In June of this year, 2020, Yehuda Wachsman at the age of 73 passed away. He spent his last years struggling with illness, but his wife now feels this last challenge has finally given him a freedom that’s been needed for years. Tzvi Odzer is very familiar with this long journey; his relative was Yehuda Wachsman son, the Israeli Defense Force soldier who was murdered by Hamas terrorists after being kidnapped and held as a hostage for leverage. The soldier died during a rescue for him in 1994.
The Event Connected Everyone and Tzvi Odzer
Tzvi Odzer, like many in his family, were shocked by the events and saddened for years. Yet it was Yehuda that carried the greatest burden along with his wife, Esther. Both have had to repeatedly watch their son on hostage films in his last days, visit his grave multiple times, and remember their son in memories when he was still alive. It’s been hard for both, Tzvi Odzer has noted, but for Yehuda at least now there is freedom from this plane and maybe company with his son again.
A Day of Mistakes
Yehuda’s son, Nachshon, was 19 when he for some reason decided to leave his base and try to hitchhike his way to a destination. As Tzvi Odzer remembers and has been reported repeatedly, it was during this point that Hamas terrorists were able to get their hands on Nachson and kidnapped him. The terrorists then held Nachson, videotaped him to prove the capture, and threatened to kill the young soldier unless Israel released 100s of prisoners in exchange. As Tzvi Odzer and many others in Wachson’s family cringed on edge, a rescue operation had been launched. It failed, however. Nachson was killed by one of the terrorists before the rescue could reach him, and one of the rescuers was also killed as well. Yitzhak Rabin as Israel’s leader took responsibility for the failed rescue, but it didn’t do anything to bring Yehuda Wachson his young son back. Nachson was gone, and Tzvi Odzer and the rest of his family lived with this loss for years since.
2014 was the 20th anniversary of the loss of Nachson, and the moment passing brought everything back to Yehuda, Esther, and everyone in the family including Tzvi Odzer. It was a moment of memory and contemplation. Tzvi Odzer still takes a moment to think about Nachson from time to time. Yehuda’s passing in mid-2020 brought it all back again for Steven. However, with each year’s passing, the events now seem more and more distant. Tzvi Odzer can’t go back in time to make things right for Yehuda and Esther, but he remembers the loss of Nachson annually like the rest of his family.
Philanthropist Tzvi Odzer recently discussed the launching of the Stephen Odzer Scholarship Fund.
Tzvi Odzer is a long-time philanthropist known for his work within the Jewish community and beyond. He recently announced his latest endeavor, the Stephen Odzer Scholarship Fund. Tzvi Odzer believes this is one of his greatest philanthropic efforts yet, and he was eager to discuss it’s launch.
“Education is one of the most important aspects of growth,” Tzvi Odzer said. “I want to help ensure that students are able to achieve their academic goals and success by limiting the financial burden the system has placed on higher education.”
It’s no secret that higher education can be costly in the United States. National student loan debt reached $1.6 trillion in 2019. Reports also showed that one in every five people who took on debt to pursue education still owe money and have fallen behind on payments. Tzvi Odzer hopes to ease this burden, so more young people can reach their full potential. Additionally, Tzvi Odzer sees the Stephen Odzer Scholarship Fund as a positive way to give back to his community.
Tzvi Odzer is a successful American entrepreneur who started his first business at the age of 18. He was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. He now serves as the CEO of BuyLifeGuard.com, an innovative company looking to transform the distribution industry and landscape. His successes and professional achievements have made it possible for him to form the Stephen Odzer Scholarship Foundation.
“I’m so thankful I’ve been able to use my quality education to succeed in the business world,” Tzvi Odzer said. “My goal is to encourage others to reach their full potential. Many students aren’t able to attend the caliber of the university they desire, because it’s out of budget. We’re working to eliminate that issue for our scholarship winners.”
The scholarship prize itself is given to 20 college students within the United States. Each winner receives $1,000 USD. To be eligible, all students must submit proof of enrollment or acceptance into a U.S. college program.
The Stephen Odzer Scholarship Fund is now accepting applications for the fall of 2021 school year. Students who want to apply should submit application materials before April 30, 2021. In addition to the application form, applicants but complete a 500-word essay answering the question, “What is the biggest issue facing our modern society?”
