web analytics
February 19, 2017 / 23 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Taking Care Of Grave Business

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

During the month of Elul, with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur looming ahead, our thoughts tend to become more attuned to the realities of life and death. We wonder whether the New Year will bring with it several mazel tovs and the blessings of good health, sound parnassah, shalom bayit and nachat. Or if we will be met with grim news from a doctor, a policeman, a boss, the school principal, or a lawyer.

During the Yomim Noraim, especially with the chanting of Netana Tokef, we will be starkly reminded of the fragility of our lives.  Our earthly continuation will be decided on an individual basis – who will live and who will die – and the manner of the petira. The davening lists so many ways in which a human being is vulnerable in terms of losing his life – illness, drowning, fire, starvation and dehydration, stoning (in our day I was told car crashes are the equivalent) – whether prematurely and violently or peacefully at a very old age.

Frankly, I never understood the reaction to a new year in the secular world. It is one of gratuitous celebration, all-night partying, excessive eating, getting nauseously drunk, and mindlessly cheering and embracing the upcoming year. The celebrants have no clue as to what lies ahead and, yet, they blindly welcome a year that might be a horrific one.

Sometimes, when I read about a young, healthy person dying in an unlikely manner – perhaps an avalanche while skiing, or a boating accident, or by a random bullet shot from a distance – I wonder if he/she would have partied so hard if there would have been a single thought that the year might bring with it irreversible loss, deep regret, soul-destroying guilt, or huge financial reversal. Would they instead have faced the new year in supplication and prayer, begging G-d to be merciful?

As tiring and draining as it is to be in shul for so many hours on Rosh Hashanah, and to fast and daven for seemingly endless hours on Yom Kippur, it is a gift from Hashem to  be able to petition Him in His celestial court.

From our end, however, no matter what Hashem in His wisdom decrees, we have to do our part to “very much watch over our souls.” In a recent column I stressed the need to teach life skills, like swimming. I was very dismayed when I read a recent article on a frum website that, “While bein hazmanim only began on Monday, 11 Menachem Av, there have already been 39 drownings reported in Israel since the beginning of May 2016 R”L.”

Being young, frum, healthy, and having “unfinished business” does not prevent the Malach HaMavet from doing his job.

But while it is a mitzvah to put on seatbelts, drive undistracted, wear life vests, eat healthy, exercise, and refrain from smoking or take drugs, since we do not know when we will go to the Next World, we should “watch over” those we leave behind by minimizing their burden at a time of extreme grief and distraction.

This can, to some extent, be achieved by having a will, letting your loved ones know where you are to be buried, and advising them of your assets and where to locate them.

This practical, but not so welcome thought forcefully came to mind a few weeks ago when I had a nasty fall while ice-skating in Texas. (Yes, Texas – if Israel has skating rinks, why shouldn’t Texas?)

Originally I wasn’t planning on skating – for me it was annoyingly expensive – I grew up surrounded by free public indoor and outdoor skating rinks.

But I thought my grandchildren would get a kick out of seeing the matriarch of the family glide like a youthful swan across the rink. Just because I’m a bubby doesn’t mean my athletic abilities have become rusty. And besides, how many “princesses,” besotted with the “Frozen” characters, get to see their grandmother be a graceful ice-queen (even though physically I resemble Olaf the snowman more than Elsa).

I was doing just fine when my skate got caught in a nick in the ice and I fell forward, very hard on my knee. I guess the blow knocked the wind out of me as I passed out on the bench where I sat, and must have slumped in a way that somehow obstructed my breathing. I was told that I didn’t have a pulse. I was totally unaware of my loss of consciousness and wondered why medics were hovering over me. I’m fine I told them. “I fell on my knee.” Why the fuss?

The medics checked me out and were reassured that, when asked, I knew the name of the president – although I was tempted to say, “Justin Trudeau.” And they also concluded that I was okay when I was steady enough to walk back and forth on my skates, something one young and fit-looking Texas EMS guy said was beyond his ability.

But what had transpired got me thinking. What if I had I hit my head and had a lethal injury or never resumed breathing and it was decreed that I go on to the Next World?

The truth is my kids would not know where to lay me to rest. While many people do have burial plots, or have indicated where they want to be buried, I suspect that there are people like myself who have no post-life real estate. I kind of joke that since I have nowhere to “go” when I “go,” I’m just going to have to live forever. Except that’s not what’s going to happen.

