10 Signs You Need A New Website

10 Signs You Need A New Website

In the age of social media pages and profiles, websites can be easily overlooked. I can see the appeal – Facebook is freshly updated every day and quite engaging as you cherish the Likes & Shares; most websites are static all year round and simply there to inform. When designed for modern times, however, websites will always be the best tool for reaching, engaging and creating customers. 

Customers aren’t buying on Facebook nearly as much as they do on websites. Customers are looking for a responsive, well-designed, engaging, easy to navigate website that lets them do what they came to do: shop, browse, buy, explore and learn. With dozens of hot web design trends for 2015, a website can be even more engaging than social media. And, as you’ve tragically learned after the umpteenth, unprompted change to your Facebook Timeline’s look and style, Facebook isn’t a replacement for a custom-made website.

So how do you know when it’s time for a fresh website design? What will it take for you to finally overhaul your flagship web presence? Maybe you need a sign. We’ll give you ten of them to look for:

1) Your website isn’t responsive. 

No, we don’t mean your site isn’t responding at all and gets the dreaded 404 Error: Page Cannot Be Found window, though that’s pretty bad. Responsive means that your site doesn’t adapt to the wide range of devices your customers use…and it’s the new standard in web design. Statistics show that 62% of companies that designed a website with mobile in mind saw increased sales. Your site may look fine on a desktop computer but if it “doesn’t fit” on an iPhone or iPad, you’re losing sales. A “smart and responsive” website adapts to different devices and different screen sizes and lets your customers experience your business exactly as you intended.


2) You’re directing people to your Facebook page instead of your website.

Ashamed of your website? That’s pretty sad. You have so many possibilities with a custom-made website so stop feeling ashamed and start changing it! As we mentioned above, social media is not a replacement for your website. Facebook is limiting, the design is ever-changing and organic reach is decreasing. Step back from social media, clarify what you hope to achieve from your website and connect with web designers who can help you discover all the possibilities of having a ridiculously cool website.


3) Even Google can’t find you. 

Google your main service or product right now (like “Kosher Meat Restaurants”). Did you come up on the first page? What about the second page? Not even on the second page? Are your competitors above you? Yeah, that’s not good. Ok, now Google yourself. Did you come up? First page, second page, where? How does your profile look? Wait, is it even there? There are a lot of ways to improve your search engine results and many of them start with your website. How your website is designed, how it’s coded, how your content is written, how your images are categorized, and how your site is indexed will all determine your place in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search. And if Google can’t find you easily, you can bet customers won’t find you either.


4) Your website is way too chatty. 

Think of your website’s homepage as a storefront. Visitors come by, look through the windows, maybe see something they like and go right in. If customers see an overly chatty, overcompensating salesperson talking their ear off at the front door, they may run back to their car. Overloading your website with a ton of text will turn off customers. The most effective websites combine strong, to-the-point copy with engaging visuals that illustrate your business without the noise. In other words, clean your store windows and get rid of the chatterbox. Have your web designer work closely with your marketing team to effectively design a clean, appealing website that clearly illustrates your mission statement and personality.


5) Your website sucks at selling.  

You work hard. 10 hour days. 12 hours maybe, wow. You don’t work as hard as your website, though. Your website is your non-stop 24/7 sales, marketing and PR team. Question is – is your website really working or slacking? Are you getting sales from your website? How about leads? Is your website easy to navigate for impulse buyers? Can someone look at your site and know everything they need to know about you and understand what you can do for them? Can it convert visitors into customers? Evaluate your website. If it can’t do any of the above, maybe it’s time to fire your website.


6) You have more pages on your website than in your printer.

I see, you have a page About Us. And a page for The Team. And also a page for Meet The Boss. And then a page for Our Promise To You. And a page for The Boss’ Promise To You. Ok, I promise never to come back to your website. Eliminate the clutter and get rid or combine obsolete pages. All those above pages can be in the About Us section, that’s it. Stick to the core pages that provide the most value to your visitors and are designed to convert them into customers. The rule of thumb is that every page on the site should be only two clicks away. If it is easy for your potential customers to see what you offer and buy easier, your investment will be worth it.


7)  Social media and your website aren’t mixing well.

Having a social presence online is a given. Your customers and visitors may visit your site to buy but they’ll also connect with you on Twitter and Facebook to socialize. If you aren’t sharing your social media pages with your target audience on your website, then how else will they find you? Modern websites have a social integration tools and widgets to maximize the social/website integration process that goes beyond merely adding a Pinterest or Instagram badge. Also, be sure your social media design looks similar to your website so as not to disconnect with customers. Designs that don’t gel together is like a customer buying a delicious peach from you one day and then getting a subpar one the next; inconsistency in look and design is not a good image to show customers.


8) You fell in love with your Flash “ENTER SITE” intro.

Watching an intro takes up your users’ time and turns them off from entering your site at all. There’s absolutely no benefit to having an introduction about your site; it’s an outdated trend. In fact, a Flash intro is actually a detriment to your brand because Flash animations don’t show up on iPhones and iPads, devices that customers frequently use to web browse. You only have about four seconds to get visitors to click around on your site. Don’t waste those seconds with a Flash intro.


9) Your website is all about YOU.

Yes, this is your website, but if you’re looking to get business, increase donations or be a community resource, you need to start thinking about the end-users. Your website is for your clients and prospects, not simply for telling the world how awesome you are. It is your chance to show customers that you understand their problem, that you can help them find the solution, and that you are the best choice to get them where they want to go. From colors to visuals to content, it should be designed with the customers best interest in mind.


10) You can’t stop looking at your competitors website. 

You know you do it. You can’t help it. It’s so attractive. If you find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time creeping around your competitors’ sites, oohing and aahing at the look and design, you need a website redesign. Their site may be easier to navigate, more organized, or even just nicer to look at, and it’s safe to assume your potential customers are going to spend plenty of time there if you do. Don’t worry, you can design a website similar and better than your competition.


LET’S SUM IT UP: Your website is your best tool for reaching, engaging and gaining customers. And if it’s not designed with those conversion tactics in mind – or if you can see any of these 10 signs directly! – you should consider redesigning your website for the modern customer. Let’s get started…

Isaac Hyman, Founder  |  Henry Isaacs Marketing  |  646.833.8604  |  info@henryisaacs.net


What Does Kosher Mean? | JewishMarketing101.com

What Does Kosher Mean? | JewishMarketing101.com

It’s a timeless question: what does Kosher mean? Some say Kosher is all about blessing the animal, some say it’s about not eating pig, and some say it’s similar to Halal. Based on the recent NYC Halal vs. Kosher wars, that last choice is way off.  For some, Kosher is comparable to eating organic. In fact, 3.5 million people are looking for Kosher products so you need to understand what it means. After you understand it, you can start reaching the Kosher market in better ways.

So, here’s a wonderful post from JewFAQ.org about what Kosher means that I’m going to summarize below! After you understand Kosher better, you can understand the difference between Kosher vs. Kosher Style, Passover Kosher and other Kosher trends!

What Does Kosher Mean?

Kashrut is the body of Jewish law dealing with what foods we can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten. “Kashrut” comes from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Reish, meaning fit, proper or correct. It is the same root as the more commonly known word “kosher,” which describes food that meets these standards. The word “kosher” can also be used, and often is used, to describe ritual objects that are made in accordance with Jewish law and are fit for ritual use.

Contrary to popular misconception, rabbis or other religious officials do not “bless” food to make it kosher. There are blessings that observant Jews recite over food before eating it, but these blessings have nothing to do with making the food kosher. Food can be kosher without a rabbi or priest ever becoming involved with it: the vegetables from your garden are undoubtedly kosher (as long as they don’t have any bugs, which are not kosher!). However, in our modern world of processed foods, it is difficult to know what ingredients are in your food and how they were processed, so it is helpful to have a rabbi examine the food and its processing and assure kosher consumers that the food is kosher. This certification process is discussed below.

Kosher dietary laws are observed all year round, not just during Pesach (Passover). There are additional dietary restrictions during Pesach, and many foods that are kosher for year-round use are not “kosher for Passover.” A bagel, for example, can be kosher for year-round use but is certainly not kosher for Passover! Foods that are kosher for Passover, however, are always kosher for year-round use.

So what’s Kosher Style? Check here.

Why Do We Observe the Laws of Kashrut?

Many modern Jews think that the laws of kashrut are simply primitive health regulations that have become obsolete with modern methods of food preparation. There is no question that some of the dietary laws have some beneficial health effects. For example, the laws regarding kosher slaughter are so sanitary that kosher butchers and slaughterhouses have been exempted from many USDA regulations.

