By Joshua Nass
There are many young men like myself that face an ongoing struggle of committing to our careers while trying the best we can not to sacrifice our religious responsibilities. Large portions of time that we would normally devote to acts of chessed and to learning sometimes go toward pursuing our professional pursuits.
This is why in my view, men like Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, an entrepreneur who fused his career and religious goals are so important to Jewish youth worldwide.
As a role model to young members of the orthodox Jewish community, Rechnitz shows that learning and entrepreneurship can complement each other. He shows that commitment to your profession does not have to conflict or interfere with your ability to be Torah-observant and a learning Jew. I admire Rechnitz’s steadfast devotion to the Torah’s values.
Working in the public relations industry, I have interacted with many entrepreneurs who have seen success early in their lives; unfortunately, I have witnessed decay of their morals and, with that, I have seen their commitments to their religious observance be placed on the backburner.
But in Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz’s case, I find only inspiration.
At age 27, Rechnitz founded his business, TwinMed, with his twin brother Steve, and together they have revolutionized the healthcare industry. And, doing this work, Rechnitz has nourished his moral and religious values, allowing them to thrive.
For this reason, Rechnitz serves as a role model to many young men, like me, who are looking to grow in their business and faith.
In my business, I have dealt with many robust philanthropists, but I have never witnessed a fellow Jew the same amount of tireless dedication and devotion that Rechnitz has. And Rechnitz is not in it for the recognition; he chooses to donate his time and money discreetly. He has said in the past that he wants to motivate others in the community to follow his example of giving and caring.
While I do not have the privilege of knowing Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz personally, I have learned about some of his great deeds – though likely not all – and I find myself empowered to be a better man and a better Jew.
Every Saturday night, Rechnitz opens his home to the needy and distributes money to those who need it most.
He has established an innovative program to solve what he calls “The Shidduch Crisis.” If a woman is older than 25 and trying to marry for the first time, the Eishes Lapidus program pays $10,000 to the matchmaker to incentivize her to find a man the same age or younger. Rechnitz’s goal is to help single women in their upper 20s find their bashert.
When tragedy strikes, Rechnitz is always there with a helping hand. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he provided financial assistance to rebuild Jewish day schools.
Rechnitz’s reactions to tragedy are not just limited to responding through philanthropy. Using his musical talent, he responds to tragedy strongly and powerfully through song. After the tragic March fire in Brooklyn, in which seven children in the Sassoon family died, Rechnitz composed the heartfelt song “Madua.” This song provided comfort and strength during a very difficult time for the Sassoon family and the Jewish community as a whole.
And his philanthropy is in no way limited to Jewish causes. The breadth of his philanthropy and the diversity of those he helps are astounding.
Heading outside the Jewish community, Rechnitz pledged $10,000 to the families of every California police officer killed in the line of duty.
When word that Diane Aulger of Texas wanted her doctors to induce labor to allow her husband, who suffered from pulmonary fibrosis as a result of cancer treatments, to meet their daughter before his death, Rechnitz called Aulger and sent $20,000 her way, helping her reach her goal and allowing her family to unite at least once.
And this story is not the exception for Rechnitz, it is the rule. He handles his charitable deeds directly, making others’ troubles and worries his own. He knows that philanthropy is more than just writing a check. He is intimately involved multiple communities and their problems.
As somebody who draws inspiration and my closeness to Judaism from music, there have always been a few artists who have helped me to feel closer to G-D.
When Rechnitz’s album of Jewish music debuted, I could not remember the last time I had so enjoyed and immersed myself in a CD. My ability to connect to so many of the songs on the album helped me strive to be a better Jew and a more adherent one.
Through his music and his seemingly unending philanthropy, Rechnitz has inspired me on so many levels: professionally, religiously, socially and philanthropically.
He may not want recognition for his deeds, but he certainly deserves it.
Josh Nass is a public relations professional who writes this piece in a personal capacity.