I do have a will, though. Having had thyroid cancer at age 39, it was prudent to create a legal document directing how my assets would be split and who would finish raising my teenage children.

It is crucial to have a will because it pretty much guarantees that your “will” will be honored and put into effect.  Otherwise, it can get messy with feuding relatives or even the government getting a portion of your monies. So many families have been shattered by parents who were in denial about their future demise, and postponed drawing up a will, leaving behind children and grandchildren hurt and furious at each other.

Cheryl Kupfer

Israeli Sports Technology Business Execs Showcase Products in America

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

A delegation of 13 Israeli companies traveled to New York and San Francisco last month to showcase their technology for the sports and advertising sectors.

The delegation met with sports teams, media giants and investors to show off their newest products. The technology included sensors for monitoring athletic performance, real-time video and replay analysis technology that combines with video games, communication channels between fans and brands, and other products.

The business leaders met with senior representatives of the NBA, the NFL, NHL and MLB, as well as various teams, global giants in sports media and investors who specialize in sports, according to government officials.

The trip was initiated by trade missions from the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry in New York and San Francisco, and the Israel Export Institute.

Hana Levi Julian

BOI Keeps Interest Rate Unchanged for September

Monday, August 29th, 2016

The Bank of Israel kept the interest rate unchanged at 0.1 percent for September, the governor announced Monday.

The decision came in light of an increase of 0.4 percent in the consumer price index in July, a bit higher than the 0.2 percent prediction by forecasters. Housing increased by 1.2 percent. The CPI has increased by 0.8 over the past 12 months.

There was, however, no significant change over the month in inflation expectations for the various ranges, according to the BOI report for August.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Money And Parenting: Why Money Is Your Children’s Business

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Why is that person asking us for money at the red light?
Shouldn’t we give our second home to someone who doesn’t have one?
Why don’t we have a second home?
Do you make less money than Daddy?
Are we poor?
Are people without nice clothes lazy?
Will we run out of money now that you have no job?


These questions and others were posted on The New York Times website by parents, and answered by Ron Leiber the author of the newspaper’s “Your Money” column. As Leiber points out his bestselling book The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, children often asks us these questions and we tell them that it’s none of their business.

Leiber disagrees: “We push our children’s money questions aside, sometimes telling them that their queries are impolite, or perhaps worrying that they will call out our own financial hypocrisy and errors. Sometimes we respond defensively and viscerally, barking back, ‘None of your business,’ unintentionally teaching our children that the topic is off limits despite its obvious importance. Others want to protect their children from a topic many of us find stressful or baffling: Can’t we keep them innocent of all of this money stuff for just a little bit longer? But shielding children from the realities of everyday financial life makes little sense anymore, given the responsibilities their generation will face…”

In reality, Leiber says, we do our children a disservice by not sharing our finances with them. They do not learn how to spend, save, or give to other people because we have not shared with them our methods and thoughts about these processes. Instead of shielding them from money issues, we force them into ignorance that will ultimately harm them later in life. Psychologist Madeline Levine argues a similar point in her book Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or “Fat Envelopes.” Levine says a society that is focused on chasing success (often financial) leads to children who lack self-esteem and experience themselves as failures.

This is of course the opposite of what the modern parenting movement is after – we want to raise happy, grounded, resilient children. And, according to Leiber and Levine, having open conversations about money is part of that parenting technique. Leiber suggests six steps for changing the conversations we have with children about money.

Give your children an allowance and ensure that they have a regular place to put it (a wallet, jar, or bank account are all fine). The amount of the allowance does not matter much. However, what is crucial is that the money is divided into three categories: Spend, Save, and Give. As grown-ups, we think about our money in this way, so it’s important to begin the conversation with our children. Explain to your child what percentage you spend on things the family needs (or wants), how much you save for the future, and how much you give to tzedakah. Your child can decide what percentage he or she would like to give, but making a decision and sticking to it is the first part of financial intelligence.

Family conversations. Don’t shut children out; tell them how you make financial decisions so that they can learn about tradeoffs. Maybe you just did a renovation, so that means you won’t be taking a vacation this year. Or, maybe the afterschool activity they are doing means that they have to choose a different summer camp to attend. Your income and expenses affect them and they can learn from being part of the conversation.