However, health is not the only reason for Jewish dietary laws. Many of the laws of kashrut have no known connection with health. To the best of our modern scientific knowledge, there is no reason why camel or rabbit meat (both treif) is any less healthy than cow or goat meat. In addition, some of the health benefits to be derived from kashrut were not made obsolete by the refrigerator. For example, there is some evidence that eating meat and dairy together interferes with digestion, and no modern food preparation technique reproduces the health benefit of the kosher law of eating them separately.

In recent years, several secular sources that have seriously looked into this matter have acknowledged that health does not explain these prohibitions. Some have suggested that the prohibitions are instead derived from environmental considerations. For example, a camel (which is not kosher) is more useful as a beast of burden than as a source of food. In the Middle Eastern climate, the pig consumes a quantity of food that is disproportional to its value as a food source. But again, these are not reasons that come from Jewish tradition.

The short answer to why Jews observe these laws is: because the Torah says so. The Torah does not specify any reason for these laws, and for a Torah-observant, traditional Jew, there is no need for any other reason. Some have suggested that the laws of kashrut fall into the category of “chukkim,” laws for which there is no reason. We show our obedience to G-d by following these laws even though we do not know the reason. Others, however, have tried to ascertain G-d’s reason for imposing these laws.

In his book “To Be a Jew” (an excellent resource on traditional Judaism), Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin suggests that the dietary laws are designed as a call to holiness. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, pure and defiled, the sacred and the profane, is very important in Judaism. Imposing rules on what you can and cannot eat ingrains that kind of self control, requiring us to learn to control even our most basic, primal instincts.

Donin also points out that the laws of kashrut elevate the simple act of eating into a religious ritual. The Jewish dinner table is often compared to the Temple altar in rabbinic literature. A Jew who observes the laws of kashrut cannot eat a meal without being reminded of the fact that he is a Jew.

How Difficult is it to Keep Kosher?

People who do not keep kosher often tell me how difficult it is. Actually, keeping kosher is not particularly difficult in and of itself; what makes it difficult to keep kosher is the fact that the rest of the world does not do so.

As we shall see below, the basic underlying rules are fairly simple. If you buy your meat at a kosher butcher and buy only kosher certifiedproducts at the market, the only thing you need to think about is the separation of meat and dairy.

Keeping kosher only becomes difficult when you try to eat in a non-kosher restaurant, or at the home of a person who does not keep kosher. In those situations, your lack of knowledge about your host’s ingredients and food preparation techniques make it very difficult to keep kosher. Some commentators have pointed out, however, that this may well have been part of what G-d had in mind: to make it more difficult for us to socialize with those who do not share our religion.

General Rules

Although the details of kashrut are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules:

  1. Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
  2. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
  3. All blood must be drained from meat and poultry or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
  4. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but must be inspected for bugs (which cannot be eaten)
  6. Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
  7. Utensils (including pots and pans and other cooking surfaces) that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
  8. Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
  9. There are a few other rules that are not universal.

The Details

Animals that may not be eaten

Of the “beasts of the earth” (which basically refers to land mammals with the exception of swarming rodents), you may eat any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud. Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6. Any land mammal that does not have both of these qualities is forbidden. The Torahspecifies that the camel, the rock badger, the hare and the pig are not kosher because each lacks one of these two qualifications. Cattle, sheep, goats, deer and bison are kosher.

Of the things that are in the waters, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9. Thus, shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted.

For birds, the criteria is less clear. The Torah provides a list of forbidden birds (Lev. 11:13-19; Deut. 14:11-18), but does not specify why these particular birds are forbidden. All of the birds on the list are birds of prey or scavengers, thus the rabbis inferred that this was the basis for the distinction. Other birds are permitted, such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys. However, some people avoid turkey, because it is was unknown at the time of the giving of the Torah, leaving room for doubt.

Of the “winged swarming things” (winged insects), a few are specifically permitted (Lev. 11:22), but the Sages are no longer certain which ones they are, so all have been forbidden. There are communities that have a tradition about what species are permitted, and in those communities some insects are eaten.

Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects (except as mentioned above) are all forbidden. Lev. 11:29-30, 42-43.

Some authorities require a post-mortem examination of the lungs of cattle, to determine whether the lungs are free from adhesions. If the lungs are free from such adhesions, the animal is deemed “glatt” (that is, “smooth”). In certain circumstances, an animal can be kosher without being glatt; however, the stringency of keeping “glatt kosher” has become increasingly common in recent years, and you would be hard-pressed to find any kosher meat that is not labeled as “glatt kosher.”

