Hi, I’m Allison Josephs

People call me “Jew in the City,” but Jew in the City is so much more than one person!

Our Mission

“Backwards, extreme, judgmental, sexist.” These are the words that too often come to mind when people think of Orthodox Jews and Judaism. Scandals that reinforce these associations hit the papers all too often. Popular culture, including movies, books, and TV shows repeat these negative ideas about religious Jewish people and their lifestyles. Public opinion is at best uneducated about Orthodox Jews and Judaism, and at worst, intolerant of them and their philosophy.

Even more troubling, there is a sizable minority of people who were raised Orthodox but had bad experiences (due to unhealthy upbringings and poor education) who feel just as negative as the critics from without. Their experiences are covered by the media frequently, further solidifying the public’s negative perception of Orthodox Jews. Members of this community reached out to us in 2014 asking us to help them actualize the kind of Orthodoxy they see on Jew in the City, which led to our launching Project Makom.

This is the battle our organization, a 501(c)3, has been fighting since 2007. Jew in the City reverses negative associations about religious Jews by highlighting an approach based on kindness, tolerance, sincerity, and critical thinking and makes engaging and meaningful Orthodox Judaism known and accessible. Jew in the City is reshaping the way the world views Orthodox Jews and Judaism. Our team publicizes the message that Orthodox Jews can be funny, approachable, educated, pro-women and open-minded—and that Orthodox Judaism links the Jewish people to a deep and beautiful heritage that is just as relevant today as it ever was.

To read about the impact Jew in the City is having on our readers, click here for our testimonials page.

Our Team

Allison Josephs

Founder/Director, JITC

Allison Josephs has been involved in the field of Jewish Outreach for over fifteen years, working at Partners in Torah, Sinai Retreats, and NCSY, and is the Partner in Torah mentor to actress Mayim Bialik. She was named one of NJOP’s Top Ten Jewish Influencers in 2012 and was one of the Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 in 2013. Allison has been quoted or written about in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and Yahoo News.

Allison has appeared on numerous television and radio networks including CBS, TLC, The Hallmark Channel, HuffPost Live, Associate Press TV, and NPR; her articles have appeared in numerous publications including the anthology Like Water on a Rock, The Washington Times, Kveller, and The Forward. She is a sought-after international lecturer whose corporate clients include Con-Edison and NYU Langone and hosts a weekly radio show on the Nachum Segal Network. She received her Bachelor in Arts from Columbia University in Philosophy and lives with her husband and four children minutes from the George Washington Bridge.

Ami Feinstein

Chief Operating Officer

Ami Feinstein comes to the role of Chief Operating Officer for Jew In The City with a background in Advertising and Project Management. She has worked as a consultant in social media, event planning, detail administration and promotions. With a B.A. in Communications from Boston University, she started her career at ad agencies such as Young & Rubicam and BBDO on accounts like Colgate-Palmolive, Cingular Wireless, Pepsi and more. Her expertise is streamlining processes and procedures and helping all of the gears of an organization work in proper order. She happily wears many hats in her role as COO, being involved in many aspects of Jew In The City and Project Makom, including operations, marketing, production and programming. Ami is passionate about all that she does, especially being a mom and a wife. She lives with her husband and kids in Clifton, NJ.

Sara Levine

Editor-in-Chief

A former Hollywood script editor, Jerusalem event planner, non-profit fundraiser and professional blogger, Sara Levine is an accomplished writer and editor. After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, her first screenplay was well-received by story executives at major studios. As a journalist, her articles have been published internationally in popular magazines and websites. With over 18 years experience as a story consultant, her notes and critiques on novels and scripts have been used to select and improve material by top studios, networks, agencies and writers in Hollywood and beyond. She is currently at work on her first novel.

Elie Gabor

Director of Video/Photography

Elie is the Creative Director and owner of Elie Creative LLC. With a dual degree in film and photography from The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and over 18 years of photography and video production experience behind him, Elie has produced work for numerous corporations, non-profits and schools, including NBC, Hilton, Yeshiva University, The Maccabeats, and many more. Elie also enjoys creating stories from precious moments in people’s lives. Working with Jew in the City allows Elie to express his creative side and have a little fun with it. Action!

Seth Feldman

Director of Branded Content

Seth is a three-time Emmy-award winning television producer and a pioneer of Branded Entertainment and native video advertising. His expertise is developing, producing and disributing branded video content for broadcast, cable and digital distribution. Most recently he was Vice President of Branded Entertainment & Program Development at Meredith Video Studios, where he created The Better Show, which now airs on over 150 television stations Seth has developed close to 200 branded video programs for top tier brands including Kraft, KMART, Lowes, Wal-Mart, State Farm, P&G, Graco, Sears Kenmore, General Mills, Arm & Hammer, Purina & Chase. All told, he has 18 years of experience in news, reality, scripted and lifestyle programming. He has worked under some of the biggest names in television including Barry Diller and Mark Burnett.

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Educational Correspondent

Jack Abramowitz is the editor of OU Torah www.ou.org/torah. Among the many educational initiatives he has created over the years are the Orthodox Union’s Nach Yomi – a daily chapter of study followed by thousands worldwide – and NCSY’s “Torah on One Foot” series. He is the author of six books, including The Tzniyus Book and The Taryag Companion. For more Q&A, follow his new video series, Ask Rabbi Jack, on YouTube.

Chaya Teitelbaum

Graphic Designer

Chaya is the founder and creative director of Teitel Creative. With close to 10 years of experience in design and marketing Chaya combines her knowledge, inspiration and keen eye for detail to provide custom design solutions along with the highest levels of customer service in the industry. Chaya’s obsession with logo design and deep understanding of branding and identity development makes her the go-to designer for any startup

Chanie Waxler

Event Committee Chair

Chanie Waxler is the founder and CEO of Buds Designs, a full service, upscale wedding and event planning company. Chanie joined the JITC team in 2013 and has put her unique touch on the five Orthodox Jewish All Star events since then. Chanie’s attention to detail and cutting-edge style has enhanced not only events, but shabbatons and mailings as well. Chanie was born, bred, and continues to live in Borough Park.

Jackie Shamir

Intern

Jackie was raised in a traditional Jewish home, and during her teenage years she got involved with NCSY and discovered the meaning that authentic Judaism has to offer. She was blessed to learn from incredible people who helped her determine what role she wanted Judaism to play in her life, and after spending two years at a seminary in Israel, she received a Bachelor of Arts and began working for her family business. Jackie aspires to give back what was given to her all those years ago, and to help others see how Judaism and the values it encompasses can enhance their lives.

Our Board

Our Advisory Board

Joyce Azria

Board Member

Joyce Azria is the founder and CEO of Aven Les Filles which debuted its apparel collection to 155 Macy’s stores in February. Prior to that, she was the Creative Director of BCBGeneration. In her five years leading the company, she took it to over a quarter billion dollars and brought it to over two hundred locations–spanning twenty-nine states. They partnered with Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Dillard’s.

Mike Sweica

Board Member

Mike Swieca helps manage alternative investments at Talpion Fund Management, a private investment firm based in NYC. He has a BA in Middle Eastern & Asian History from Northwestern University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is also on the board of his family’s philanthropic foundation which supports a number of Jewish and Israel related causes.

Sarah Hofstetter

Board Member

Sarah Hofstetter is the president of Profitero. Before that she was the president of Comscore and the Global CEO of 360i, a firm which was named No. 2 on Ad Age’s Agency A-List as well as Mashable’s best Digital Agency of 2013. Her clients included Coca-Cola, Ben and Jerry’s, Oreo, Verizon and HBO. Hofstetter has won numerous industry honors, including being named to Ad Age’s “40 Under 40” for 2013 and CableFAX’s Digital Hot List. She has been honored as a “Social Media All-Star” by the Social Media Society and as one 2012’s Female Advertising Executives of the Year at The Stevie Awards.

Testimonials

People are learning and becoming observant due to Jew in the City.

I grew up in Atlanta and attended Yeshiva Atlanta for high school. I came from a relatively religious family, but I knew that I wanted something more, I always felt like something was missing. One day while sitting in class we discovered your youtube videos and they did amazing things for us. We used to sit there (while we were supposed to be learning Nach) and watch them, they truly opened up a world for me that I hadn’t really ever experienced and showed me what I could aspire to. Thanks to you, our parents, and many, many other positive Jewish leaders in our lives, 9 out of 14 girls in my grade ended up attending amazing Seminaries in Israel – schools that had been unheard of before in the Atlanta Jewish community. I just wanted to let you know what an impact you had on my community before you ever got there (I graduated a few years ago) and how happy I am and how much hope I have for the future generations now that you are actually visiting. Please continue to do the incredible and life changing things that you do and please realize how much you can affect one small Jewish school for the better.

C.F.

I have to tell you something about your video about headcovering–my husband and I had decided that we wanted to move towards more observance, but hadn’t really taken any big steps. And then I saw your video and it made such perfect sense; I started covering my hair full-time, and that one mitzvah has snowballed to tzniut, Shabbat, taharat hamishpacha, having a kosher kitchen. And it all started with your video and covering my hair so that it would be only for my husband.

Michelle

I love your site. You have deeply affected my life and helped me become more observant. Thank you so much. I can’t wait until your next episode!

Jaclyn S.

The road to JITC has been an incredible one. I was raised in a non-kosher, conservative jewish home as a “3 day” Jew. I thank you for rekindling my faith, as I have become more observant, daven with tefillin, and now practice regularly!

