You have questions—Lunchbreak interviewees give answers

From time to time, I receive questions from the readers of the Lunchbreak column about their business, asking to share advice from others who have been there, done that.

I sent five of these questions to several people featured in past Lunchbreaks and asked for their responses. Their answers were nuanced, honest and relatable.

I hope you enjoy this week’s article, and I would love to hear any specific questions you would want me to ask in the future. Please email me at [email protected] with your questions.
Looking forward to hearing from you,   –Nesanel 

What’s new in your company and your life since we last spoke?
David Pilchik: Baruch Hashem, we are continuing to grow. Recently, with pressure because of increased interest rates and inflation, we are finding that we are working a lot harder to do the same business as before. B’ezras Hashem, we are continuing our upwards trajectory.

Marty (Motty) Waisbrod: Dealing with market challenges has pretty much occupied most of my time. Interest rates have kept many jobs from starting, so learning to diversify our clientele to help mitigate that is a full-time job.

Jake (Yitzy) Weiss: Well, the world has absolutely changed! Commercial real estate has certainly taken a substantial turn since we last spoke. While it’s challenging, I think like anything else, it’s also a time that will present more opportunities, and we are starting to see them come to fruition. Capital markets are tight and scary right now, but that is also giving life to an environment for purchasing debt that banks don’t want to get stuck with. So we have to evolve with the world. We realize that no matter what happens, it’s all in the hands of Hashem; our job is to simply do our hishtadlus and leave the rest up to His plan. Focusing on the things that are really important, like the growth of my grandchildren and family, making simchahs, and working on my avodah, has absolutely filled in the gap where parnasah may be challenging at times.

David Junik: On a personal level, I continue to serve on the board of Beth Rivka, and we’ve recently made some exciting investments. We purchased an upscale camp in Bushkill Falls that will accommodate over 500 girls who can’t afford camp, as well as a dorm to accommodate out-of-town girls.
Professionally, my company has been thriving in the ever-changing real estate market. We’ve successfully represented some of the largest institutional industrial ownership in the country and have also secured deals with large institutional tenants. This diversification has been crucial, especially during slow sales markets compared to the leasing market.

Reuven Kahane: Since the article, we have continued to buy new properties in the same core markets we previously bought in. Obviously, it has been harder to find deals due to the high interest rates, but we came upon a few opportunistic deals directly from bank servicers and very large institutions that were forced to sell.
I’m on the final edit of the book that I described in the article, and I am very excited to start the distribution process in the coming months.

Mort Fertel: Nothing particularly interesting.

Yoel Israel: We founded a new brand called, where we film the leading names and personalities in Israeli tech and promote it. We are making a true impact on the Israeli tech ecosystem.

Alex Haruni: We chatted towards the end of Covid, and we were still recovering from that. Since then, business was okay, and we were focusing to build up our on-trade business in Israel. We were managing a few rebrands within the portfolio and the introduction of new products into the market. We were also focusing on brand building in the local market.
But as I’m sure you are aware, our lives were changed forever with the tragic events of October 7. The country went through an unfathomable trauma and is still reeling from it. Apart from the murdered and kidnapped, about 10% of our population is mobilized in the north and the south. I don’t think that there is one business in Israel that doesn’t have members of its staff enlisted in the reserves. And the effect of the war is very far-reaching.
Our business is located on the northern border with Lebanon and not a day has gone by since the beginning of the war that we haven’t heard the noise of the encroaching conflict. Every day we come to work with a degree of uncertainty, never knowing whether we will be able to return the following day.

Doron Myersdorf: We have made huge progress on the technology—reaching 1700 cycles of consecutive extreme fast charging with 330 Wh/kg. We connected with 15 car makers that have been testing these battery cells.


An employee requested a raise, but I do not feel that they deserve it. How would you deal with that?
David Pilchik: Take the time to explain that to them. If they are doing a bad job, fire them. If they are doing a good job but not good enough to qualify for a raise, give them a path to get there.
Either say, “I appreciate your hard work. At this time you are fulfilling your duties as expected, but this does not warrant an increase.”
Or you can say, “I want you to succeed and enhance your compensation, so here are the clear steps you need to take for us to revisit this conversation.”

Marty (Motty) Waisbrod: Consider if you can manage without them, because that might be their other option. That employee may leave, and if their position is an important one, remember that filling it may take more time and cost more than you anticipate—making that requested raise the lesser evil. You have to consider that even if the employee may not deserve it, it may make financial sense, nonetheless.

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