Home WORLD Israeli business leaders share their sukkot ‘Ushpizin’

Israeli business leaders share their sukkot ‘Ushpizin’

As Jews around the world celebrate the Sukkot holiday and enjoy festive meals with friends and family, many also follow an ancient tradition of inviting “Ushpizin”, or spiritual guests, into the Sukkah as well. According to the tradition, each of the seven days of the holiday is graced with one of the spirits of the biblical Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and King David, respectively, with the opportunity to connect to their memories and learn from their wisdom.  
This year, we thought it would be fun to ask Israeli business leaders which “Ushpizin” from the business world they would invite to their sukkah for inspiration. The answers we got ranged from world-famous business icons to local role models. Their responses can help inspire others to think about their most inspiring heroes.

Tomer Cohen, CEO, BuyMe

The business role model who I would wish to sit within the Sukkah is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Bezos possess several unique abilities that make him one of the world’s most capable entrepreneur of all times.

Bezos is one of the greatest visionary leaders that the business world has ever seen, and he is an exceptional executer.

The fact that Bezos built Amazon’s culture and business strategy based on insights and not on known methods is inspiring. His long journey and perseverance in the challenges of building Amazon stand out among other business leaders of our era.

 Nofar Mamrud, VP Marketing, Tadiran (credit: Courtesy) Nofar Mamrud, VP Marketing, Tadiran (credit: Courtesy)

Nofar Mamrud, VP Marketing, Tadiran

This Sukkot holiday I would like to host in my Sukkah Ms. Eynat Guez, the CEO of Papaya Global. Not every day is an Israeli woman a CO-founder and the CEO of a “unicorn” company. In fact, in Israel, she is the only female to hold such a position. Eynat managed to increase the company’s value 10 times in just one year while cracking many glass ceilings for women in the hi-tech sector and eco-system.

 Jeremy Lustman, Partner and Head of Israel Country Group, DLA Piper (credit: Courtesy) Jeremy Lustman, Partner and Head of Israel Country Group, DLA Piper (credit: Courtesy)

Jeremy Lustman, Partner and Head of Israel Country Group, DLA Piper

I would invite to my Sukkah Israel venture capitalist Michael Eisenberg, who is a good friend and a real role model for me. He blends a focus on his family, success in business in identifying and fostering so many successful companies that have changed the world so dramatically, his religious values and the lessons he imparts by fusing together Torah and business so beautifully (including in his recently published book, The Tree of Life and Prosperity), as well as the various social impact efforts that he has created, and the way he has paved the way for many olim to be successful here.  He’s a true force of change, innovation and inspiration and I continue to learn a tremendous amount from him.

 Eyal Hoffman, Managing Partner, Highroad (credit: ISRAEL HADARI) Eyal Hoffman, Managing Partner, Highroad (credit: ISRAEL HADARI)

Eyal Hoffman, Managing Partner, Highroad  

I would be happy to sit with Ben Horowitz, one of the world’s greatest tech investors, and also an amazing entrepreneur and a bestselling author. I find inspiration in his journey throughout the years and the way he looks at business, management, and leadership.

He has a different-than-usual approach, based on the premise that there are no formulas and management is highly dynamic (and personal and emotional). While many “guides” try to help you not make mistakes, Horowitz says that mistakes will happen and the most important thing is to figure out what to do next and adapt. As he famously says, “The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company.” He also acknowledges the importance of storytelling as an entrepreneur and as a manager and leader in general – that’s what puts the company into motion.

 Dganit Vered (credit: ZARA BROOKS) Dganit Vered (credit: ZARA BROOKS)

Dganit Vered, CEO, Smart Agro R&D Partnership  

I would love to sit in the Sukkah with leaders who share with me the mission of fighting climate change and utilizing the business opportunity of this extremely important and growing field. The leaders and role models in this field that I would have invited to learn more about their work and learn from their vision are Vincent Tchenguiz and Sir Ronald Cohen. Both have role-modeled building a strategy, establishing an action plan and deploying their skills and resources to making the vision reality.

Adv. Yehuda Raveh, Founder of Yehuda Raveh & Co. and Founding Partner of the Israel Infrastructure Fund

I would invite to my Sukkah 3 people who I find to be role models, all successful business people, philanthropists and most importantly, exceptional human beings.

The first is the late David Lewis, a lover of Israel and true Zionist. We met when he came to Israel in the 1980s and built the King Solomon Hotel from which the Isrotel hotel chain grew. In addition, thanks to Lewis, the city of Eilat grew and became a fine tourist city.

Another is Yair Hamburger – Chairman of the Harel Group. A philanthropist who turned an insurance agency into an empire with an unusual business sense.

The last is the late Morton Mandel, one of the greatest American businessmen and known Zionist and philanthropists. Mort founded the Mandel Institute and the Mandel School of Leadership in Education and always said that a special sum should be set aside from all income to be dedicated for donations. In his life, he donated astronomical sums of $650 million to educational and cultural institutions in Israel.

Adv. Stephen Barak Rozen, partner in APM & Co.’s High Tech and Venture Capital practice  

I would love to invite Warren Buffet – the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – to my Sukkah.  While Buffet is not Jewish, he has invested billions of dollars in Israel and exemplifies many values that Judaism has as its central tenets – such as philanthropy, mutual responsibility, tolerance of others and controlling your own destiny through free will. Additionally, Buffett epitomizes hard work, entrepreneurship, investing in people and long-term thinking and investing. These are things that, as an oleh (immigrant) who has built himself up from nothing, I believe are the keys to success and good fortune.

Adv. Alon Pomeranc, Managing Partner & Head of Litigation Department in Lipa Meir & co.

I would love to sit in the Sukkah with Jeff Bezos, the founder and leader of Amazon. The success story of Amazon since it started as a platform to sell books online is being taught in every business school worldwide.  Jeff is a visionary and is considered to be the top pioneer in the world of e-commerce. His work and achievements have defined this space which is now changing many aspects of the internet world. It was actually Jeff who innovated the concept of “predictive analytics” that recommends products to customers based on search history and buying patterns. He is so interesting because of the vision and the ability to execute and lead Amazon to where it is today.

Sharon Agubel, Co-Chief officer at Layam Duty-Free

My business role model is Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks. I would love to learn from him how he managed to develop his business, turning coffee from an ordinary beverage into a wholistic desirable experience. As our company keeps expanding globally, from 55 stores to 68 in just several months, we are working on implementing the brand awareness, aspiring to dominate the affordable cosmetics industry, just like Starbucks became the go-to brand for coffee worldwide.


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