Shul Lists: The Original Jewish Social Media Influencers

Shul Lists: The Original Jewish Social Media Influencers

Shul Lists & Jewish Social Media | Henry Isaacs | New YorkThe community Shul list – such as the Yahoo Groups entitled TeaneckShuls, FiveTownsShuls & BrooklynShuls – are essentially the Jewish social media versions of Craigslist, Facebook, Etsy, Twitter, and Patch combined into one email. And, as a community resource, guide & bulletin board, it seems to be working very nicely for the Jewish community. Here’s a sample of what we mean:

Jewish social media | Shul List | Henry Isaacs | New York

Often the most overlooked division of any Jewish marketing campaign, these Yahoo Groups provide a great source of hyperlocal marketing options to individual communities. At Henry Isaacs Marketing – a digital marketing, social media & design company – we tend to put a big emphasis on hyperlocal Jewish marketing via Shuls Lists… or as we term it, Jewish Social Media. With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social media taking the spotlight when it comes to social media strategy, many companies looking to target the Jewish community overlook or underestimate the Shul List. Bad move.

How did the Shul list come to be? Great question and we have no clue. What we do know is that each community tends to have at least one group that they use for all notices. And the real question should be: how can I use this information to my benefit? That we can help you with. Whether you’re a Jewish business or Jewish non-profit, here’s some ideas & strategies for using Jewish social media aka the Shul email groups to benefit your bottom line.

Know which lists allow advertising. 

Because these shul lists can be inundated with community notices & postings, there’s even less time to post the advertisements. So many shuls lists ban advertising messages entirely except for sponsored posts & pre-holiday open posting days. So unless you have something else to say besides an ad, you may not get posted at all. Know which lists allow for advertising, which don’t, and which allow on certain days of the week. If you really have a lot to say & looking to spend smartly, use hyperlocal email marketing lists such as eBergen Blast & eFiver (see below) that allow complete email marketing options to large Jewish communities.

Ask questions. Trust me. 

You’d be surprised at the response you get from recipients to any question. We once inquired about any music recommendations for a High Style Events client; we got about 21 recommendations. And that was from just one or two community email groups (we’re in about 30+ groups). Just like you need to be conversational on Twitter & Facebook (yes, you need to be social on social media, yes!) to increase social interaction, you should be asking questions, getting advice & offering feedback as well. If you’re a Jewish non-profit and want advice on a Super Bowl event or fundraisers, send a question out such as “Any Super Bowl events this weekend?”The feedback will give you some solid market research and enable you to plan your event or campaign better.

Track it well. 

Use Bitly to track your links so you can see how well your post is being viewed. We blasted out a campaign for the Israel Forever Foundation and received over 200 click throughs. Because the Shul lists are closely moderated, text-based messages (meaning not very pretty!) and may include 8-15 messages per email (meaning every word counts!), the best way to measure the impact is through a trackable link that provides stats on the location. Once you have that information, you can take the next step and increase your social marketing to your best communities.

Know how big your community list is & how often they send emails. 

If you’re looking to have your message read at a certain time of day, plan out when each list will get your message. FiveTownsShuls & TeaneckShuls each send out about 5-8 emails a day (each with about 15 messages) so if you send them something in the morning, expect it to be emailed out by the evening at the earliest. A list like TenaflyShuls, however, may send an email out an hour after you post one. Some lists don’t send out for days. The moderators all have jobs doing something other than vetting your postings, so the bigger the volume, the less chance of having your message seen earlier.

Use hyperlocal email marketing lists as well. 

eBergen Blast & eFiver are both email groups that offer hyperlocal email marketing to the Jewish communities of Bergen County & Five Towns, respectively. Building on the desire for advertising via shul lists, businesses & non-profits can now target Jewish recipients through email lists similar to the Shul lists.


These are some tips that should help you get a good start on hyperlocal email marketing via Jewish social media. There are many more nuances to it, though, including how to word your subject line, scheduling smart posts & sponsorships & creating content, as well as integrating these with your Facebook, Twitter & other accounts, so you’ll need to engage a Jewish social media experts (ahem, that’s us!) that can incorporate a smart Jewish social strategy into your overall Jewish marketing & communications campaign.  For those looking to go it alone, the key is to recognize your best markets & find the lists that work for them!

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

The New Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Faces of Tech & Mobile

The New Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Faces of Tech & Mobile

The Israel AppWhen most people think of the Israel tech industry, they tend to envision modern, new-age cerebral types from Tel Aviv and Haifa. Which is why media tends to notice when an innovative Ultra-Orthodox Jewish tech startup & mobile app developer like Jew IQ comes along.

Joel Padowitz is one of those Ultra-Orthodox Israeli tech pioneers. Heading a team of Ultra-Orthodox digital & mobile techies through his company, Jew IQ, Joel created The Israel App, a unique GPS-based tour guide & travel companion app for iOS & Android devices. Not only is The Israel App one of the most popular travel apps for Israel tourists – both Jewish and Christian alike – it was created by a group of Jewish entrepreneurs that many consider to have shunned the internet & digital age.

