Show, Don’t Tell

We all wonder why people either buy or don’t buy from us. You must understand your buyers’ psychology.

In order for someone to make a purchase they must have the following three issues satisfied:

> They must feel like they know you.

> They must feel like they can trust you.

> They must like you.

The fastest way for you to accomplish this is with video that allows your customers to get to know you.

A recent survey showed that 54 percent of people who watched a video from a business bought a product from that business. Seeing is believing.

You are reading this, but imagine what it would be like if you were seeing me walking you through the important highlights of this column. You would feel like you know me, you hopefully would like me, and you would be more likely to trust me from the way I deliver my information.

Do you know what the No. 2 Internet search engine is and who owns it?

YouTube —owned by Google.

Your clients are searching online for information. The best way for them to learn about you is for you to control the conversation. Here are some guidelines to consider when producing online commercials.

> Create an HD video, and make sure your sound is good.

> Keep your message to no more than three minutes; two minutes is even better.

> Make sure your video contains your contact information and provides good information that helps the viewer in his/her buying decision.

Brian Sacks is a mobile marketing expert with more than 26 years of direct-response marketing experience. He is the co-founder of Trackable Response Inc. in Catonsville. For more information, visit

Twitter 101

071913_patti_neumann_smIn light of the recent Initial Public Offering (IPO) a few weeks ago and many email requests to teach Twitter to individuals, here is a 101 tutorial on Twitter and how to tweet. Hopefully, you will see how its real-time strength works for businesses and creates opportunities to get messages out to the world.

You do not have to tweet. Facebook is the giant, but more than 224 million brands, people and businesses worldwide do utilize Twitter and many other social media networks — from Instagram to Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, blogs and LinkedIn, among others — integrate the service into their “sharing” mechanisms. If you want your message, comment or opinion in front of the most powerful people and businesses, this is the best and most efficient way.

Wikipedia defines Twitter as “an online social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read ‘tweets,’ which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through the website interface, SMS or a mobile device.”

All of the information must be concise and fit in a 140-digit, text-style message, so grammar is definitely not up to the English literature professor’s par.

To get started, go to and create an account to set up your “handle.” Next, start following people. To “follow” someone on Twitter means to subscribe to their tweets; when they post something, it will appear on your main newsfeed for you to see.

News is often spread on Twitter through “retweets.” A retweet re-posts information originally tweeted by another Twitter user for all of your followers to see.

The @ sign is used to call out usernames in tweets, like this: Hello @Twitter! When a username is preceded by @, it becomes a link to that user’s Twitter profile. Mentioning another user in your tweet by including @ followed directly by their username is called a “mention.”

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. It was originally created as a way to categorize messages. The list on the left side of your newsfeed shows you all of the topics that are “trending” by compiling the most commonly used hashtags on the site at that point in time. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message, or in the trends list, shows you all other tweets marked with that keyword.

Businesses such as food companies or, better, mobile food truck businesses that change menu items and locations frequently, find Twitter especially useful. Local mobile food trucks in the area tweet their expected times and locations, for followers to see and stay updated. People choose to follow them because they can get real-time information.

Now script a tweet to @CITYPEEKpatti with the #citypeek #jewishtimes and we will follow you back! Did you know that youcan also follow @jewishtimes?

Patti Neumann, CEO/chief social thinker of Baltimore’s, can be reached at or CITYPEEK Patti on Facebook/twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram.

Thanksgivukkah And The Knaidel

Many of us celebrated Arvind Mahankali’s victory at the national spelling bee last May. Why? Arvind is not a MOT (Member of the Tribe). We celebrated because he won by spelling knaidel, those fluffy floaters we relish on Passover and Shabbat. Putting aside the proper spelling of knaidel, the fact that it appears in the dictionary and was included the spelling bee is one yardstick for how cool being Jewish is right now.

That has not always been the case. Chanukah commemorates a very different time in our history, when the government, aided by highly assimilated Jews, made a concerted effort to eliminate Jewish tradition and practice from public and private life.

Jewish identity has always been complicated. The first intermarriage takes place in the Torah when Esau marries two Hittite women to the consternation of his parents, Isaac and Rebecca (Gen. 26:34-35). The biblical prophets rebuke the Jews of their time for being unfaithful to God and the practices of their ancestors.

During the Maccabee period, some Jews totally assimilated into Greek culture, even undoing their circumcisions. Some Jews, such as the Dead Sea Scroll writers, isolated themselves from those with whom they disagreed. Others accommodated their faith and practice to contemporary culture to varying degrees reflecting almost, but not quite, the full spectrum between assimilation and isolation. This last category represented the main body of the Maccabee coalition. They fought for the core Jewish belief in one God and the core Jewish practices of Torah, kashrut and Shabbat. Yet their children and grandchildren carried both Greek and Hebrew names, much as we have English and Hebrew names today.

Fill in the specific details from any Jewish historic period and the story is much the same. The assimilationists and isolationists both ultimately fail to ensure Jewish continuity through the ages. The accommodationists, those who adroitly bridge religious integrity and wider cultural integration, somehow do. That we are still here today is proof that Jewish continuity is a balance between faithfulness to our ancient traditions and embracing the best of the larger cultures in which we find ourselves.

That is why what is happening this year is so exciting. A new holiday has been born: Thanksgivukkah. It is the quintessential Jewish American holiday, celebrating the first day of Chanukah on Thanksgiving. Both Chanukah and Thanksgiving celebrate thankfulness to God and the importance of mutual respect and religious pluralism. These are American values as much as Jewish ones. In fact, our Founding Fathers found them in the same Torah the Maccabees protected for posterity.

So much rides on our ability to find our balance between tradition and change. Being Jewish is cool, not just because Jewish expressions and foods, such as knaidel, are now part of American culture. Being Jewish is cool because we guard and transmit a timeless message for all humankind: Despite our differences, we are all made in God’s image and thus equally deserving of respect and the opportunity to live with dignity and freedom of conscience. That is what the Maccabees fought for, and so can we.

Rabbi Susan Grossman is the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom Congregation in Columbia and is a member of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis. The opinions expressed do not necessarily
reflect those of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis or its members.

The Passion Of George W. Bush

Some called George W. Bush’s decision to speak to a group of Messianic Jews “infuriating.” (Eric Draper, White Hous)

Some called George W. Bush’s decision to speak to a group of Messianic Jews “infuriating.”
(Eric Draper, White Hous)

Was George W. Bush acting on his own born-again Christianity when he agreed to speak last week at the Dallas fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute? Or was this just one of the former president’s many speaking appearances, albeit to a group dedicated to the conversion of Jews to Christianity in order to advance the second coming of Christ?

We may never know.

What we do know, however, is that as president, Bush was a staunch supporter of Israel and a friend of the Jewish community. Nevertheless, when Mother Jones broke the news that the former president would address the Messianic group, a firestorm erupted in the Jewish community.

In an op-ed in The Forward, Rabbi David Wolpe called Bush’s decision “infuriating” and sought to prove that the term “Messianic Jew” is an oxymoron. For Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Bush’s action was “mystifying. How do you have a respectful relationship if the measure of success of one group is the ending of the other group by having them convert away from their own religion?” he asked.

Tevi Troy, an Orthodox Jew who worked in the Bush administration, sought to emphasize Bush’s positive record with regard to Israel and the Jews. Yet even Troy admitted, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.”

As we have reported, the Messianic Jewish movement is problematic for many Jews, who find the idea of missionaries to be threatening and deceptive. The organized Jewish community considers Messianic groups, including Jews for Jesus, to be beyond the pale. So we get nervous when our friends lend legitimacy to those we don’t trust.

But it was Troy who actually put things into perspective: If Jews want something to worry about, focus on the Pew study with its host of troubling numbers about Jewish engagement and identity. Let’s first put our own house in order before worrying too much about those we want to keep out.

Perception Is Reality

The new report on anti-Semitism issued by the Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) paints an unsettling picture of the eight EU countries where 90 percent of the continent’s Jews live. Nevertheless, one must draw conclusions carefully.

One caveat is that the 5,847 Jews polled in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the U.K. were self-selected, rather than random. A second is that the report is subjective, in that it registers the perceptions and experiences of the individual respondents, rather than absolute figures of anti-Semitic incidents in any of the affected countries. Finally, the report relies on each respondent to define anti-Semitism for himself or herself, rather than establishing a single definition for use by all respondents.

That said, perception is reality. And the clear reality is that many European Jews are living in a state of growing discomfort and unease and feel targeted as Jews. According to the report, one-fifth of Jewish respondents said they had experienced an anti-Semitic incident in the past year. And 82 percent of respondents said they had not reported the most serious incident they had encountered — presumably because they didn’t think authorities would act on it.

The report reflects a perception that anti-Semitism is growing throughout Europe, both on and off the Internet. And there is also a mounting sense of fear caused by anti-Semitic events and attempts in several countries to ban certain Jewish ritual practices. Perhaps in direct response to those concerns, more than 20 percent of respondents reported that they do not wear anything in public that would identify them as a Jew.

In meeting with Jewish organizations and other stakeholders after the report’s release, the FRA sought to help develop responses to these troubling perceptions. One suggested response is a concerted effort by governments to build trust in law enforcement. Another is to establish inter-community dialogue between groups that are historical victims of hate crimes, including Jews, Muslims, Roma and LGBTs. These efforts to communicate and to develop appropriate responses should continue, and increased cooperation and communication with other affected groups can only help the effort.

The problem of anti-Semitism in Europe is not going away. It is a very troubling reality with which our co-religionists cope daily, as they try to lead Jewish lives in an increasingly unfriendly environment. This is an issue that deserves increased attention and strategic input from our North American Jewish community. We are, after all, our brother’s keepers.

Thank You, Jewish Baltimore

110113_Jaffe-MaayanThe Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore says it is “inspiring Jewish community.” Believe me, it is.

I recently returned from the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. The plenaries, which boasted some of the top Israeli officials, were packed. The dialogues — unique and interesting — were well executed.

But the best of the conference was what happened behind the scenes, in the hallways, at dinner or while shopping. It was what you don’t write about in an analysis piece, but it was the experience of being part of something bigger than you, of understanding what it means to be Jewish and knowing why that is so important.

