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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 9, 2018 the great-grandmother the new Bea Slater in front of some ads in which she is featured. By Elaine Durbach WHIPPANY, N.J. (New Jer- sey Jewish News via JTA)--If Bea Slater had ever been a shrinking violet, her sudden celebrity might be uncom- fortable. At 90, the great- grandmother has her image plastered on billboards and bus shelters up and down Manhattan and in Brooklyn. There's even one on the roof above Junior's, the famous cheesecake place. Along with three other women nearly as old as she, she has become the face of JDate, the Jewish matchmak- ing site. They're not poster girls for senior dating. Rather, JDate is promoting their im- ages to suggest that it is "yen- tas" like them who are work- ing out the site's algorithms to find that perfect match. One ad, featuring Slater hard at work on a laptop, reads "Her dreidel game is filthy. But her code is clean." (Translation: She's a great dreidel player, and even better at writing computer code.) The "Powered by Yentas" concept came from copy- writer and standup comedian David Roth, who produced the campaign with Hogarth Worldwide for JDate's parent company, Spark Networks SE. Roth said grandmothers have labored forever to ensure that young Jews meet and procreate in order to sustain the tribe. "Bea was an instant star," he said. "She has one of the most expressive and comedic faces I've ever seen. We had an embarrassment of riches--so many funny photos of Bea to choose from. She was hi- larious on set and an absolute delight to work with." Slater, not a coder though a savvy computer-literate so- cial media user, is taking her celebrity status in stride, lov- ing every aspect and eager for more. Chatting in her home in Springfield, New Jersey, where she has lived for 65 years, she talked more readily about her family (two sons, Mitch and Jeff Slater; a daughter, Diane Bedrin; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren), but was content to answer questions about how she is enjoying her newfound fame. "When my picture is up in the subway, then I'll really be a star," she said. Though she has never mod- eled professionally--and the last time she did any acting was in eighth grade--posing came easily. Slater, who grew up in West Philadelphia, was a much-pictured daughter of a photographer. She became a photographer herself when she grew up, at least until she turned her focus to raising her kids. Almost every wall in her home is adorned with family photos, assembled and collaged by her father and, after he passed away, by her husband Jack, who died in 2009. In November, a friend mentioned to her son Mitch that JDate was trying to find older women for a marketing campaign. He told his older brother, Jeff, a marketing executive, who initially dis- missed the idea, sure their mom wouldn't be up for it. But the younger brother, a financial adviser, called back Jeff within minutes to let him know that not only did he decide to broach the subject with their mother, but Bea had agreed on the spot. "I said, 'You never know '" which happens to be her response to virtually every question. It's a principle she applies to herself as well as those around her. A few years ago, Slater persuaded her grand- daughter Fanny Slater to enter TV personality and celebrity cook Rachael Ray's "Great American Cookbook Competition." Siater was in the audience when Fanny was named the winner, and in Feb- ruary, both grandmother and granddaughterwill appear on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate,"a show on the Cooking Channel. A few months ago Mitch, who has awide circle of friends in showbiz, including Bruce Springsteen and his cohort, arranged for his mother to introduce Steve Van Zandt (of the Boss's E Street Band) and his band, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, at a concert on Staten Island. She admit- ted to being nervous standing alone in the spotlight (with the protective Mitch hovering nearby). "I didn't want to disappoint Steve," she recalled. Later, to her astonishment, Slater was mobbed by fans who wanted to take selfies with her. Slater was chosen by the Donna Grossman Casting Agency. Speaking for Gross- man and her team, Paul Bernstein said they auditioned approximately 40 women, though many more applied. They were looking for "au- thentic Jewish grandmoth- ers in their late 80s to 90s," Bernstein said, and Slater and her co-stars stood out because of "their heart, their humor, style. They all had their own chutzpah and heimishe feel." The photographs for JDate were taken by Randal Ford, a sought-after commercial photographer. Some 60 years ago, Slater and her husband helped co-found their synagogue, Temple Shaarey Shalom, the Reform congregation near her home. It was a big part of their and their children's lives. Going on without Jack was a challenge, Bea acknowledged, and many of her friends are gone, too, or not as youthful as she is. Still, she attends the temple's Renaissance Club, drives (though not at night) and keeps up an active social life. And now she's audition- ing for other advertising campaigns. Asked what Jack would make of her celebrity, Slater laughed. "He'd have said, 'Do you know what you're getting yourself into?' He was much more conservative than me," she said. As for using JDate herself, she is adamant that she has "absolutely no interest in meeting anyone. I'd never find anyone as good as what I had." But like so many Jewish grandmothers, Slater is eager to help others find love. "There should be more money next time, though," she added, with exactly the kind of twinkle in her eyes that got her the JDate gig in the first place. From page 1A For Litzman, the Olympics serve as a way to reach more people and expand Chabad's work in the country. "It's a great pleasure," he said. "This is something that we have been waiting for. It's a great opportu- nity for us to expand our services and to grow and 892743165 456189372 317526489 728631954 145972638 963458217 274365891 539814726 to learn how to be able to host many people." Until the Chabad house opened in 2008, the only Jewish services were at the U.S. Army base in the capital, according to a website for ex- pats. Today, the Chabad house serves as a resource not only to Jews but non-Jews as well. "There are many Koreans coming here on a daily basis. They want to learn about Judaism, to buy kosher food, ask questions, [receive] guid- ance," Litzman said. "We invite them to come when- ever they want during the weekdays." Non-Jewish South Koreans havevarious reasons for want- ing to learn about Judaism, he said. "Some are just astonished by the fact that we have so many enemies and we still survive and we thrive," Litzman said, "and others are thinking about the fact that many Jews are successful and in monetary areas they are trying to figure out how to do it." Others, he added, want to learn about the Torah or Talmud, or come because they love Israel or have had posi- tive experiences with Jewish people. South Koreans who want to learn about Hebrew and Israel have another place to go as well: the Israel Culture Center in Seoul. The venue teaches Hebrew and pro- motes Israeli culture, some- times holding events with the Israeli Embassy. Founded in 2000, some 3,000 students have studied Hebrew--both modern and biblical--at the center, a representative told JTA in an email. The center also has a Jewish studies library that is open to the public. "Israel Culture Center will continuously work hard to be a place where Israel's unique culture is introduced to Ko- reans and significant friend- ship is being birthed between Koreans and Israelis," the representative said. South Koreans' fascination with Judaism has been widely documented. "Each Korean family has at least one copy of the Talmud," the country's then-ambas- sador to Israel, Young-sam Ma, told an Israeli TV host in 2011. "Korean mothers want to know how so many Jewish people became geniuses." (A New Yorker reporter who followed up on the claim sug- gested that he meant a one- volume popularization of the vast, multi-volume compen- dium of Jewish law and lore, and, indeed, found it at most of the bookstores he visited.) Many South Koreans have a positive view of Israel. Some 800 South Koreans live in the Jewish state, with many more going there to study Hebrew and the Bible. Most of these enthusiasts are drawn to Israel because of their reli- gious beliefs as evangelical Christians. Christianity is the largest organized religion in South Korea, with nearly 30 percent of the population identifying as Christians. Unlike many Chabad emis- saries, Litzman said he and his family do not have to deal with safety concerns and anti- Semitism. "We feel blessed to be in such a country that there is admiration to Jews and espe- cially to Israel," he said, "and in general Korea is a very safe country." 681297543 From page 1A an adult title, "A Knitter's Home Companion." Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller "The Kommandant's Girl," which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Paul Goldberg is the au- thor of "The Yid" and two books on the Soviet human rights movement, and has co- authored (with Otis Brawley) the book "How We Do Harm." He is the editor and publisher of The Cancer Letter, a publi- cation focused on the business and politics of cancer. Justin Loeber is a self- made entrepreneur with a true American spirit, an SVP, Executive Marketing and publicity director at Judith Regan's imprint, ReganMedia/HarperCollins. Loeber has spearheaded publicity campaigns for a ton of bold face names: Michael Jordan, Lawrence Taylor, Cindy Crawford, Olympia Dukakis, Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson, Anthony Bour- dain, Ewan McGregor, Gloria Allred, Marlo Thomas, Wanda Sykes, LeRoy Neiman, Blair Underwood, Jon Gruden, Leon Uris, Celia Cruz, Bill Blass, and Dr. Andrew Weil, Promoted key health and wellness programs at The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, the largest retreat center in North America. He was also instrumental in bro- kering book deals for many, including John Leguizamo's Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends (Ecco) and Kenny Loggins' Footloose (Quarto). The day will feature the four Jewish authors in three time slots: PJ Library chil- dren's book author, Michelle Edwards (11:15 a.m.--12:15 p.m). This is a free event featuring kid-friendly story time; a panel discussion with award-winning fiction authors Pam Jenoff and Paul Goldberg (1 p.m.--2 p.m.), who will give a behind-the- scenes look into a few of their best sellers and a look into the lives of an author; and a discussion with self-man- agement expert and veteran publisher Justin Loeber (2 p.m.--3 p.m.), who's recent book, "Get out of Your Own Way Guide to Life," helps readers to overcome personal obstacles, fear and stereo- types and reach their goals. General admission tickets are $10 per talk (open seating), with aVIP reserved seating in the first two rows ticket op- tion of $30 for all three talks. Package price of $15 for two sessions. Tickets can be purchased at www.orlandojcc.org/book- fest. Any media questions can be directed to Leah Sandier, Cultural Arts coordinator for The Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando. There will be complimen- tary babysitting at the JCC for children ages 2-12; advanced registration is required and is done at the time of ticket purchase.