Tzvi Odzer explained that scholarship winners will be announced in June 2021.
Tzvi Odzer is well known for his expertise in philanthropy, politics, sports, business, and for his work to benefit the nation of Israel and its communities. We sat down with Tzvi Odzer to discuss the state of philanthropy in 2020 and projections for 2021. Here’s what we learned.
According to Tzvi Odzer, the state of fundraising for charitable organizations is undergoing major changes at present.
For starters, Tzvi Odzer tells us, virtual events are part of the new normal. This is largely due to the present COVID-19 pandemic. It is something that aging populations, who are a focus group for charities, have a particular interest in maintaining. But virtual events also come with a number of additional benefits, according to Tzvi Odzer. He says they eliminate the limitations imposed by geography and even reduce the limitations of time constraints as presentations can be recorded and viewed later.
Charitable organizations will be looking more and more to recurring givers. As the medical costs and risks of reaching out to new givers continue to rise, the value of recurring givers is likely to become more apparent than ever, Tzvi Odzer says. In 2020, organizations that raised $50 million or more attributed as much as 26% of their total revenue for the year as derived from recurring givers.
Connections Between Non-Profit & For-Profit Orgs is Expected to Grow
Tzvi Odzer reminds us that the events of 2020 have blurred the lines between for-profit organizations and their charitable, non-profit counterparts in many cases. Non-Profits have taken pages out of the handbooks of for-profit organizations in order to become more sustainable and scalable. Tzvi Odzer says that for-profit companies benefit from the association with charitable entities from a public relations standpoint, as consumers are attracted to the idea that a portion of the money from their purchases online or otherwise will benefit needy demographics.
Meeting Supporters on Their Terms
From our conversation with Tzvi Odzer, we have also learned that charitable organizations will have a growing need to meet their donors at their homes, businesses, and other locations familiar to them. This is done, Tzvi Odzer says, in part as a way to show appreciation for their charitable giving, but also to reduce the risks associated with forming crowds in enclosed spaces.
Finally, Tzvi Odzer explains that charities will need to develop flexibility in the ways they achieve their goals. Working online and meeting donors where they live is just a start. Tzvi Odzer talks about the importance of crowd-funding, peer-to-peer campaigns, and virtual events to drive philanthropy where it needs to go in the coming years.
How CEO And Philanthropist Tzvi Odzer Stays Connected, Even When His Family Is A World Apart
It’s not easy to stay connected in a socially distanced world. CEO and philanthropist Tzvi Odzer has worked hard to stay in close contact with his family in Israel for years, even when he’s a world away. He’s sharing his tips on how to stay close with family, even when it’s not possible to interact face to face.
First, Tzvi Odzer recommends taking advantage of old fashioned snail mail. Technology is great, but there’s something special about the care that goes into making a package for someone you can’t see face to face. Don’t think that you need to put together an entire care package all at once. Tzvi Odzer recommends picking up something once a week or so until you have enough to send a full care package to your family or other loved ones.
Taking advantage of technology is obviously key, according to Tzvi Odzer. Zoom and other virtual meeting systems can feel awkward at first, but getting the hang of it is well worth the time when you get to spend time face to face with your loved ones. If you’re conversing with loved ones abroad, it can be especially tough if you don’t speak the same language. Tzvi Odzer recommends having a family member who is fluent in both languages present, as they can be beneficial for having a fun, productive conversation.
Every conversation doesn’t have to be an hour-long Zoom session. Texting your family members can go a long way, according to Tzvi Odzer. Sending a message when you’re thinking of them in the morning or when you come across a funny article that reminds you of them is a quick way to stay connected. Tzvi Odzer recommends trying to respond to texts from family members within a day or so – it shows them that they’re a priority to you, even if you’re busy.
Lastly, Tzvi Odzer recommends always taking advantage of any chances that you do have to be together. Prioritizing family reunions, trips, and get-togethers (when these traditions can be enjoyed safely) are important. Talking about upcoming times when you’ll be together can also be a great topic of conversation when you’re working on talking with someone who is far away and may live in a world that is quite different from your own. While traveling can be costly, the memories made by spending time with family are priceless.
For the past eight months, life has not been the same. People have lost lives, jobs, loved ones, and even connection with other people. Today, it is not abnormal to go about your daily activities wearing a mask. Tzvi Odzer, who is currently running a Covid-19 campaign to help donate masks to people that need them, says that wearing a mask is a crucial collective responsibility to control the infection.
