CHYE To Host Founder’s Circle Networking Gala  

Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs To Host Founder’s Circle Networking Gala

 Imagine that you could rub shoulders with the biggest movers and shakers in the Crown Heights business community, all while enjoying a lavish banquet and hearing from some of the greatest minds in the business world today?

 If that sounds appealing to you, then you’re in luck -- if you’re privileged to get an invite.

 The Crown Heights Young Entrepreneur (CHYE) will be hosting their annual Founder’s Circle Networking Evening this Tuesday, February 19th at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

 Attendees will be treated to a sumptuous buffet presented by Buef and Bun  and a panel discussion titled: “From $0 to &100,000,000. Navigating Success” with Famed Business Leaders Scott Shay Chairman Signature Bank, Larry Weiss CEO Atlantic Tomorrows Office, Marc Bodner CEO LR Distributors, Moderated by Yossi (Joe) Apfelbaum

 “One benefit of coming,” explained Apfelbaum, “is you get to meet all of the people investing in the entrepreneurs of CHYE -- all the people behind the scenes. If you want to meet the successful entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives who are supporting these businesses and helping them become successful, then you must not miss this event!”

 Yankie Markowitz, founder and CEO of SBA Loan Group, attended the event for the first time three years ago, and loved it. “It was a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I met many people at the event who eventually became my clients. I encourage anyone who is an entrepreneur interested in meeting either peers or professionals of greater stature to go, because you never know what you might take away from it. You’ll definitely walk away with something. Even if all that happens is you get some great business advice and enjoy a sumptuous meal, it’ will be a night you will remember.”

 Special thanks goes to the sponsors of the evening Yosef Levine Managing Director of Deloitte and avid CHYE fan who’s world class Rolodex and high powered connections have taken the event to the next level. Signature Bank , SBA loan group , Cahill Law and The Surplus Company and all CHYE Founders Circle Members who’s support and friendship of CHYE have enabled the evening to take become the most anticipated business networking event of the year.

Real Estate Professionals Mingle at Summit

Jewish people in the real estate market met for their annual summit at a Brooklyn golf course and heard from experts about success.

It was an evening of networking and knowledge for real estate entrepreneurs at the third annual JCON Real Estate Summit at the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn on Tuesday, May 8th.

The premier real estate event for the Jewish community was organized by the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park, Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs, and EPI Networking.

"Real estate is one of the main industries in the Jewish community and a tremendous area of growth," explained CHYE director Rabbi Yehoshua Werde.

"For the past five years, we have been offering support to those who are starting out, with numerous events helping young entrepreneurs get on their feet and succeed in business."

The program was comprised of seminars and classes in real estate from well-known companies in the industry, and speed mentoring during a general networking session. 

The summit kicked off with four concurrent breakout sessions tackling how to get prime listings by Yona Edelkopf, president and CEO of EMH Commercial Realty, securing funding by Abe Bergman, managing partner of Eastern Union, leveraging assets by Aron Gottlieb, senior VP of Diversified Capital, and dealing with management issues by Ephraim Fruchthandler, VP of Empire State Management, followed by a keynote address delivered by Jordan Slone, CEO of Harbor Group International. 

Other well-known figures in the real estate world who were available to participants for speed mentoring and networking during a two hour buffet dinner were Eli Verschleiser, partner and chairman of Multi Group of Companies LLC, Akiva Kurland CPA, CEO of Yellow Jacket Ventures, Mark Caller, founder and CEO of The Marcal Group, Ephraim Vashovsky, principal Vasco Ventures, Eli Karp, founder and CEO of Hello Living, Daren Raiken, Director of Acquisitions of Kushner Real Estate Group, Chaim Kirschenbaum, Managing Partner of Iris Holdings Group, Gershon Eichhorn, of Up Realty LLC, and Efraim Tessler, VP of Sales of Keller Williams NYC.

"It is rewarding to see this partnership help people start investing in properties or become engaged in the real estate industry and grow in it, allowing many people to support their families and bring jobs into the community," said Shea Rubenstein, co-founder and executive vice president of the JCCMP.

This event was an excellent opportunity all those who sought to gain more insight into the real estate industry and for successful businessmen to share their expertise with the young entrepreneurs of the next generation and help give them the chance to make a parnassah.

Joining JCCMP, CHYE and EPI as proud sponsors were Madison Title, Eastern Union, Siganture Bank, Fidella Insurance, JBuilders of NY, FM Home Loans, Mark J. Nussbaum & Assoc., All Going Realty, and the Jewish Press.