Coming up on two years since the large Ultra-Orthodox Internet-shunning Asifa gathering in Citi Field, the digital & tech field has, ironically, been a draw for many Ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs. With strong education & well-developed analytical skills, Jewish entrepreneurs are starting to dip into the tech field. Many see tech as one of the last untapped areas and Jew IQ has indeed recognized the industry as wide open for innovation. And innovation that can be used for good.

Here’s a brief bio on the Ultra-Orthodox creators of The Israel App.

Joel Padowitz – CEO

Joel Padowitz is a successful entrepreneur who has been involved adult Jewish education for nearly 20 years, specializing in the interface between traditional Judaism & modernity. In 2004 he founded New York-based investment bank Palladium Capital Advisors, which is one of the top-25 most active placement agents in the USA. In 2009 he founded Jew IQ which develops mobile applications, content, and curricula for Jewish education and travel.. Rabbi Padowitz gives regular classes in Jewish thought law, and previously served as a rabbi in London. He is an award-winning speaker and writer whose articles have been published widely in mainstream Jewish media. He is also the author of Triumph and Tragedy: Journeying through 1000 Years of Jewish Life in Poland. Aside from rabbinic ordination, he received his MBA from Bar Ilan University where he finished first in his class, holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and was honored at the White House by President George H.W. Bush for outstanding achievements in science.

Yaakov Lehman – Project Manager

Yaakov Lehman earned a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara where he founded an annual 3,000 person music and arts festival. He went on to earn an M.A. in Global History from the London School of Economics and an M.A. in Global Studies from the University of Vienna, where he specialized in East Asia; Yaakov is proficient in Mandarin Chinese. He is Founder and Director of DAJUS (‘Da Jews’), an organization dedicated to publicizing the Torah values of Diversity Awareness Justice Understanding and Sustainability through creative media. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the European Union Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, the Dorot Israel Fellowship, and the Threshold Jewish Educational Entrepreneurship.  He is a certified Tai-Qi teacher, whose classes feature a unique integration of ancient Chinese body movements, Jewish mystical teachings, and group reflection on technology’s impact upon ourselves, our relationships, and our society at large.


Yosef Adest – Media

Yosef Adest is a Tel Aviv-based photographer/video producer entrepreneur, who runs various creative and educational photography projects around the world. You can view more of his work at

Dub Method – Graphics & Branding

Dub Method, a high-end creative agency, specializes in developing brand strategies, and applying them to marketing and communication components across a variety of media.  Their team is comprised of Yoel Bender and Eli Clevs, both American Olim to Israel.

Concept Creative – Programming

Concept Creative is the Web and Mobile division of  NetSource, an Israeli IT company.  Located in Beit Shemesh, their staff is comprised of 80% Hareidi female programmers.

Rabbi Ken Spiro – Primary Historian & Guide

Rabbi Ken Spiro, originally from New Rochelle, NY, graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has rabbinic ordination from Aish Jerusalem and a Masters Degree in History from Vermont College of Norwich University. Rabbi Spiro is also a licensed tour guide by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs such as BBC, National Geographic Channel and The History Channel. He lives near Jerusalem with his wife and five children, where he works as a senior lecturer for Aish Jerusalem.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

Wonder Bread: Soft. Delicious. Nutritious. and KOSHER! (but will it catch on?)

Wonder Bread: Soft. Delicious. Nutritious. and KOSHER! (but will it catch on?)

Wonder Bread is KosherEver pass by the bread aisle and have the Wonder Bread logo & colors catch your eye, only to be turned back by the questionable Kosher certification of the Triangle K? You need not put the loaf down anymore.

Wonder Bread has gained OU Kosher certification in the New York market, according to The Jewish Week of New York’s Food & Wine website. Apparently, after Hostess Brands went bankrupt and sold off their reputable brands, such as Twinkies & Dolly Madison (Twinkies recently made a reappearance on store shelves though not with any Kosher certifications), the Wonder Bread went to Flower Foods, which, according to the OU, is a “very old & important OU account” and has a strong line of Kosher-certified products such as Nature’s Own and Home Pride breads. The result is that Jewish mothers & families can now try the bread they’ve desired to try ever since they were kids!

Will Kosher customers respond to the new Wonder Bread option, though? Depends on which Jewish consumers Flower Foods will try to target. In the mainstream New York Jewish marketplace, there are already dozens of Kosher breads available, both national (such as Home Pride) and Jewish start-up brands (such as Mehadrin Bakery) as well as the store generic brands (such as Shoprite & Fairway Market brands), so the marketplace is already well stocked. However, Jewish consumers very much enjoy the novelty of trying new Kosher iconic brands (remember the Kosher consumer’s craze & fall over Subway, the desire for Oreo’s & the long agonizing wait for Skittles?) so there will be a nice surge in sales at the very beginning, especially now that the Jewish holidays are over and school is in full swing for the next two months until Hanukkah.

