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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 19, 2019 Suzi Weiss-Fischmann Kveller By Arielle Kaplan SuziWeiss-Fischmann, 62, used to aggressively bite her nails. Itwas a chronic, nervous tick, and it had to stop. After all, she was the co-founder and creative director of a global nail polish company, and chewed-up cuticles wasn't a good look for the woman shaping the beauty industry. This is just one fascinating tidbit from "I'm Not Really a Waitress,"Weiss-Fischmann's new book about how she went from a childhood in com- munist Hungary--where she secretly studied Hebrew with a rabbi--to becoming globally recognized as the First Lady of Nails. A second-generation Ho- locaust survivor, Weiss-Fis- chmann is the fiery Jewish mom behind OPI, the nail lacquer brand known for its witty color names. When she started the company in the mid-1980s with her brother- in-law, George Schaeffer, the pair knew nothing about nails. Nu? Just why did they plunge into the manicure business? Well, the duo was running a dental-supply company, and Schaeffer noticed that nail technicians were buying dental acrylics to make nail extensions. Unimpressed by the scarce and boring polish options available for women at the time, Weiss-Fischmann and Schaeffer realized there was a hole in the beauty mar- whensomebodymadeastupidalways ask, "what can you do up from school. Why is it so ket that they could fill. remark, I shrugged it off. to make your life better?" I important for you to take The nail industry needed a OPI's humorous polish always say that if you're able time out of your week to do splash of glamour, and with names are legendary. Tell to, give financially, or men- your nails? Weiss-Fischmann's eye for me about the meetings held tor somebody and make aYou havetoprioritize. Cer- color, the duo confidently to create names for the OPI difference in their life. If you tain things you have to do for pounced on the opportunity collections, can make a difference in one yourselfbecauseyouknow, us ripe for the taking. And thus Thenamesweresuchahuge person's life, you did good. women are multi-taskers. We OH--it stands for Odontori- part of the brand's DNA. Itwas Who areyour role models? can do so many things: We're um Products Inc.--was born. always based on a geographic My parents. My mom is an organizers, we take care of the Weiss-Fischmann's career location, and of course, we amazing little lady, she's so budget, we plan the meals. I is the envy of many, but cre- love to eat, so we always had strong. I mean, she was my mean, there has to be a new atingtongue-in-cheeknames food from the respective city hero.Mydadwasaveryloving adjective to describe what for bold nail polish colors or country that the collection father, hewasveryfamily-ori- women do. So it's time to take like "A Grape Affair" and "A was named after, and then ented. At work, it was George afewminutes, oranhour, just Butterfly Moment" is just a we kind of just had fun. I Schaeffer, my brother-in-law, for yourself. Getting a mani- fraction of what the beauty mean, we came up with liter- He wasagreatbusinessleader cure and pedicure is always mogul did for OPI. (In fact, ally crazy names--of course, and teacher. As for fashion, I kind of that main getaway Weiss-FischmannsoldOPIto some unmentionables, for love Chanel. I think as far as because, you know, you get Coty in 2010, but she remains obvious reasons. But, it was leaders, I'dsayGoldaMeir. I'm a little massage and it gives a brand ambassador andisstill a democratic process. So the not just naming her because you that instant gratification. in charge of naming colors.) names went up on the board she's a woman. I think she I loved everything that I In "I'm Not Really a Wait- and the majority vote won. was an amazing leader, and did with OPI, but my great- ress"--the title is also an icon- Itwasthehighlightofevery role model to allwomen, not est passion are my two kids ic nail polish color -- Weiss- collection and every season. I just Jewish. and my husband. I mean, you Fischmann chronicles her thinkastheyearswentonweYou wrote a lot about the know, the family is always No. road to changing the beauty just gotbetter, and better.The Shabbat dinners you hosted 1. That's how I grew up, and game. Kveller caught up with names aged like wine--they every week. Tell me about you know, in this crazy world the soon-to-be grandmother got more humorous. I would them. as I say, it's your family that's totalkabouttheJewishvalues go into salons sometimes and Shabbat dinner was a very always there. that influenced OPI's success, watch people anticipating the important part of our life. At the end of the book, you andhowsheearnedher titleas newcolors ofacollection. But, Friday night dinner kind of said that your new passion the First Lady of Nails. just as much as they antici- put the whole week together, is to pass on everything you In thebeginningofthebook, pated the colors, they always My son didn't go to a Jewish learnedon your OPIjourney you talk about--in contrast to flipped the bottle to see the high school, and the football to the next generation, l'dor the United States--growing names.That'swhatgavethem gameswereusuallyonFriday v'ador. Whyisitimportantto up in an environment where thatpersonalconnectionwith night. He could go, but only youthatyoushareyourstory? womenhadcareersanddidn't OPI. It was so important to after the kiddush, the motzi I think storytelling is very rely on their husbands for an us to gain the loyalty of the anddinner. I thinkit'sveryim- important. I feel that it's my income. How did that affect consumer, portant to raise children with duty to help raise new lead- your character, and your Tell me more about the something constant in their ers that are in business, and career? DNA of OPI, the importance lives, some sort of discipline