Jewish & Kosher | What’s The Deal?

Jewish & Kosher | What’s The Deal?

Jewish & Kosher | What's The Deal?Sometimes the best way to describe Jewish and Kosher is through a presentation that covers some of the burning questions out there. So we created one that helps say exactly what people are thinking and wondering. Yes, it may be a bit self-serving (we are a business after all!) but some of the slides show how the Jewish and kosher market is a group you don’t want to overlook these days!

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Highlighting Your Family Purim Party | Jewish Press

Highlighting Your Family Purim Party | Jewish Press

Purim TipsFeatured in The Jewish Press:

When it comes to special holiday events, we love to high style them, leave an impression and really  publicize the joyous celebration! And on Purim, you have to create a unique theme from the costume to the food. Unlike Chanukah’s oil and Shavuous’ dairy, Purim doesn’t specifically have any unique foods or tastes, aside from hamentashen, that one can work around from, so the best route for a stylish Purim theme is to base it around the costume. Here are some way to highlight your Purim party and themes to go beyond just costumes and candy:High-Style-021513-Shirt

Go authentic on your theme.

Sure, you can find a huge selection of Purim costumes at Ricky’s or online, but if you’re trying to create a full unique theme for your entire Purim, while also on a family budget, you need to go authentic. Head over to Chinatown for a large selection of authentic silk mandarin dresses and robes that will fit your one-day-only Purim budget. Stay local and visit Coney Island Avenue’s numerous Indian clothing stores selling inexpensive saris and kurtas. At authentic clothing stores, you’ll also be able to find plenty of theme-related apparel, dishware, and designs to supplement and add to your seudah and mishloach manos, creating an entire authentic theme all day long.

High-Style-021513-FondueDe-construct everything.

Who doesn’t love the abundance of hamentashen, candies, and chocolate you get on Purim? Although you may be a kid at heart or have eager children who can devour it all in one week, having 300 pieces of candy can wreck anyone’s self control and waistline! Try deconstructing the sweets down into something stylish and less “candyish” – create a caramel for candy apples, use a crock pot to melt the chocolate down into a silky fondue for dipping, and grind the cookies down into a crunchy topping or crust for an apple crumble or pumpkin pie. By deconstructing your mishloach manos, you can make them healthier, less tempting and more useful for your entire meal.

Go for a new cuisine.

Unlike oil on Chanukah or dairy on Shavuot, there’s no real food genre to base Purim around. Which is why going for an entirely different cuisine is an enticing culinary adventure, especially since you’ll have a Shabbos full of the usual meat and potatoes. Indian and Persian food is the most suitable choice for Purim because of the ancient story. Going Cowboy and Tex Mex style (not Gangnam Style) with your Texas costumes is a nice spicy BBQ option in this chilly weather. Going for the timeless Princess theme? Create a high styled tea party that guests can join in while they make their mishloach manos rounds, complete with finger foods like scones, mini pancakes, and mini quiche.High-Style-021513-Pancakes

Go savory instead of sweet.

You’ll get candy, you’ll get cookies, you’ll get dozens of foods suitable for dessert from dozens of your friends. If stockpiling candies and sweets isn’t your thing, then start a new trend and go savory on your mishloach manos. Ditch the chocolate chips and apricot jam and fill yourhamentashen with sweet potato and pumpkin, savory treats that can be eaten throughout the meal. If you have great culinary flair, you can even prepare a mini three-course mishloach manos consisting of savory appetizer, single bite entrée, and sweet dessert. For the meat lover, meat-filled hamentashen,similar to fried wontons or the Bukharian samsa dumpling, would make an excellent appetizer!

Highlight your Purim celebration and you’ll leave your guests with fantastic Purim themes, foods, and memories for years to come!

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Jewish Event Planning 101 – Tips for Destination Weddings and Events In Israel

Jewish Event Planning 101 – Tips for Destination Weddings and Events In Israel

Destionation Weddings and Events in IsraelPlanning a destination wedding in Israel when you live elsewhere is beyond stressful; it could be downright disastrous without oversight of the event services and venue. What would you do if the orchestra fails to show up on time? Or the venue is doubly booked? As an American in Israel, you may be limited in your options at that point.

Not to worry – as Jewish event planners, we have tips for making sure your destination wedding and destination Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah meets your best expectations.