The Orthodox market has generally opted to stick with brands that are baked by Jewish bakeries because of “pas akum” issues (pas akum, bread baked by non-Jews, could pose some problems according to Jewish law: see the rundown of “Pas Yisrael” laws & products here) but the OU brand is the king of Kosher certifications for the Orthodox Jewish consumer (OU does stand for Orthodox Union after all). With OU certification, Wonder Bread has definitely secured the highest Kosher certification covering all Jewish consumer markets but it remains to be seen if it’s too late in the game to get Kosher families to switch their bread. And, occasionally, even Jewish bakeries slip up in their high Kosher standards (see our article on Zomick’s).

The main marketing & PR goal for Wonder Bread will be trying to get Jewish customers to “give a second look” at Wonder Bread and try it out. Many Jewish shoppers have become used to simply bypassing the red, yellow, and blue bubbles logo on the bread shelf in favor of other brands so getting those same customers to take another look and discover the OU logo is key to getting new Jewish customers (Hebrew National had the same Kosher certification issues although meat products require a much more stringent Kosher certification approach). Apparently, Wonder Bread must taste extremely delicious so keeping customers shouldn’t be a problem…. they just have to get over the habit of not putting it in the basket! The Jewish customer is a loyal one and, having large families, price conscious about their groceries, so a marketing campaign that incorporates a coupon or discount to try out Wonder Bread would be a smart move.

Although it’s a crowded playing field, we definitely welcome Wonder Bread to the Kosher marketplace! May your stay be like Oreo and not like Subway!

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

Booker Taps Ties to Jewish Community in Senate Race (WSJ)

Booker Taps Ties to Jewish Community in Senate Race (WSJ)

Cory Booker Jewish MayorAs you saw in our previous post for the New York mayoral election and courting Jewish votes, the Jewish community may be small in numbers but don’t disregard their influence. Looking to take over the late Frank Lautenberg, Cory Booker, a popular name in Jewish circles, has become a strong candidate for the New Jersey Senate seat. Who does he turn to for the votes? The Jewish community.  As his go to source for all-things-Jewish, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the type of Rabbi that is political, closely tied to the modern Jewish community, and nationally recognized for his popular (and controversial) opinions on sex, religion, and lifestyle. Sounds like a perfect candidate to take Cory Booker to the next level. 

Booker Taps Ties to Jewish Community in Senate Race

Newark Mayor’ Draws on Longtime Connections in Bid for Lautenberg Seat


He regularly reads verses from the Torah. He once addressed 700 congregants at a friend’s bar mitzvah. In 2011, he took his parents to Israel for a “trip of a lifetime.” And he is a staple at seder meals during Passover.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

He is Cory Booker, the African-American, Christian mayor of Newark.

The U.S. Senate candidate has immersed himself in Jewish culture and serious Judaic study for two decades, ever since he had an accidental meeting with an ultraorthodox Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi. And now, Mr. Booker has tapped those Jewish connections in his campaign to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who was Jewish and helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Jewish causes—and with a cancer-research center in Jerusalem bearing his name.

Mr. Booker, 44 years old, has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from prominent New Jersey Jewish leaders, and nearly $120,000 from the pro-Israel NORPAC political-action committee since January, campaign filings show.

Many Jews familiar with Mr. Booker are impressed with his knowledge of their faith.

“He could put many of us to shame,” said Lori Klinghoffer, a New Jersey Jewish philanthropist and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

The three other Democrats running in the Aug. 13 primary also count ties to the Jewish community. Most notably, the widow and children of Mr. Lautenberg—who sponsored a 1989 amendment that helped hundreds of thousands of Jews in Soviet countries flee persecution to the U.S.—have endorsed Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone.

[image]Peter J. Smith for The Wall Street Journal | Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The Lautenberg family members are vocal critics of Mr. Booker’s candidacy—including his outreach to Jews.

“With Cory Booker, he’s a very good speaker and a very good salesman,” said Josh Lautenberg, the late senator’s son. “I don’t feel like Cory Booker is authentic in what he’s selling.”

A spokesman for the Booker campaign—who declined to address Mr. Lautenberg’s son’s claims—said the candidate’s Jewish studies have enriched his Christian faith and “reinforced his belief that there is much more that connects us than divides us.”

Jewish elders in New Jersey believe Mr. Booker is sincere.

“I have had ample opportunity to gauge the depth of his Jewish knowledge, and it is genuine,” said Rabbi Clifford Kulwin, who leads the 3,000-member Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, N.J. He has known Mr. Booker for years.

Newark was once home to a large Jewish population, with tens of thousands living there in the early 20th century. But Newark’s Jewish population dwindled significantly after the city’s 1967 riots.

Throughout New Jersey, roughly 397,400 people, or 6% of the population, identify as Jewish, tied with New York state for the highest percentage in the country, according to a 2007 study by the Pew Forum. New Jersey is home to growing Orthodox communities in Teaneck, Passaic, Lakewood and Linden, along with Reform Jews throughout the northern and central parts of the state.