Draw a line between wants and needs. Explain why certain things are wants in your family, but might be needs in another and vice versa. This can help your children (and you) define exactly what things are most important to you.

Keep track of the spend, save, give tallies and have discussions after about how they feel. Maybe they wish they had spent less or maybe they were really happy with giving, but would prefer a different tzedakah next time. These conversations keep them accountable and teach them about smart spending.

Find someone you admire in terms of his or her spending, saving, and giving. Talk to him or her about the decisions he or she makes. How does he or she keep emotions in check around financial matters?

Don’t shy away from financial conversations in the future (but obviously keep the anxiety out of the conversation). In fact, keep the dialogue going in your household. In the long-term, your children will be better prepared for their financial futures.

On her end, Levine suggests a slightly different course. “There comes a point in parenting,” she writes, “where we must decide whether to maintain the status quo or, armed with new information, choose a different course. There is little question that our children are living in a world that is not simply oblivious to their needs, but is actually damaging them.” What Levine argues for is a reevaluation of our parenting techniques, ones that are not solely focused on success and finances, but are instead focused on empathy and self-esteem. Perhaps Leiber and Levine can work hand-in-hand, we can build empathy and self-esteem through transparency about our own successes and failures. Leiber would argue that we should start that conversation right now.

Rifka Schonfeld

eBay Acquires Israeli SalesPredict, Introducing Major Change in the Way Business Is Conducted [video]

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

On Friday, eBay, which has reported adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents on revenue of $2.1 billion in Q1, announced the completion of its acquisition of Israeli startup SalesPredict, which leverages advanced analytics to predict customer buying behavior and sales conversion. SalesPredict will support eBay’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts, and their deep expertise will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts.

Upon the close of the transaction, a number of SalesPredict’s employees will join eBay’s structured data organization, working from eBay’s Israeli Development Center in Netanya. SalesPredict Co-Founder and CEO Yaron Zakai-Or will serve as a Director of Product Management, Technology, and SalesPredict Co-Founder and CTO Kira Radinsky will be Director of Data Science & Chief Scientist, eBay Israel.

SalesPredict was co-founded in 2012 by Zakai-Or and Radinsky and its main investors include Yandex, AfterDox, Redline Capital, KGC Capital, and Pitango Venture Capital.

Dr. Kira Radinsky, who immigrated to Israel from Russia at age 4, says her passion “has always been, and always will be, predictions.” During her PhD studies and her work in Microsoft Research she was leading research in the field of Web Dynamics and Temporal Information Retrieval. She developed algorithms that “leverage web knowledge and dynamics to predict future events, that enable early warning of globally impactful events (e.g. riots or diseases) by spotting clues in past and present news reports.”

One of the best examples of Radinsky’s ability to predict future events was her warnings about violent riots in the Sudan during the Arab Spring. “We noticed a pattern that repeats in countries where the people are poor but the land is rich in resources—like the Sudan,” Radinsky told The Marker last week. “We noted that in such countries the canceling of state subsidies starts riots among students, and if the spiraling down isn’t stopped, things may end up in violent clashes.”

“At that time, when it was known that gas subsidies were being removed in the Sudan, our system had already issued an alert for a high chance of riots there. And, indeed, the riots began with student demonstrations, and turned into clashes with police and many protesters being hurt,” Radinsky continued. She said their system had also pointed to a similar pattern in Egypt, when bread subsidies were removed, but at the time there wasn’t enough data for the system to work with and it didn’t predict the downfall of President Mubarak.

“We lead the predictive marketing industry and strive to build the next generation business operating system,” Radinsky wrote on her Technion web page. “I am passionate about our vision of ‘Automatic Data Science’: an on-going effort to create a product that is completely automated without the need for an expert in the loop.”

“Today’s agreement to acquire SalesPredict builds upon our recently completed acquisition of Expertmaker, marking another milestone for eBay in our plans to apply world class learning approaches to building the world’s most comprehensive product catalog and pricing guide,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay. “SalesPredict’s deep expertise in predictive analytics and machine learning will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts. For our buyers, it will help us better understand the price differentiating attributes of our products, and, for our sellers, it will help us build out the predictive models that can define the probability of selling a given product, at a given price over time.

There are three key efforts that comprise eBay’s structured data initiative: collect the data; process and enrich the data; and create product experiences. SalesPredict will contribute to data processing and enrichment, specifically with respect to inventory insights.