Baltimore did not send a huge contingency to the GA this year, but the people who did go rocked the GA, stood out as leaders and stuck together. Jill Max, Katie Applefeld and Evan Goldman, for example. Beth Goldsmith and Lee Sherman. Michael Hoffman. Maia Hoffman. (No relation to one another.)

When I returned from Israel, everyone asked about the people I heard speak or interviewed, people such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Finance Minister Naftali Bennett and Jewish Agency for Israel head Natan Sharansky. I and was even the person who snapped Sharansky’s photo with the Baltimore contingency (see “Analysis: The Global Jewish Shuk,” Nov. 15) — sometimes, you have to have a little bit of guts. All of these people are amazing. And when I met the Moroccan Ambassador, it rocked my world. While I no doubt learn from every “famous” person I encounter, I believe that more learning happens just by interacting with each other; each of us has something to give, something to teach.

As we go into Thanksgiving, our iNSIDER focuses on giving. I want to say thank you to the people of Jewish Baltimore who have given me so much. Thank you for teaching me there is more than one side to every story and for reminding me that Judaism is not just a set of laws, but a way of life. Thank you for instilling in me a sense of Jewish community, for keeping me focused on Jewish unity and for inviting me to have a voice — and to hear many diverse voices.

I have a master’s degree in Jewish thought and civilization, I lived in Israel for nearly six years (I’m fluent in Hebrew) and I have learned in a midrasha. I have been working in my field in some capacity since 1995, and I consider myself smart and knowledgeable about Judaism and the Jewish people. But I have been blown away by Jewish Baltimore. And a lot of what blows me away starts with The Associated and its mission.

The Associated funds CHANA, our community response to sexual abuse and violence. When I used to hear those terms I would shudder; I didn’t want to believe anything bad happened — ever. But guess what, it does. And that’s OK. The real test is what you do about it.

The Associated funds the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which in turn is funding a resurgence of Jewish life in Poland. Why would we want a Jewish community in the heart of a society that brutally murdered our people? Without it, we are dead. The Jewish people, however, are resilient — and thank God for that.

I could go on. But I will just say, “thank you,” and please know how much I mean it.

Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief —

International Moishe Houses Gather In Odessa

Moishe House

By: Marina Moldavanskaya

Last week, Odessa was proud to host the international conference for Russian-speaking Moishe Houses. Yevgeniy Klig, the Director of Russian-speaking Jewish Programming shared, “The conference was comprised of the residents of all Russian-speaking Moishe Houses in the former Soviet Union and the United States. The purpose of the conference was to provide an opportunity for the residents to share experiences of their communities, to learn new skills and information from professional trainers and other Moishe Houses and, of course, to establish deep friendships and relationships that will lead to better relations between young adult Jewish communities in different cities.”

The program included a history of Moishe House as well as a review of goals and objectives. The participants had a chance to get to know the Russian-speaking American Moishe Houses that were successful in engaging young adults from Russian-speaking families in New York and Chicago. The conference aimed to assist Moishe House residents in creating projects, planning volunteer programs, making budgets and attracting visitors.

Odessa Moishe House opened in November 2012 with four residents, yet, it very quickly proved to be a strong community space for young adults. Each month, the residents organize a minimum of seven programs. In addition, the Odessa Moishe House received the award for the Best Moishe House in April 2013, topping 54 other houses.

Could Do Better

The Nov. 1 print edition carried a quarter-page ad on page 20 heralding a lecture at Beth Tfiloh Congregation by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. In it, he was described as the chief rabbi of Efrat, Israel. Such is not only incorrect, but actually plays into the hands of the State of Israel’s political enemies.

Efrat is located on the West Bank and is not part of the territory internationally recognized as belonging to the State of Israel. The U.S. does not recognize it as such nor has the Knesset ever claimed (as in the case of East Jerusalem) to have annexed it. So what is the rationale for this pro-settler designation, pushed by the scrofulous Morton Klein and his Zionist Organization of America? This is especially since by designating the West Bank as part of the State of Israel, the term apartheid becomes applicable, and as such provides ammunition for the disgusting Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) crowd.

Beth Tfiloh can do so much better.

Baruch Shaw

• In the Nov. 8 article, “‘We Want To Hear You,’” there are 153 Jewish federations across North America.

Not So Accurate

Your article on Attman’s Deli was very interesting (“It All Started With A Deli,” Oct. 25). I wish I could share your enthusiasm. Last April 9, when my order came, I was told by the cashier that under no circumstances could I eat there; when I asked for my money back, I was approached very aggressively by the manager and another employee. … It was not the proper way to treat a customer. You can write all the books you want, but if they’re not accurate, what good are they?

Michael S. Rodels

Keep Investigating

Thank you for “Judaism Behind Bars” (Oct. 25). Please do some further investigative reporting for your readers about the terrible miscarriage of justice in Elsa Newman’s continuing incarceration. I am a Quaker and have been following this case and Elsa’s unjust conviction for years. Please use the power of the press to speak the truth.

Nancy Jo Steetle