Tag Archives: Yeshiva University

Jew of the Week: Rebbetzin Henny Machlis

Rebbetzin Henny Machlis (Photo Credit: Joan Roth)

Rebbetzin Henny Machlis (Photo Credit: Joan Roth)

Henny Machlis (1957-2015) was born and raised in Brooklyn, the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi. She studied genetics, dietetics, and education at both Brooklyn College and Yeshiva University. Shortly after marrying Rabbi Mordechai Machlis, the two opened up their home to host people for Sabbath meals. Their inspiring words of wisdom and delicious cooking brought more and more guests. Soon, the Machlis family was hosting between 200 and 300 guests for Shabbat meals each week! Among their guests were students, immigrants, and tourists, widows and orphans, the impoverished, homeless, and mentally ill. Many of these slept over for days or weeks, on their couches, tables, and even in their van. Rebbetzin Machlis would cook for 8 hours straight to prepare for each Shabbat, with the help of her 13 kids. Cleaning up would often take until Tuesday. Each Shabbat cost the family $2500, some of which was covered by donations, but most came from their own modest funds, together with many loans, and even the sale of their personal belongings. Amazingly, the family only took off one week a year, during the holiday of Passover. Their door was never locked, and people regularly came in for a safe place to stay. At the same time, the Rebbetzin taught a regular women’s class on Jewish philosophy, while mentoring and advising countless others. Despite her hard work, Machlis was famous for always being cheerful, calm, warm, and modest. Over the past 36 years, her family has hosted over 400,000 people. Sadly, Rebbetzin Machlis passed away last month after a battle with cancer. Many visited her in the hospital, and even there, the Rebbetzin continued her kindness, giving up her own hospital bed to give homeless people a place to rest. At her funeral, a stranger pushed aside her son to draw nearer, saying “I have to get closer. She’s my mother.” Indeed, many consider Henny Machlis their spiritual mother. One person said of her: “When I was with her, I felt embraced by God.” Click here to read more about Henny Machlis’s story.

Words of the Week

Wisdom from Rebbetzin Machlis:

“All giving is a little bit of imitating God. Giving builds one’s character, and makes one more God-like.”

“Rebbe Nachman of Breslov says that when you cook, the energy that you cook with goes into the food. So if you cook with a lot of anger, you can give people food poisoning. But if you cook with joy, you can give them good health.”

“We are living in the midst of a spiritual holocaust. Most Jews today have no idea of the beauty and depth of Judaism. How can we not do everything in our power, including going into debt, to reach out to our fellow Jews?”

Jew of the Week: Ahmed Zayat

Ahmed Zayat holding the trophy at the 2015 Preakness Stakes

Ahmed Zayat holding the trophy at the 2015 Preakness Stakes

Ephraim Ahmed Zayat (b. 1962) was born in Cairo to a wealthy Orthodox Jewish-Egyptian family. His father was Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s personal doctor. Zayat studied in the US at Yeshiva University, and then at Boston University, where he got his Master’s in business and health. He then spent some time as a real estate investor in New York (working for past Jew of the Week Zev Wolfson), before returning to Egypt to run Al-Ahram Beverages. Zayat turned the company into a huge success, particularly through its popular alcohol-free halal beer catered to the Muslim world. He sold Al-Ahram to Heineken in 2002 for triple the original price, making it the largest buyout in Egypt’s history. Zayat then turned his attention to horse racing. He first learned to ride horses as a child growing up in Egypt, and had competed in various show jumping tournaments, winning a couple of national titles. Zayat soon started his new company, Zayat Stables, to breed his own race horses. His horses have gone on to win two dozen prestigious competitions. At one point, he was America’s number one race horse owner. Most recently, his horse American Pharoah made history by winning the Triple Crown – one of just 12 horses to do so, and the first since 1978. Before the final race, Zayat had American Pharoah’s jockey Victor Espinoza visit the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to pray for success. Zayat still has big investments all over the world, including being the main shareholder in Egypt’s largest glass container manufacturer. He is also a noted philanthropist, donating large sums to various important causes, including Jewish schools.

Words of the Week

From the time that God said to our forefather Abraham, “Go from your land…” and “Abraham went on, journeying southward,” began the process of birurim – of extracting the sparks of holiness that are scattered throughout the universe and buried within the material existence… By Divine providence, a person wanders about in his travels to those places where the sparks that are to be extracted by him await their redemption…
– Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch

Jew of the Week: Jack Goldman

Jacob Goldman (Photo Credit: Joyce Dopkeen, The New York Times)

Jacob Goldman (Photo Credit: Joyce Dopkeen, The New York Times)

Jacob E. Goldman (1921-2011) was born in Brooklyn to Jewish-Russian immigrants. He studied at both Yeshiva University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he got his Ph.D in physics. After brief stints working for Westinghouse and as a teacher for Carnegie Tech, he joined the Ford Motor Company’s Scientific Research Laboratory, where he helped to develop the sodium-sulfur battery for electric cars and large-scale energy storage, among many other things. Rising through the ranks, he soon became head of the department, and the first Jew to be an executive at the formerly anti-Semitic Ford Company. In the 1960s, Goldman was brought to Xerox to head its new computing division, and serve as chief scientist and technical officer. At the time, the computer industry was just getting underway, and Goldman convinced the authorities at Xerox to start a new research facility on the West Coast, near Stanford University, where they would be able to recruit young talent. For a while, the New-York based Xerox was reluctant to open up a new lab so far away, but eventually gave Goldman a chance. Teaming up with fellow physicist George Pake, the two opened up the Palo Alto Research Center, better known as PARC, in 1970. This lab would go on to completely revolutionize the digital world and the computer industry. PARC scientists, under the visionary leadership of Goldman and Pake, developed the laser printer, Ethernet, and most importantly, the first personal computer, as well as the first computer to have a graphical user interface (GUI) with an easy to use “desktop”. The concept of windows, folders, and icons that are operated by a computer mouse was also developed at PARC, as were the basics for LCD screens and optical discs. Interestingly, one of the few people who got a tour of PARC was a young Steve Jobs, who was so inspired by what he so that he went on to found Apple, drawing on most of PARC’s technologies for his own designs. Ultimately, it was Apple and Microsoft that took advantage of PARC’s advancements, as Xerox failed to support Goldman in commercializing those technologies. Nonetheless, Goldman is considered a key figure in transforming computers from massive industrial calculators to personal interactive tools used by the public.

Words of the Week

Jews have tended to prefer the power of ideas to the idea of power.
– Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks