Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Be Respectful to Your Racist Grandparents

By Alina Adams for Kveller

Michelle ObamaMy husband and I have a rule for ourselves: We don’t argue with old people.

This rule applies primarily to our parents and their friends, but also old people in general.

We also have a rule for our three kids, ages 14, 10, and 7: You will respect your elders. Whether you agree with them or not. Especially when you are a guest in someone else’s home. That’s just Etiquette 101 in our book.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

How One Exec Runs Busy Digital Agency While Staying True to Her Faith

360i Global CEO Sarah Hofstetter on Balancing Work and Orthodox Judaism

By Alexandra Bruell for AdAge

HofstetterWhen 360i's global CEO Sarah Hofstetter is out of the office, she puts in her automated email response. The link has a dual purpose. It adds a little humor to what would otherwise be a dry out-of-office reply, and it convinces clients that she's not making up Jewish holidays.

This is just one of the ways Ms. Hofstetter, an Orthodox Jew from Long Island, N.Y., balances her professional life with her personal life and faith.

The 39-year-old CEO runs one of the most-buzzed-about digital agencies and has been promoted three times in two years. She's managed that success while taking care of two kids; keeping kosher despite the wining-and-dining demands of running an agency; and completely shutting down between sunset on Friday and sunset on Saturday to observe Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.

After graduating from Yeshiva and then Queens College, Ms. Hofstetter worked as an editorial assistant for a New York Times syndicate. A year later, at 22, she got married and decided to go to what she humorously calls the "dark side," handling in-house PR and investor relations at telecommunications company IDT. "We were really young," she said of herself and her husband. "We just needed enough money to cover costs."

Eight years later, she decided to set up her own shop. IDT was her first client, and 360i soon followed. At IDT she hit a glass ceiling, she said, but working directly with a CEO for so long taught her about business and about how to make choices. "The things you choose not to do are as important as things you choose to do," she said. It's a motto of sorts that's guided her at 360i.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

When Your Kid Gets Rejected From Jewish Day School

By Yossi Fendel for Raising Kvell

Rejected From Jewish Day SchoolWe are a “dual-school family.” Our daughter is in 6th grade at the local Orthodox Jewish day school while our son is in 3rd grade at a public school.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

A Trip to Ukraine Reveals My Family’s Connection to a Literary Legend

Visiting Odessa, the city where I grew up, I learned how Isaac Babel turned my great-great-grandmother into an iconic character

By Misha Galperin for Tablet Magazine

My Family’s Connection to a Literary LegendThese days, Odessa is all over the news. But it is a specific Odessa—one of chaos and street clashes; one where children may be evacuated for protection; one with low wages, zero-based production demand, and rising unemployment; one with over a million citizens, some of whose embattled photos dominate the front-page news during Ukraine’s intense struggle for self-definition.

Last summer I took my older daughter, Anna, to see a different Odessa—the one where her father grew up. It was the Odessa that was supposed to be a “porto franco”—a free city that would attract talent and wealth to benefit this “New Russia” that enabled German Jews like my grandfather’s ancestors to bring with them European culture and Reform Judaism and start a new life there. That is how Odessa became a cradle of modern Russian culture, in large measure because of the Jews.

The current Russian-Ukrainian conflict is not about Jews, though it may put an end to that piece of Jewish history—which will be a loss for everyone. But before Jewish Odessa disintegrates, it had one more unexpected gift for me: a literary pedigree.


The basis for our trip was a visit undertaken by a delegation of the World Zionist Organization. I took the visitors on a tour of the Jewish Odessa of my family, who were contemporaries and comrades of Pinsker and Jabotinsky.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

The Shema

Three biblical passages work together to create a model for remaining faithful to a belief in God and in God's unity.

By Alan Mintz for; Reprinted with permission from Back to the Sources: Reading the Jewish Classics.

In the Shema, three passages from the Bible form the theological center of the prayer book.

ShemaThe passages are Deuteronomy 6:4-8 and 11:13-22 and Numbers 15:37-42. The first of these begins with one of the most famous and resonant statements in all of Jewish literature. During the service, the pray-er recites it with eyes closed and in a moment of great concentration:

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