'Hebrew' Entrepreneurs Meet Up

Tens of Hebrew-speaking businessmen gathered in Crown Heights for roundtable discussing and sharing tips for success.

On a rainy autumn evening, tens of Hebrew-speaking businesspeople gathered in a centrally located venue in Crown Heights for a “Business Evening for Hebrew-Speaking Young Entrepreneurs.”

The event’s organizer, Crown Heights resident Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, founded CHYE (Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs) around six years ago with the goal of assisting budding entrepreneurs and businesspeople to successfully initiate and expand their ventures.

Werde summarized the evening’s objective in his opening remarks. “The Crown Heights Israeli community is a tightknit group,” he said. “Many of them arrived in New York without knowing the language and without support, yet they work hard and have succeeded in moving mountains. Their accomplishments are truly spectacular. Today, Israeli entrepreneurs and businesspeople stand at the forefront of Chabad philanthropy in the city.”

Werde also thanked the committee of people who helped coordinate the night’s event, Izzy Leiter, Gedalia Abraham, Yossi Beshari, Zev Elblioi and Shlomie Baitz.

According to Werde, the three-part event had a double goal: to inspire others by sharing personal stories of hard work and success, and to provide practical tips and the opportunity to forge new connections, helping attendees take their businesses to the next level.

CHYE’s Empire Blvd. location offers quiet, fully-equipped workspaces where entrepreneurs who have not yet settled in a private office can work on developing their fledgling businesses. CHYE also mediates between well-known business consultants and young men and women taking their first steps in business. The consultants are established local businesspeople willing to provide a listening ear and offer sound advice for any dilemma or doubt they may have.

Additionally, CHYE arranges various business-boosting programs, competitions with monetary awards, educational sessions, and programs geared to attracting potential investors in small businesses.

Mr. Shlomie Baitz, a successful dealer in building materials and home accessories, opened the evening with a dvar malchus.

The first part of the program featured Mr. Dudi Farkash, a beloved and well-known figure in Crown Heights, as keynote speaker. In his distinctive humorous style, Farkash shared his personal story with the audience: the milestones he passed as a newlywed venturing into the world of business, the ups and downs of the early years of his career, and his journey until he reached where he is today—the successful manager of an insurance company.

Farkash then addressed the potential he feels can be found particularly in individuals with an Israeli background. He reminded the crowd that when the Rebbe spoke about purchasing homes in Crown Heights to help establish the community (unlike other groups who fled the area), it was specifically the Israelis who were the first to fulfill the Rebbe’s directive. Their Israeli chutzpah combined with chassidishe kabbalas ol was the formula that ultimately led to today’s situation, where it is virtually impossible to find a house in Crown Heights for a normal price.

Farkash’s motto for success is to “think big.” But the foundation, he says, is to nurture faith and trust that livelihood comes from Above, and that Hashem will surely provide you with success. Farkash shared what he views as the secrets to success: Believe and be proud that you are the best in your field. Treat every client equally, no matter his financial status. Think out of the box. Farkash shared a personal anecdote to illustrate his point: “For my first office, I bought a file cabinet with drawers capable of storing 300 files. My colleagues were taken aback. ‘You don’t even have a single client yet!’ they said. Today, I have ten such desks and over 2000 files!” he concluded, to the resounding applause of the audience.

The second part of the program consisted of ten lively roundtable discussions. The attendees joined the table of their choice, each one focusing on a different business topic: marketing, retail, real estate, event management, investment, contracting, engineering, E-commerce, insurance, and more. In addition to gleaning practical tips and hearing success stories, participants shared amazing stories of hashgachah pratis, miraculous outcomes of visiting the Rebbe’s Ohel, and brachos experienced after having given significant amounts to tzedakah.

In the third part of the program, established businesspeople met privately with entrepreneurs to discuss various methods of collaboration that will create fertile ground for joint success. The event has apparently already begun to produce positive results that will surely continue to expand in the coming weeks and months.

Meir, a young and energetic entrepreneur who attended the event, describes the Israeli community in Crown Heights as the second group in size and influence in the neighborhood, after the American-born locals. He mentions the names of a number of local Israeli businessmen, who each began on a small scale and worked their way up the ladder of success.

Moshe, another Israeli entrepreneur, points out that although many Lubavitchers choose to become shluchim, mechanchim and rabbonim, many others see their future in the world of business. Many of these individuals have no or minimal past experience, and enter this new world without the skills and tools they need. Those who have already succeeded in business have the responsibility to assist those beginning the journey, enabling them to support their families and, ultimately, the community as a whole. This underscores the importance of CHYE’s work, which provides motivation and encourages businesspeople to work together.

