The Challenge of Being Different “The Memoirs Of A Chasidic Master’s Liberated Scion”

A decade ago, distinguished Orthodox filmmaker Menachem Daum produced and directed the documentary “A Life Apart: Hasidism in America,” a restrained and loving effort to introduce the seemingly strange and alien world of Chasidism to outsiders. Several years later, he produced another film, “Hiding and Seeking, about the non-Jewish Polish family who saved his wife’s family during the Holocaust. His task then was to introduce his own family to the deeply forbidden and contaminating non-Jewish world, which seemed so strange and alien to them, and yet which included these rescuers, who were responsible for the very existence of his own wife, children and grandchildren.

As English has become the native language of all but the most devout, access to this world is now far more open and available. ArtScroll, the most ambitious and effective of the Charedi publishing efforts in the United States, is the product of Charedim acculturation to the United States as well as an inadvertent spur to that very acculturation. The proud partnership of contemporary graphics with traditional texts translated into English recognizes that even American Charedi Jews are more fluent in English than in the sacred tongues of our people and can only really open the great texts of Judaism with the assistance of English translation and commentary.

So it is no wonder that the writings of current and former Charedi Jews, who describe the inner world of their community in anguish, in anger and even in joy, have made their way into the English language.

Among the more interesting works is Judith Brown’s “Hush” (Walker Childrens, 2012) which explores sexual abuse and coming of age among Chasidic girls, and Hella Winston’s “The Unchosen: The Hidden Life of Hasidic Rebels” (Beacon Press, 2006), which chronicles the strange and painful journeys of those who have broken with their devoutly Orthodox past to venture forth into a world for which they are unprepared.

In this genre of work is Izzy Eichenstein’s  “The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son: Finding My Soul Beyond the Tribe” (Oakstone Company Publishing, $18), the autobiography of a local real estate developer born into one of the most prominent of all Chasidic families — the paternal Zhidachov and the maternal Novominsk dynasties — who chose to leave the Chasidic world. (A note to my readers: I met Eichenstein more than a dozen years ago, when we shared an office suite and would bump into each other in the hall or on the track in La Cienega Park. I knew he had Jewish interests, but I did not know him. A couple of months ago, we met in a parking garage adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport, and he said he had a present for me, a book he had written. I accepted it as a courtesy and opened it with considerable skepticism and then read it with growing enthusiasm.)

Although Eichenstein is a rebel who clearly left the fold of his ancestors, the book is written without bitterness and with the most restrained of anger. His father, Rabbi Moses Eichenstein, began the journey, albeit unknowingly, when Chicago neighborhoods started changing in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Rabbi Eichenstein left his elderly and impoverished fervently Orthodox congregation, which had been weakened as more affluent and younger Jews moved away in droves to safer and more tony neighborhoods, and as the young abandoned Orthodoxy. He took a position as the rabbi of a traditional congregation in Chicago. Unlike Conservative Judaism, where rabbis were expected to accommodate and adjust to their congregation, in traditional Orthodox Midwestern congregations there was a deliberate disconnect between the rabbi and the congregants, one that was not to be bridged. Rabbi Eichenstein remained Orthodox, set apart from his congregants, and he expected his children to follow his lead and not to integrate into their environment. But Izzy could not accept the confines of the truncated world that was his inheritance. He could not adjust to yeshiva study, all-male environments long on textual knowledge with most minimal exposure to secular studies and summer camps where study rather than play was the norm and gender separation absolute. The more he rebelled, the more his father and his family disciplined him on a straight-and-narrow course.

Like many “troubled” young men, Izzy was sent to Israel to “yeshiva boot camp,” where, removed from the world he knew, living in a more remote place, he could be shaped into the Jew his family wanted him to become. But such an environment did not work. Izzy was labeled “an evil influence.” He explored different worlds. He worked as a manager for Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who is now posthumously revered, but was then also regarded as a rebel. He got to meet Bob Dylan and other musical giants.

His parents did not relent. Both of their own accord and in response to the pressure of an extended, highly observant family who looked down on Izzy’s rabbi father for his compromises, they doubled down and tried to force Izzy into a world increasingly removed from his interests. Izzy’s journey took an unusual turn when he met a woman, Rita, then a freshman at Northwestern University, who was the child of Orthodox Holocaust survivors and who also was slowly leaving the world of her parents, but while still loving and being loved by her parents. Izzy and Rita understood one another. Their families rejoiced in the yichus that each would bring to the marriage, and they rejoiced in each other: A rebellious journey is less isolating if pursued with another.

Izzy came out to Los Angeles to be a promoter and discovered the world of Hollywood, including its empty promises and charlatan promoters. He was taken, yet he remained and established another type of career for himself.

Local readers will appreciate the depiction of Los Angeles’ Jewish life in the last decades of the 20th century, when Izzy and Rita valiantly tried to meet the demands of their respective parents and fit into the world of Modern Orthodoxy but were unable to accept its premises and its restrictions. One day Izzy said to his wife, “You know the difference between us and them: They want to be here.” Implicit in that statement was that Izzy and Rita did not. Their religious practice was vicarious; they were doing it for parents, out of guilt and obligation. And Angelenos will understand how the Eichensteins could not fit in with Hillel and its Orthodox norms. The reader follows their journey to Temple Emmanuel of Beverly Hills, with its dynamic leader, Rabbi Laura Geller, an odd place for the scion of Chasidic masters to find his spiritual home, but a place where he was free to accept himself and be accepted for himself.

The epilogue of his book is the marriage of his son to a Roman Catholic woman just down the road from the great yeshivas of Lakewood, where Izzy’s cousins and nephews find their home. Izzy accepts the journey with equanimity. One imagines his relatives as saying, “See, I told you so. Once you leave the path, it is inevitable.”

We live in the first generation since the Enlightenment, where Orthodox Judaism — even the most fervent Orthodox Judaism — is not declining, but growing. But there is a hidden story, seldom spoken of and seldom told, of those who cannot follow that path.

Izzy has given an honorable and graceful description of the path he has followed. It will be an invitation for some to begin their own journey and a warning for others who are afraid of where that journey might lead.

But one wonders what might have happened if the choice placed before him was not either/or — if his parents could have accepted the fact that there was more than one way, at least for some children who cannot conform. rabbisson.com

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“Choose Love Over Fear” Memoirs Of A Chasidic Masters Liberated Scion

To now almost 50,000 blog readers , my sincere thanks.   Thank you for your gracious comments and reviews on my recently released memoir titled ” The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son” . A recent review :

A decade ago, distinguished Orthodox filmmaker Menachem Daum produced and directed the documentary “A Life Apart: Hasidism in America,” a restrained and loving effort to introduce the seemingly strange and alien world of Chasidism to outsiders. Several years later, he produced another film, “Hiding and Seeking, about the non-Jewish Polish family who saved his wife’s family during the Holocaust. His task then was to introduce his own family to the deeply forbidden and contaminating non-Jewish world, which seemed so strange and alien to them, and yet which included these rescuers, who were responsible for the very existence of his own wife, children and grandchildren.

As English has become the native language of all but the most devout, access to this world is now far more open and available. ArtScroll, the most ambitious and effective of the Charedi publishing efforts in the United States, is the product of Charedim acculturation to the United States as well as an inadvertent spur to that very acculturation. The proud partnership of contemporary graphics with traditional texts translated into English recognizes that even American Charedi Jews are more fluent in English than in the sacred tongues of our people and can only really open the great texts of Judaism with the assistance of English translation and commentary.

So it is no wonder that the writings of current and former Charedi Jews, who describe the inner world of their community in anguish, in anger and even in joy, have made their way into the English language.

Among the more interesting works is Judith Brown’s “Hush” (Walker Childrens, 2012) which explores sexual abuse and coming of age among Chasidic girls, and Hella Winston’s “The Unchosen: The Hidden Life of Hasidic Rebels” (Beacon Press, 2006), which chronicles the strange and painful journeys of those who have broken with their devoutly Orthodox past to venture forth into a world for which they are unprepared.

In this genre of work is Izzy Eichenstein’s  “The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son: Finding My Soul Beyond the Tribe” (Oakstone Company Publishing, $18), the autobiography of a local real estate developer born into one of the most prominent of all Chasidic families — the paternal Zhidachov and the maternal Novominsk dynasties — who chose to leave the Chasidic world. (A note to my readers: I met Eichenstein more than a dozen years ago, when we shared an office suite and would bump into each other in the hall or on the track in La Cienega Park. I knew he had Jewish interests, but I did not know him. A couple of months ago, we met in a parking garage adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport, and he said he had a present for me, a book he had written. I accepted it as a courtesy and opened it with considerable skepticism and then read it with growing enthusiasm.)