1) Establish an event planning team abroad and at home

Connecting with an Israeli event planner in Israel is a no brainer since you’ll have to coordinate the entire event from your U.S. phone and laptop! But the best way to gain oversight over an event planner in Israel is to have an event planner at home as well. You’ll have to coordinate flight, travel, invitations, hotel arrangements, and formalwear in the U.S. as well, so choose a team of event planners that work well together. There are a few event planners in Israel that work with American Jewish event planners so you’ll save money on utilizing both their services as well as reducing stress for a truly multi-national event!

2) Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

That’s the way Israeli businessman and businesswomen operate. Unlike American pricing for event services, Israeli event services expect you to haggle. Don’t be afraid to tell them they are too high or you found a better price somewhere else. At the end of the day, they love to be part of a simcha in Israel; Sabra’s love Americans willing to support them and the Israeli economy.

3) Invitations come first.

in order to lock in the best rates on airfare and ensure your favorite spot is prepped and ready for you, invites should be sent first. Your guests aren’t exactly driving an hour away to a venue; they’re flying for 10 hours to a different country. Your guests need prep time to arrange their schedules and flights and you need to know who’s coming to your destination Israel event. Get the invites out of the way first and everything will be smoother after you have your guest list set.

4) Go ancient.

The best feature of Israel is it’s blend of modernity and ancient – who wouldn’t want a wedding on a Herzliya beach with a full feast at a local three star hotel! But we love going ancient. We were at a magnificent wedding that took place in a leafy garden amidst an ancient trail and nature reserve in the heart of Israel and the lighting, natural décor, and weather made for a beautiful destination wedding. After all, the essence of Israel and it’s history is why you’re having a destination event after all, isn’t it? Israeli event services are well-prepared to handle any off-site details so don’t worry about how your DJ or chuppah will be set up amidst the Caesarean ruins or on the Herzliya beach.

Keep visiting our blog for more tips on planning your event details in the least stressful way for your destination event in Israel!

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Jewish Event Planning 101 – Kosher Caterers Under the Microscope of Jewish Event Planners

Jewish Event Planning 101 – Kosher Caterers Under the Microscope of Jewish Event Planners


The Ups and Downs of Morrell CaterersThe ups and downs for Morrell Caterers: Below you’ll find The Jewish Week article and further below, you’ll find the Vaad of Flatbush letter about Morrell Caterers current standing after the Vaad’s investigation.


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Reposted from

The Jewish Week
Published on The Jewish Week (
Home > Nassau DA Opens Criminal Probe In Kosher Catering Case

Nassau DA Opens Criminal Probe In Kosher Catering Case

Morrell Caterer’s former general manager Thomas Cataldo, left, and former executive chef Michael Savitsky.

Morrell Caterer’s former general manager Thomas Cataldo, left, and former executive chef Michael Savitsky.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Stewart Ain
Staff Writer

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Morrell Caterers of Woodbury, L.I., prepared shrimp, lobster, pork and other non-kosher food in the same kitchen as kosher food.

Chris Munzing, a spokesman for Rice, said the investigation started this week after it was reported that two of Morrell’s former employees filed a civil suit alleging that Morrell started a non-kosher business in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, L.I. They said it was begun in September 2010 in conjunction with a high-end event planning company, Pat Glenn Productions.

Munzing declined to characterize the nature of the investigation except to say that prosecutors are exploring “possible criminal activity.”

Included in the court suit was an affidavit from Pat Casarona, a co-founder of Pat Glenn Productions, who stated that Scott Morrell, president of the company that bears his name, “explained that the non-kosher food required for events produced by Pat Glenn could be prepared discreetly in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah, which as a Reform synagogue did not impose the same stringent rabbinical supervision as Morrell Caterers’ other synagogue venues in Woodbury and Lawrence.”

Casarona added that Morrell brushed aside suggestions that a separate kitchen be used for the non-kosher operation “until it could be determined whether the venture was becoming sufficiently profitable to make investing in a separate facility cost-effective. Mr. Morrell did express great concern during these meetings that, as he put it, ‘there can be no way to trace it back to me.’ ”

At a press conference Wednesday, Morrell angrily denied the allegations, saying: “I stand here with my integrity intact. I never broke any kosher rules, ever.”

Asked specifically about the allegations, Morrell, with his mother, RoseLee, standing behind him, said: “I have no knowledge of that.”

Morrell Caterers has its offices at the Woodbury Jewish Center, where it operates a glatt kosher catering facility whose kosher supervision is provided by the Vaad Harabonim of Flatbush. Rabbi Raphael Adler, the congregation’s spiritual leader, called the allegations “troubling, of great concern and deeply offensive.”

“We have been flooded with calls from families that have booked parties,” he said. “There is angst and concern from families, who are paying top dollar [for a party]. These allegations have shaken the trust of myself, my congregation and the greater community because hundreds of thousands of people have patronized [this caterer] expecting the highest level of kashrut. We hope these allegations will be proven false.”

In the meantime, Rabbi Adler said, synagogue leaders have “been in close consultation with our legal counsel.”

Randy Zornberg, president of Temple Beth Torah, said that within hours after the news broke about the civil suit he had received “over 50 phone calls from people who have parties in the near future and in a couple of years.”

“If the facts of this case are true and he violated kosher laws, he would be in violation of their contracts,” he said. “But these are two disgruntled employees who have left. What their game could be I don’t know. … If [Morrell] has broken our trust by violating his contract, the contract will be terminated.”

Zornberg added that his congregation’s executive board would be meeting Sunday to further discuss the situation.

Rabbi Marc Gellman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Torah, said told The Jewish Week: “If these allegations are true, it is a violation not only of the legal trust but also of a sacred trust.”

At the press conference, Morrell said he would “consult with my rabbinical supervisor” to decide what to do about the silverware, pots, dishes and cooking utensils that were allegedly used for both kosher and non-kosher affairs.

“I regard kosher supervision with the highest priority,” Morrell said.

The kosher supervisor, Rabbi Steven Moss, said he was “surprised” to learn of the allegations because “to the best of my knowledge everything they used for parties booked at Temple Beth Torah was used only for kosher items. I will look into this as soon as I can.”

“We have to make an assessment to determine the next step,” he added. “If there are utensils that have become ‘infected,’ they either have to get new ones or kasher them.”

Rabbi Moss, spiritual leader of B’nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, L.I., stressed that he made regular spot inspections of the kitchens of Temple Beth Torah and Temple Israel in Lawrence, L.I., but was not employed to be there full-time.

Morrell’s lawyers, Steven Schlesinger and Ronald Rosenberg, claimed that the civil suit brought by the two former employees was part of a failed shakedown attempt to get Morrell to drop a $500,000 suit against Morrell’s former lawyer. They said the two former employees, Thomas Cataldo, the former general manager, and Michael Savitsky, the former executive chef, were paid by the former lawyer to make the allegations. Both men denied it.

Rosenberg insisted that Morrell never directed his staff to prepare non-kosher food in the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah. He said photos Cataldo and Savitsky showed of shrimp and other non-kosher food in the kitchen were “fabricated.”

And Rosenberg questioned why it took so long for the two men to come forward.

“Why did they find God now?” he asked. “There are some orders you don’t follow.”

Both Cataldo and Savitsky said they had complied with Morrell’s orders because they feared for their livelihood.

“He told me in no uncertain terms that this would continue,” Cataldo said when he protested what was happening.

He said that food for between 25 and 30 off-site non-kosher parties costing at least $200,000 were prepared in the Temple Beth Torah kitchen. He said that although the bills were processed through Morrell Caterers, they were concealed from the synagogue to avoid paying synagogue fees.

Savitsky said he recalled that on at least one occasion his staff was ordered to prepare both kosher and non-kosher food in the kitchen at the same time.

They said they acted to blow the whistle now because they could no longer stand the “guilt” of what they were doing.

“I finally decided I couldn’t do it anymore,” said Savitsky, who came to the press conference wearing a white chef’s shirt. “I just finally gave up.”

Cataldo said in an affidavit filed with the court that he and Savitsky each owned a 5 percent share of the business. And in a court affidavit, he said Morrell Caterers “has no cash, is struggling to make payroll” and owes a key supplier more than $250,000.

Cataldo said that although all of the non-kosher food preparation was done at Temple Beth Torah, utensils, pots and pans, plates, glassware, display pieces and other items were routinely taken to Temple Israel in Lawrence for use there.

“A white platter that was used to pass kosher Hors d’oeuvres there was also used to pass coconut shrimp,” he said. “And sometimes we would bring food back and forth.”