Looking back at CHYE’s work in the past few years, Werde is proud to point to the 40 Chabad-run businesses that developed thanks to the professional assistance provided at CHYE, as well as the 200 Chabad-run businesses nationwide that have received professional guidance. Thousands of businesspeople have benefited in some way from CHYE’s numerous specialized events geared at providing the tools to success. Now, concludes Werde, it is time to provide these same resources to the Hebrew-speaking community.

eCommerce Event Massive Success

A record attendance of 600 men and women packed into The Palace, an elegant venue on MacDonald avenue in Borough Park to hear from an impressive roster of eCommerce experts and leaders last Tuesday night.

The 5th annual eCommerce conference and expo was hosted by Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE) the Jewish Community Council (JCC) Marine Park and sponsored by PCS Wireless, SellerCloud, Focus Camera, Saul Friedman & Co., and Collive. Drawing attendees from Crown Heights, Borough Park, Flatbush, Lakewood, the Five Towns, and elsewhere, the event was crowded with people hungry to learn and be inspired.

The organizers of the conference went all out this year and spared no expense. The evening began at 4 pm with eCommerce seminars led by successful entrepreneurs featuring topics, such as Amazon selling for beginners, e-tail, and business development. There was also a seminar about selling on Amazon catered to participants with more advanced background knowledge.

While most participants attended the conference to satisfy their craving for information about eCommerce, they left satiated in more ways than one. Following the seminars, attendees were greeted by a sumptuous gourmet kosher buffet complete with an open bar.

During the meal, participants were free to mingle and schmooze as they browsed trade show booths stationed by various vendors. They also had the option of attending breakaway workshops from 6:30 to 8:00 about subjects such as handling Amazon suspensions, sales tax realities for eCommmerce businesses, and how to ensure an eCommerce operation is profitable.  

At 8 pm, participants heard from a dynamic panel of experts who discussed and debated the current state of eCommerce moderated by Ron Hans, Vice President, Markets at PCS Wireless. Panelists included Eli Nash CEO Jeg & Sons, Saul N. Friedman CPA and senior partner SNFCO, Victor Rosenman CEO and founder of Feedvisor, Jay Gellman CEO of and Chaim Pikarski CEO of CA Marketing.

The lively, and at times feisty, panel was followed by break-away round-table discussions and Q&As. Tables were arranged by topic, each one featuring a different industry leader who answered questions related to a specific area of expertise, such as Amazon compliance, the implications of the new Trump tax laws for small and medium size businesses, transitioning from wholesale to retail, navigating eBay, branding in the age of Amazon, product sourcing, selling private label products on Amazon, multi-channel selling and more. Participants perused the tables and networked for the rest of the night.  

Levi Goldberg from Crown Heights who has been dabbling in eCommerce for the past year said he attended the event to learn more about how to start his own eCommerce business. He thought the event provided him with a golden opportunity to  “learn from the trials and errors of those who have already been there and done that. [Hearing from the experts] was very helpful and provided me with the confidence and support I need to start embarking on my own venture.”

Participant, Mendy Shochet, also from Crown Heights, works in wholesale closeouts selling office supplies and electronics. For Mendy, the highlight of the night was networking with other participants. “[It was] great to meet people from other fields, learn from one another and get our names out there.”

The co-hosts and organizers who helped made this event possible are pleased with the strong turnout and the reaction from the community.

“The eCommerce space has seen continuous sustained growth year after year and shows no sign of abating,” said Yitzy Weinberg, Assistant Executive Director of the JCC of Marine Park.”So many Yidden are already making a parnassa from selling online and the numbers keep on growing. B"H our eCommerce conference and expo really affords both amateurs and more advanced Amazon and online sellers an opportunity to learn new information and techniques while also networking with like-minded people and vendors. The feedback we received both at the event and afterwards has been especially gratifying. Vendors and attendees related that they walked away with valuable insights and connections, not to mention a delicious meal!”

“We wanted to reach both the beginners just getting into eCommerce as well as people that have spent more time in the field who feel they have more to learn,” explained Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, co-host of the event. “And, tonight I think we achieved exactly that, providing options and value for beginners as well as veteran eCommerce sellers.”

“This event was a testimony to the massive growth of eCommerce within the frum community,” said Shea Rubenstein, founder of JCC Marine Park. “And the feedback was extremely positive.”