Although Eichenstein is a rebel who clearly left the fold of his ancestors, the book is written without bitterness and with the most restrained of anger. His father, Rabbi Moses Eichenstein, began the journey, albeit unknowingly, when Chicago neighborhoods started changing in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Rabbi Eichenstein left his elderly and impoverished fervently Orthodox congregation, which had been weakened as more affluent and younger Jews moved away in droves to safer and more tony neighborhoods, and as the young abandoned Orthodoxy. He took a position as the rabbi of a traditional congregation in Chicago. Unlike Conservative Judaism, where rabbis were expected to accommodate and adjust to their congregation, in traditional Orthodox Midwestern congregations there was a deliberate disconnect between the rabbi and the congregants, one that was not to be bridged. Rabbi Eichenstein remained Orthodox, set apart from his congregants, and he expected his children to follow his lead and not to integrate into their environment. But Izzy could not accept the confines of the truncated world that was his inheritance. He could not adjust to yeshiva study, all-male environments long on textual knowledge with most minimal exposure to secular studies and summer camps where study rather than play was the norm and gender separation absolute. The more he rebelled, the more his father and his family disciplined him on a straight-and-narrow course.

Like many “troubled” young men, Izzy was sent to Israel to “yeshiva boot camp,” where, removed from the world he knew, living in a more remote place, he could be shaped into the Jew his family wanted him to become. But such an environment did not work. Izzy was labeled “an evil influence.” He explored different worlds. He worked as a manager for Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who is now posthumously revered, but was then also regarded as a rebel. He got to meet Bob Dylan and other musical giants.

His parents did not relent. Both of their own accord and in response to the pressure of an extended, highly observant family who looked down on Izzy’s rabbi father for his compromises, they doubled down and tried to force Izzy into a world increasingly removed from his interests. Izzy’s journey took an unusual turn when he met a woman, Rita, then a freshman at Northwestern University, who was the child of Orthodox Holocaust survivors and who also was slowly leaving the world of her parents, but while still loving and being loved by her parents. Izzy and Rita understood one another. Their families rejoiced in the yichus that each would bring to the marriage, and they rejoiced in each other: A rebellious journey is less isolating if pursued with another.

Izzy came out to Los Angeles to be a promoter and discovered the world of Hollywood, including its empty promises and charlatan promoters. He was taken, yet he remained and established another type of career for himself.

Local readers will appreciate the depiction of Los Angeles’ Jewish life in the last decades of the 20th century, when Izzy and Rita valiantly tried to meet the demands of their respective parents and fit into the world of Modern Orthodoxy but were unable to accept its premises and its restrictions. One day Izzy said to his wife, “You know the difference between us and them: They want to be here.” Implicit in that statement was that Izzy and Rita did not. Their religious practice was vicarious; they were doing it for parents, out of guilt and obligation. And Angelenos will understand how the Eichensteins could not fit in with Hillel and its Orthodox norms. The reader follows their journey to Temple Emmanuel of Beverly Hills, with its dynamic leader, Rabbi Laura Geller, an odd place for the scion of Chasidic masters to find his spiritual home, but a place where he was free to accept himself and be accepted for himself.

The epilogue of his book is the marriage of his son to a Roman Catholic woman just down the road from the great yeshivas of Lakewood, where Izzy’s cousins and nephews find their home. Izzy accepts the journey with equanimity. One imagines his relatives as saying, “See, I told you so. Once you leave the path, it is inevitable.”

We live in the first generation since the Enlightenment, where Orthodox Judaism — even the most fervent Orthodox Judaism — is not declining, but growing. But there is a hidden story, seldom spoken of and seldom told, of those who cannot follow that path.

Izzy has given an honorable and graceful description of the path he has followed. It will be an invitation for some to begin their own journey and a warning for others who are afraid of where that journey might lead.

But one wonders what might have happened if the choice placed before him was not either/or — if his parents could have accepted the fact that there was more than one way, at least for some children who cannot conform. rabbisson.com

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The Memoirs Of A Chasidic Master’s Liberated Scion

To now almost 50,000 blog readers , my sincere thanks.   Thank you for your gracious comments and reviews on my recently released memoir titled ” The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son” . A recent review :

A decade ago, distinguished Orthodox filmmaker Menachem Daum produced and directed the documentary “A Life Apart: Hasidism in America,” a restrained and loving effort to introduce the seemingly strange and alien world of Chasidism to outsiders. Several years later, he produced another film, “Hiding and Seeking, about the non-Jewish Polish family who saved his wife’s family during the Holocaust. His task then was to introduce his own family to the deeply forbidden and contaminating non-Jewish world, which seemed so strange and alien to them, and yet which included these rescuers, who were responsible for the very existence of his own wife, children and grandchildren.