Vaad of Flatbush Letter about Morrell Caterers

Vaad of Flatbush Letter about Morrell Caterers

Jewish Marketing 101 – Why Non-Profits Should Consider Outsourcing

Jewish Marketing 101 – Why Non-Profits Should Consider Outsourcing

Jewish social media outsourcing
Reposted from Third Sector Magazine

Why Not-For Profit’s should consider outsourcing

Wed, 12 October 2011

Outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular in the not-for-profit sector as it allows associations, charities and other not-for-profit organisations to benefit from the expertise of specialists when they need them and at rates they can afford.

Outsourcing refers to contracting the skills of a company to fulfil an organisation’s needs and allows them to take advantage of experts that they do not have, or cannot afford, internally. This may include marketing, graphic design, organising conferences and events, secretariat services, publishing, marketing or finance.

Outsourcing is a cost-effective way for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations to achieve their organisation’s goals and keep within their budget.

Findings from The Outsourcing Institute’s most recent study, which surveyed 1,410 members, found that reducing and controlling costs is the most common reason organisations choose to outsource. With a limited budget NFPs often can’t afford five or more employees to fulfil their organisation’s marketing, graphic design, editorial, secretariat and event needs; and it’s difficult to find one person with skills in all of these areas. However, outsourcing allows NFPs to draw on the skills of specialist departments with differing areas of expertise for often less than the cost of hiring one internal employee. Depending on a NFPs needs outsourcing can be the equivalent of employing ten specialists for less than the price of one.

Not only is outsourcing more cost effective than hiring staff internally, it can also result in a great level of efficiency. With access to teams of experts in a range of fields, organisations can enjoy a more professional standard of work, which can improve efficiency, the image and reputation of the organisation, and increase member/donor support.

CEO of The Institute of Hospital Engineers Australia Greg Bondar outsources their member magazine to Third Sector Services. He says “I am of the view that specialisation is the key to productivity and effective cost management, hence why do what others do better?”

The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) CEO Philip Armstrong also outsources their magazine to Third Sector Services and says “The journal in its ten year history had reached its optimum in relation to delivering a peer reviewed journal to members that was produced internally by the association. To go to the next level and compete internationally in design, content and layout with other similar journals it needed the expertise of professional publishers as this was not and is not the expected strength of ACA. Therefore an external publisher was sought to take the journal to the next level.”

The Outsourcing Institute’s research shows that the second most common reason organisations outsource is that it allows them to focus on their key objectives, which can increase their effectiveness and improve member/donor satisfaction.

Outsourcing allows an organisation to focus on what is most important to the running of their association, society, institute or charity – whether it is advocacy, governance, pleasing members or fundraising.

Additionally, outsourcing allows NFPs flexibility which is not achievable when hiring someone internally. Outsourcing allows organisations to access professionals when and only for as long as an organisation needs them.

“Without sounding gratuitous, the services provided Third Sector Services are both professional and friendly, and very flexible,” admits Bondar.

By decreasing costs, improving the quality of an organisation’s offerings and allowing NFPs to focus on their core objectives, outsourcing is expected to continue to rise in popularity as the smarter choice for NFPs.

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A Million Dollar Bat Mitzvah – Dr. Phil’s Radical Parenting Episode

A Million Dollar Bat Mitzvah – Dr. Phil’s Radical Parenting Episode


Radical Parenting & Million Dollar Bat Mitzvah

Radical Parenting

Dr. Phil talks to three families about their unconventional parenting styles. Are they too radical, or is there a rationale to their extremes?

Parenting with a Price?




Lana admits she motivates her 13-year-old daughter, Lizzie, and 18-year-old son, Lawrence, to get better grades with extravagant gifts including a $10,000 painting, trips to Europe and bat mitzvah that cost nearly one million dollars.

“My parenting style can best be described as loving and effective,” Lana says. “I believe in motivating my children by providing them with a very lavish lifestyle. If they do well in school, if they do their chores, then they can have a trip to Africa. They can go to Paris.”

But Lana’s sister, Natalya, says she contests the ritzy reinforcements. “My sister, Lana, super spoils her children to the point of no return,” Natalya says. “I call my sister a ‘mommy tampon’ because she tends to shove herself into every nook, cranny and orifice of her children’s lives.”

Lawrence, who recently started his first year in college, lives in a dorm, but also has his own penthouse two miles from campus and full-time access to a private pilot. In addition to his $2,000 monthly allowance, he and his sister have 24-hour bodyguards. Lawrence and Lizzie’s pet monkey, Mikey, also has his own bodyguard, butler, jewelry collection and trust fund.

“I think I’m a great parent,” Lana says. “If someone wants to know why I spend money, it’s because I can.”