As mentioned above, any product derived from these forbidden animals, such as their milk, eggs, fat, or organs, also cannot be eaten. Rennet, an enzyme used to harden cheese, is often obtained from non-kosher animals, thus kosher hard cheese can be difficult to find.

Kosher slaughtering

The mammals and birds that may be eaten must be slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law. (Deut. 12:21). We may not eat animals that died of natural causes (Deut. 14:21) or that were killed by other animals. In addition, the animal must have no disease or flaws in the organs at the time of slaughter. These restrictions do not apply to fish; only to the flocks and herds (Num. 11:22).

Ritual slaughter is known as shechitah, and the person who performs the slaughter is called a shochet, both from the Hebrew root Shin-Cheit-Teit. The method of slaughter is a quick, deep stroke across the throat with a perfectly sharp blade with no nicks or unevenness. This method is painless, causes unconsciousness within two seconds, and is widely recognized as the most humane method of slaughter possible.

Another advantage of shechitah is that it ensures rapid, complete draining of the blood, which is also necessary to render the meat kosher.

The shochet is not simply a butcher; he must be a pious man, well-trained in Jewish law, particularly as it relates to kashrut. In smaller, more remote communities, the rabbi and the shochet were often the same person.

Draining of Blood

The Torah prohibits consumption of blood. Lev. 7:26-27; Lev. 17:10-14. This is the only dietary law that has a reason specified in Torah: we do not eat blood because the life of the animal (literally, the soul of the animal) is contained in the blood. This applies only to the blood of birds and mammals, not to fish blood. Thus, it is necessary to remove all blood from the flesh of kosher animals.

The first step in this process occurs at the time of slaughter. As discussed above, shechitah allows for rapid draining of most of the blood.

The remaining blood must be removed, either by broiling or soaking and salting. Liver may only be kashered by the broiling method, because it has so much blood in it and such complex blood vessels. This final process must be completed within 72 hours after slaughter, and before the meat is frozen or ground. Most butchers and all frozen food vendors take care of the soaking and salting for you, but you should always check this when you are buying someplace you are unfamiliar with.

An egg that contains a blood spot may not be eaten. This isn’t very common, but I find them once in a while. It is a good idea to break an egg into a glass and check it before you put it into a heated pan, because if you put a blood-stained egg into a heated pan, the pan becomes non-kosher. If your recipe calls for multiple eggs, break each one into the glass separately, so you don’t waste all of the eggs if the last one is not kosher!

Forbidden Fats and Nerves

The sciatic nerve and its adjoining blood vessels may not be eaten. The process of removing this nerve is time consuming and not cost-effective, so most American kosher slaughterers simply sell the hind quarters to non-kosher butchers.

A certain kind of fat, known as chelev, which surrounds the vital organs and the liver, may not be eaten. Kosher butchers remove this. Modern scientists have found biochemical differences between this type of fat and the permissible fat around the muscles and under the skin.

Fruits and Vegetables

All fruits and vegetables are kosher (but see the note regarding Grape Products below). However, bugs and worms that may be found in some fruits and vegetables are not kosher. Fruits and vegetables that are prone to this sort of thing should be inspected to ensure that they contain no bugs. Leafy vegetables like lettuce and herbs and flowery vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are particularly prone to bugs and should be inspected carefully. Strawberries and raspberries can also be problematic. The Star-K kosher certification organization has a very nice overview of the fruits and vegetables prone to this and the procedure for addressing it in each type.

Separation of Meat and Dairy

On three separate occasions, the Torah tells us not to “boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21). The Oral Torahexplains that this passage prohibits eating meat and dairy together. The rabbis extended this prohibition to include not eating milk and poultry together. In addition, the Talmud prohibits cooking meat and fish together or serving them on the same plates, because it is considered to be unhealthy. It is, however, permissible to eat fish and dairy together, and it is quite common (lox and cream cheese, for example). It is also permissible to eat dairy and eggs together.

This separation includes not only the foods themselves, but the utensils, pots and pans with which they are cooked, the plates and flatware from which they are eaten, the dishwashers or dishpans in which they are cleaned, the sponges with which they are cleaned and the towels with which they are dried. A kosher household will have at least two sets of pots, pans and dishes: one for meat and one for dairy. See Utensils below for more details.

One must wait a significant amount of time between eating meat and dairy. Opinions differ, and vary from three to six hours after meat. This is because fatty residues and meat particles tend to cling to the mouth. From dairy to meat, however, one need only rinse one’s mouth and eat a neutral solid like bread, unless the dairy product in question is also of a type that tends to stick in the mouth.

The Yiddish words fleishik (meat), milchik (dairy) and pareve (neutral) are commonly used to describe food or utensils that fall into one of those categories.

Note that even the smallest quantity of dairy (or meat) in something renders it entirely dairy (or meat) for purposes of kashrut. For example, most margarines are dairy for kosher purposes, because they contain a small quantity of whey or other dairy products to give it a buttery taste. Animal fat is considered meat for purposes of kashrut. You should read the ingredients very carefully, even if the product is kosher-certified.


Utensils (pots, pans, plates, flatware, etc., etc.) must also be kosher. A utensil picks up the kosher “status” (meat, dairy, pareve, or treif) of the food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it, and transmits that status back to the next food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it. Thus, if you cook chicken soup in a saucepan, the pan becomes meat. If you thereafter use the same saucepan to heat up some warm milk, the fleishik status of the pan is transmitted to the milk, and the milchik status of the milk is transmitted to the pan, making both the pan and the milk a forbidden mixture.

Kosher status can be transmitted from the food to the utensil or from the utensil to the food only in the presence of heat, (including hot spices) or prolonged contact, thus if you are eating cold food in a non-kosher establishment, the condition of the plates is not an issue. I knew an Orthodox rabbi who would eat ice cream at Friendly’s, for example, because the ice cream was kosher and the utensils are irrelevant for such cold food. Likewise, you could use the same knife to slice cold cuts and cheese, as long as you clean it in between, but this is not really a recommended procedure, because it increases the likelihood of mistakes.

Stove tops and sinks routinely become non-kosher utensils, because they routinely come in contact with both meat and dairy in the presence of heat. It is necessary, therefore, to use dishpans when cleaning dishes (don’t soak them directly in the sink) and to use separate spoon rests and trivets when putting things down on the stove top.

Dishwashers are a kashrut problem. If you are going to use a dishwasher for both meat and dairy in a kosher home, you either need to have separate dish racks or you need to run the dishwasher in between meat and dairy loads.

You should use separate towels and pot holders for meat and dairy. Routine laundering kashers such items, so you can simply launder them between using them for meat and dairy.

Certain kinds of utensils can be “kashered” if you make a mistake and use it with both meat and dairy. Consult a rabbi for guidance if this situation occurs.

Grape Products

The restrictions on grape products derive from the laws against using products of idolatry. Wine was commonly used in the rituals of all ancient religions, and wine was routinely sanctified for pagan purposes while it was being processed. For this reason, use of wines and other grape products made by non-Jews was prohibited. (Whole grapes are not a problem, nor are whole grapes in fruit cocktail).

For the most part, this rule only affects wine and grape juice. This becomes a concern with many fruit drinks or fruit-flavored drinks, which are often sweetened with grape juice. You may also notice that some baking powders are not kosher, because baking powder is sometimes made with cream of tartar, a by-product of wine making. All beer used to be kosher, but this is no longer the case because fruity beers made with grape products have become more common.

Additional Rules

There are a few additional considerations that come up, that you may hear discussed in more sophisticated discussions of kashrut.

Bishul Yisroel
In certain circumstances, a Jew (that is, someone who is required to keep kosher) must be involved in the preparation of food for it to be kosher. This rule is discussed in depth under Food Fit for a King on the Star-K kosher certification website. 
Cholov Yisroel
An ancient rule required that a Jew must be present from the time of milking to the time of bottling to ensure that the milk actually came from kosher animals and did not become mixed with milk from non-kosher animals. Milk that is observed in this way is referred to as Cholov Yisroel, and some people will consume only Cholov Yisroel dairy products. However, in the United States, federal law relating to the production of milk is so strict that many Orthodox sources accept any milk as kosher. You will sometimes see high-level discussions of kashrut address whether a product is Cholov Yisroel or non-Cholov Yisroel. See a more complete discussion under Cholov Yisroel: Does a Neshama Good on the Star-K kosher certification website. 
Most kosher wines in America are made using a process of pasteurization called mevushal, which addresses some of the kashrut issues related to grape beverages. See The Art of Kosher Wine Making on the Star-K kosher certification website. 

Kashrut Certification

The task of keeping kosher is greatly simplified by widespread kashrut certification. Products that have been certified as kosher are labeled with a mark called a hekhsher (from the same Hebrew root as the word “kosher”) that ordinarily identifies the rabbi or organization that certified the product. Approximately 3/4 of all prepackaged foods have some kind of kosher certification, and most major brands have reliable Orthodox certification.

The process of certification does not involve “blessing” the food; rather, it involves examining the ingredients used to make the food, examining the process by which the food is prepared, and periodically inspecting the processing facilities to make sure that kosher standards are maintained.

Kosher Certification Symbols

These symbols are widely-accepted hekhshers commonly found on products throughout the United States. These symbols are registered trademarks of kosher certification organizations, and cannot be placed on a food label without the organization’s permission. Click the symbols to visit the websites of these organizations. With a little practice, it is very easy to spot these hekhshers on food labels, usually near the product name, occasionally near the list of ingredients. There are many other certifications available, of varying degrees of strictness.

The most controversial certification is the K, a plain letter K found on products asserted to be kosher. A letter of the alphabet cannot be trademarked, so any manufacturer can put a K on a product, even without any supervision at all. For example, Jell-O brand gelatin puts a K on its product, even though every reliable Orthodox authority agrees that Jell-O is not kosher. On the other hand, some very reliable rabbis will certify products without having a trademark to offer, and their certifications will also have only a “K.” Most other kosher certification marks are trademarked and cannot legally be used without the permission of the certifying organization. The certifying organization assures you that the product is kosher according to their standards, but standards vary.

It is becoming increasingly common for kosher certifying organizations to indicate whether the product is fleishik (meat), milchik (dairy) or pareve (neutral). If the product is dairy, it will frequently have a D or the word Dairy next to the kashrut symbol. If it is meat, the word Meat may appear near the symbol (usually not an M, because that might be confused with “milchik”). If it is pareve, the word Pareve (or Parev) may appear near the symbol (Not a P! That means kosher for Passover!). If no such clarification appears, you should read the ingredient list carefully to determine whether the product is meat, dairy or pareve.

Kosher certification organizations charge manufacturers a fee for kosher certification. This fee covers the expenses of researching the ingredients in the product and inspecting the facilities used to manufacture the product. There are some who have complained that these certification costs increase the cost of the products to non-Jewish, non-kosher consumers; however, the actual cost of such certification is so small relative to the overall cost of production that most manufacturers cannot even calculate it. The cost is more than justified by the increase in sales it produces: although observant Jews are only a small fragment of the marketplace, kosher certification is also a useful (though not complete) point of reference for many Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists and vegetarians. In addition, many people prefer kosher products because they believe them to be cleaner, healthier or better than non-kosher products. It is worth noting that kosher certifiers are not the only organizations that charge for the privilege of displaying their on a product: some charitable organizations allow manufacturers to display their logo in exchange for a donation, but unlike kosher certifiers, those charities do not perform any service in exchange for that payment.

You can find more information about kashrut at the websites of major kosher certification organizations.

The Orthodox Union, which is responsible for “OU” certification, has some excellent information on its website, including a kosher primer, an explanation of their kosher policy, a philosophical discussion about “thinking kosher” and a questions and answers section. (Please note: the “Judaism 101” listed on some of their pages is not this website and has no connection with this website).

The Star-K Kosher Certification organization also has an excellent website. The wonderful thing about Star-K is, they give you an incredible amount of detail about the research that they put into determining whether a product is kosher. They tell you what products may be used without kosher certification, and they explain why such products can or cannot be used without kosher certification, giving complete detail about the research that went into making their determination. It also has articles about kashering appliances, and other useful information.

KosherQuest has a searchable database of kosher products as well as an extensive list of reliable kosher symbols and other interesting things.

Kosher Halftime Show for Super Bowl XLVIII

Kosher Halftime Show for Super Bowl XLVIII

Kosher Halftime Show | Henry Isaacs | Jewish Marketing 101It seems there’s something Kosher for everyone at the Super Bowl. Or shall we say… for the halftime show. If Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t enough to glue your eyes and ears to the screen, the Nachum Segal Network will be hosting a “Kosher Halftime Show”. For those 20 minutes that you aren’t watching the game, Lenny Solomon & friends will be performing Jewish music and creating a “family oriented vibe” during halftime.

