Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Orthodox Apprentice: Episode 3

As we reported last week, this was the first episode to publicly show Dan and Lee's Orthodox Judaism. They held their ground and made us proud (as did Mr. Trump himself.)

First, the recap:
  • The episode starts with Brent returning to the suite with greetings of "Happy New Year! Shana Tova!" Interesting that the show's first reference to the Jewish holiday is from someone who does not (overtly) observe the Jewish New Year. It's also Brent's only reference to the holiday (shown in this episode). An earlier post has some information on Brent's background in Judaism.
  • Lee and Dan call a team meeting to inform their Gold Rush teammates that they will be observing the Jewish holiday over the next two days and will not be available to contribute to a task.
  • Lenny raises objections. To Bryce's surprise, Lenny announces that he is Jewish (as reported here last week), but will not use his religion as an excuse to not contribute to the team. If the team loses, Lenny says, Dan and Lee will take the blame.
  • Dan tells Lenny that he will observe the holiday as he chooses to, without room for negotiation. This is just the way it's going to be.
  • In a private interview, Lenny comments that the Israeli army does not shut down on holidays. (As if The Apprentice was as important as saving lives.)
  • We watch Dan and Lee walk together to shul (synagogue). With matching yellow ties. (You heard it here first.)
  • The teams meet with Mr. Trump to learn about the next task. Trump first points out that Gold Rush is down two people since Dan and Lee are observing the holiday. Lenny is not happy when Mr. Trump explains that George is also observing the holiday and that he respects their decisions. "That's life," he remarks.
  • Lee and Dan are absent for the entire task - running a retreat event to introduce the 2007 Chevy Tahoe to Chevrolet dealers.
  • Gold Rush loses. Someone will be fired.
  • Theresa, the project manager, first places the blame on Lenny. Then she shifts the blame to Tarek. Lenny blames Dan and Lee for their absence. Then he blames Tarek and Bryce. Anyone but himself. Tarek puts the blame on Andrea.
  • Lenny asks if Mr. Trump knows that he is Jewish too. Mr. Trump is aware of that. Lenny says that he could have skipped the task, but he chose not to let the team down. Since Trump expresses his respect for Dan's and Lee's decisions, Lenny says that he'll take off the next holiday. Interestingly, no one but Lenny blames Dan or Lee. Some other dialogue could have been edited out, but we'll never know.
  • In the boardroom, Trump first asks the Orthodox candidates how their holiday went. Dan and Lee both respond that it was very nice.
  • Trump thinks that Lenny is very funny and is not at fault for losing the task. Mr. Trump places the blame on Charmaine, but since she wasn't brought back to the boardroom, Theresa is fired.
Some thoughts:
  • Kudos to Dan and Lee for having the foresight to prepare the team by openly discussing the issue in a meeting, rather than surprising their teammates when the two leave for shul.
  • Kudos to Dan and Lee for firmly stating what they will be doing and not leaving the issue open to negotiation.
  • Shame on Lenny for comparing The Apprentice competition to defending a country at war. (Lenny fought in the Soviet army against Afghanistan so he understands the signifcance of war.)
  • Brent announced Shana Tova, but did he observe the holiday at all? We don't know.
  • Donald Trump showed a tremendous amount of respect for the Jewish holiday. At that one moment, any Orthodox Jew would have wanted to have him for a boss.
  • This episode was truly the kiddush hashem that we were hoping for. Some people will surely agree with Lenny and say that Dan and Lee should not have sacrificed the team for their religion, but the popular reaction from the general public should be that they did the right thing and went about it in a very respectful manner.
  • The show handled the issue very well. Both sides were shown - Lee and Dan on one side with Lenny on the other. The rest of the team was in the middle, but appeared to be very understanding. The Orthodox Apprentice candidates were not portrayed negatively in any way. It helped that George was off for the holiday too.
10 days until Yom Kippur. That could be about 3 weeks in Apprentice time. Stay tuned!


At 3/14/2006 6:38 AM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

minor quibble.
i believe trump said "thats life" in the boardroom and pointed out that these guys would work on christmas.
lenny just didnt get it.
and i honestly think lenny is stupid, because trump repeatedly showed respect and lenny kept complaining, showing trump how small minded he is.
to paraphrase what lenny said last night that was LOL,"if only his brain was as big as mouth, then he might have some common sense."

At 3/14/2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the shul, the Ohab Zedekon upper west side?

At 3/14/2006 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it looked like the eldridge st synagouge on the lower east side. (IIRC we dont actually see them walk in, we see them walk on the st to "jewish" music, then we see a shot of a shul)

At 3/14/2006 1:59 PM, Blogger Nachum said...

I'm pretty sure it was the (Orthodox) Park East Synagogue, one of the closest to Trump Tower. The (Reform) Central Synagogue, also nearby, looks somewhat similar, but they wouldn't have gone there. (The (Orthodox) Fifth Avenue Synagogue is even closer, but it wasn't it.)

Compare the Park East Synagogue at http://www.dpka.com/images/Park-East-1.jpg to the Central Synagogue at http://www.nyu.edu/classes/finearts/nyc/park/image/synagogue.JPG . There was a last shot of the Magen David atop the former.

Trump also pointed out that George (one of the hosts, recently a speaker at Yeshiva University) was also out for Rosh Hashanah.

At 3/14/2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, now that I see park east, it really looks like it.

At 3/14/2006 6:00 PM, Blogger Chaim said...

I was wondering how come they werent wearing yarmulkas at least when they were going to shul? I hear why they werent on the show, but walking to shul they didnt wear a yarmulka?

At 3/14/2006 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They wrern't wearing kippot because there weren't actually going to a minyan when being filmed... The producers probably decided a few days later when they realized they couldn't edit rosh hashana out of the show that they should film them going to a shul for extra effect...
Lets see what happen on Yom Kippur (I'd assume the producers skip this day completely since its easier to schedule around 1 day as opposed to 2 for rosh hashana)... and lets see if either Dan or Lee make it to Succos...

At 3/14/2006 9:19 PM, Anonymous Yosef said...

I agree with this guy (www.dashriprock.blogspot.com). I think we're making a bigger deal about the Jewish thing than necessary. It's cool and interesting, but kind of sad that we are so focussed on every tiny issue of their observance as opposed to just accepting that they can be competitors like everyone else.

At 3/15/2006 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cares when they put their yarmulka on? maybe it was as they entered the synagogue. maybe it was inside teh synagogue. maybe it was two blocks outside the trump building but it wasnt shown to us. maybe they prayed without a yarmulka. why should we care? it's not for us to crticize. we all have areas to improve religiously. its not fair to examine their observance under a microscope. maybe they dont cheat on their taxes and others do. maybe they dont speak lashon hara. maybe theyve performed shiluach hakan. they could be better jews than any of us. this show isnt "the rabbi" or "americas next top jew". it's "the apprentice". if they make it to the final 2, it should be considered a success. even if we "catch" them eating sushi in a restaurant that doesn't have kosher supervision.

At 3/15/2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Wallyhorse2 said...

I think Lee and Dan were absolutely in their right to observe the holiday, as would have Allie, Brent and/or Lenny should any or all of them have chosen to as well. I know this could have been a potential issue on later shows for Yom Kippur and Succoth.

There is a very good thread on this over on the board "Apprentice 2" candidate Elizabeth Jarosz has that you can see by going to:


I have a link in that thread back to the Orthodox Apprentice blog here.

At 3/16/2006 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the author of "Jewish Pride" on the AOL Message Boards. I am suprised this became such a controversial issue, but it should be a no brainer. As a Reform Jew, I would never think of working on the High Holidays. Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews all observe the High Holidays, just differently. If all the Jewish candidates didn't participate in the task on Rosh Hashanah, it would have been rescheduled. The high holidays are posted on the secular calendar, most public schools are closed due to lack of attendance. People lead by example. George Ross doesn't work on Rosh Hashanah. He has been employed by Donald Trump for many years. Whether to observe a holiday or not has absolutely nothing to do with how committed a person is in business. This is 2006, it's time for the Jews to come out of the closet.

At 3/23/2006 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What lenny said about Dan and Lee using the holiday as an excuse not to do the task is just absolutely the dumbest thing I have ever heard. He said he could have used Rosh Hashanah as an excuse too, but HE'S NOT RELIGOUS! If Dan and Lee have never observed Rosh Hashanah before, then observing it during the Apprentice could have been an excuse not to do the task, but this isn't true. They are Orthodox Jews who always observe Rosh Hashanah. Just because there are other Jews on the show who worked on Rosh Hashanah means nothing. They obviously aren't religious Jews so they have no reason to observe Rosh Hashanah too. Also Theresa says in the TV guide article that she would have worked during Christmas, but there is no religous prohibition of working on Christmas like there is during Rosh Hashanah so that comment is incredibly ignorant.


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