Posts Tagged ‘social media’

‘Control’ Alternating With ‘Delete’

July 10, 2014

This article first appeared in June/July 2014 issue of Hadassah Magazine.

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Lisa Samick was 35 when she watched her younger sister, a new mother, die of metastatic breast cancer.

Judah Schiller was 35 when he was left to raise three kids alone when his wife suddenly died of massive internal bleeding three days after giving birth to their third child.

Gabrielle Birkner was 24 when she got a call at work informing her that her father and stepmother had been murdered in a home invasion.

We all contend with loss, mourning and grief. Everyone confronts the death of a loved one at some point. But for some of us it comes sooner rather than later. While no one is truly prepared for loss, young adults in their twenties and thirties feel even less prepared. With few—if any—of their peers having gone through a similar experience, they are left charting their own course through the emotional and practical challenges that come in the wake of an immediate family member’s death.

Some young Jews find comfort in age-old Jewish rituals and in their local Jewish community. However, in the Internet age, when we live so much of our lives online, those experiencing loss often turn to Google in search of relevant and resonant resources. They may sit shiva but also reach out to their social media circles for support.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.



Jewish Woman Builds Career on Butt

January 6, 2014

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.


Jen Selter’s belfies have 1.3 million Instagram followers (photo credit: courtesy)

Move over, Kim Kardashian. The new queen of the belfies (that’s body selfies, for you social media luddites) is Jen Selter, a young Jewish woman with an eye-catching derriere.

It’s literally hard to look away when a photo of her pop-out behind pops up on your screen. Don’t believe it? Just ask one of her 1.3 million Instagram followers.

In a tale for our times, the 20-year-old Long Island native, has skipped college and is catapulting herself to fame and fortune based on pics she began posting last March of her booty clad in brightly colored, skintight workout attire. Now living in Manhattan, she has several managers and is fielding endorsement offers and talk show invitations.

“I want to be the next Jillian Michaels,” Selter tells The Times of Israel, referring to the famous fitness trainer and reality TV personality. “I want to become a fitness guru and travel the world teaching fitness classes.”

Israel is on her list of desired destinations — for personal, as well as professional reasons. “My stepfather’s brother lives near Jerusalem. He’s Orthodox and has 12 kids,” she shares.

Selter claims that the photos she posts of herself — some showing her face, but many capturing only her body — are all for the sake of motivating people to hit the gym and get in shape. Selter herself started working out seriously just a few years ago.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

New Technology May Be Key to Set ‘Chained Women’ Free

November 8, 2013

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.


Gital Dodelson and her ongoing fight to convince her husband Avrohom Meir Weiss to give her a get, or Jewish decree of divorce, made international headlines this week after a widely read recent New York Post article.

Like that of most women in her situation, the story of her struggle isn’t one likely to attract traditional press attention. Luckily, it went viral first on social media.

Luck has nothing to do with it, says public relations professional Shira Dicker.

Dicker, who calls herself “an innovative social agitator,” says she planned from the start to use Facebook and other social media platforms to gain initial public interest for Dodelson’s situation.

One of Dicker’s clients connected her last July to Dodelson’s motherSaki, of Lakewood, New Jersey, who informed her of her daughter’s plight. Four-and-a-half years ago, Gital, now 25, married Weiss, the great-grandson of leading Orthodox rabbinical authority Moshe Feinstein, after being set up by a matchmaker.

The young couple followed the strict customs of Orthodox dating, first meeting in a public place to talk over a soda, and eventually graduating to having dinner or visiting a museum together. They were engaged just two months after having first met.

Dodelson claims that as soon as they were married shortly thereafter, her husband became controlling and manipulative. Ten months after the wedding, she left together with the couple’s newborn son.

Dodelson and Weiss were civilly divorced in October 2012, but Weiss has since refused to give his wife a get.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.