When I heard that Allison Josephs of JewintheCity.com had produced a video entitled “Orthodox Jewish All Stars”, I had no idea what to expect. The truth is, it exceeded my expectations as did the all-star launch party that I attended that evening.
When I started to transition my 24/7 lifestyle to a 24/6 way of living, my friends and family thought I was not all there. They thought I was going through an early, mid-life crisis. How could I not go out with a bunch of friends to a restaurant on the busiest night of the week in a major city? What they did not know is that I had met some really incredible friends that had also transitioned their lives. They now kept Shabbat, ate only kosher food, and wore skirts (the men did not wear skirts but they did wear a kippah). Back then, there was no Jewinthecity.com to show that being an Observant Jew was cool. The stereotypes about Orthodox Jews were alive and well. The only way I could clear up any misconceptions was to introduce them to my friends who had also become more observant (an Orthodox Jew). We did not give up going out on a Friday night, we turned it into a celebration of Shabbat.
This year, I celebrated the 6th Night of Chanukah alongside a crowd of savvy and sophisticated group of Orthodox Jews at the “Orthodox Jewish All Stars” video launch party in NYC. Allison Josephs is the founder and creator of Jewinthecity.com, a website and social media platform founded and directed by Josephs that breaks down stereotypes about religious Jews and offers a meaningful look into Orthodox Judaism through articles, and videos. A miracle has truly happened in that her work has made a difference in the perception of Orthodox Jews by both Jews and non-Jews.
I originally interviewed Allison Josephs about her popular website, Jew in the City, back in June 2009. The sound quality was not so good, but I am proud to know that I was able to schedule this interview with Allison Josephs back then. You can listen to it here:
Fast forward almost 5 years later, and I was able to celebrate the tremendous growth and success Allison Josephs has experienced since then. This is no surprise, as Allison Josephs is an award-winning Jewish influencer, author, and inspirational speaker. She is also a mensch and as nice as she was when I first met her.
The evening was a lovely celebration, complete with all of the Chanukah fixings; a Latke Bar and Donut Dessert Bar by Michicas Caterers and wine tasting sponsored by Royal Wine. Other highlights of the evening included Dimitry Salita (professional boxer) thanking Allison for all her hard work improving stereotypes in the Orthodox Jewish Community and the Maccabeats lighting the Chanukah Menorah and singing the blessings. Amazing.
The complete list of “Orthodox Jewish All Stars” in the video includes basketball star Tamir Goodman, former HBO senior writer/producer Jamie Geller, YouTube a capella sensation The Maccabeats, former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk and founder of non-profit breast cancer support group Rochelle Shoretz, comedian Mendy Pellin, and Rhodes scholar Miriam Rosenbaum. This video included some of the many “Orthodox Jewish All Stars,” including; Joseph Lieberman (US Senator), Alex Clare (Top 10 Billboard Artist), and Faye Kellerman (best-selling author).
In order to make such a fantastic event even more spectacular, a team of talented “local Jewish All Stars” contributed and made this quite the party. Something else that I really loved about this event is that Gift of Life was there. I was so happy to get “swabbed” and I am now officially in the bone marrow match registry!
I look forward to seeing what’s next for Allison Josephs of JewintheCity.com. You can view the “Orthodox Jewish All-Stars” video on her website, JewintheCity.com. With a mix of light humor and rich content, Jew in the City explores these topics in a pleasant and easy to understand fashion, appealing to anyone who is curious to learn more about Orthodox Jews and observant Judaism, whether Jewish or not.
Additionally, Allison Josephs is the spiritual mentor to actress Mayim Bialik, and was named one of NJOP’s Top Ten Jewish Influencers in 2012. She is often quoted in the media on issues relating to Jewish life and observance, lectures widely across North America, has been featured in The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and Yahoo News, among many other publications, and has written articles for the Jewish Press and The Forward, among other publications. Josephs, who is married with four children, has been involved in the field of Jewish education and outreach for over a dozen years, and received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in Philosophy.
So, if you feel inspired and want to start keeping kosher, spending Friday night at a Shabbat meal, or even dressing more modestly, you can see that you are in very good company!