With Super Bowl content, social media & advertising constantly being displayed on your TV, mobile device and tablets from kickoff and on – and did we mention Red Hot Chili Peppers? -, will Jewish listeners actually take the time to listen to live stream of Jewish music on the radio? Seems like a big stretch for a 20 minute window of airtime. Their aim for a “family oriented vibe” isn’t exactly a compelling reason either; some of the commercials are more risque than the halftime show! However in an age where anything could happen when it comes to live events & quickly go viral from there, the Nachum Segal Network & partners do get high marks for innovating a Super Bowl that takes place in the New York/New Jersey area, a heavily populated Jewish area!

Reposted from The Jewish Press

The Nachum Segal Network announced today that it will air its first-ever “Kosher Halftime Show” during Super Bowl XLVIII, the February 2 showdown between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Sure to become a game day institution, the 20-minute online experience will feature a performance by the “King of Shlock” Lenny Solomon and a band assembled from the hottest musical talent on the Jewish music scene, including Avromie Weisberger, Jonathan Rimberg, Ari Boiangiu, and Ethan Bill.

“The halftime show is a key component of the big game, and the NFL consistently brings the biggest names in contemporary music to play on the main stage. The only issue is that those acts often don’t appeal to the Jewish crowd,” said Nachum Segal. “We are proud to be providing a quality, kosher alternative that will entertain Jewish audiences and maintain a family-oriented vibe even during halftime.” Sponsored by Cedar Market in Teaneck, NJ, Empire Kosher Party and Buffalo Wings and Chicken Nuggets, and the Orthodox Union, NSN’s “Kosher Halftime Show” will showcase Shlock Rock favorites and famous original Lenny Solomon songs handpicked by Nachum and Lenny.

“We chose the songs that we believed would make the greatest impact in the short amount of time we had to work with. We wanted to make sure that the positive energy and musical intensity that we felt in the studio would burst off the screen and right into your living room,” added Lenny Solomon. “Shlock Rock is honored to be the act kicking off this NSN tradition, and we are grateful for the opportunity to once again prove that there is no set time and place for Jewish pride – we should feel it at all times and should integrate into all ‘real world’ activities.” The program will also include a few surprises, including Nachum’s special take on Super Bowl commercials. On game day, the Nachum Segal Network will stream the “Kosher Halftime Show” directly from its website, http://www.nachumsegal.com.

Following the game, the program will be available on demand via the NSN website, YouTube channel (“NachumSegalNet”) and Facebook page (“Jewish Radio World with Nachum Segal”).

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604

SodaStream takes their brand to the Super Bowl

SodaStream takes their brand to the Super Bowl

SodaStream | Henry Isaacs | New YorkWhat’s more valuable – an ad in the Super Bowl or the teaser ads FOR the ad in the Super Bowl? According to brand management firm Kontera, both are. Especially when it comes with Scarlett Johansson.

One of the biggest campaigns to date for an Israeli company, SodaStream’s campaign has already gotten a 700% boost in brand awareness. Could be the tasty carbonated product or could be the power of Scarlett Johansson. Either way, the Jewish audience has more than one reason to watch the Super Bowl next weekend!

Check out a Behind the Scenes video of the SodaStream commercial here:


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 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 www.yosefadest.com

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.  www.dubmethod.com

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.  http://conceptsite.co.il/

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.  http://www.kenspiro.com/


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 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

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 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 heather.haddon@wsj.com

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

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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

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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.



Vocabulary.com, 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: http://www.jta.org/2013/05/31/arts-entertainment/indian-american-boy-wins-national-spelling-bee-with-yiddish-word#ixzz2UtA2d1iJ

Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604

How Israel (the “Start Up Nation”) Lost A Major Start Up

How Israel (the “Start Up Nation”) Lost A Major Start Up

A Better Place... no more.
A Better Place… no more.



Reposted from The Jewish Week:

Israel’s Electric Car Crashes And Burns

The demise of Shai Agassi’s Better Place rattles a ‘Start-up Nation’ accustomed to success.

Tel Aviv — In recent years, theBetter Place electric car startup and its visionary Shai Agassi have been synonymous with the daring and genius of Israeli tech entrepreneurs. The story of its founding even served as the introduction to the best-selling book “Start-Up Nation.”

But with the announcement of Better Place’s closing this week, Israel’s tech community and the country as a whole have been trying to come to grips with the most spectacular flameout of a private Israeli technology venture ever seen.

Not only does it tarnish Israel’s startup brand, the implosion has reverberated throughout the world of “clean technology” companies and automobiles with renewable energies.