It is a significant section of voters and donors—especially in a race that will likely see low voter turnout—that Mr. Booker’s three Democratic rivals aren’t discounting.

State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, one of the Democratic candidates, grew up as one of the few African-Americans living in Newark’s Weequahic neighborhood, a South Ward section that was predominantly Jewish.

“I definitely have excellent relationships with the Jewish community,” she said.

All the Democrats in the race have reached out to Jewish groups, said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. Mr. Pallone and Rep. Rush Holt, another candidate, have strong records on Israel, and Ms. Oliver is well-known, he said.

Mr. Booker’s Jewish knowledge has proved particularly intriguing, Mr. Dworkin said.

Mr. Booker was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and now belongs to Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark.

Mr. Booker stumbled into his Jewish studies when he was at Oxford, when he attended a 1992 Torah celebration thrown by the L’Chaim Society student organization.

He began studying Judaism with the group’s Hasidic rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, and Mr. Booker later became the organization’s president at Oxford.

They continued their Jewish studies together after both men moved to New Jersey.

“We’ve studied thousands of hours together,” said Rabbi Boteach, an Englewood resident who said he advised Michael Jackson on spirituality and is the author of unconventional books such as “Kosher Sex.”

As mayor, Mr. Booker keeps a Torah on his desk, among other religious books. He can read some Hebrew, but isn’t conversant. He will often use Jewish parables when talking about political struggles.

“At the end of the day, I am a man who loves faith,” said Mr. Booker, during a speech before Mercer County Democrats last year, where he discussed bringing his parents to Israel in 2011.

Mr. Booker has spoken to dozens of Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a strong pro-Israel lobbying group.

NORPAC has hosted several fundraisers for his campaign—and more may be on the way, said Rabbi Menachem Genack, NORPAC founder and chief executive of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division.

NORPAC also has supported Mr. Pallone with $10,000 in contributions this year, according to campaign filings.

But Mr. Booker is the candidate that many Jewish voters have embraced, said Richard Gordon, an attorney from New Jersey and past president of the American Jewish Congress.

“Cory Booker is someone we have watched grow up,” Mr. Gordon said. “There was a tremendous amount of pent up excitement about what his future was going to be.”

Write to Heather Haddon at

A version of this article appeared July 29, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Booker Taps Jewish Ties In Senate Race.

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

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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Five PR Moves to Learn From Zomick’s Pest Problem

Five PR Moves to Learn From Zomick’s Pest Problem

Zomick's PR Problem
Zomick’s PR Problem

Shabbos hasn’t been the same in years recently. Zomick’s, the admired bakery for Shabbos challah, was recently torched by a pest scandal that described how Zomick’s hasn’t passed health inspections for years. Some of the inspection results have been disputed but the PR problem remains.

The news is particularly disturbing to Jewish customers that strictly adhere to high Kashrut standards. Bugs and vermin, aside from being totally unwelcome in diets, are also not Kosher. When it comes to Kosher issues, the Jewish community stands on alert. This crisis is reminiscent of the Monsey non-kosher meat scandal that surfaced years ago as well as Morrell Caterers kosher drama and  the Hebrew National kosher issue that occurred a few months ago. Bugs & rats are extremely bad; bugs, rats, and Kashrut issues are catastrophic.

When a revered brand like Zomick’s gets hit with such a bad report, it makes you wonder what major food manufacturers won’t be hit by a health scandal. Rest assured, though, the problem was more than just a health inspection. In our opinion, Zomick’s has a PR and communications issue that didn’t help them when the time was needed and, more importantly, before it all happened. So here’s five PR moves that Zomick’s did wrong (but could still do!) when averting a crisis that your business can learn from so you don’t suffer a similar bump in the road.

1) Communicate before, during, and after a crisis.

Many Jewish businesses recognize that they have a stable customer base: there’s Shabbat every week, large Jewish families are constantly growing, and there’s generally enough revenue to allow all competitors have a piece of the pie. So why invest in communications, marketing, and social media? This crisis is exactly why. Zomick’s has become a brand out of touch with the Jewish community. Currently, they don’t even have a full website with nutrition facts or product news nor a social presence to allow for customer feedback, comments, or discussions. Their health standards aren’t disclosed to the public and there’s no way for the public to be shown how they operate. The OK examined the Monsey meat scandal and determined that non-kosher meat may have been substituted for kosher meat for almost eight years! Unless there is transparency on food & health, there’s no guarantee that the problem hasn’t been ongoing for years nor that is is solved.

Businesses need to communicate with their customers instantly or they will lose the loyalty in a crisis. If Zomick’s had a Facebook page, they could have communicated directly to their customers the minute negative news hit. Instead news spread on Twitter and Facebook like wildfire about pests & Zomicks, without yielding a single social media objection instantly & directly from Zomick’s ownership. If Zomick’s had a customer email list that they had sent weekly emails to for news and products, families may not have reached for Beigel’s challah instead of Zomicks’ this past weekend. And now that the PR crisis is still on people’s minds, even in the Five Towns, their homebase, they need to start building a PR and marketing presence to let their customers know they actually care and aren’t merely trying to disprove the health department findings.