philanthropy. It's so impor- There's no limitation to of tzedakah, and how your that ties the week together, tant to be able to share with women. The only limitations Jewishvaluesinfluencedyour Traditions like having a suk- otherpeopleandinspireother are what you put on yourself, leadership, kah, PassoversedersandRosh peopletoachievegreatthings. I grew up where women were My father said it very sim- Hashanah were always part And I feel like it's what I can doctors, engineers, lawyers, ply: You give, and you get. of my kids' lives, and I hope do best now. The importance and they were all university And that always happened when theyhavechildrenthey of storytelling cannot be educated. The men usually in my life. We were very willcontinuetohavethesame undermined. And what do us seemed like losers, or, you charitable. Especially being traditions, women do best when we get know, maybe less accom- immigrants, we know what As a working morn, you together? Tell our stories. plished. I never felt that I thiscountrygavetomyfamily, wrote about barely having This article originally ap- couldn't do anything and and George's family. People time to eat or pick your kids peared on Kveller. 8739 2146 6597 9428 5871 3612 4985 1263 7354 14625 35978 28134 53716 96342 47589 71263 89457 62891 By Shira Hanau Founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss about my Torah, my identity, pointed in Modern Orthodoxy as an alternative to the mybeliefs, or my relationship, and its institutions," he said. (New YorkJewishWeekvia more right-leaning Yeshiva "Most importantly, I am"We are supposed to stand JTA)--Signalingaredlineon University, the school in the grateful for all the support for an unfearing loyalty to how far Modern Orthodoxy is Riverdalesectionofthe Bronx my immediate family and my halacha, and it seems to me prepared to bend to adjust to ordained its first class in2004 partner, Judah Gavant, have that there are so many who societalchanges, aliberaINew and has since ordained more given me over my years in are acting out of fear and York City seminary will not than 100 rabbis, rabbinical school." not who they really believe ordainan openly gay student Since its founding, theIn his statement, Atwood halachically can be a rabbi. who is engaged to be married yeshivahassoughttobalance said he is pursuing an inde- We're supposed to fear God and completing his fourth its Orthodoxcredentialswith pendent ordination, alone, we're not supposed to year of rabbinical studies this its progressive values. The In an email to The Jewish fearwhatother Jews are going spring, The Jewish Week has decision on Atwood is being Week, RabbiDovLinzer, YCT's to say about it. learned, perceived by some as an at- president and rosh yeshiva, "So it's a real shameful In a statement to The Jew- temptby the yeshiva to more declined to comment on the moment," continued Lopatin, ish Week, Yeshivat Chovevei firmly ground itself in the specifics of the case. whoheadedtheyeshivawhen TorahstudentDanielAtwood, traditional Orthodox world, "We accept all students re- Atwood was accepted as a 27, wrote: "Four years ago I which maintains that Jewish gardlessofsexualorientation, studentandsteppeddownlast came out as gay during my law prohibits homosexual provided that they are fully year. "I hope that there will firstyearatYeshivatChovevei relations. While there has committed to Orthodox hala- be dozens of Orthodox rabbis Torah Rabbinical School, and been a significant increase chic observance," he wrote, that step forward and say that itwas decided that I would re- in empathy for LGBT Jews "There have been students in we want to give this student ceive semicha [ordination} as in recent years within the the past that did not receive semicha and not dozens that their first openly gay student, community, inclusion has semicha, eachoneforreasons are cowering behind closed After four years of study and rarely reached the level of specific to his case. Out of doors." my completing almost all of communal leadership, and respect for all our students, Seminarians atYCT inter- the program's requirements, same-sex marriage is uni- the yeshiva does not discuss viewed for reactions said they YCT decided not to give me versally prohibited, particular students and why were pained by the decision. semicha, newsdeliveredtome "I always knew that being any student may or may not "The last few weeks have only a few weeks ago, three in the position that I am in be receiving semicha." been a very challenging and monthsbefore mygraduation, would be a difficult process," Linzer added that "the ye- painful time to be a student at without any prior conversa- hewrote."Iwasalwayswilling shiva could have handled the YCT," one student, who asked tion on the matter." to navigate those challenges process of informing Daniel, to remain anonymous be- Atwood became engaged and work with YCT through- and coming to a timely deci- cause of the sensitivity of the in the fall and is living with out this process. And I have sion, inamuchbettermanner, situation, wroteinanemailed his partner, always been fully committed and we are sorry for the hurt statement. "We feel upset and The decisionmarksaturn- to living my life according thatwas causedas aresult." angered about the process ing point for the rabbinical to Orthodox halacha [Jewish Rabbi Asher Lopatin, the that led to this decision. school, which has served for law].Atthesametime, Irefuse previous president of YCT, When Daniel got engaged, I nearly 20 years as the flagship tolive anythingbutadignified weighed in with his dismay was excitedbecause I thought institution for a subgroup life, something I was always about the decision to deny YCT would affirm his choice of Modern Orthodoxy often transparent about, including Atwood ordination. dubbed "Open Orthodoxy." not being closeted or secret "I'veneverbeenmoredisap- Yeshiva on page 15A