Anon

After seeing your Shabbat video I was very inspired to keep observing today, instead of skipping a day and then two and so on…it’s not an easy process, so thanks! 🙂

Galit

Honestly you have changed the way I look at Orthodox people, I used to think they were so much different, weirdly enough ! And I kinda secretly (like no one knows this) but I feel like I’d want to be more religious when grow up.

R

“Whew! You have really opened my eyes to a lot. I am actually going to start studying with my local rebbetzin. Much of that has to do with you.”

Barri

Your blog has such value. You are a huge positive influence for me becoming observant. You make it accessible.

Hannah

I’m fifteen years old and about 6 months ago I was online and I was searching along the lines of what Judaism is about. I was raised reform so I knew nothing really about Judaism. Anyways, I came across JITC thanks to Hashem, and I stayed up all night watched all of them went on your website, etc. I was starting to get really interested in our faith and realized how extremely beautiful it is and how finding G-d can change your life. I just started on my spiritual journey, and my life has changed so much. I go to a secular school, live in a non-kosher home, I keep shabbos by myself, been starting to dress modestly. My family is noticing a change and I think they think I am someone who is weird and has lost their mind, when really I am just a girl who is finally happy because I found purpose to life. Thank you for all you do, its amazing.

Sarah

I am very thankful you have made this information available. I am trying to determine where I belong and the direction of my life. In seeking a more connected life with Judaism I keep looking for ways to understand it and make it relevant in my life when for so long is has not been. Your journey is helping me start my journey in my search for a connection.

D. L.

Dear Jew In the City, Thank you for your videos. They are fantastic. I went to the synagogue for the first time in my life last evening for Shabbat, and it was fantastic. I’m going to continue to go, and practice the faith of my forefathers. Thank you for educating me and making me laugh with your videos!

R. M.

I just found your site and am now on your mailing list. I am so excited after reading some of your articles and watching a few videos to get started in my path to becoming more observant. I am going to put in a call into our AISH rabbi’s wife to come and help me to having a kosher kitchen. Thank you so much. I hope some day you will come to Minneapolis

M. N.

Thank you for your posts and your blog. Your writings have had a big influence on me becoming more observant, including keeping Shabbat and me going to Mikvah. These have added meaning to the lives of me and my family. Thank you!

Kelsi

About two years ago, one of my friends told me about Jew in the City, and it has truly changed my life. I’ve read many of her blogposts, seen her videos and was in awe. Jew in the City was one of the people who inspired me to become more religious. She sparked my love for Judaism and created a new perspective of what it meant to walk with Hashem. Since the first time I saw a Jew in the City’s video (the one about Olam Ha’ba), I now go to an Orthodox shul, daven Shacharit daily, keep Shabbos, tsniut, and Kol Isha, and am working on becoming shomer negiah. Because of Jew in the City’s enlightenment, I will G-d willing be going to seminary next year. I would’ve never been inspired to become a ba’alat teshuva without Jew in the City. Thank you, Jew in the City, for changing my life.

R. L.

People's perception about Orthodox Jews and Judaism are changing

As a Reform Jew, I am not a shamed to admit *I* need to see videos like this that give me a deeper view into Orthodox Judaism.

T. L.

As a Jew myself.. I am guilty of assuming the stereotypes of the Orthodox community. Very enlightening! I think a lot of people.. even myself ..thought of the orthodox community as being very seclusive.

R. Z.

You’re the best!! You’ve really shown me an alternative look into a different side of my own people that I was very ignorant about before!

Anon

just watched all your videos in a row… I love them! I love JITC! It has me thinking about orthodox judaism in a whole new way and I’m eager to learn more. Thanks for your amazing work! I didn’t know there was so much beauty.

A. M.

Non-observant family members are better understanding and accepting the ba’alei teshuva in their family due to Jew in the City.

I love Jew In The City!!! I’m a senior college student with a secular family and a very religious sister. I’ve been sending JITC episodes to my dad and aunt to help them better understand my sister’s Jewish decision. Thanks for tackling things that can be really tough to explain!

Mary

I am so happy I found JITC, not only is it hilarious, it has also sincerely strengthened the relationship between me and my mother. I have recently become observant. Its been difficult to explain to my parents why I love Judaism & why I choose to follow certain laws now, however, JITC has been a great medium of explaining the Jewish faith that we never truly understood. JITC, you’re doing a great mitzvah!

Will

Don’t tell my ba’al teshuva sister that I watch your videos to try to understand her better, it might give her a big head 😉 haha

Tammy

Those who left observance are being encouraged to re-examine Orthodoxy due to Jew in the City.

I tend to have a hard time hearing ‘the laws’ and the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’..but I have to say, your wit and humor in getting these messages across got me listening..I watched every video on Youtube and immensely enjoyed each one. Looking forward to more of your stuff..thanks for doing the ‘Work’ you are doing; Jew in the City… is definitely on to something BIG. 🙂

Mindy

I’m a formerly Orthodox person who is now sorta…nothing and seeing your videos does make me more open to Shabbos dinners with family and trying to keep kosher again. Keep up the great work!

