Supplement to Jewish News June 13, 2016
Father’s Day Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
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n honor of Father’s Day, we asked a few daughters and sons who work
with their dads to write a couple of paragraphs about the experience of spending their adult lives alongside
Terri Denison, Editor Germaine Clair, Art Director Hal Sacks, Book Review Editor Sandy Goldberg, Account Executive Mark Hecht, Account Executive Marilyn Cerase, Subscription Manager Reba Karp, Editor Emeritus Sherri Wisoff, Proofreader
their fathers. The responses were incredibly passionate, respectful, heartfelt and in some cases, humorous. In all instances, however, they were longer than two or three paragraphs, a clear indication of just how grateful
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these people are to learn from and Delicious is in the details. That’s why we make our own mozzarella sourced from local grass-fed cows. It’s why we bake 19 different kinds of bread, roast our own tomatoes, and grow most of our own greens. Because it takes the best ingredients to make the very best food. Just ask our cows.
work beside their fathers. Thank you Bryan Konikoff, Rashi Brashevitzky, Bill Nusbaum, and Bill and Eric Miller for
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sharing. How lucky you all are! Not able to veer far from politics this year, even on our pages for Father’s
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Day, we have a fun piece about two © 2016 Jewish News. All rights reserved.
famous Jewish sons-in-law. In this especially combative election season, it
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seems that everything is a competition! And, then there’s the article from the very tired Orthodox Jewish dad. Working, studying and making certain to be home for family dinnertime is exhausting…but oh so rewarding. Just read his piece. Or speak to nearly any
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parent with young kids. This Father’s Day, Sunday, June
dining out or cooking out, with gifts
or with memories, we wish dads, grandfathers, uncles and favorite friends a very happy day!
Terri Denison Editor
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Issue Date Topic
19, no matter how you celebrate…
Aug. 15 Guide to Jewish Living July 29 Sept. 5
Trump vs. Clinton Battle of the Jewish sons-in-law by Uriel Heilman
(JTA)—Somebody had better put a mezuzah on the Lincoln Bedroom. Whoever ends up winning the election in November, one thing seems certain: For the first time in history, Jews will be in the president’s inner family circle. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have Jewish sons-in-law, and of course Bernie Sanders—in the unlikely event he makes it to the White House—is Jewish himself (though his daughter-in-law is not). With the head-to-head contest between the two likely nominees heating up, we decided to take a closer look at Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, and Marc Mezvinsky, who is married to Chelsea Clinton.
Age Kushner: 35 Mezvinsky: 38 Occupation Kushner: CEO of family real estate firm Kushner Properties and owner-publisher of The New York Observer. Mezvinsky: Investment banker and co-founder of hedge fund Eaglevale Partners. Education Kushner: High school at Frisch, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in Paramus, New Jersey; B.A. from Harvard (sociology); J.D. and MBA from New York University. Mezvinsky: High school at Friends
Central in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood; B.A. from Stanford (religious studies and philosophy); M.A. in international relations from the University of Oxford, England.
Family Kushner: Grew up in Livingston, New Jersey. Father: Charles Kushner ran a real estate empire until his imprisonment and is involved in various Jewish philanthropic endeavors. Mother: Seryl Kushner is involved in the family’s business and philanthropy. Has three siblings. Mezvinsky: Grew up in Philadelphia. Both parents served stints in Congress as Democrats. Father: Edward Mezvinsky served two terms from Iowa in the 1970s (and decades later went to prison). Mother: Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a former TV journalist, served a single term from Pennsylvania in the mid1990s. Parents are now divorced. Has one full brother, four half-siblings and five adopted siblings. Professional track record Kushner: Often described as a wunderkind, Jared Kushner has doubled the assets of his family’s real estate empire since taking over as CEO in 2008. In 2014, Kushner Properties did $2 billion in transactions. Mezvinsky: Worked at Goldman Sachs for eight years before launching Eaglevale in 2011, which now has $326 million under management. But the hedge fund was
down 3.6 percent in 2014, largely due to Mezvinsky’s bad bets on Greek debt.
Campaign involvement Kushner: Helped draft Donald Trump’s AIPAC speech, advises the presumptive Republican nominee for president on Israel issues and is involved in assembling his White House transition team. Kushner’s newspaper endorsed Trump for president. Mezvinsky: Appears at non-political events with the Clintons, but has no known involvement with Hillary’s campaign. Jewish practice Kushner: Belongs to an Orthodox synagogue, Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun, observes Shabbat and kosher restrictions, and is raising children as Jews. Mezvinsky: Grew up in a Conservative synagogue, has been seen in shul on occasion with wife Chelsea Clinton and is raising daughter with both Jewish and Methodist traditions. Wife’s relationship to Judaism Kushner: Ivanka Trump underwent Orthodox conversion after studying with an Orthodox rabbi, Haskel Lookstein. She now observes Shabbat and keeps a kosher home. “We’re pretty observant,” she has said. Mezvinsky: Chelsea Clinton is still a practicing Methodist. The couple married in an interfaith ceremony featuring a huppah and co-officiated by Rabbi James Ponet of Yale University and Methodist
Rev. William Shillady.
Why Dad went to prison Kushner: Hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, secretly recorded the encounter and sent the tape to his sister as part of a blackmail scheme. He served 16 months after guilty pleas to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign donations. Mezvinsky: Bilked friends, family and strangers out of some $10 million in bogus schemes disguised as investments in Africa and oil development. He served five years after pleading guilty to 31 counts of felony fraud, including bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Residence Kushner: Stylish 10-room apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at—where else?—Trump Park Avenue. Mezvinsky: A sleek apartment in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, on 26th Street, that the couple bought in 2013 for $10.5 million. Children Kushner: Theodore James, 2 months; Joseph Frederick, 2; Arabella Rose, 4. Mezvinsky: Daughter Charlotte, 1, and one on the way. Look Kushner: “Baby-faced,” “sandy haired” and “handsome.” Mezvinsky: Bespectacled with a perennial 5 o’clock shadow.
Happy Father’s Day — June 19 jewishnewsva.org | June 13, 2016 | Father’s Day | Jewish News | 15
Father’s Day WORKING WITH DAD
Bryan Konikoff Dad: Albert Konikoff
Instead of another tie, take your Dad to dinner W
hile many young boys dream of growing up to be police-
men or astronauts, I always knew I wanted to work with my dad as a periodontist. As a child I loved spending as much time as I could visiting my dad in his office. Not only
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Albert and Bryan Konikoff.
did I love to run around the office, ride the dental chair and examine all the instruments, but I also truly loved just being around my dad and watching over his shoulder as he worked on patients. I became my dad’s partner 10 years ago. My childhood dream came true. I was so lucky to have him as my mentor during my schooling. We spoke on the phone almost daily, sometimes for hours sharing stories about each other’s work day. I wanted to hear all the details about the cases he was working on, and he was always available and willing to advise me. My wife would overhear our conversations and could not understand how we spent so much time passionately talking to each other about teeth. Now as partners, our mentor-student relationship has evolved into one of mutual respect and collaboration. I truly love working with my dad. I am constantly asked questions such as: Do we have conflicts? Do we get sick of each other? Do we like working together? Our relationship has continued to grow even stronger as we have become partners. We spend three days a week working in the same office and take our lunch breaks together. On the evenings that we do not work in the same office, we speak on the phone. My wife is still in disbelief when she walks into the room and hears that I am on the phone talking to my dad about teeth. I admire and respect him so much for his professional skill, work ethic and excellent patient care. The greatest compliment I receive from my patients is when they compare me to my dad and say that I am just like him. I am very fortunate to work with my dad, and look forward to each and every day together.
16 | Jewish News | Father’s Day | June 13, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org
Father’s Day WORKING WITH DAD
Rashi Brashevitzky Dad: Rabbi Aaron Margolin
operation. I have always loved my
been a real treat.
ads are wonderful. They play with us and teach us as children and guide us and listen to us as adults. Throughout the years, my father has always been
a source of calm for me. Whenever an issue would come my way, I always knew I could count on my dad to listen and help me solve the matter at hand. I have always had a close relationship with him. As a young adult, I began teaching at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, but at the same time, started to work with my father who directs Chabad of Tidewater. I always admired his enthusiasm for sharing Judaism with the Tidewater Jewish community, and in my early 20s, finally had my chance to work alongside him. After I got married in 2002, I took on a more formal role in the operating of Chabad House. All of a sudden I wasn’t just giving ideas or shopping or setting up—I had assumed the role of youth director, along with some other areas of
work in the Jewish community—and having my father to guide me has I find that working with my father makes my job all the more fun because we share the same humor. I find that I have expert guidance in all that I do because not only does my boss have great experience in my line
Rashi Brashevitzky and her dad, Rabbi Aaron Margolin.
of work, but he also has a great understanding of me, after all he and my mom raised me. I find that I frequently call on my father to help me figure things out and to create the best programming possible. When we work together, we are able to combine his past experience with my new ideas—and this works really well. As a child I always imagined and assumed that I would just grow up one day and work with my dad. I am so glad that it has worked out this way!
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Father’s Day WORKING WITH DAD
William Nusbaum Dad: Robert Nusbaum
before I was due to start work, Dad
don’t expect to get paid.” That was
t is Nusbaum family lore that when I was about five or six years old, I was arguing heartily about something over the breakfast table, when my father, Bob
Nusbaum (then about 36 years old), said, “Son, the way you’re arguing, some day you might make a pretty good lawyer. Would you like to come to work with me at the office?” Now, when you’re a child of five or six, you think your parents are already ancient, and becoming a grown-up is an eternity away, so it’s no wonder that I replied to him, with big, wide eyes, “Gee, Pop, I’d love to, if you live that long!” Fortunately for me, he did live that long, and about 20 years later, in early August, 1980, I reported to Hofheimer, Nusbaum, McPhaul & Samuels as a newly minted lawyer. There was one last detail to attend to before starting work, however. During my last year of law school in Charlottesville, I had grown a full beard, to accompany the mustache I’d had since freshman year of college. The weekend
informed me, “You’re welcome to come to work with a beard—just
all the incentive I needed, and that Sunday night, the beard ended up in the bathroom sink, and I received my first paycheck as an attorney a month later. My mother, Louise, of blessed memory, worried about how my
Bill Nusbaum with his dad, Bob Nusbaum.
father and I would get along working together, and so her unsolicited instructions to Dad were, simply put, to “Stay the hell away from Bill” at work. And, for those early years, he largely heeded Mom’s direction, leaving most of my training to other partners in the firm. There were moments, however (especially during the first four months at work, while I still lived at home), when he just couldn’t help himself. More than once, I would be driving us home, carpooling, and he would give me a work assignment—and I’m someone very dependent on taking copious notes, and was helpless to do so. Once or twice, he even gave me an assignment when I’d come into his study at the end of the evening, in my pajamas, to tell him good night! Our work relationship only changed when, in March 1985, after almost five years of practicing together, Hofheimer Nusbaum made me a partner, and I became more self-confident and more comfortable seeking out his wise opinion. For the past 31 years, I have enjoyed the privilege of often consulting the man whom I often refer to as “one of the two wisest men I know” (Kurt Rosenbach being the other), and I think few would argue with that characterization. For many years, Dad shared the distinction (with one other Norfolk lawyer) of being listed in the most categories in Best Lawyers of America of any attorney in Hampton Roads, and I watched proudly the evening he was named First Citizen of Norfolk about 20 years ago. Even since he retired from Williams Mullen just before turning 90 two years ago, he continues to come to the office daily, and I still make my way down one floor to his office regularly to give him a hug, see how he’s doing, and to ask his advice, especially on matters for his former clients, for which I am now responsible. In six weeks after Father’s Day, I will mark having worked with him for 36 years—the same age he was when he asked that fateful question, and a double chai, indeed.
18 | Jewish News | Father’s Day | June 13, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org
I’m an Orthodox Jewish father and I am exhausted by Raffi Bilek
(KVELLER VIA JTA) — I have three children under 6 years old. I am exhausted. My rabbi is known to say that “life is not for wimps.” As a student in yeshiva (Jewish seminary school), I thought I understood his point. Now I really understand his point. Just surviving the daily and weekly routine is hard work. My day starts long before the sun’s does and includes an hour of Torah learning, an hour and a half of praying, eight hours at work, and three hours in the car commuting (yes, it’s lousy). Then, of course, there’s eating (which I do too much of), sleeping (which I do too little of), and—it looms large–childcare. Certainly there are physical challenges to such a lifestyle, but I think the mental challenges even more so give rise to the “life is not for wimps” slogan. As an Orthodox Jew, I inhabit a world in which Torah learning is king. And so I rise each morning before it is even considered morning, in order to get in my daily dose of Torah. At the same time, my priorities have shifted as my family has grown. Formal learning at night is a thing of the past for me (and, I hope, a thing of the future). My wife needs help cleaning up, packing lunches, getting ready to start another daily cycle over. Then she needs time engaged in conversation with someone who is not her child, and not about her children. Yet the part of my daily routine for which I would say I am most “moser nefesh”—that is, the part that I put the most effort into ensuring it happens—is family dinnertime. For me, this means leaving work early to fight through an hour and a half of traffic and land in my chair at the dinner table as close to 6 pm as possible so that we can hope to get the kids in bed by 7 (after which I do another half-hour to an hour of work to compensate for having left early). It’s worth it. Kids thrive on structure and predictability, and this provides it for them. On days when I work late, I don’t see my kids for a whole 24 hours, which I think is sad for all of us. I think that this is what it means to be
a Jewish father. We are obligated to educate our children. Actually, we are obligated to mechanech them, which, though usually translated as “educate,” really means something closer to “initiate” or “inaugurate.” Certainly I want my children to grow up learning and loving Torah—but even more than that, I want them to know that there is someone who loves them, and who will move heaven and earth to make sure they know it. Because if that awareness is part of their reality, if they know in their core that someone loves them, then they will also be able to know that Someone Else loves them, too. And if I can teach them that, then I know that my daily grind is producing an awful lot. —Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, lives in Baltimore where he is the director of the Baltimore Therapy Center.
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jewishnewsva.org | June 13, 2016 | Father’s Day | Jewish News | 19
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Father’s Day WORKING WITH DAD
Bill and Eric Miller Dad: Jerry Miller
hen we were growing up, our dad was growing the
family business. We enjoyed hearing stories about his day at the office. Often times we visited him on our days off and thought it would be cool to join his team. For our summer breaks (in our high school years), we worked as helpers in the
The Miller family: Laura, Jerry, Bill and Eric.
field or shadowed managers to learn more about our company. We face some challenges as employees of his company. For instance, some of our co-workers think that we have a “free ride” because we are his sons. Honestly, this is not the case; our Dad offers no one a free ride. Both of us agree that we have “big shoes to fill” so it is important for us to not take any shortcuts along the way. At this time in our career, we do not report directly to him; instead, two of his key leaders mentor us through the challenges of our given roles. In the workplace there are folks from all walks of life; sometimes there are
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personality conflicts within our organization. Like you, we do not mesh well with everyone we meet; however, we try to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Before we joined his team, our dad told us, “there will be occasions when you have to work with someone that you do not like, but you have to do what is best for the company.” Some co-workers are more difficult than others; but so far, we have been able to adhere to his advice. Heck, we have to keep in mind that they have to work with us, as well. Prior to our first day on the job (in a fulltime capacity), he met with us. Dad
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said, “Work hard, stay focused and do not give your boss a reason to not employ you.” Our primary focus is to make our supervisors’ job easier for them. As we noted earlier, we work for two of his key leaders. On occasion they tell our dad that we do a good job. Hopefully he is proud of our accomplishments.
It makes them smile! 20 | Jewish News | Father’s Day | June 13, 2016 | jewishnewsva.org
Dad—in case we have not said it recently; thank you for the opportunity to work for your company. It is a pleasure to be a member of your team. Enjoy your Father’s Day!