2) When it comes to food, bad PR is bad PR.

Look how quickly people turned on Paula Deen; she’s a fantastic cook and issue had nothing to do with her cooking (no matter how unhealthy it may be!). When it comes to food, bad PR can’t be turned in any direction these days. Doing a Google search on Zomick’s yields about 50% positive and 50% negative results; in customer’s eyes, that’s 100% bad. Just like sensationalist magazines and celebrity gossip, people are drawn to negative news and they hold onto it until they want to give it up or another hot negative item catches their attention. Anthony Weiner may have gotten a second chance but that was two years later… is Zomick’s willing to wait two years before they start getting good publicity from the public?

3) Being Kosher won’t save you.

Just because you are a kosher product, that doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Hebrew National learned that a while back. A Kosher product adheres to certain guidelines but is not a guarantee of healthy. Yes, green, natural, organic and kosher all tend to be lumped together positively but kosher doesn’t always oversee the manufacturing process of basic items like bread. When it comes to meat, Kashrut supervisors are extremely fastidious but challah is a simple item that doesn’t much oversight and Zomick’s reputation used to be stellar. Just because your product is kosher, it doesn’t mean you’re always answering to a “higher authority”.

4) Never take a holding pattern. Take an action pattern.

When it comes to customer loyalty, there’s no holding pattern to regain it. You need to prove you deserve it. Challah isn’t exactly a unique product – local bakers to supermarkets to moms make challah every week and this scandal is just another reason to stick with their local options. Zomick’s needs to show customers why they deserve a second chance and waiting out the bad publicity without action is just giving local bakeries a chance to gain more loyalty. In fact, numerous supermarkets, like Fairway Market, offer Zomick’s and their own baked goods so the choice between fresh and packaged is even simpler now for customers. Businesses lose loyalty all the time which is why they actively communicate through coupons, special offers, contests, and announcements. You can never wait for loyalty to return. Your business has to prove you deserve it.

5) Appeal to more than Jews.

The Jewish media was quick to pick up the news about Zomick’s. As a result, the Jewish community doesn’t exactly forgive when it comes to a doubt in Kashrut and sales & reputation will instantly fall. If you’re a brand that can sell to the American public, you have a market to fall back on when sales from your primary market take a hit. Hundreds of Jewish food companies rely solely on the Jewish community but understanding how American consumers think is vital to great success. Sabra is advertising their hummus products to the American mainstream even now. Think outside the box when it comes to your Kosher product and you’ll be prepared if your primary market starts to waver.

Zomick’s still has time to repair the damage but it involves more than simply disputing the charges. Zomick’s needs to become more upfront and communicative with their customers, establish a greater presence in food discussions, and create a social place for redemption. The Jewish community is quick to forgive but not so quick to forget. Challah is easy to find, bake or buy. Zomick’s needs to prove they’re worth the second chance.

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

Want Jewish votes? Head to the Hampton Synagogue (New York Times)

Want Jewish votes? Head to the Hampton Synagogue (New York Times)

Rabbi Schneier's voters.
Rabbi Schneier’s voters.

The Jewish community may be small in numbers but don’t disregard their influence. With mayoral candidates jockeying for favor among the Jewish community to try and succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself Jewish, there’s a few Jewish “influencers” and communities in New York that you’ll have to charm. One is certainly Rabbi Marc Schneier’s following in the Hamptons (as the article shows) that receives a primarily modern & traditional Jewish audience every weekend. 

Head to the Orthodox Union for the Orthodox vote. Their members hold sway over some of the more Yeshivish and Modern Orthodox voters that may prove unreachable via usual marketing channels on TV and print. Agudath Israel does have the ear of the Ultra-Orthodox but politicians need to go straight to the head Rabbi’s in the Williamsburg and Borough Park communities that directly influence thousands of their followers. The Hampton Synagogue has the most celebrated visitors but the Ultra-Orthodox has some of the highest potential voter numbers among the Jewish community. 


Following the Powerful to Their Vacation Spot

Reposted from The New York Times

To mayoral candidates on the prowl for New York City voters, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., is pretty far out of the way.

But almost all of them have pledged to make the trek east, all in search of support from the wealthy and influential worshipers at a single Jewish congregation, the Hampton Synagogue.

Like the large African-American churches that dot the city’s boroughs, the synagogue has become a mandatory pilgrimage site on the campaign trail. Two candidates for mayor have already visited. Five more are booked, including two Democrats and one Republican who — they may or may not know — are splitting next weekend.

“Truth be told, we have a pageantry of all the candidates here,” said Rabbi Marc Schneier, who founded the modern Orthodox synagogue in 1990, after a career that included a four-year stint in real estate.

“They all reach out to me,” he said. “This is considered a very important stop on the Hamptons circuit.”

His congregation is not large — the synagogue’s membership roll lists only 500 families. But with a steady stream of drop-ins including Ronald O. Perelman, Ronald S. Lauder, Russell Simmons and Steven Spielberg; a speaker series that features a variety of notables as varied as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Glenn Beck; cantorial music on a par with Carnegie Hall; and other summer fare like this weekend’s kosher gospel concert, the pews are generally packed.

“When you’re speaking at a gathering of 200 people on a Saturday evening, it’s not just your — what’s the word I’m looking for — and it’s not your average Jewish family,” Rabbi Schneier said. “I’ve often said, this is all chiefs and no braves. This is Scarsdale, the Upper West Side, Teaneck. It’s a community of communities.”

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and a Democratic mayoral candidate, took no chances and pressed for an invitation back in April, when she ran into Rabbi Schneier at an event in Manhattan. She and the rabbi’s close friend, Ken Sunshine, a publicist, were both receiving Bella Fella awards, which are named after Bella Abzug. The rabbi was there as a guest speaker.

Ms. Quinn volunteered to the rabbi, he recalled, that she would “love to come to the Hampton Synagogue” once his followers decamped from their usual abodes in the city to the Hamptons for their summer getaways.

Her invitation arrived without ado, and on July 12 she was wooing worshipers, dressed in conservative Sabbath attire, at Friday night dinner after attending a Kabbalat Shabbat service.

John A. Catsimatidis, a Republican candidate and grocery store billionaire, beat her to the scene by a few days with an appearance at Sunday breakfast on July 7.

So eager was he to make a good impression with the influential crowd that, after his own speech, Mr. Catsimatidis accompanied the rabbi to another session where Israeli bonds were being pitched to 25 or so prospective buyers. That group of high rollers ended up ordering $9 million worth of the securities, including $1 million purchased by a first-time buyer: Mr. Catsimatidis.

William C. Thompson Jr., a Democratic candidate and former city comptroller who came close to unseating Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009, is expected to visit the synagogue on Saturday, Aug. 10. Rabbi Schneier said that Mr. Thompson, an Episcopalian who speaks some Yiddish and who has said that he was the first city comptroller to invest city money in Israeli bonds, was quite at home among New York’s Jewish communities.

The synagogue, in fact, owes much to Mr. Thompson’s father, a former Appellate Court judge, because it was he who ruled in the synagogue’s favor, back in its embryonic days, after the Village of Westhampton Beach obtained a Supreme Court injunction that would have barred the rabbi from holding services with as few as 10 people in his home. “If it wasn’t for Bill Thompson’s father,” the rabbi recalled, “I wouldn’t have had a synagogue here.”

Bill de Blasio, another Democratic candidate and the city’s public advocate, has a personal connection, too: he brought Mrs. Clinton to the synagogue when she was running for Senate and he was managing her campaign. He is in discussions with the synagogue but does not yet have an appointment.

Adolfo Carrión Jr., the Independence Party candidate and former Bronx borough president, has one of the last Saturday time slots of the season, Aug. 17.

This campaign stop might also be one of the few times when Sal F. Albanese, a Democrat and a former city councilman, might wish that he was an unknown in the race, rather than someone who will have to make amends with the congregation before he can make headway.

On July 6, Mr. Albanese kept nearly 200 congregants waiting when he failed to show up, according to the rabbi. Mr. Albanese went to a temple in East Hampton, thinking the event would be there; finding no one there, the candidate eventually left, the rabbi reported.

But Rabbi Schneier is inclined to forgive. Mr. Albanese will get his second chance on Sunday, capping a weekend when the synagogue is already juggling two other candidates — Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican, on Friday and John C. Liu, a Democrat and the city’s comptroller, on Saturday.

“This seems to be a mayoral campaign of second chances,” he said wryly.

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

A $35,000 Knaidel Winner

A $35,000 Knaidel Winner

Arvind Mahankali Wins Scripps National Spelling Bee on the Word “Knaidel”. Talk about an achievement, not just for Arvind, but for Yiddish as well!

Reposted from JTA

How do you spell knaidel?

May 31, 2013 7:25am

Confetti falling over Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y., after he won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., May 30, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Confetti falling over Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y., after he won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., May 30, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(JTA) — An Indian-American boy won a national spelling contest after correctly spelling a Yiddish-derived word.

Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by spelling the word “knaidel,” a traditional Jewish dumpling. Mahankali beat out ten other finalists in the competition, held in Oxon Hill, Md.

He won $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from Merriam-Webster and $2,000 worth of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as a shiny engraved trophy and the title of “champion.”

German words have led Mahankali to his spelling bee demise for the past two years, when he twice placed third at the bee.


knaidel, which covered the bee, described knaidel as coming from “German-derived Yiddish.” It quoted Mahankali as telling ESPN, “the German curse has turned into the German blessing.”

The finals featured another word of Jewish origin. Hannah Citsay, a student at St. Anne Catholic School in Lancaster, Pa., correctly spelled “hesped,” the Hebrew word for eulogy, in the sixth round.

Despite correctly spelling “hesped,” Citsay was eliminated in a new portion of the contest, where contestants had to provide the definition of a word.

Read more:

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

Response to BuzzFeed: The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Response to BuzzFeed: The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Although Emily Orley does make some valid points about kosher, in reality, it’s not that hard to keep a kosher lifestyle in the tri-state area. Outside of a major metropolitan area or large Jewish communities however, keeping kosher can get extremely difficult or, for lack of better word relevant to the article, “annoying”.

Thanks to the impact of kashrut certification agencies as well as food & beverage companies increasingly looking for new ways to monetize stable product lines, more and more products are becoming kosher, like Newman’s Own Organic Chocolate Cups recently. Furthemore, kosher has become synonymous with “healthy” and “organic”, a title that bodes well for increased sales and allows for higher profit margins for the Coca-Cola’s and Nestle’s of the world. National grocery chains like SuperValu, Whole Foods, and Kroger’s now carry more and more kosher products every day.

Check out our posts on the “The Kosher Trend” or “Kosher vs. Kosher Style” to learn about why Kosher is stil going strong and not so annoying anymore.

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder | | 646.833.8604

The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Oy vey, where do I begin?posted on February 25, 2013 at 5:15pm EST

Emily OrleyBuzzFeed Staff
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1. For starters, people have no idea what “keeping kosher” actually means.

For starters, people have no idea what "keeping kosher" actually means.

2. Explaining it takes forever and gets very complicated.

Explaining it takes forever and gets very complicated.

In simple terms, you can’t mix meat and dairy, you can’t eat anything from a pig (yes, that includes bacon), and you can’t eat any shellfish. There are some acceptable fish — any fish with both fins and scales. Eggs are OK and can be eaten with meat or dairy. Also, after eating meat or dairy, you have to wait a certain amount of time, depending on where your ancestors are from, before you can eat the other category. Any questions?

3. After that whole explanation, people assume that you’re super-religious.

After that whole explanation, people assume that you're super-religious.

Well, I’m not. I use electricity on Saturdays. My male family members don’t have “those weird curly sideburns.” I didn’t even attend a Jewish day school as a child.

4. And they think keeping kosher isn’t as “cool” as other diets.

When people act like it’s a second-class diet compared to eating vegan or gluten-free, I’m like…

The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

5. But despite your best efforts, people can’t grasp the concept, especially waiters.

The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Source: www  /  via: Tumblr
For some reason, it’s impossible to explain the very basic rules of keeping kosher to a waiter. Ordering a Cobb salad can take 10 minutes because you need to hold the bacon, decide if you want turkey or cheese (you can’t have both), and change the dressing if you stick with the turkey. No big deal.But at this point the waiter is either is too confused or doesn’t care and will most likely bring out your order completely wrong.

6. And restaurants always serve you a cheeseburger instead of a hamburger.

And restaurants always serve you a cheeseburger instead of a hamburger.

Regardless of how hard I try, every time I order a PLAIN hamburger, it arrives with melted cheese all over it.ALERT: A hamburger isn’t supposed to have cheese on it. That’s why they created an entirely different name for burgers with cheese.

7. Or they refuse to cook your meat in oil instead of butter.

Or they refuse to cook your meat in oil instead of butter.

Most kosher meals cannot have butter, so it makes eating all the more difficult when restaurants (and everyone else) secretly put butter in everything.In the end, I usually just lie about having a butter allergy.

8. And you always have to ask the world’s most detailed questions about food.

The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Source: www  /  via: Tumblr
Asking “What’s the base of this soup made of?” makes you sound a little OCD. But knowing if that liquid is vegetable or chicken stock can make or break a meal.

9. Also, having dessert is extremely difficult.

Also, having dessert is extremely difficult.

In my family, you have to wait an hour after eating meat before you can have dairy. So that makes the whole dessert situation very complicated: If you want dessert that has any dairy in it, you have to make sure nothing in your meal is meat (and awkwardly ask for the dessert menu before the waiter can tell you the specials). I have, in fact, sat around for a full hour after I finished my entree because I just had to have dessert.

10. At home, you need to have two of everything.

At home, you need to have two of everything.

Kosher law requires you to have separate plates and dishwashers for your milk meals and your meat meals so that the two never, ever cross. This is not cheap or space-efficient, and it makes you feel like you have double vision.Also, if you ever mess up and put meat on a dairy plate or vice versa, you have to bury the plate in the earth for eight years. We did this once at my old house and moved three years later. We couldn’t take the plate with us.

11. And kosher meat is always double the price of regular meat.

The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Source: www  /  via: Tumblr
Seriously, this diet is so expensive.

12. Furthermore, when you try to adjust a recipe to be kosher-friendly, it doesn’t quite work.

Furthermore, when you try to adjust a recipe to be kosher-friendly, it doesn't quite work.

Apparently there’s no way to make a dairy-free cake taste decent.

13. Traveling, which is supposed to be relaxing, is always stressful because you’re starving the entire time.

Traveling, which is supposed to be relaxing, is always stressful because you're starving the entire time.

Cruises always have amazing buffets. Unfortunately, the only kosher item is usually the bread basket. Most trips, I just pack granola bars in my suitcase.

14. And you can never, ever eat the free lunch.

The 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher

Source: www  /  via: Tumblr
Office catering? Event buffet? Just turn around and go back to your seat.Sometimes you can’t even eat kosher Jewish food ordered to your office. One time, a batch of hamantaschen arrived at the office right after I finished eating chicken noodle soup. By the time the hour had passed, everyone in the office had devoured the dessert. True story.

15. The most annoying thing of all: all the amazing-looking food that isn’t kosher.

The most annoying thing of all: all the amazing-looking food that isn't kosher.

Source: diamondcat

Like this:

Like this:

Sorry, have to pass.

And this:

And this:

Nope, ugh.

And this:

And this:

Fifty shades of not-kosher.

Yes, I think this food looks delicious and it’s THE WORST that I can’t eat it.

16. In fact, not being able to eat bacon is enough for most people to question why you do this diet at all.

Bacon is pig, and pig is the treifest of treif (non-kosher). But people are in love with bacon. And people LOVE to feel dramatically terrible for you when they hear you can’t eat bacon. The pitying looks are almost as bad as sitting and watching someone eat a BLT.

In fact, not being able to eat bacon is enough for most people to question why you do this diet at all.

BUT! Here’s a little good news: lots of packaged goodies are actually kosher.

Like cookies.

Like cookies.

And some surprising chip flavors.

And some surprising chip flavors.

Artificial bacon ranch flavoring: It’s a mitzvah.

And most sugary candy.

And most sugary candy.

They may be terrible for you, but they fit the guidelines!

This post is specific to how I keep kosher and is not as strict as the practice of some orthodox Jews who, for instance, only eat meat slaughtered under Rabbinic supervision. There are many different levels based on how observant you are.
Jewish PR 101 – El Al’s Ticket Mistake and Stellar Recovery

Jewish PR 101 – El Al’s Ticket Mistake and Stellar Recovery

El Al Discount TicketsEl Al’s newest ticket pricing issues doesn’t come from high fuel prices. A daily deal site offered bargain basement rates on flights to Israel from the U.S. Over 5,000 tickets were sold in a matter of hours before the price was corrected. Maybe this is the year of the technology glitches (see NASDAQ’s Facebook IPO glitch and Knight Capital’s $400 million software error). Perhaps this is a major flaw in the “daily deals” business model; perhaps this mistake was plain old human error. From a marketing perspective, this is an example of how social media can distribute one’s marketing message in one arena and have it spread virally in a matter of moments. Although social media is great for it’s virality, it’s extremely hard to recuperate after letting negative or wrong information go viral. No matter who’s to blame, the bottom line is that El Al has planes full of passengers paying extremely little.

Those rare companies that disregard the last three words of that sentence and instead focus on “planes full of passengers” is a company that deserves praise and loyalty. El Al opted to go “cup half full” and see past their lack of profit, focusing instead on the thousands of new passengers they’ve obtained and honoring all tickets purchased at the discounted rate. For most companies, quarterly bottom lines and stock prices dictate the basics of business; El Al is a company focused on profits like any other, but they’ve elected to ignore the bottom line for now and accentuate the positives: thousands of happy and overjoyed passengers that get to take an El Al flight to Israel.

Which exemplifies how valuable good old customer service can be for even the occasional Jewish customer. El Al did the absolute best thing by honoring the ticket sales, no matter what the cost to their bottom line or lack of profits. Perhaps this deal glitch was even a daring marketing tactic for the slow winter months, when packed El Al flights are few and far between – offer extremely reduced rates and fill your flights (you’re flying half empty planes anyway; why not try to fill it by offering remnant prices?) Currently, El Al is even offering stopover ticketed passengers an upgrade to non-stop flights which will enable El Al to gain some additional revenue per passenger.

Beleaguered on all fronts by high gas prices, stiff competition, and the constant fear of a potential war in the Middle East, as well as the lingering resentment by Ultra-Orthodox flyers over meat meals during the Nine Days and flights on Sabbath, El Al has struggled mightily in the past decade. Many Jewish passengers today feel little loyalty to an “Official Airline of Israel” (not to compare at all, but it’s reminiscent of how the Jewish community, over time, doesn’t mind driving Mercedes Benz’s or BMW’s in the 21st century when just twenty years ago it was highly taboo to drive a “German car”.  With this daily deal snafu, El Al may have finally gotten a chance to show their passengers what makes their flights and service special as the official airline of Israel. Back to basics, in a way. El Al needs to take this opportunity to charm the hell out of their riders – great attendants, warm smiles, excellent food, little delays, and stocked cupboards – and ensure passengers remember the value of a dedicated Israeli airline. El Al has the attention of their passengers and a great marketing and PR strategy on board is extremely important.

An airline is only as good as it’s last flight. El Al has already done a great job ensuring the ticket buyers are happy with their purchases. Now, bring the satisfied experience full circle with a flight to remember by the official airline of Israel.

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