Chabad Intown has become the center of Jewish life for many Atlantans. It reaches the community with a wide variety of services and programs. One offering that has had a powerful influence is Chabad Intown’s Jewish Business Network (JBN).
JBN regularly hosts events featuring great kosher food, networking opportunities and speakers who provide ideas to empower Jewish businessmen and women for success.
“There is a community of people looking to further their careers and professions. JBN offers opportunities for people to connect with one another. This in turn strengthens the Jewish community and the larger community,” says Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, Chabad Intown director.
Such an opportunity appeals to Pia Koslow, a 43-year-old family law attorney who is a JBN regular.
Worth Your Time As a Professional
“What impresses me so much about JBN,” she says, “is the thought that is put into the speakers, the programs and the timing. It’s never going to be someone average, but instead someone with a different perspective who offers a strong takeaway. As a result, Chabad Intown brings together a solid group of professionals. That’s what you’re looking for as a professional when taking time to go to an event.”
The working mother also appreciates the quality cuisine and tasteful space that Schusterman and his wife, Dena, have created with Chabad Intown’s new 21,000-square-foot brick abutting the BeltLine in Midtown.
Each event begins with a Torah teaching. It may be discussion around the week’s Torah portion or the theme of the evening, taking the opportunity to help JBN participants strengthen their Jewish identity at the same time as their careers.
Koslow appreciates being able to learn something valuable while she’s networking.
Blair Rothstein, a 42-year-old investment advisor, echoes these sentiments. One of his favorite JBN events featured financial advisor Doug Ross, Atlanta Chair of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The two men have continued to nurture a business relationship over breakfast get-togethers.
Rothstein and his wife, Lisa, connect with Chabad Intown in other parts of their lives, including community Shabbat dinners. Their three children have attended Intown Jewish Preschool (IJP), and the now the Intown Hebrew School.
Kindling the Jewish Spark into Family
“I credit IJP for creating that initial Jewish community for Lisa and myself. They did a good job rekindling that Jewish spark so that we wanted to have a Jewish family with Jewish values,” Rothstein says.
Rabbi Schusterman would refer to this phenomenon as the “ecosystem” of Chabad Intown. He and Dena, colleagues Rabbi Ari and Leah Sollish, directors of the popular Intown Jewish Academy, Rabbi Chaim Aaron and Chava Green, directors of the YJP Young Jewish Professionals, and soon Rabbi Leivy and Shelbelle Lapidus, have created a smorgasbord of offerings that meet people where they are in life. This includes religious services, early childhood education, adult education classes and programs with snappy titles like “The Chasidic Role in the Feminist Revolution” and “Jewish Secrets of the Supernatural” and a recent Jewish art exhibit entitled “Confluence.”
Sandrine Simons, 48, also connects with Chabad Intown, which enhances many areas of her life. A global airline business development manager, she has participated in JBN events like a recent networking dinner featuring Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of a digital marketing agency in Brooklyn. He spoke on “15 Minutes or Less: Three Ways to Generate ROI on LinkedIn.”
Simons learned new perspectives in marketing in the fast-growing digital world. “I also brought my son to the JBN program. He is a junior at Grady High School studying marketing and is a young entrepreneur himself. He was able to network after the presentation with the speaker.”
For mom, JBN means a pleasant night catching up with friends in a business environment, the opportunity to meet new Jewish professionals and share delicious food.
The Welcome Mat Is Always Out
Her go-to Chabad Intown programs include Torah and Kabbalah classes, Shabbat and holiday services and Rosh Chodesh events.
“Everything here feels very spiritual to me, and one always feels welcome,” Simons reports.
“I feel that Chabad is not judgmental. They are just happy that you are interested in learning more and want to be engaged. Some people feel like they need to go to the gym every day. Chabad provides me with this great balance in my life and keeps me grounded in a fast-paced world.”
For others interested in building their networking muscles, JBN promises a full line-up of signature events from a real estate symposium to an annual business breakfast.
It’s all part of Chabad Intown’s commitment to serve as a center for Jewish life by providing broad programming that appeals to a diverse crowd.
The community is invited to support a $12.5 million building campaign called Vision 2020, to help Chabad Intown complete the purchase of its new facility on the BeltLine at 730 Ponce de Leon Place. The vision calls for a multipurpose community center with classrooms, kitchen, offices, co-working spaces, café, arts and makers room, young adult and teen lounge, playground and more. Funds raised also will cover the construction of a new Intown Jewish Preschool building nearby.
Be a part of it! Visit www.buildingintown.com or e-mail Rabbi Schusterman at email@example.com to learn how Vision 2020 will benefit JBN, the many other Chabad Intown programs and Atlanta’s Jewish community.
(NOTE: This article was prepared before the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, shutdown. Chabad Intown is exploring other ways to provide JBN offerings during this time. Meanwhile, please check out Intown Jewish Academy Live!, www.intownjewishacademy.org/live, for weekly classes on Torah, kabbalah, Passover, cooking and more.)