As English has become the native language of all but the most devout, access to this world is now far more open and available. ArtScroll, the most ambitious and effective of the Charedi publishing efforts in the United States, is the product of Charedim acculturation to the United States as well as an inadvertent spur to that very acculturation. The proud partnership of contemporary graphics with traditional texts translated into English recognizes that even American Charedi Jews are more fluent in English than in the sacred tongues of our people and can only really open the great texts of Judaism with the assistance of English translation and commentary.

So it is no wonder that the writings of current and former Charedi Jews, who describe the inner world of their community in anguish, in anger and even in joy, have made their way into the English language.

Among the more interesting works is Judith Brown’s “Hush” (Walker Childrens, 2012) which explores sexual abuse and coming of age among Chasidic girls, and Hella Winston’s “The Unchosen: The Hidden Life of Hasidic Rebels” (Beacon Press, 2006), which chronicles the strange and painful journeys of those who have broken with their devoutly Orthodox past to venture forth into a world for which they are unprepared.

In this genre of work is Izzy Eichenstein’s  “The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son: Finding My Soul Beyond the Tribe” (Oakstone Company Publishing, $18), the autobiography of a local real estate developer born into one of the most prominent of all Chasidic families — the paternal Zhidachov and the maternal Novominsk dynasties — who chose to leave the Chasidic world. (A note to my readers: I met Eichenstein more than a dozen years ago, when we shared an office suite and would bump into each other in the hall or on the track in La Cienega Park. I knew he had Jewish interests, but I did not know him. A couple of months ago, we met in a parking garage adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport, and he said he had a present for me, a book he had written. I accepted it as a courtesy and opened it with considerable skepticism and then read it with growing enthusiasm.)

Although Eichenstein is a rebel who clearly left the fold of his ancestors, the book is written without bitterness and with the most restrained of anger. His father, Rabbi Moses Eichenstein, began the journey, albeit unknowingly, when Chicago neighborhoods started changing in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Rabbi Eichenstein left his elderly and impoverished fervently Orthodox congregation, which had been weakened as more affluent and younger Jews moved away in droves to safer and more tony neighborhoods, and as the young abandoned Orthodoxy. He took a position as the rabbi of a traditional congregation in Chicago. Unlike Conservative Judaism, where rabbis were expected to accommodate and adjust to their congregation, in traditional Orthodox Midwestern congregations there was a deliberate disconnect between the rabbi and the congregants, one that was not to be bridged. Rabbi Eichenstein remained Orthodox, set apart from his congregants, and he expected his children to follow his lead and not to integrate into their environment. But Izzy could not accept the confines of the truncated world that was his inheritance. He could not adjust to yeshiva study, all-male environments long on textual knowledge with most minimal exposure to secular studies and summer camps where study rather than play was the norm and gender separation absolute. The more he rebelled, the more his father and his family disciplined him on a straight-and-narrow course.

Like many “troubled” young men, Izzy was sent to Israel to “yeshiva boot camp,” where, removed from the world he knew, living in a more remote place, he could be shaped into the Jew his family wanted him to become. But such an environment did not work. Izzy was labeled “an evil influence.” He explored different worlds. He worked as a manager for Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who is now posthumously revered, but was then also regarded as a rebel. He got to meet Bob Dylan and other musical giants.

His parents did not relent. Both of their own accord and in response to the pressure of an extended, highly observant family who looked down on Izzy’s rabbi father for his compromises, they doubled down and tried to force Izzy into a world increasingly removed from his interests. Izzy’s journey took an unusual turn when he met a woman, Rita, then a freshman at Northwestern University, who was the child of Orthodox Holocaust survivors and who also was slowly leaving the world of her parents, but while still loving and being loved by her parents. Izzy and Rita understood one another. Their families rejoiced in the yichus that each would bring to the marriage, and they rejoiced in each other: A rebellious journey is less isolating if pursued with another.

Izzy came out to Los Angeles to be a promoter and discovered the world of Hollywood, including its empty promises and charlatan promoters. He was taken, yet he remained and established another type of career for himself.

Local readers will appreciate the depiction of Los Angeles’ Jewish life in the last decades of the 20th century, when Izzy and Rita valiantly tried to meet the demands of their respective parents and fit into the world of Modern Orthodoxy but were unable to accept its premises and its restrictions. One day Izzy said to his wife, “You know the difference between us and them: They want to be here.” Implicit in that statement was that Izzy and Rita did not. Their religious practice was vicarious; they were doing it for parents, out of guilt and obligation. And Angelenos will understand how the Eichensteins could not fit in with Hillel and its Orthodox norms. The reader follows their journey to Temple Emmanuel of Beverly Hills, with its dynamic leader, Rabbi Laura Geller, an odd place for the scion of Chasidic masters to find his spiritual home, but a place where he was free to accept himself and be accepted for himself.

The epilogue of his book is the marriage of his son to a Roman Catholic woman just down the road from the great yeshivas of Lakewood, where Izzy’s cousins and nephews find their home. Izzy accepts the journey with equanimity. One imagines his relatives as saying, “See, I told you so. Once you leave the path, it is inevitable.”

We live in the first generation since the Enlightenment, where Orthodox Judaism — even the most fervent Orthodox Judaism — is not declining, but growing. But there is a hidden story, seldom spoken of and seldom told, of those who cannot follow that path.

Izzy has given an honorable and graceful description of the path he has followed. It will be an invitation for some to begin their own journey and a warning for others who are afraid of where that journey might lead.

But one wonders what might have happened if the choice placed before him was not either/or — if his parents could have accepted the fact that there was more than one way, at least for some children who cannot conform. rabbisson.com

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Marketing “Out Of The Box Style”……LAX Rooftop Billboards

“Make it Simple, Make It Memorable, Make It Inviting to Look at, Make it Fun to Read” Leo Burnett

Guerrilla marketing is all about finding creative ways to stand out from competitive clutter. Sometimes this means putting a twist on an old method, but increasingly, it means finding completely new methods to achieve the objective. CBS had a long running successful ad on The LAX Oakstone Rooftop Billboards for “The Amazing Race” show and now The TNT Network is utilizing The LAX Oakstone Rooftop Billboards with a Creative Ad Campaign in marketing their season of “Falling Skies” which airs on TNT.  “Legends” the Tv show has also utilized the LAX Rooftop Billboards.

The Unconventional marketing Ad Campaigns involve painting the roofs of three buildings that total over 100,000 square feet that are seen when you are landing at LAX Airport featuring colorful advertisements for the show or product.  Anyone now landing at LAX is being treated to the unexpected LAX Oakstone Rooftop Billboards featuring an amazing colorful Ad from thousands of feet up! The ads are generating a significant buzz as people are talking about the unconventional ad campaign that is creating a stir both for the passengers landing at LAX, and for the Print Media who like to write about advertising that is outside the box. The LAX Rooftop Billboards will work perfectly for Advertisers that want a new buzz for their Ad Campaign.

The Oakstone Company created “The LAX Rooftop Billboards”. (www.oakstonecompany.com)(Click the photo to view full size) 310-270-6661

Think Out Of The Box….Give your Brand A Spectacular Ad ! Get Creative , The LAX Rooftop Billboards pic.twitter.com/W6Bdmi1V 310-270-6661

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The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son by Izzy Eichenstein

A  beautiful and heartfelt memoir! Leaving what is expected and acceptable and choosing to follow one’s heart and dreams is never easy; dealing with the anger and rejection of family and friends that ensues is extremely difficult. Izzy’s journey away

A beautiful and heartfelt memoir! Leaving what is expected and acceptable and choosing to follow one’s heart and dreams is never easy; dealing with the anger and rejection of family and friends that ensues is extremely difficult. Izzy’s journey away from his Jewish Orthodox roots takes so much courage and is an inspiration for everyone who dares to question the status quo and make life decisions that work for him/her rather than continue in a lifestyle dictated by others’ rules and expectations. It is also teaches important lessons for every parent: Don’t be judgmental; really listen to your children and encourage them to pursue their own interests; give love and support. Life is too short to stubbornly refuse to be open to new ideas. The Rebel and the Rabbi’s son is an easy read with powerful messages .

http://rabbisson.com http://amzn.to/1hW9Xox

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Shouting Louder is Not The Key to Being Heard

credit to Andy Paul

Sales tipsIn 1971, Herbert Simon, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University, and a future Nobel laureate in economics, wrote a very prescient description of the upcoming information revolution and the impact that the ready availability of seemingly endless quantities of information would have on our ability to process and use it. While Simon wasn’t specifically addressing the selling and buying of products and services, the conclusions he drew are certainly applicable in today’s sales environment.

The following is a quote from a paper Simon published in 1971:

“…in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”*

What Simon was describing was a situation based on the laws of economics—namely, that the supply of any commodity, in this case the attention span of any consumer of information, is limited and that market forces will efficiently allocate that scarce resource among the various interests competing for it.

Let’s apply Simon’s lesson to the selling environment. Your prospects and customers are, by definition, consumers of information. They seek information from various sources, such as the Internet, social media, and salespeople, in order to make fully informed decisions about purchasing the right products and services for their needs. However, as Dr. Simon pointed out, prospects and customers have a limited supply of attention to divide among the various information sources requesting a piece of it. At some point during their buying process, they have to decide how to allocate their limited attention bandwidth (that is, their time) among all the demands for that attention. Those demands include talking to potential vendors, administrative tasks, management responsibilities, meetings, phone calls, emails, updating their Facebook status and texting with their spouse, kids, and friends.

Therefore, your prospects and customers make an economic decision about how they are going to prioritize the allocation of their limited and valuable attention. Those sellers that provide the greatest return to the prospect on the time invested in them will be given more time to sell. In other words, sellers that create value for their prospects and customers will have the inside track. And sellers that waste their prospects’ time will not get responses to their emails and voice mails—no matter how many emails and voice mails they send.

Your prospects will invest their limited time in you. If you provide significant value to them, they will give you more time to continue selling to them.

DO YOUR PROSPECTS EARN A POSITIVE RETURN ON THE TIME THEY INVEST IN YOU?
Your prospects calculate an economic return on the time they invest in you as a seller. This is called a Return on Time Invested (ROTI.) Every sales interaction you have with a prospect is judged on whether it provides value or not. If you are careless about how you spend the precious minutes your prospects have allocated to you, then they will make the perfectly rational decision to invest their time with another seller. Are you wondering why your prospects aren’t listening to you? Now you know.

How can you effectively cut through the thicket of information your prospects confront and become an asset instead of a liability on their attention balance sheet? The key is to Sell with Maximum Impact in the Least Time (MILT)™. Selling with MILT means being responsive. In sales, responsiveness is the combination of information content, and speed. Quickly provide all of the information your prospects need to make an informed purchase decision in the least amount of time and you will be rewarded with all the time you need to make your case. Help your prospects get their job done more quickly and they will allocate more of their limited time to you because they have learned that you provide a better value and a better return on the investment of their time than your competitors.

Prospects who earn a positive ROI from the time they invest with you will reward you with their business

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Reclaiming my spiritual voice: The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son by Izzy Eichenstein

Israel (Izzy) Eichenstein is a descendant on both sides of royal Chasidic dynasties whose members trace their lineages back through generations in Europe. He is the son, grandson, great-grandson and great-great-grandson of ultra-Orthodox rabbis. In Chicago as well as New York, Israel and elsewhere, the name Eichenstein can inspire awe and open doors in the most religious circles.

Izzy Eichenstein found that most of those doors were closed to him — not that he wanted to walk through them in the first place.

The Chicago native’s recent book, “The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son: Finding My Soul Beyond the Tribe” tells the story of a child brought up in a religious family who rebels and walks a different path.

A spate of books over the last few years have detailed this phenomenon in excruciatingly detailed terms, from Judith Brown’s “Hush” to Anouk Markovits’ “I Am Forbidden” to Israeli writer Naomi Regan’s newest work, “The Sisters Weiss,” a novel which centers on a woman who leaves her haredi (ultra-Orthodox) family.

Interestingly, most have been written by women. Eichenstein’s, though, is different in more ways than the gender of the author. Though his story is also a painful one, it’s told with humor and a lack of bitterness – qualities he said he was striving for in the self-published memoir.

Eichenstein, now a successful real estate developer in Los Angeles, was born and lived the first years of his life on Chicago’s West Side, the youngest child in a dynasty of Chasidic rabbis who had first come in the 1920s to the “triefe medina” of the United States. Here they attempted to replicate as much as possible the ultra-Orthodox, “Torah-true” world of Eastern European Jewry.

Eichenstein’s father, Rabbi Moses Eichenstein, first headed an Orthodox synagogue, known as the Austrian Galician shul, on the West Side. But when neighborhoods began to change, the family moved to the North Side and Rabbi Eichenstein, faced with the need to make a living for his family of three young children, became the spiritual leader of a Traditional synagogue, A.G. Beth Israel.

For an ultra-Orthodox rabbi to lead a synagogue where men and women sat together and most congregants were not Orthodox was considered a shanda by many other members of the family, even though Rabbi Eichenstein, his wife and children adhered strictly to the Orthodox lifestyle. Izzy Eichenstein traces much of the discord in his own life to this disconnect in his father’s.

Young Izzy, meanwhile, wasn’t fitting in to the life he was expected to lead, where Torah study trumped all other pursuits. He was more interested in following the Chicago Cubs, playing sports and meeting girls than in studying the Torah portion of the week. While his brother, sister and cousins “were on the ‘A’ team with the Orthodox community,” he writes, “I was now on the ‘B’ team.”

When he is unable to give a good answer to a question one of his uncles asks him about Rashi, the Torah commentator, he thinks, “If my uncle had asked me to recite the Chicago Cubs lineup or stats regarding the Chicago Bears, I would have astonished him with my knowledge and feats of memory.”

Indeed, his first deviation from the strict rules of Orthodox Judaism comes when he turns up the volume of a radio on Shabbat so he can listen to a Cubs game. He is amazed when he isn’t struck dead for the transgression. Instead, “a reluctant rebel was born,” he writes.

In his teens, he struggled in his Jewish day school but found a release in sports, both watching and playing them. At Yeshiva High School in Chicago, he tried to fit in but didn’t seem to be able to. Instead, all year he looked forward to the summers he spent at Camp Moshava in Wisconsin.

One year, though, his parents pulled him out after two weeks at the much-beloved Modern Orthodox camp and, to his sorrow and fury, put him instead in an ultra-Orthodox camp in New York. Ultimately his family knew how unhappy he was there and sent him for the rest of the summer to another “yeshiva boot camp,” which he also hates.

For the next several years, he bounced back and forth as his family tried to shape him into the ultra-Orthodox Jew he seemed unable to become. He graduated from a new yeshiva in Pittsburgh, where he sincerely tried to fit in, then spent some time at a yeshiva in Israel. He met some young Israeli soldiers and visited their kibbutz – and was severely reprimanded by the school for engaging in such extracurricular activities. He continued attending classes but without much interest. “I had fallen off the path,” he writes.

That path took him on a decidedly different turn when he met a young Reb Shlomo Carlebach, much less famous and revered than he would eventually become. Eichenstein was drawn to the charismatic performer and the other young people in his entourage –Carlebach dubbed them his “holy hippelach” – and began spending most of his time with them while still nominally attending classes at the yeshiva. Eventually he left Israel and moved to New York City, still searching for a place and profession in which he could feel comfortable.

He soon heard from Carlebach and again joined his inner circle, becoming his roadie and eventually his manager. He tried to arrange a meeting between Carlebach and Bob Dylan, one of his artistic heroes, but the timing was never right.

However, Eichenstein and Dylan became friends and spent hours drinking wine and discussing Judaism in Greenwich Village bars. The closeness ended when Dylan entered his short-lived phase as a born-again Christian. Eichenstein, meanwhile, temporarily ended up in his old bedroom in Chicago when he contracted mononucleosis.

It was during that confusing time that he connected with Rita Lipman, a girl he knew growing up. She came from a Modern Orthodox family – only slightly less stringent than his own – and was also in the process of moving away from her observant roots. They began dating and eventually fell in love, a process that Eichenstein marks as the end of his lost years and the beginning of a new, joyful life.

He writes: “It was as if a guardian angel had decreed, ‘This kid’s been through enough. He’s a good boy at heart. Let’s show him how tremendous this world can be.’ Whoever was watching over me (maybe it was Zaide?) led Rita and me to each other. I’m absolutely sure of it. If someone asked me, ‘What’s the proof that there’s a G-d?’ my answer would be, ‘Rita ended up in my life.’ All the other blessings flowed from that one.”

They married in an enormous Chasidic wedding at the Palmer House, and Eichenstein went back to working for Carlebach, then eventually tried a number of different jobs and professions, including selling advertising for a radio station and staging a concert to celebrate the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Eventually the couple moved to Los Angeles and Eichenstein began mapping out a career in real estate, one in which he became very successful. Eventually they had three children.

There was still the matter of their religious affiliation. The couple joined a Modern Orthodox synagogue but found it hard to make friends. They joined another, and Eichenstein was elected to the board, bringing tremendous joy to his mother. Yet they still chafed under the religious restrictions and made up excuses about “having to take the kids to the doctor” so they could feel free to drive on Shabbat. They began attending services at a Conservative synagogue but didn’t feel comfortable there either.

