my head to be more

consultant. Prior to her current role, she worked for a tech start-up,

productive and present.”

known as Tesla’s number one competitor in Lithium Ion Battery Manufacturing — Romeo Power Technology. Over the past 12

Sheba is a strategy and analytics lead at Google NYC, helping

years, she’s executed a wide range of large international projects

Fortune 500 companies grow their businesses through

throughout London, New York, and Tel Aviv. In her free time, Ester

Google media and technology. She is also a part-time travel

enjoys working with various charities and her family’s foundation,

blogger, focusing her writing on short-term itineraries for

Universal Kindness, aimed at restoring the faith in the goodness of

career-driven professionals with a desire to see the world.

humanity through acts of kindness. She has a BA in political science

She can be contacted at shebarasson@gmail.com.

from Yeshiva University and currently resides in New York City. AUGUST 2019

2 . 0 | B 27







“It may sound simple, but my iCal, or phone calendar, is

“I love lists! I have a daily top 10 list that I try to get done

what really keeps me in check and provides the structure

first thing in the morning before my day really begins.

I need to achieve my goals — everything from personal

The idea is that today, people get so focused on answering

to private goes on there. On the first day of the week, I’ll

e-mails and calls as they come in that they miss out on

schedule in the things that I know if I don’t give an exact

their actual priorities. So if I get these quick 10 things

time to, they won’t happen. Examples of these include

done in the morning before that happens, I feel productive

gym sessions, shiurim, and a few nights where I just write

no matter how the rest of the day goes.”



‘recharge night — do not book to go out.’ Having said all of the above, the one daily routine I really am absolute about

Bruce is a managing director at Blumberg Capital and has over

is a gratitude list. I write down three to ten things every

25 years of experience as a venture capital investor, entrepreneur,

morning that I am grateful for. I find this really does start

technology investment banker, and corporate attorney. He can be

the day off right.”

contacted at bruce@blumbergcapital.com.

Avital was born in London and moved to Israel in the summer of 2016. She uses her passion for technology and innovation to inspire and promote change. She founded HiPitched in 2018. The company focuses on compelling branding, strategy, and design. She can be reached at avital@hipitched.com.




KORNWASSER PRESIDENT, CARECENTRIX; AND PROFESSOR OF ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP, YESHIVA UNIVERSITY/SY SYMS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS “Start your day early which, means you should daven as early as possible. My best times for individual creative thinking and planning are before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Always carve out

“I’m big on a pen and notebook as a way to take notes

time to invest in your family, friends, and community. It’s too

in meetings. I use a draft in Gmail for my to-do lists,

late to plant trees when you need shade.”

and it is better than any app made for lists. In terms of habits outside of the office, I schedule ‘meetings’ for

Laizer is the president of Carecentrix and a professor of

things I need to get done the same way I’ll schedule

management at the Sy Syms School of Business, where he

meetings with people at work.”

teaches or has taught Entrepreneurial Leadership, Managing a Growing Business, and Introduction to Real Estate. He has

Alex is the cofounder and CEO of SocialRank, a social-media

held executive leadership positions in investment banking,

analytics start-up in NYC. He is also an adviser to Rainfall

Fortune 50, and growing entrepreneurial companies. He holds

Ventures, an early-stage VC fund, and writes in the entrepre-

an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in accounting

neurship section of Forbes monthly. He can be contacted at

from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business. He can be


contacted at lkornwasser@gmail.com.

B28 |

2.0 AUGUST 2019