Chabad is the spiritual counterpart of General Electric
New York, NY (PRWEB) July 28, 2009
What's a successful entrepreneur doing sponsoring the publication of an esoteric Chasidic discourse? Or repairing the gravesite of its author in a Ukrainian town? Mouli Cohen, 51, who made his fortune as an investor in biotechnology and hi-tech enterprises, believes in giving back and sees the work of Chabad as a platform to reach the global Jewish community.
Specifically, the Israeli entrepreneur/philanthropist who is involved in humanitarian charity as well, has directed his Jewish philanthropy towards projects related to the second Chabad Rebbe, Reb Dovber Schneuri, known as "the Mitteler Rebbe" (1773-1827).
Lubavitch.com met with Mouli and his wife Stacy in New York City on a Friday morning in July to discuss their journey and involvement with a wide variety of Jewish causes.
It was Rabbi Asi Spiegel, an enthusiast of the Mitteler Rebbe's works, who introduced Mouli to this early 19th century Chabad leader and sparked his personal curiosity about the writings and life of R. Dovber.
"In 1985," recalls Asi--today the Chabad representative in Eugene, Oregon, "the Lubavitcher Rebbe issued a call to publish all the discourses of the Mitteler Rebbe." Then a rabbinical student studying at the central Chabad Yeshiva on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, Asi was recruited by Kehot publishing house to take part in this effort, proofreading some of the manuscripts where exposure to the Chasidic ideas of R. Dovber made a deep impression on him. Asi and his wife Aviva have worked creatively, building a vibrant Jewish experience both at the University of Oregon and in the city's residential community, from the ground up.
"When Asi started here, there was not much going on Jewishly. He and Aviva have really put Eugene on the map," says Mouli. Encountering Asi in 1998, he says, has changed his outlook on life. "It was just before Yom Kippur," reflects Mouli, who was then living in San Francisco, "and I wanted to find the right synagogue."
Mouli gravitated to Rabbi Yosef Langer's Chabad House just as the High Holiday services were beginning. As he took his place near a young rabbinical student, the solemnity of the holiest day of the year weighed heavily upon him.
"I told this young man whom I did not know, that Yom Kippur was making me feel nervous," says Mouli, "and he told me that Chabad teaches us to come into Yom Kippur in joy and with faith that G-d will forgive us and bless us with a good year."
For Mouli, born and raised in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Jerusalem, Asi's observation was an eye-opener, and the start of a great friendship.
Years later Mouli continues to "give back" to the sources that nurtured him early on, sponsoring Chabad of San Francisco's High Holiday services to this day, while contributing generously to the work of Chabad in Eugene. Knowing Mouli's vision for global change, Asi has since introduced him to the international reach of Chabad and those have lead to a series of projects connecting to the community of Jews across the world.
They include work with the European Jewish Development Fund and regional Chabad representatives to complete the rehabilitation of the gravesite of R. Dovber in Nizhyn, Ukraine including new facilities with heat and water where visitors can warm up during the frigid winters with a cup of tea and a comfortable place to pray and meditate. , Mouli, who admits that he likes to see fast results and big impact, has recently refurbished R. Dovber's Chasidic discourse Imrei Binah, another example, he says, of his penchant for projects that make an immediate difference. Long out of print, this work published by Kehot, has been newly reset, edited and annotated, empowering readers to understand deeply, the relevance of Chabad to their lives today.
"Mouli has a special neshama," says Asi. "We both feel blessed for the privilege to be involved in such special projects that connect us to our Rebbes."
Mouli is effusive in his admiration for Chabad emissaries and the passion they bring to their work. It is this work, he maintains, that gives life and meaning to Judaism, and makes its future possible. "Chabad is the spiritual counterpart of General Electric," says the software investor, unable to resist the analogy. "But instead of making profits, Chabad builds stronger souls."
Read the full story here: Entrepreneur Mouli Cohen says its time to give back to Chabad
About Mouli Cohen
Mr. Cohen is a successful entrepreneur who has founded and developed successful ventures in the biotechnology, high technology, digital media and entertainment sectors. He has balanced his success in business with extensive philanthropic activities. Over the years he has supported children's charities, food programs, medical research, and the arts as well as education projects both in the US and abroad. He is married to author Stacy Cohen. Follow him on the Mouli Cohen Twitter and hear about Mouli Cohen's "Secret Sauce" for Success Mouli Cohen Success.