Elke

Being off the derech (having left the fold) i have my own issues with orthodoxy, but i very much appreciate what you are doing… just wanted you to know even our OTD community thinks youre pretty great…ill be honest, there have been posts that made me rethink my inobservance.

R. S

The observant are getting strengthened to continue observing due to Jew in the City.

Love your videos (especially the one about hair covering) – can’t wait for more! I often feel like a fish out of water covering my hair here in a city where there are only a few frum families – your video gave me chizuk to continue!

Elisheva

I wanted to thank you for all the support you have given me recently. I used to be ashamed of the fact that I had to wear a kippa and tzitzit, and having to keep kosher and shabbos, and pretty most all things that would hold me back from excelling in my career. Because of your awesome website, especially the All-Star Video, I have realized that being orthodox in no way will hold me back from my carrer, but actually helps it. It has given me so much inspiration, both in regards to my career and my religious observance. If there is anything that I can do to help the awesome cause of Jew in the City, please don’t hesitate to ask. It would be an honor to give back to all the inspiration you have given me. Forever Grateful

Y. S.

Non-Jews are better understanding and appreciating Orthodox Jews and Judaism due to Jew in the City

I’m a Christian… I love JITC because it helps me to learn more about a culture I know basically nothing about. I’m a college student and, in part because of the curiosity about other faiths that your work instilled in me, I’m a religious studies minor. I want you to know that you are making a difference not only in the lives of Jews, but in the lives of gentiles as well.

Anon

Just wanted to thank you for sharing your light through your `{`YouTube`}` channel. I was going through a few rough patches in life, but your videos really helped me to get through them and in the process they helped me to develop on my own spiritual path. As a Sikh I saw that so many of the concepts transferred between our faiths (ie. covering our heads, etc.). Anyway, just wanted to thank you and wish you and your family a very blessed Chanukah. Keep that light shining! God knows we need all the light we can get.

M. S.

Hey I really enjoy watching your Videos. I’m Christian (not really religious though) and I live in Switzerland where most of the jews are ultraorthodox so they appear a little odd to Christians at first sight… But watching your blog brought me a whole diffrent perspective. Most of the Mizwas that appeared pretty silly to me made actually a lot of sense after your explanation… Thanks for opening up my mind! Keep up with the good work!

L. N.

I live near a large Hasidic Jewish community and have had a lot of questions and misjudgments about them. I just love watching your videos because they help answer my questions! God bless!

Molly

I am from a different world, a different religion, and when I say different, I mean it… I am an Arab, a Muslim who totally respects you and admires you and I mean it with all my heart. You are in a quest to break down stereotypes… and no matter how each of our backgrounds fear the other and view each other as the bad people, I am here to tell you, you have made me understand more and respect more.

Your Fan

from Kuwait

Hey Jew in the City, I am a 21 year old, Christian girl, from Canada! I just wanted to thank you for writing such wonderful articles! I enjoy reading about your devotion and commitment to your faith! I may not be Jewish, but seeing your faith has encouraged me in areas of modesty, reverence, and boldness in my own faith journey. God Bless 🙂

Rachel

Awards

Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 in 2013

NJOP’s Top Ten Jewish Influencers in 2012

ROI Community Member

Rabbinic Approval

Allison Josephs, founder and director of Jew in the City, has an unusual gift of an ability to explain and clarify Torah concepts analytically yet humorously, genuinely yet non- threateningly, deeply yet refreshingly, and perhaps most important of all, non-apologetically. She has created an entire niche through her online posts and videos. Though Jew in the City’s mission is to break down stereotypes about Orthodox Jews to the non-Orthodox Jewish world, I personally believe that the Orthodox world can also greatly benefit from Jew in the City: the Modern Orthodox, the unlabeled uninspired Orthodox Jew, and even, and perhaps especially, Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov students and graduates who do not really understand what they are doing. Her work is remarkably good, and my hope is that she continues writing these posts and making these videos, as they are undoubtedly helping many people, helping the Jewish people, and creating a Kiddush HaShem.

Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz

Editor of the Artscroll Talmud

Allison Josephs, founder and director of Jew in the City, is a bright new star in the Orthodox world. Her enthusiasm for Torah living is infectious. I’ve consistently been impressed with the way she handles and explains some of the most sensitive topics within Orthodoxy, like family planning, homosexuality, conversions, and more.

Rabbi Steven Weil

Executive Vice President of the OU

I just wanted to say that you are doing an incredible job! Keep up your amazing work! I just posted your website on my facebook!

Rabbi Avraham Lehr

Chabad rabbi of the Chai Center

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