Now seated with both women, Dr. Phil gets to the root of their disagreement.

“Mommy tampon?” he asks Natalya. “I’ve never heard those two words together in a sentence.”

Smiling, Natalya replies, “And I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed because I have no idea where that [term] came from, but it is so the truth. She uses mind control, an extreme amount of money and bodyguards to just shove herself into every aspect of their lives.”

“Are you a helicopter mom? Are you really all over the place as she suggests?” Dr. Phil asks Lana.

“I’m not really a helicopter mom, but I think that in today’s toxic society, we should be aware of what our kids are doing and stay on top of them, and be aware of the social temptations that are out there. So, maybe I’m borderline helicopter mom.”

Dr. Phil quizzes Lana about her children’s bodyguards. “Are these bodyguards or spies?” he asks.

“I like to think of them as chaperones,” Lana explains, adding that even her college-aged son occasionally needs adults to help him make mature decisions.

“So you don’t have a lot of confidence in your children?” Dr. Phil asks.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself and my children,” Lana clarifies. “It’s the rest of the world that I don’t have confidence in.”

Lana also says she makes her children take assessment tests to evaluate their life progress and goals. She claims the tests teach her “the true nature” of her children.

“Do you need a test to know the true nature of your child?” Dr. Phil asks.

“Well, I know my children, but I can tell you that some parents see their children the way they’d like to see them and not for who they really are,” Lana says.

The millionaire mom also asserts that her sister, Natalya, is an out-of-control middle child who secretly envies her lavish lifestyle.

“You said, ‘My sister is a mess. She parties late at night and dresses like a slut,'” Dr. Phil says, recounting a comment Lana made about Natalya. “She’s always doing the wrong things with the wrong guys, and looking for herself in the wrong places.”

Natalya flashes her sister a coy smile and responds, “Here’s what I think: Don’t hate me because you ain’t me! I’m younger and I don’t have a husband. I have two wonderful young kids. So if I can party all week and make it to work, [then OK].”

“I told Mom and Dad you should have been an abortion. I didn’t even want siblings.”

The two sisters continue to argue until Dr. Phil stops them and they return to the topic of Lana’s parenting.

Dr. Phil tells Lana that her over-the-top rewards may rob her kids of genuine motivation to succeed. “If you pay your children or give them massive rewards for performance, that’s what we call external or extrinsic motivation. The higher the extrinsic motivation, the less the internal or intrinsic motivation. A child is not going to develop a thirst for knowledge if his only motivation is to [gain material things]. And when that goes away, there’s no internal motivation. That’s a real problem with indulged children. Do you worry about that?”

“I disagree,” Lana says, explaining that her children are well-behaved and excel in school, so she feels confident in her parenting.

Dr. Phil leaves the mother with one cautionary thought, “OK, you disagree, but I really want you to consider what I’m saying because the research on this is pretty overwhelming.”

Lana stands her ground. “[My children] do what they’re supposed to,” she says. “And I really have no reason to think they’re going to grow up to be anything other than what they are right now.”

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Destination Weddings In Israel will be boosted by Israel’s marketing budget boost

Destination Weddings In Israel will be boosted by Israel’s marketing budget boost

Destination Weddings in Israel

Reposted from Arutz Sheva

Israel Set to Spend Millions Marketing Tourism By December

Between now and the end of the year Israel’s Tourism Ministry will have spent more than NIS 40 million on marketing the nation abroad.
By Chana Ya’ar

First Publish: 9/19/2011, 1:13 AM
Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah
Israel news photo

If all goes well, between now and the end of the year Israel’s Tourism Ministry will have spent more than NIS 40 million on marketing the nation abroad.

Israel’s “autumn flush” is being seen as an investment in the country’s economy, with an eye toward creating continuity in marketing activities abroad.

The outreach to potential tourists and building an increase in tourism traffic to the Jewish State, while establishing the country as an attractive tourism destination, is part of the ministry’s 2011 work plan, according to a statement issued Sunday.

The ministry has budgeted some NIS 260 million for marketing activities alone, a smart investment when one considers the return.

From January to August of this year, 2.2 million tourists have visited Israel, just two percent fewer than last year in the same period.

Income from incoming tourism alone during the first half of the year has increased by 15 percent, to some NIS 8.2 billion, as compared to NIS 7.1 billion for the same period a year earlier. This figure does not include income from flights.

Countries being targeted in the current campaign include the United States, followed by Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavian nations, in conjunction with marketing activities in countries that have recently become interested in Israel, such as Poland and Brazil.

“The autumn tourism season is an attractive time of year to travel to Israel, and the Ministry of Tourism’s offices abroad are working toward increasing demand to visit Israel,” noted Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.

“The stability of incoming tourism, despite economic and political events, both regionally and internationally, presents an important economic anchor contributing to the Israeli economy both in income and employment.”

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Jewish Event Planning 101 – High Style Events Tips article from In Fashion Magazine

Jewish Event Planning 101 – High Style Events Tips article from In Fashion Magazine

High Style Events article - In FashionOur High Style Events division had our High Styled Tips article published in the premier Jewish magazine for the affluent Jewish household, In Fashion Magazine ( We’ve included the entire tips in our blog but if you can pick up the magazine, that’s even better! We look forward to placing our stamp of High Style on your event!


High Style Events Article

| In Fashion Magazine |

When it comes to special events, we love to High Style them. We believe your event is one of a kind and should reflect that uniqueness every step of the way, from concept to completion. So we’re sharing some of our favorite High Styled ideas that we’ve
innovated and come across that can really turn your event into an extraordinary

Go Stylish on Your Placecards

Make a first and lasting an impression with customized placecards. We know of a wedding where the placecards were tiny customized Tiffany boxes for
each attendee – if you receive a Tiffany’s box as your placecard, you KNOW
uniqueness – for non-profit gala dinners, try a hinting yet playful money
clip placecard holder. For corporate or trade show events, we love a
customized MingleStick (check it out on our Facebook page, High Style
Events). For social events, a tiny picture frame with the attendee’s pictures is a glorious, welcoming, and personal touch.

Tailor Your Man
Women go to far lengths to tailor their dresses and outfits for a special
event. Three to five dress fittings for a wedding gown, mother of the
bride, or Bat Mitvah dress is standard procedure. But nothing is more asymmetrical than a elegantly dressed woman and blandly dressed man. Take  the time to ensure your husband, son, or fiancé dresses PERFECTLY. For
your man, remember: the suit could be the most expensive suit or tuxedo in
all of New York but if it doesn’t fit well on him, you’re wasting your
money. Buying an affordable fitted suit from Zara or Calving Klein is step one and tailoring it even more perfectly is step two. Plus, don’t solely
rely on the tailors at department stores like Lord & Taylor or Saks with promises of free tailoring with a suit purchase – take your suit to a trusted tailor that you know can make it perfect. Same with tuxedos – get your tailor to look at it and see it on you before you buy or rent. Add even more High Style – if you’re getting a custom-made dress designed, ask your tailor to use the extra fabric swatches and design a matching tie or pocket square, even for a cummerbund, for your special man. Nothings says stylish more than two well-dressed (and matching!) people.

Ditch the Keyboard. Go for a DJ.
For smaller events where orchestra’s just don’t make sense, party like
it’s 2011. Ditch the one man band and singer/keyboardist and go for the
     DJ. DJ’s have numerous musical styles available to them at the push of a
button – Sephardic, Fusion, Rock, Dance, etc – and are in the same price
range as a keyboardist anyway. The difference – DJ’s up the “cool factor”
by a thousand percent and dictate the party mode of the event much better.
No disrespect to keyboardists (keyboards went out of style back in the
1990’s along with SmashMouth and Genesis) but I haven’t heard anyone come
to an event and say “Wow, you have a keyboardist!”; they say “Wow, you got
a DJ!” And at your event, we know you want to have that “WOW Factor”.

High Style Tip of the Month – The Wedding Interior Designer

Go the extra mile and hire an
     interior designer to oversee your entire venue and recommend stylish
     elements. For people getting married in special venues (catering halls,
country club, etc), the venue is pre-designed for elegance so all you need
to add is your extra bit of style to accentuate the venue’s elegance.
However, for those getting married in Synagogues or other locations
designed for usefulness, placing just flowers throughout simply won’t High
Style your event to reflect your uniqueness. So we recommend going the
extra mile and hiring an interior designer to see what stylish elements
can be added to really make your event extremely stylish. Some floral
decorators offer this service but, as you’ll see in the next tip,
specialized means customized (and you won’t necessarily pay more at all).

Specialized means Customized
We’ve met so many vendors who tack on different tasks in order to offer
more than what they normally do. For example: Florists & Caterers.
Caterers & Event Planners. Musicians & Photography. Photography
& Carpet Cleaning. Chuppah Designers & Coffin Designers (don’t
hire these guys!). Basically, they add more services in order to increase
revenue but remember – the more un-specialized, the less you can
customize. If they don’t specialize in one task, they can’t excel in the
     one task you really want them to do. Caterers should focus on amazing
food, not  Find specialists and you can tell them EXACTLY what you
would like so they can customize the event to you and EXCEL in it. Don’t
you deserve customized service at your special event? We know you do.

With these tips, now you can start putting a stamp of High Style on your special event!

Olivia Bondarsky is the highly experienced Lead Event Planner at High Style
Events, a team of Jewish event planners specializing in the Jewish event. Like
Us on Facebook ( and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $150 Gift Card to Glatt A La Carte. Our treat! Call us at 347.433.4276 or 201.357.2622 or Visit us at for more information and “High Style” Tips!

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Jewish Holidays 101 – Sukkot – The Other High Holiday

Jewish Holidays 101 – Sukkot – The Other High Holiday

Sukkot, the other High HolidaySukkot – The Other High Holiday

Let’s talk a little bit about Sukkot, what I’m calling the “other” High Holiday. Although not fully celebrated as intensely as Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur by worldwide Jewry, Sukkot is a 9 day marathon (8 days in Israel) of a holiday that includes large meals, expensive traditions, and family trips. Almost any business can benefit from Sukkot yet the holiday is overshadowed by the “hugeness” of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (like I said in the last post, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the “Don’t Mess” holidays).

Here’s some broad strokes about the Sukkot holiday (excerpted from Wikipedia)

Sukkot (the Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a Biblical holiday celebrated around late September to late October. It is one of the three Biblically mandated Shalosh regalim on which Jews and Believers make pilgrimages to pre-determined sites to worship and make fellowship in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Holy Week lasts seven days, including Chol Hamoed and is immediately followed by another festive day known as Shemini Atzeret. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, “booth or tabernacle”, which is a walled structure covered with flora, such as tree branches or bamboo shoots. The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt.

Throughout the holiday the sukkah becomes the primary living area of one’s home. All meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog, or Four species. According to Zechariah, in the messianic era Sukkot will become a universal festival and all nations will make pilgrimages annually to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast there.

The second through seventh days of Sukkot (third through seventh days outside Israel) are called Chol HaMoed  (lit. “festival weekdays”). These days are considered by halakha to be more than regular weekdays but less than festival days. Observant Jews typically treat Chol HaMoed as a vacation period, eating nicer than usual meals in their sukkah, entertaining guests, visiting other families in their sukkot, and taking family outings. Many synagogues and Jewish centers also offer events and meals in their sukkot during this time to foster community and goodwill.

How to Benefit from Sukkot

Let’s talk about this big Sukkot holiday and how you can best benefit from it’s long span of celebration (I’m omitting the usual benefits for food and wines because these beneficial options are always synonymous with Jewish holidays):

The End of the High Holidays

In the Rosh Hashana post, I explored the aspect of not simply thinking holiday to holiday, but instead think of the ENTIRE High Holiday season (Check it out here). Sukkot is the end of the High Holiday season yet ends with quite a bang! Retailers, wines, foods, and apparel can benefit all month from this holiday season and the holiday season can help boost 3rd quarter sales for your business.

The Sukkah – A Man’s Job

When I grew up, my family used to go down to Home Depot and buy wood panels and nails, piece them together and build a handmade Sukkah (ours was designed with a retractable roof as well!) This holiday is the rare time for the “hands-on” Jewish man to take the spotlight. Lumber yards, Home Depot/Lowe’s, outdoor accesory stores, and party supplies are all businesses that stand to benefit from the “Jewish man’s holiday” of Sukkot. Granted, many Jewish families take the easier way of assembling a pre-fabricated Sukkah from or Sukkah Outlet, but there’s still work that needs to be done to assemble the entire tabernacle. And Synagogues and Jewish Centers need larger, custom-made Sukkot that require a lot of wood,nails,  bamboo stalks, and love to set up!

Chol Hamoed – A Vacation in a Vacation

As shown above, Chol Hamoed is the middle 4-5 days of Sukkot and are essentially a vacation in a vacation. Jewish schools are usually off for the entire Sukkot holiday and the restrictions on driving or using money are lifted on Chol Hamoed. What that means is plenty of free time and plenty of money to spend on day trips. Just ask the Bronx Zoo, Chelsea Piers, and the Long Island Childrens Museum about the huge influx of Jewish families during these few days and their sheer numbers of Jewish attendee’s should be enough to inspire you to promote your location as a great Chol Hamoed destination.

When marketing to the Jewish community for Chol Hamoed though, remember that you need to find the perfect timing between when the Jewish market is done focusing on Yom Kippur and starts focusing on Sukkot. Find out the Jewish media’s advertising schedule and ask for suggested dates (I would suggest advertising the week of Yom Kippur and the first week after) for running print, web, or email advertising. Promoting too early for Chol Hamoed may have your message overlooked, and promoting too late may mean parents have booked up their schedule already. But one thing to keep in mind is this:

Have Sukkah, will travel

Even though the middle days of Sukkot are full of travel and adventure, don’t forget that it’s still Sukkot. And Sukkot is a holiday that requires people to sit in the sukkah when eating meals. If you have the space to build a temporary Sukkah on your premises, do it! If Jewish families are deciding between a destination with a Sukkah versus one without a Sukkah, the choice is quite obvious – the Sukkah friendly destination saves families time, energy, and hassle having to find a place to eat.  Yes, a Sukkah for only a few days could be an expensive purchase (on, a 12 x 20 Sukkah costs about $1200) but think about the increased traffic you’ll have at your location in the middle of a normally slow school week.

Now, you don’t need a Sukkah that can fit thousands nor do you need to offer Kosher food as well. But you should be aware that there will be a NEED that exists for a Sukkah and try your best to fulfill that need. Bring in a Jewish consultant (like us!) to see how a Sukkah can be constructed efficiently and correctly. You may even have an existing structure outside (such as a trellis) that can already accomodate a Sukkah (just add foliage), which would be a happy coincidence! I would also suggest pairing up with a local Kosher restaurant (who will build a Sukkah anyway) to see how you can partner to increase traffic for each other during Chol Hamoed – perhaps a discount at NYC  Midtown’s J2 for those heading to Ripley’s Believe It or Not since J2 has a Sukkah. Explore your options and, as I said in an older post for event planners, know your Jewish radius that exists all around you! And bottom line, if your location offers a Sukkah, then the Jewish market see’s that you just “get them”. You understand our needs and we’ll be loyal to businesses that understand us.

The End of Sukkot – Simchat Torah

The end of Sukkot is called Simchat Torah, which is essentially a celebration of the finishing and the re-beginning of the Torah reading. And the holiday is accompanied by singing, dancing, drinking, and revelry. Because of the erratic scheduling and celebrations of these last days, many Synagogues hold elaborate luncheons for their congregants. Caterers, party accessories, and decorators – take note! This is a great way to showcase your food and services for large Jewish communities outside of their typical social and non-profit events.

Who celebrates Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? EVERYONE. Who celebrates Sukkot? Most people.

Know that difference. Everyone is in synagogue for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, even Larry David! Not everyone is celebrating Sukkot, which is why businesses, synagogues, and individuals place such a strong focus  on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a total of three days, over Sukkot, a nine day holiday.

The reason is primarily due to the fact that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are considered the two “Don’t Mess” holidays. Passover is 8 days, Sukkot is 9, Hanukkah is 8 as well – these are long holidays and some people can’t keep every holiday to the end. In fact, many people will be working during Sukkot, especially during the Chol Hamoed days, so for those serving the Jewish worker (such as NYC restaurants), be prepared to offer some amenities for Sukkot.

The Post-High Holidays Workout

Like December’s New Years, a month long holiday season of food, wine, revelry, and celebration is the perfect excuse to hit the gym. Gym memberships and personal training are great services to offer as Sukkot starts winding down. For gyms and fitness centers located in heavily populated Jewish areas, you should consider sponsoring the local Jewish school’s basketball team since the season doesn’t start until after Sukkot and it’s a great tie in for fitness for all ages. If you haven’t started reaching the Jewish market and are curious to try it, try sending a or Kosher Kouponz offer (the Jewish Groupon-style businesses).

So that’s the holiday of Sukkot. Much more than just people waving palm branches while sitting in huts in their backyard. And for the smart business, it could mean MUCH more to your bottom line if you position your business to market effectively. I hope this helps de-mystify the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and helps you target the Jewish market in a successful way for this reflective holiday. Have a great Sukkot!

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