“The sad thing about it is this project was really associated with our national brand. It was a great story,” said Jonathan Medved, a venture capitalist who is the chief of Our Crowd Ltd., and a former partner in Israel Seed Partners. (Medved was not an investor in Better Place.) “As a country we had skin in the game. This is not just a loss of the investors, employees and suppliers; we all share in this loss.”

Barely a year after the Better Place cars hit the market and after burning through nearly $1 billion in venture capital investments, the company’s investors — chief among them Israeli business tycoon Idan Ofer — decided they could no longer underwrite the company.

Agassi, the charismatic young Israeli tech executive who was the heart and soul of Better Place, was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in 2009.

It was Agassi who sold Israeli President Shimon Peres and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the idea of making Israel a pilot market to test a car that was supposed to upend the auto industry and free the world from dependence on gasoline producers.

But as chief executive, he is also bearing the brunt of accusations of widespread mismanagement and dubious business strategy that led to the squandering of the Better Place investment war chest. He left the company in October after a falling out with the Better Place board — the first sign that the company’s future was looking dim.

In the days following the announcement of Better Place’s liquidation on Sunday, there have been endless postmortems and debates about what went wrong.

Did the company lose focus on its all-important pilot market by simultaneously seeking footholds in bigger countries like Australia and China? Or did it not expand and build up infrastructure fast enough?

Was Israel’s expensive market for automobiles, concentrated in the hands of a few powerful importers and dominated by leasing companies, really the ideal pilot market? After selling about 1,000 cars in a year, could Better Place have done a better job at marketing in a country in which many saw it as a national project?

And finally, did it raise too much money and suffer from bloat, or did it underestimate the amount it would need in its coffers to fight big automotive makers and energy companies?

Despite the myriad problems, owners and others who had tested the battery-fitted Renault Fluence praised the driving experience.

One venture capital investor insisted that Better Place still had a positive impact by shaking up the automobile and energy industries, and focusing attention on shifting away from gasoline-fueled cars.

“Better Place was taking on big auto and big energy,” said Jeff Pulver, the founder of Vonage and a venture capital investor. “They needed a logarithmic amount of more money. I look at this as a positive failure not a negative investment. If I look at where the world is going, Better Place proved you could have a vision and make it happen. Maybe next time they will have deeper pockets.”

However, Pulver acknowledged, “From the public relations perspective, if it turns this company into the largest failure in a startup, it will stand out in the record books. But it was a big idea, and they had to do everything they could do to make it big.”

Better Place’s investors and a group of customers are now battling in court over the company’s liquidation. The startup made a promise to Renault to buy 100,000 cars by 2015 — an example of Agassi’s boldness. The company must deal with customers who paid some $30,000 for cars and prepaid tens of thousands of dollars up front for electricity service that may become unusable if there is no one to operate the company’s switching stations.

Jacob Ner David, a Better Place car owner and serial entrepreneur who is managing partner Jerusalem Capital I, said the company did not inform customers until the morning it filed for liquidation.

“The customers were the big believers. To everyone who spent 125,000 shekels [$33,000] and prepaid for four years of electricity, it was a big decision,” said Ner David, who faulted Better Place for forgetting it was a startup and allowing itself to become bloated from its cash. “The people who are really getting screwed are the customers, and they are the ones who stepped forward.”

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Yosef Abramowitz, who pioneered the establishment of solar energy fields in the desert of southern Israel by establishing Arava Power, said that oil giants and autocratic regimes that export oil are the big winners from the Better Place collapse.

He noted that while the core vision of Better Place could still be implemented, investors are likely to be more demanding and barriers to entry will be higher.

“There was a moment in time when it was believable that Israel could lead the way to become the first carbon-neutral country on the planet,” Abramowitz wrote.

“The crash of Better Place is a sad day for Israel and for ‘Start-up Nation’ because the concept and brand so associated with making the world a better place through a business has failed.”

Medved, the venture capitalist, said he was trying to take the setback in stride. After nearly two decades on the international map of high-tech development, Israel needs to take a mature approach to the Better Place failure by realizing that startups involve failure as well as success. Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs need to learn the lessons and move on rather than bemoan Better Place, he suggested.

“A sign of maturity is not just how do you celebrate your big wins, but how do you deal your big losses. You should obviously reach conclusions about what lessons can be learned,” Medved said.

“You don’t get colossal wins without colossal failure. Anyone who doubts that Shai Agassi will be back is wrong.”

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