Jew in the City's 2014 All Star Event

By: Rebecca Hia  |  December 11, 2014

JITCOn December 2nd, hundreds of Jews gathered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage for the 3rd annual red carpet Jew in the City All Star Event. Jew in the City (JITC) is an organization regarded for its work in breaking down stereotypes about observant Jews.

JITC publishes articles, creates YouTube videos, and utilizes social media platforms to discuss perceptions of Orthodox Jews. Its founder, Allison Josephs, has addressed topics like the Jewish Sabbath, Orthodox views on birth control, vaccinations and intermarriage.

JITC, founded in 2007, boasts the task of offering “a humorous, meaningful outlook into Orthodox Judaism.” According to its mission statement, the organization publicize[s] 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.

JITC’s 2014 Orthodox Jewish All Stars include: Henry Swieca, Forbes ranked hedge fund manager and philanthropist; Joyce Azria, BCBGeneration’s creative director; David Schizer, Dean Emeritus of Columbia Law School; Saul Blinkoff, Disney animator; Yael Federbush, Emmy winning producer of “The Today Show;” Marta Weinstock-Rosen, Israel prize winner and developer of the “Exelon” Alzheimer’s drug; Professor Barry Simon, Henry Poincare winner for outstanding achievements in mathematics; Josh Meier, Intel Talent search winner; Estee Ackerman, table tennis phenomenon; and Mindy Pollak, the first Hasidic woman to be elected to public office.

At the event, Josephs spoke about the importance of JITC’s mission, “The bad (Orthodox Jewish) headlines make themselves. The good ones need help being made. We are telling the untold stories so that people can see the totality of our community.”

Danielle Leibovici, a marriage family therapist and best selling children’s author, travelled to the dinner from Northfolk, Virginia. She said, “Allison came to our community a few weeks ago as scholar-in-residence. The rebbetzin asked me to come, so I showed my support and came. I was so touched by Allison’s message on the media’s projection of Orthodox Jews and how they are unfairly portrayed by the media, even by Jews. Her message resonated with me although I am not Orthodox and have no plans on becoming Orthodox.”

“I spent much of my summer on social media [reading] about Hamas and Gaza and how unfair and unfortunate people’s reactions were to Jews everywhere. Spending time to educate them on Israel is very much what Allison’s doing, [showing] true Judaism,” she says.

Leibovici highlighted Josephs relatability. “Allison is coming from a Modern Orthodox perspective; she watches the same shows I watch, she’s tangible, we really connected. I told her, ‘I love what you’re doing, I want to be your ambassador.’ No one has to pay to educate people on Israel and the solidarity of the Jewish people. Now I have one more outlet with Allison, who’s so inspirational to work with.”

She added, “You don’t have to be Orthodox to value this message, Jews are Jews at the end of the day.”