While speaking on the value of wearing masks during the pandemic, Tzvi Odzer notes that times have been confusing, and people have to adjust to the new norm to go back to their old model. While masks may not be the most flattering attire, they help prevent viral droplets from entering your system through the nose, eyes, and mouth.
Did you know that viral droplets from a sneeze can travel up to 27 feet? Wearing a mask and social distancing are the best ways to avoid getting infected or even further spreading the virus in case you are infected and you aren’t aware, says Tzvi Odzer.
You never know who has contracted the virus, says Tzvi Odzer
The biggest challenge experienced by healthcare professionals in reducing infections is that no one is truly sure of whether they are sick or not. The symptoms of the disease may remain unnoticed for up to 14 days. During those 14 days, the person may have come into contact with many healthy people and possibly infected them unknowingly. Tzvi Odzer recommends taking precautions by wearing medically approved face masks, washing hands regularly, and maintaining a one-meter distance. Almost 50 percent of covid-19 cases are asymptomatic. That’s worrying because it is not possible to know who is sick and who is not.
Masks reduce viral transmission significantly.
Before the pandemic, the only people who used to wear masks were healthcare professionals and employees working with hazardous or potentially unsafe environments such as chemical manufacturing industries. As masks prevent germs and other unwanted materials from entering your respiratory system when inhaled, Tzvi Odzer suggests wearing masks at all times, particularly in public places.
By taking precautions, we are protecting our loved ones, says Tzvi Odzer
“Just because you are not coughing doesn’t mean you are not sick,” says Tzvi Odzer. There are higher chances that you could be sick, and when you don’t take precautions, you risk infecting others who may not be as lucky to have no symptoms. Wearing masks or keeping a distance is not a punishment, notes Tzvi Odzer, but a way of making sure that our loved ones are safe.
Masks alone are not enough
Tzvi Odzer also says that masks alone are unreliable during the pandemic. Remember, masks are not the perfect barriers to transmission. However, they don’t need to be the best if they are not used alone. You can avoid social contact, maintain high hygiene levels, and even stay home as much as you can to reduce contact.
Odzer hopes to create a week where businesses, sports, government, and entertainment leaders communicate the same message about this new behavior–wear masks, wash hands, keep appropriate distance, and stay home.
Business executive Tzvi Odzer recently discussed several ways companies can hire more people with disabilities.
Roughly one in eight people in the United States have a disability, according to the 2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report. Business executive Tzvi Odzer explained that companies who are not considering hiring disabled employees are missing out on a large amount of potential talent for their teams. He recently discussed several ways for companies to hire more people with disabilities.
“Companies employing those with disabilities have shown an almost 30 percent higher revenue than those who do not incorporate disabled candidates,” Tzvi Odzer said. “This is a huge amount of profit a lot of businesses are missing, and hiring disabled employees is not as complicated as some executives or HR personnel think.”
Tzvi Odzer explained that hiring disabled employees involves creating an inclusive culture in the workplace. This can be done by including resource groups for disabled persons or even nominating a leader to promote awareness efforts among staff. Helping disabled employees feel comfortable in the workplace is essential, and employees adapt much easier than some executives think.
“Disabled employees have just as much to offer many companies as employees who are not disabled,” Tzvi Odzer said. “An easy way to gain access to this entirely new talent pool is to contact community organizations. Inform them of available jobs, and they will likely present potential employees who meet your company’s needs.”
Tzvi Odzer explained that companies can train recruiters to better interact with potential employees with special needs. External recruiting organizations specializing in hiring disabled employees can also help.
Business experts like Tzvi Odzer also emphasized the importance of making the workplace accessible for all. Certain features for disabled employees, such as ramps, special desks, and wheelchair-friendly doorways make working at your business possible for those who were unable to in the past. An inclusive design in the workplace may also involve adjusting software design or offering special skills training.
“Prioritizing an inclusive workplace opens the available talent pool immensely,” Tzvi Odzer said. “Improving processes for those with disabilities can also improve processes for employees without disabilities, so it’s a win-win for the entire business.”
Tzvi Odzer finished by reiterated that creating a more diverse workplace, including disabled employees, has been proven to improve a company’s bottom line, reduce turnover, increase productivity, and create a positive brand image. The small changes required to make a workplace more inclusive are well worth the time and effort.