Eventually, through a day school their children attended, they are led to a Reform congregation, Temple Emanuel. Eichenstein writes: “I was only conscious of one fact: I had been uncomfortable at every other synagogue in Los Angeles, and at this one, I felt comfortable. … I came to rest spiritually at Temple Emanuel” with its dynamic leader, the well-known Rabbi Laura Geller.

He decided to tell his story in a book for a number of reasons, the genial Eichenstein said in a phone conversation from his Los Angeles office.

“I felt there was a story to be told because my family is extremely well known in Chicago,” he says. “It was also one way to honor my dad. He had tremendous courage, as the son of a Chasidic rabbi, to end up taking a congregation on the North Side of Chicago that had mixed pews. He was courageous and beloved. So was my mom.”

Many who knew Eichenstein urged him to write a book. “A lot of people said, you have such an interesting story – you’re the last one of your Eichenstein generation and you grew up in a synagogue different from any other Eichenstein,” he says. “You grew up where nobody (among his father’s congregants) were observant but they all loved being Jewish.”

Izzy Eichenstein also loved being Jewish. The book, though, is about conflict, he says, noting that his name, Israel, means “to struggle with G-d.”

“I was struggling with my own Jewish identity,” he says.

He takes pains, though, to make sure an interviewer understands that he harbors no bitterness toward his parents, both now deceased.

“My dad and mom were great people,” he says. “For my father, it took tremendous courage to be in a congregation where the rest of the family, (most of whom) still live in Chicago, did not appreciate his willingness to step outside the bounds of ultra-Orthodoxy.”

Even though his congregants may not have been observant, Rabbi Eichenstein and his family remained scrupulous in their own observance, their son says. “If the love for my parents doesn’t come through, I didn’t write a good book,” he adds.

As for his own path, “I loved the Cubs. I never fit in with the beards and the hats,” he says. “But I wrote the book out of love and respect and very little bitterness. I’m not angry at anybody.”

That can’t be said for everyone in the family. Throughout the book, Eichenstein paints his older brother and sister, both of whom have remained within the haredi world, as unyielding towards their rebellious sibling. Today that brother and a cousin live in Chicago, and although they have never spoken to him about the book, “I feel sure they are not happy about it,” he says.

While he has an occasional conversation with his brother, he is not in touch with his cousins or other members of his family.

“Nobody calls me. We have gotten occasional invites to simchas, but otherwise the dialogue is at zero,” he says.

Except for “a few nasty emails” from people who know his family in Chicago, Eichenstein says the book has been received very positively.

“A lot of people came to me and said, I really struggle with my Jewish identity,” he says. “I tell them, the way to be Jewish is to struggle with G-d.”

For Eichenstein himself, writing the book was cathartic. “My life has changed,” he says. “I’m at an age where you just have to say, this is who I am.”

He says that although he could have secured a publisher for the book, he wanted to self-publish because “I wanted to hold on to it.” Now a non-Jewish individual has told Eichenstein he is interested in writing a screenplay based on the book.

“A lot of non-Jewish people have read the book. They struggle with father and son issues” that are also at the heart of his book, he says.

“I want people to have the oxygen to find their own Jewish identity and be respected for it. People feel boxed in – they don’t have that oxygen. They fear their neighbors more than they fear G-d,” he says. “I’ve spoken all over the country and people write me from around the world saying, you helped me. I was in hiding. I wanted to give a voice to those people.”

Sometimes people tell him that the real rebel was his father for agreeing to lead a non-Orthodox congregation. “That was the ultimate rebellion,” he says. “My family wants to whitewash that story, and I will not allow it.”

There is another story that is even more mysterious. His father once told him “in hushed tones” that a Reform rabbi in Chicago helped his grandfather when he first emigrated from Europe. He never named the rabbi.

Perhaps, he says, there’s a symmetry in the fact that Izzy and Rita Eichenstein are now very involved in their Reform congregation, Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills.

The main message of his book, its author says, is that “nobody has a copyright on spirituality. You have to respect other people and their path. But if a son or daughter decides they’re not going to be religious, just love them a little more. Don’t push people away.”

Eichenstein says he still loves Chicago and the Cubs. “And I love being Jewish. The main thing was I had to find my own Jewish identity. I had to say, I’m not going to apologize for how I turned out.”

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