Elevator Pitch Winners Announced

The chairs lining the Lubavitch Yeshiva hall were filled with anxious family members and supporters, as the closing pitches were given for the inaugural Elevator Pitch Challenge.

 Close to Thirty contestants entered the competition; only six finalists remained. And they were all vying for the same $10,000 business package needed to see their businesses soar.


 After a grueling two hours of pitches, questions and critiques, the judges finally announced the winners: Sara Esther Varnie from Kids Discover Israel, and Shmuly Wolff from JMenu.

 “It was a very close competition, and it was an extremely difficult decision for the judges,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, Director of CHYE and coordinator of the competition. “But as I’ve said throughout the competition—every person who participated is a winner.”

The proceedings began with a few words from Rabbi Werde, who thanked all the participants, sponsors, judges and supporters. “The work we do at CHYE would not be possible without the help we receive from the generous people in this community,” he said.

Each contestant was then called to the stage to deliver their business pitch before a panel of judges. The judges asked questions on the pitch, pointed out potential oversights in the business model, and then gave professional recommendations regarding scalability, competition, and innovation.

Chanie Kaminker, CEO of Hannabie Creative and a judge on the women’s panel, reminded the contestants of the rapid pace of today’s market, and the need to keep a constant finger on the pulse of that day’s trend. Today fidget spinners are all the rage; in six months no one will remember them,” she said. “Trends change so quickly these days, you have to make sure you’re always in tune with your customers and with your competition.”

Another valuable piece of advice was given by Meny Hoffman, CEO of Ptex Group. “Your customers are the key to your success,” he said. “One thing you have to always be thinking: How can I improve the customer experience, and how can I offer a better product or service.”

All three judges on the women’s panel highlighted the bravery of the contestants, and praised them for being leading examples of women who are successful entrepreneurs.“It’s inspiring to see how many women participated in the competition,” said Shaina Levin of Abba Realty.

The winners from each division were presented with a giant CHYE check, representing the $10,000 in business services they are now entitled to. The prize package—including marketing material,  consulting, accounting services and office furniture—will help the winners promote and expand their businesses.

“I hope to build a website with this money, and to look into creating digital copies of my books,” said Mrs. Varnie.

Shmuly Wolff of JMenu spoke of his vision to expand his app to service the rest of the country, and, eventually, the entire Jewish world. To celebrate their victory JMenu is offering a $5 Gift card to anyone who downloads the JMenu app in the next 48 hours. All you have to do is enter IKEEPKOSHER when you check out with your first order.

Guests at the event were lucky to samples of some of the products being presented. Cold brew coffee was served courtesy of Mendy Dalfin of The Chosen Bean, and Chaya Rockford of The Me and My displayed several models of her new dolls on the stage.

“It was a most enjoyable evening for the participants, for the judges and for the crowd,” said Rabbi Werde. “We’re thankful to everyone who participated, and we look forward to doing similar competitions in the future.”

To see more of CHYE’s upcoming events, visit their website at


Ecommerce Experts Give Biz Tips

A record attendance of 500 men and women showed up to hear from industry experts and leaders in the field of eCommerce in Borough Park last Wednesday night

Held in The Palace, a spacious and elegant venue on McDonald avenue, and hosted by Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE), Employment Parnassah Initiative (EPI), and The Jewish Entrepreneur (TJE), the event, “Finding Success in eCommerce” was packed with participants from Crown Heights, Borough Park, and elsewhere.

The event began with eCommerce seminars at 5:30pm followed by informal schmoozing and networking over a gourmet kosher buffet.

At 7:30, Motty Gross, CEO of AJ Madison, delivered the keynote address entitled “How to Transform Your Business into an eCommerce Powerhouse.”


After the keynote, the CHYE hosted its first-ever panel discussion. Moderated by Ami Magazine business columnist, Nesanel Gantz, the panel featured four eCommerce superstars: Motty Gross, Chaim Piekarski, the founder of C+A Global, Marc Bodner of L R Distributors, and Jeremy Greenberg of Sellercloud. During the lively discussion, panelists handled questions submitted by attendees about a variety of topics related to eCommerce, such as how to launch an eCommerce business, how to manage inventory, and and how to navigate thorny issues that come up when running a family business.


The panel discussion was followed by break-away round-table discussions and Q&As. Tables were set up around the room, each one featuring a different industry leader who answered questions related to a specific area of expertise, such as eCommercec and taxes, building your own brand, transitioning your traditional business to eCommerce, mastering eBay, Amazon compliance issues, the art of buying, and many more.

Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, co-host of the event, explained: “We wanted to reach both the beginners just getting into eCommerce as well as people that have spent more time in the field who feel they have more to learn.”

Shaya Katz from Crown Heights has never worked in eCommerce, but he saw this event as an opportunity to learn more about it.

“I came here to educate myself and see what kind of opportunities there are for me in eCommerce,” he said. “Tonight I realized that many of my friends are in [eCommerce] and I learned a lot about the industry.”

One sponsor of the night was PCS Wireless. PCS representative, Alexandra Amrami said: “We were happy to help CHYE organize this event. It was inspiring to see how many people were involved in setting it up, bringing communities together, and making sure it would be a success. There is so much valuable information concentrated in this room and you get extreme access to people that you don’t have in a regular scenario. I hope everyone who came out tonight took advantage.”

“The event was fantastic!” declared Yossi K, an Amazon seller from Crown Heights. “Even more than the speeches and the panel, the most valuable part about it was the networking. Meeting other people and seeing how we can help one another was really great.”

There’s no doubt this event was the beginning of many new professional careers and business relationships in the frum community.

Below are videos from two of the event workshops

In this class you will learn 1) How to minimize your risk and maximize your purchasing power when you buy from China 2) What are the best ways to source product.

200 frum Jews from Crown Heights, Flatbush and elsewhere gathered to hear tips and tricks from a group of real estate veterans.

A bustling crowd of over 200 people showed up Tuesday night to Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin in Flatbush for “Finding Success in Real Estate,” a special seminar for men and women that provided information about the real estate industry.

Hosted by Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE), Employment Parnassah Initiative (EPI), and The Jewish Entrepreneur (TJE), the event was packed with attendees from Crown Heights, Flatbush, and elsewhere.

Rabbi Yehoshua Werde of CHYE, co-host of the event, explained that “We wanted to reach both the young people just getting into it and the older people who feel they have more to learn. The mission of all the organizations, CHYE, TJE and EPI is to help the community take advantage of business opportunities,” he said. “And real estate is a field with incredible potential that we want to help people get into and succeed.”

The evening began with a stirring keynote address delivered by Ira Zlotowitz, president and CEO of Eastern Union Commercial Real Estate Funding. 

Mr. Zlotowitz spoke about the importance of finding a niche in the real estate market, becoming a ‘student’ of business, following the data rather than public opinion, and maintaining respect for those with whom you partner.

The talk was followed by break-away discussions and Q&As. Tables were set up around the room, each one featuring a different industry leader who answered questions related to a specific area of expertise, such as flipping, management, investing, mortgages, rehabbing, or selling.

Catering to a diverse crowd with various levels of real estate knowledge and experience, the event had something for everyone. Experts were on hand to answer questions such as: “When do I hire a super?” and “How do I find investors?”

Attendee, Laibel G. from Crown Heights, described himself as a real estate novice curious about transitioning into the field. "I learned that there are a lot of opportunities in different areas of real estate,” he said. “Now, I just need to find what speaks to my personality and what I can put my all into."

Many participants came to the event to network and rub shoulders with others in the industry. "You can never meet too many people in your business,” said Melody Zelouf, a real estate agent (Prime NYC), who came all the way from Great Neck, Long Island to attend.

“It’s always good be in the public eye when working in real estate,” she explained. “As a sales agent, I like to meet investors so that they'll remember me for future projects. I also came here to learn about different aspects of the real estate game.”

Shmuel Schnitzer from TJE and Zisha Novoseller of EPI. both noted that attendees frequently came up to them just to share how inspired they were to see hundreds of people, all serious about real estate, in one room together.

“People came out of the night making solid networking connections,” Schnitzer said. “We gave them access to very high level successful real estate businesspeople. It was great!”

Shea Rubenstein of JBuildersNY, who handled questions about rehabbing properties, had some words of advice for anyone just starting out in real estate.

"To be successful, you have to be driven to make the sale, determined, and enjoy being around people. Find a mentor as soon as possible and be willing to take direction. It’s not easy and you will experience plenty of failures in the beginning, but stay focused and you will go far."

Special thanks to the event sponsors Brand-right, Brooklyn Brokerage and Mark J Nussbaum and Associates LLP.

“Getting Ahead: A Discussion with Chabad Women in Business


“Getting Ahead: A Discussion with Chabad Women in Business 


“One-third of the entrepreneurs who approach us for advice are women,” says Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, director of Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs, a full-service, business resource center tailored to the unique needs of the Crown Heights Jewish Community.

Women have many of the same, yet different requirements when starting a business,” says Rabbi Werde. “We created the ‘Getting Ahead,” event to address the specific issues women face when entering the workforce.

Moderated by Mrs. Chaya Abelsky, panel speakers included Mrs. Julie Gniwisch, President of Delmar Jewelrs, Mrs. Devorah Halberstam, Director of Government Services at the Jewish Children’s Museum, Mrs. Malka Waronker, Associate Counsel at Consolidated Edison, and Devoree Axelrod, General Manager at AJ Madison.

It takes confidence and bravado to move up the corporate ladder or bring a business to the next level of financial success. Hearing insights and stories of Lubavitch women who have made it, so to speak, in their respective fields, can offer insight and inspiration to Chabad women who are wondering how they can get ahead.

Mrs. Abelsky, an executive coach, started the evening with a story of a man collecting money from passersby. One day he decided to open the trunk he had sat on while begging for 20 years.  The trunk was filled with treasure. “The message is that he was sitting on his own wealth,” says Mrs. Abelsky.

The first panelist to share her career journey was Mrs. Axelrod, who started at AJ Madison in the customer service department ten years ago. Mrs. Axelrod noticed customer calls were in the hold queue for 30 to 40 minutes—longer than any customer wanted to wait when they had dialed the operator. Reducing the wait time for callers was Mrs. Axelrod’s first initiative.

“When I first started I saw there was little infrastructure in the company,” says Mrs. Axelrod. “I wasn’t brought in a management role, but I realized there were some quick, small changes I could implement that would make a big difference.”

One concept that has helped Mrs. Axelrod navigate tough work situations is “Success is the only option.” When a longtime vendor was not able to ship to a large customer with many stadiums in California, she researched a different option, offering the customer a full refund if they did not like the new equipment. The risk paid off, and the company was able to retain the client.  Mrs. Axelrod encourages entrepreneurs to speak to people for advice, yet follow your gut. On the management side, she advises leaders to be clear about what they expect from their employees.

“I’m proud and thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to grow with the company,” says Mrs. Axelrod, who joined AJ Madison when she was single. She has since not only married, but had children and has managed to balance her career with her family responsibilities by staying “very organized.”


Becoming a lawyer was a lifelong dream for Mrs. Waronker, who came to New York from South Africa for law school. Now she’s a proud wife and mother of six children who has been able to climb the corporate ladder by standing firm and proud in her Lubavitch lifestyle and values. Her colleagues introduce her as the “mother of six kids” and look at her if she has “three heads,” but Mrs. Waronker said her differences work to her advantage. “Every aspect of my life is filled with G-dliness and holiness. They do see me as a religious women with a large family, but most corporations are pushing for diversity.” There is no need in Mrs. Waronker’s experience to be shy about being frum or being a woman. In fact people respect that she has “interests outside the corporate doctrine.

Mrs. Waronker’s message: “Have a goal and work backwards to do what it will take to reach that goal. There is no easy road.”

Mrs. Halberstam’s life changed irrevocably March 1, 1994 when her son Ari was murdered in a terror attack on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“From the moment Ari was shot, there was a strength that rose up within me that nothing in this world could stop,” says Mrs. Halberstam, who became an expert on terrorism in her quest to ensure justice was served in her son’s court case. She lobbied to have a sign placed on the bridge in Ari’s memory. She also raised $35 million and served as a government liaison to build the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights.

“I’m focused on where I’m going and what I want to accomplish. I love my people, I love being a Jew, I love being a woman. I feel I have to stand up and make a difference,” she adds. “You maybe surprised what one person can do in changing the world.”

Her main goal after her son’s death was to get the government to acknowledge the truth that Ari’s murder was a terrorist act. “I was raised n a home where my father only spoke emes,” says Mrs. Halberstam. “People have to search for truth, but that’s all I saw.”

At first Mrs. Halberstam would stand on line for hours to speak with government officials who saw her only as a grieving Jewish mother. Within a year she was invited to an event at the mayor’s mansion, where she was able to negotiate a city contract for $7.5 million for the museum. 9/11 and the mayoral election brought challenges in finalizing the contract for the museum to receive the grant money.   Mrs. Halberstam raced around the city by cab to get her contract registered before Mayor Bloomberg took office January 1, 2002. She got the city controller’s signature just in time.  At his inaugural speech Bloomberg announced that any contracts that were not registered would not receive the grant money.

“Wait until tomorrow and you might miss the boat,” Mrs. Halberstam cautions.

Her persistence in changing the ruling from murder to terrorism paid off as well. Ari’s was the only case ever changed by the Justice Department before or since. “It took a tedious long time,” she says. “I never did give up. If you want to do something, just believe in yourself, and in G-d, and I promise you will accomplish it.”

Mrs. Gniwisch was a kindergarten teacher when she and her husband took out a loan to help an old friend save his business. They lent the man $25,000 to rejuvenate his jewelry business. The Gniwisch’s had six kids in school at the time, but were moved to help a fellow Jew. Three months later, the business failed. The man was unable to pay back the money so he sent the jewelry to Montreal. Mrs. Gniwish traveled around selling the merchandise. Mrs. Gniwish never did recoup the money from that transaction, but discovered her talent for designing and selling jewelry.

“Most well-to-do businesses started by chance—meeting a person at a certain time, having lunch, just being in a certain place, the Aibishter takes you by the hand and leads you to where you need to be,” says Mrs. Gniwisch.

A defining moment for the business was when she and her husband had traveled from their home in Montreal to New York to find a special pearl supplier. “He didn’t want to sell to me because I wasn’t important enough,” says Mrs. Gniwisch. She told her husband they should go to Japan – where the pearls were sourced. “I was chutzpah’dik,” Mrs. Gniwisch says. “I walked into the Japanese supplier and said, ‘I know nothing about pearls, but I want you to teach me because I am going to be your biggest client.” And she did become the supplier’s biggest customer.Mrs. Gniwisch gives tzedaka generously. She has seen with her own eyes that whatever she gives, she gets back even more in myriad ways. In business over 40 years she has learned to focus on the positive when things get tough. “The customer is always right, but there are times you need to put your foot down, take your losses and smile.”

Mrs. Gniwisch and her husband both survived the Holocaust, so family is paramount. “Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,” says Mrs. Gniwisch. “That’s what we pray for.”

Questions from the audience addressed how to compete in a man’s world, how to start a business without capital, and then take it to the next level.

Mrs. Abelsky wrapped up the night with inspiration. “No matter what, you have the koach to get ahead.”

Biz Plan Winner Receives 20K Prize

After a weeks-long competition, the winners of CHYE's Business Plan Contest competed live with the winner chosen by the judges.

By Yedida Wolfe

The Jewish Children’s Museum was abuzz Wednesday evening as the six finalists at the Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs Business Plan Contest prepared to defend their startup ideas to a distinguished panel of six judges.

Master of Ceremonies, Mendel Duchman, CEO of Nonie of Beverly Hills who flew in especially for this event, enlivened the crowd with wit and wisdom, sharing the secret of his business achievements. “I went through Oholei Torah, year by year, step by step. When you are proud to stand out in business as a frum person, you are successful.”

CHYE Director, Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, brought inspiration from the Rebbe’s letters, with an axiom that holds true in business and the rest of life. “If you’re not constantly looking to grow the business, it will stagnate. You can’t ever go into cruise control mode.”

“The evening was CHYE’s most sophisticated event to date, the culmination of the past 5 years,” Werde said. New York City Councilman of the 40th District, Matthew Eugene, applauded CHYE and the audience for their support.

The prestigious and accomplished judges, Adam Eilenberg, Esq.,Jack Silberstein, CEO of Jack’s Gourmet, Zalman Stock of Spotlight Design, and Saul Friedman, founder of Saul N. Friedman & Co., asked candidates to explain their contingency plans, to detail their weak points, and clarify their business dreams.

And finally, the winners:

Malka Goldfein, of Babyroo, an online consignment store for gently used baby goods, is the Grand Prize Winner of CHYE’s Business Plan Contest. Along with a $7,500 cash prize, Babyroo will receive $12,500 in business services, which includes 1 year of free accounting from prestigious firm Saul N. Friedman & Co., and marketing and branding consulting with Spotlight Design and Ajax Union.

“The services are going to be really helpful in establishing our new business. Saul Friedman came up to me after the event to talk about the one year of accounting he is offering, and the legal and marketing services are also invaluable to getting our business off the ground. The cash prize will cover half of the money needed to develop our website and mobile app,” said Goldfein. “The contest validated our idea, which was so encouraging.”

First Runner Up Yetta and David Feldman of X:IT Performance wear, a designer and manufacturer of quality activewear for the modest, athletic women will receive $1250 in cash and $7500 in business services.

“With this prize in our pocket we have all we need to get the business on its feet. We thank again, CHYE and the sponsors, for putting together this clearly needed competition,” said Yetta Feldman. “Winning this prize is just the beginning of our hustle.”