Tzvi Odzer: Ways, a Good Hockey Team, is Like a Good Business
Tzvi Odzer says there are so many correlations between what makes a good hockey team and good business. Both require a lot of the same attributes to be successful. Let’s look at a few of the most important ones.
The number one attribute that must be present for success is a real passion for what you are doing. If you start something, and at some point, you realize you have no love for it, stop and do something else. Without passion, Tzvi Odzer says when things get tough, it is so much easier to give up and quit. He says you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by figuring out your likes versus passions before you start.
Next comes being consistent and reliable, whether to your team or just to yourself. You must faithfully show up and get things done. When Tzvi Odzer started his first business at eighteen years of age in his parent’s basement, he was accountable only to himself, but that was enough. He says this is not only important in building a business but applies to all areas of your life.
An often overlooked area, whether on a team or in business, is the mighty tongue. If we aren’t careful, it can negatively affect both teammates or business. Tzvi Odzer follows the old adage, “we have two ears and one mouth, it is wise to listen twice as much as we speak.” Another saying goes, “It is better to let someone think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Being a hard worker is a must to be successful in any lasting endeavor. Tzvi Odzer has led by example by being a team player in every area of his life. The “me” attitude so prevalent today means, in large part, losing the opportunity to make a difference in the world around them. When everyone is dedicated to the same vision and works together to see it to fruition, it is a beautiful thing.
Open communication is vital. Whether it is on a hockey team or in the boardroom, it is a necessity. Tzvi Odzer says when there is excellent communication, it adds an element of success that can not happen without it.
Lastly, each person must strive to be above reproach and earn the respect of their teammates or business partners. Regardless if you are head and shoulders above others in talent, Tzvi Odzer says that gaining the respect of your peers is equally important. When a person is highly respected, it benefits everyone and everything around them.
Tzvi Odzer recently offered several ways families can work together at home to keep the Jewish faith alive.
The Jewish community is one that society has been trying to suppress for thousands of years. However, no force has been able to quell the faith of the Jewish people. In recent years, a new threat has arisen, and the Jewish community is searching for ways to continue thriving. This new threat is that of the loss of tradition and heritage.
Loss of heritage is something that occurs over time in cultures and religions around the globe. It is not entirely unique to the Jewish community. However, modern times have shown this threat becoming increasingly powerful, and members of the Jewish community, like Tzvi Odzer, are offering their tips for keeping the heritage alive.
“We are of the oldest monotheistic religion in the world, and that’s something we need to preserve for ourselves and generations to come,” Tzvi Odzer said.
Tzvi Odzer explained that keeping Jewish traditions and heritage alive begins at home. Jewish celebrations are positive ways of affirming faith, especially for young people, who may not be as interested in studying the Torah day in and day out. Tzvi Odzer suggests making the Jewish religion easy for your kids to understand and access through keeping communication open, answering questions, and providing more details when kids ask.
“I think we can all remember, at times, being a bit bored with studying the Jewish religion when we were kids,” Tzvi Odzer said. “This is why parents need to make traditions fun.”
Tzvi Odzer explained that parents can help their children understand and practice Jewish values in far more interesting ways than simply reading them. Even a quick Google search can bring about countless activities and crafts to keep kids interested while learning about the religion, its heritage, and its traditions. Tzvi Odzer added that enjoying these activities, crafts, and games with friends can be even more engaging for kids.
“It’s important to keep religious studies relaxed and welcoming,” Tzvi Odzer added. “When services or programs for kids get too serious or boring, young people start to pull away.”
Tzvi Odzer explained that each individual family has the ability to practice its faith how it pleases. However, he added that having a bit of leeway with your children can be the difference between them being proud of their Jewish heritage or wanting to pull away from it. He explained that allowing kids the freedom and opportunity to pursue what they find most meaningful in the religion will result in them being more engaged than if they are forced.
“We can start by making our studies, heritage, and traditions more fun than simply reading and reciting,” Tzvi Odzer finished. “Keeping the youth involved and engaged is what will carry our religion through thousands of more years to come.”
Tzvi Odzer is frightened by the Covid-19 pandemic, like most people, and has taken steps to manage this issue in his life. And as the pandemic spreads and changes, he sees Israel and the United States taking some very similar approaches. However, he finds that Israel is on the right track and that they could be used as a model for various other countries around the world.