“With more than 900 million listings on eBay, there is an enormous opportunity to extend our experience in machine learning and predictive analytics to help eBay identify important product attributes that can affect the price of a product,” said Yaron Zakai-Or. “In partnership with eBay’s broader structured data team, we will help arm eBay sellers with more information about the value of items, ultimately helping to increase customer sales conversions.”

“As a data scientist at heart, I’ve always been interested in exploring the myriad ways we can leverage data to predict future high impact events,” said Kira Radinsky. “In founding SalesPredict, our vision was to bring about a major change in how business is conducted by unifying micro- and macro-economic predictions. Today, this vision has yielded state-of-the-art automated data science capabilities. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these capabilities to eBay’s community and ecosystem.”


Temech: Networking And Business Tactics In Jerusalem

Friday, July 15th, 2016

In real estate it’s location, location, location – in business it’s networking, networking, networking. This is always one of the most important aspects of the annual Temech Conference for Entrepreneurs, held recently at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.

If you want to see if the message has sunk in, take a look around the spacious dining room at lunch time. There are plenty of women who have come to eat and relax and chat with old friends – and who could blame them after an exhausting morning of lectures?

But there are also those who deliberately seat themselves at empty tables and wait to be joined by total strangers. Then they will introduce themselves, as do the women joining them and friendly conversation will follow. Sarah G., a marriage counselor and therapist, has found that lunch time can be one of the best times to network. People are relaxed and you have fifteen to twenty minutes together. More than once she has received a phone call a few days later from someone who starts off with “Remember me, we had lunch together at the Ramada conference.”

But Temech has to be praised for its official methods of networking as well. Every year the organizers find several new ways to get the 700 businesswomen to mix and meet in a framework that is comfortable for them. Networking isn’t just about finding customers, it’s also about finding new friends in your own field, people to share experiences, successes, problems and tips and tricks to improve your work.

Shaindy Babad, Temech’s CEO, explained that they intend to keep the number of participants at a maximum of 700 as it was this year, “so that it’s easier for everyone to meet and interact with each other.” Temech originally started out as an English-language event, but inevitably, the news about its success spread and Hebrew-speaking businesswomen, of which there are far more in Jerusalem, wanted to be a part of the conference as well. “Now,” says Shaindy, “there are twice as many Hebrew speakers as there are English at the conference, but in our networking sessions we encourage everyone to mix and meet.”

Lectures and workshops are provided in both languages. The lectures are all of the highest caliber, with each lecturer a successful expert in his or her field. They give practical hands-on advice and tips to help others replicate their success.

Emma Butin, founder of the Kyron award-winning software company, emphasized the importance of being able to define in one sentence, the DNA, as she called it, of one’s company. “What is the best value I can offer my client? What makes it different from others in that field?”

When you try and diversify too much, you dilute your chance of success. She used the example of Google, whose DNA she defined as “arranging information in the world” and when it stuck to that, it was unbelievably successful, while some of the other ideas the company tried amounted to nothing.

Danna Hochstein Mann, who mentors many startups and helps them obtain venture capital, gave some tips for managing a company successfully and communicating with your employees. Be honest and open with your co-workers. Learn to delegate work and, contrary to the popular idea of everyone having to multi-task, sometimes you have to learn to uni-task to complete something successfully and let someone else take over another aspect.

Rabbi Yosef Levy explained that without a large email list your sales potential is limited. One way to build your email list is by offering something simple but of value to potential clients who visit your website. In exchange for their email address you send them a booklet of tips in your field – choosing a career, caring for furniture or making the most of social media.

Ann Goldberg

Israel’s BIG Shopping Centers to Develop Online Mall for E-Shoppers

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The owners of the BIG Shopping Centers have seen the future and it is online, apparently – at least, according to corporate vice president Hay Galis.

“We intend to stand on the shoulders of giants and we believe in Israel we can be as strong as they are, as we offer a physical, financial and marketable platform that will be a significant player in e-commerce,” Galis told the Globes business news site.

BIG announced its new online shopping platform will be called BIG+ and will offer the various items available at its current malls. However, it will also offer international brands not currently sold to Israeli consumers.

The virtual mall expects to launch at the start of next year, and will make available a myriad selection of brands and retailers both from Israel and abroad.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israels-big-shopping-centers-to-develop-online-mall-for-e-shoppers/2016/05/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: