Friday, March 10, 2006

BREAKING NEWS - Religion on The Apprentice

SPOILER ALERT: This post includes information about an upcoming episode.

According to NBC, on Episode 3 (airing on Purim night), "One team loses two candidates who choose to observe their religious holiday and omit themselves from the task at hand.... Lenny gets vocal about his missing teammates while he chooses to help his team over observing the holiday.... Bill Rancic fills in for George Ross, who is away observing the religious holiday"

One candidate will be fired on this episode.

According to this Business Journal article, the task was filmed on Wednesday, October 5, 2005. That was the second day of Rosh HaShana. Since most tasks occur over two days, Dan and Lee would likely have missed the planning / preparation stage, as well as the event itself.

A preview of the coming episode is now available on Yahoo. Lee and Dan call a meeting to explain to the team that they'll be unavailable for two days, as they observe the New Year. Lenny tells Lee and Dan that they'll be blamed if the team loses the task. He points out that the Israeli army works on holidays. In a brief snippet, Tarek appears to be understanding. He suggests that Orthodox Apprentice candidates carry cellphones, but then he realizes that they couldn't use phones on the holiday.

Even if they both survive this task, it will be interesting to see what happens over Yom Kippur and Sukkot. It would be difficult for Trump to fire them for religious observance. But if they miss a task, they won't have any positive contributions to the team.

Our money is on Gold Rush winning this week's task, avoiding a potential boardroom blowup. The episode summary and the preview focus on the two candidates missing out on the task. But they don't mention any issues in the boardroom. Usually the previews hint at conflicts in the boardroom.

Here's something to think about: If Gold Rush is victorious, will the Orthodox Apprentice candidates participate in the reward, or will they choose to pass on the reward since they didn't perform the work?

Your thoughts? Click on "comment" below to add yours.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

You heard (saw) it here first! (#4)

3/15 UPDATE: Lee's website is now live at The link below is no longer active.

As most Orthodox Apprentice readers know, Lee's website is "coming soon". Well, it looks like it's about to go live!

Want a sneak preview? At this time, you can browse Lee's full website by starting here:

The above link could be changed or removed at any time so check it out now.

It's a very professional site, with plenty of photos of this Orthodox Jewish Apprentice candidate. His website includes a page that lists a few charities, including IsraAID. It's also interesting to note that you can fill out an online form to "request more information on how Lee can make your next event/corporate meeting a memorable one."

Other website news:
  • Brent Buckman's redesigned website went live today.
  • Lenny's website is under construction.
  • The Florida Jewish News is following Daniel (Dan) Brody with The Brody Report.

You heard it here first! (#3)

Both Lenny and Brent are Jewish too!

In his youth, Brent Buckman spent some summers at Pripstein's Camp Mishmar, which "serves tasty Kosher-style meals." According to a source (but not yet confirmed), Brent was a member of the executive board of the Jewish Students' Union at University of Western Ontario and later he was an active member of the Jewish Law Students Association at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center. Brent's sister, Brianne, is Artistic Director at Reach Dance Academy.

A reliable source has informed us that Lenny Val of East Brunswick, NJ is also Jewish, but we don't have any further details on his religious background.

Our current tally is 5 Jewish candidates on the current season of The Apprentice.
Three for Gold Rush - Lee Bienstock, Daniel Brody (Dan) and Lenny Val. Two on Synergy - Brent Buckman and Allie Jablon.
None have been fired. Yet.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Orthodox Apprentice Episode 2 observations

  • Lee Bienstock - one of the Orthodox Jewish Apprentice candidates - was project manager for this week's task. The goal was to get people to send text messages to create a buzz for Gillette's new Fusion razor. We first saw Lee leading a productive brainstorming session. He appeared to be comfortable as the facilitator. He's probably participated in similar meetings with Accenture consultants.
  • Lenny didn't like the slow pace of the planning phase. He wanted to get out and start collecting text messages, so he took control and recruited a couple others to leave the meeting with him. From the street, Lenny called Lee and demanded that he go outside immediately. Lee was portrayed as if he lost control of the meeting and the team. Lenny hung up the phone (battery was dying - who's to blame for that?) and Lee is left shouting into the phone, "Hello?.... Hello?.... Hello?" Fade to commercial.
  • The next morning, Gold Rush got an early start while Synergy slept for another hour. Could it be that Lee and Dan (the other Orthodox Jewish Apprentice candidate, Daniel Brody) were up early for shacharit and then woke the rest of their team?
  • Lenny picked a location by the TKTS booth and Lee agreed with it. Then Lenny guaranteed Lee a victory. Appears that Lenny didn't hold a grudge from the previous day's conflict.
  • Dan was portrayed as having a low profile during this task. We didn't see him or hear him much. We didn't see him doing anything to help or to hurt the team. Historically, candidates with a low profile early on have been able to stay in the game for a while. Previous Apprentice winners and runners-up weren't seen much until the season progressed to the midpoint.
  • We didn't see any bad blood between Tarek and Lee or Lenny. We didn't hear anything about Mensa. It seems like Trump's final words last week put Tarek in his place.
  • Lee's team won the task by almost 50%!
  • Trump announced that the reward is to help clothe men who are attempting to return to work. (Using Trump's line of men's clothing, of course.) Trump remarked that this reward is better than the typical reward. Dan agreed, "Absolutely more important, sir."
  • We saw more of Dan during the reward than we saw during the task. Dan appeared to be very excited to help the men choose new clothing to prepare for job interviews. We also heard a soundbite of Dan from an interview. He was clearly happy to participate in this mitzvah. It would be a kiddush hashem, if any viewers knews he was Jewish!
  • We didn't hear anything in this episode about Dan being a father.
  • Religion had no part in this episode. The show has not yet dealt with kashrut, prayer, shabbat or yom tov.
  • Next week's episode airs on Purim night so prepare your Tivo.

Some other random observations:
  • A toy companany should manufacture a Lee Bienstock bobblehead doll. Seriously, Lee's head doesn't stop bobbing. (Sorry Lee.)
  • Brent Buckman is a nut case. It was nice to hear him say so himself. However, he was not the reason Synergy lost this task.
  • Ivanka Trump is an intelligent, young (24 years old) woman. In her closing comments, she remarked that Pepi and Stacy were not "apprentices". She pluralized "apprentice" correctly, in direct contrast to Randall's final remarks during the Season 4 finale, "It's not apprenti. It's Apprentice."
One other note:
The Orthodox Apprentice site was mentioned in this article in last week's Forward.