Israel’s Response to Covid-19 Has Been Good, Tzvi Odzer Says
Once Covid-19 reached pandemic levels, Tzvi Odzer said he started to pay attention to how Israel would react to the problem. He has long found that this country often does respond well to crises and knows how to change when times get tough. And Tzvi Odzer was not disappointed: the response that Israel brought to bear up on the pandemic is one that he believes America could use in its fight.
First of all, Israel reacted very quickly when the pandemic was obvious. Tzvi Odzer was pleased to see that social distancing and travel restrictions were put in place quickly and at a national level. He believes that a coherent national strategy is the key to success against this fight. And this reaction is one that he feels hasn’t been handled as well by the United States’ national government.
For example, Tzvi Odzer has heard from experts in Israel that there are no shortages of supplies for testing, as there are in the United States. A glut of supplies were provided early in the pandemic, making testing easier to perform and manage at a wide level. Though the US is now catching up, Tzvi Odzer believes that Israel still provides them a great model to watch as the pandemic changes.
Sequential Sharing – Another Big Advantage in Israel
Israel has also started to utilize a system of sequential sharing that Tzvi Odzer finds promising. This method shifts resources to different areas of the country, as needed, to ensure that they get the help that they need. For example, ventilators from one area may be taken to others to provide help for people who are struggling with breathing difficulties in unexpected ways.
Just as importantly, Tzvi Odzer likes that reagents for tests – i.e. the materials that help to make testing possible – are being shared in Israel. This type of sharing is critical because it helps to make it easier for tests to spread to other parts of the nation that may be harder hit. And this type of sequential sharing is something Tzvi Odzer hopes becomes common throughout the United States.
So far, the signs have been promising – Tzvi Odzer believes that America is on the right track in many ways. And as Israel brings down its number of cases and controls the outbreak more effectively, Tzvi Odzer hopes that the US continues to follow their lead. Doing so could save untold numbers of lives and even dramatically decrease the amount of time the pandemic lasts, he says.
Jewish Schools Throughout the United States are Likely to Receive an Over-Haul, Tzvi Odzer Explains
The COVID-19 pandemic caused schools across the United States to close in March. Many never opened back up to complete the school year. Now, as Jewish schools talk about going back, changes are expected. Tzvi Odzer, an entrepreneur, and man of Jewish faith discusses what the post-pandemic school situation is going to look like.
The Jewish schools are slightly different from public schools in that they provide a secular education as well as one that offers a Jewish education, including lessons in Hebrew. Tzvi Odzer explains how it’s important for children to go to these schools in order to balance their education. They get to meet friends within their faith and learn in an environment outside of the home.
Schools throughout New York, where Tzvi Odzer is based, are still slow to release plans for when they will be reopening. Both public and private schools are learning to adapt to the pandemic. Many Jewish schools plan on adapting to the social distancing requirements.
Tzvi Odzer has explained that there are thoughts of both teachers and students wearing masks. There may also be the need to temperature check students on a daily basis when they show up for class. While it’s not “normal,” Tzvi Odzer wonders if the school systems will ever fully return to normal because of the way the pandemic has caused people to re-think germs.
While Tzvi Odzer wants his children and grandchildren to be safe, he also believes in the importance of a traditional school setting. It allows children to socialize and learn to collaborate. As someone who has spent 30 years in distribution, he understands the importance of learning to work with others.
Tzvi Odzer is eager to see the Jewish school’s resume so that his own family can resume their studies. Particularly as kids start to reach the age of 13 where they will have a bar or bat mitzvah, attending Jewish school is critical. It will teach them how to read Hebrew in order to make sense of the readings from the Torah.
It is possible that at least some elements of Jewish school will be done virtually. This can help to eliminate the strain put into the schools. It can reduce the time kids are being exposed to one another. Further, it may reduce the number of days they go into class.
Tzvi Odzer has been keeping a close eye on the decisions made within his community. He’s hoping to hear that Jewish schools open at the normally scheduled time for the start of the school year. However, he’s also expecting there to be some modifications in terms of how to deal with the pandemic so as not to watch the curve go back up. He urges others who are sending students to a Jewish school to follow their local guidelines as well.