Second Runner Up Nicole Marsella of Best Costume Outdoor Wear, a manufacturer of tznius swim dresses and modest water-friendly outdoor wear, will also take home $1250 and $7,500 in consulting.

"CHYE has been a big boost for my tiny start-up, not just though this competition, but with the classes and consultations that they offer,” said Nicole. “The winners were all smart, strong Jewish women. I'm proud to belong to a community that supports women business owners in such a significant way,” said Marsella.

While many in the audience came to support family and friends, everyone walked away informed and inspired.

“I came to the event because I wanted to learn about new business and innovations, and get new inspiration for my clients,” said Yonit Tanenbaum, of YQ Media. “It was inspiring to me as a business owner that all three winners were women.”

“It was pretty cool to see so many original ideas,” said Sarah Brummel, who was there for moral support for one of the finalists.

Moshe Horowitz, Firm Administrator at Saul Friedman & Co. added, “I came because Saul Friedman was presenting, and I gained a lot insight about what people go through to get a business started. It was inspiring.”

“CHYE extends tremendous thanks to our generous sponsors for making this event possible: Saul N. Friedman & Co., Adam Eilenberg, The Smetana Family and AWS Supply, Daniel Cotlar in memory of his son, Mendel, to COLLIVE for being our media sponsor, to Spotlight design, Ajaxunion and Aaron Fehler of Evokia for their prize sponsorships, to Mendel Duchman who elevated the evening with his experience and passion and to all members of the CHYE founders circle” said Rabbi Werde.

For more information about this and other CHYE initiatives, visit




Web Entrepreneurs Give Biz Tips

A record attendance of 300 men and women entrepreneurs learned from industry leaders at an event on E-Commerce.

By Sholom Ber Nemanow
Photos: Marko Dashev

We’re all familiar with just how cheap and convenient shopping online on Amazon or eBay can be. What you may not have been so familiar with is just how many of your friends and neighbors are sitting on the other side of the screen, selling you that bargain-priced pair of headphones or that bulk pack of pens. 

Online retail is one of the fastest growing markets in history and people in our community have been taking advantage of it, as evidenced by last week's “Finding Succeess in E-Commerce” seminar and networking event. The main hall at Agudah of Avenue L was full to capacity as nearly 300 business men and women from communities across the tri state area gathered to listen, learn, and network.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Chaim Piekarski of C&A Marketing, a leading ecommerce company. Mr. Piekarski spoke about the importance of having a clear plan for your company and the need to stay focused on your core values. The event also featured roundtable Q&A discussions hosted by industry leaders from many different E-Commerce categories, like Mr. Yoel SternDirector of R&D - Windsor Global who specializes in product development and Mrs. Leora Platt, Sales and Marketing Manager at Teri Jon, who specializes in Marketing Basics of Ecommerce.

Walking around the room one could hear all manner of questions being asked and answered, from the specific like “When is it time for me to hire HR for my company?”, put to Mr. Chaim Piekarski of C&A Marketing; to the more broad, like “When does a company decide to go for financing vs selling off equity,” asked to Mr. Zisha Novoseller of EPI. 

Roundtable participants gained very different things as well, one, who identified himself as an e-commerce beginner said that he was there just to get more comfortable with the various concepts and principles. Shmuel Schnitzer from TJE, one of the event’s organizers, recounts how attendees kept on coming over to him and relating that seeing hundreds of entrepreneurs, all serious about their businesses, in one room together was inspiring. “People came out of the night making solid networking connections, we gave them access to very high level successful entrepreneurs. It was great!”

The atmosphere at the event was warm and friendly, something which was commented on by more than one person; Tzvi Chamishof InstaTrade said it was “a warm atmosphere, a great Business chill.” Jeremy Greenberg of SellerCloud, which was an event sponsor, commented on how impressed he was with the Ahavas Yisrael in evidence, people willingly and happily sharing advice and lessons with others who might be their competitors one day.

The attendees came bearing different levels of e-commerce experience and success, ranging from 10-15 year veterans to people who are just getting started, and there was something there for everyone. Rabbi Yehoshua Werde of CHYE (Crown Heights Young Entrepreneur), co-host of the event, explained that “We wanted to reach both the young people just getting into it and the older people who feel they have more to learn.” The mission of all the organizations, CHYE, TJE and EPI is to help the community take advantage of business opportunities he said and “E-Commerce is a field with incredible potential that we want to help people get into and succeed.”

E-Commerce has clearly turned into a great business for the frum community and more and more people are jumping in. Today, you almost certainly have a friend or family member in the business, and who knows, tomorrow it might be you.

For information about CHYE, please visit