Alumni Profiles: Tzvi Feifel, ’11YC, Isaac Dayan, ’12SB, Molly Brakha Hagler, ’15S, and Shlomit Filhart Feldman, ’12S
The annual YU Seforim Sale kicks off this Sunday and runs through February 28th in Belfer Hall at YU’s Wilf Campus. Last year the sale drew more than 15,000 people from the tri-state area and grossed more than $700,000 in sales. The sale is operated entirely by YU students, as they get involved in top-to-bottom management, ordering inventory, setting up the premises, marketing, and technology support. Students truly gain invaluable experience working on this large-scale commercial event. We checked in on the alumni who have run the Sale in the past to see how their experience working at the Seforim Sale impacted their careers and lives today.
Tzvi Feifel ‘11YC
Tzvi Feifel began working for the Seforim Sale in 2009 as one of the managers of the scholarly works section. The following year, he was asked to be the Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) the year after.
“My experience was a gift as it afforded me, a music major with limited commerce experience, the opportunity to work hard and be exposed to a significant business operation. That students with dual curriculum course loads were able to collectively pull off a sale of 13,000+ titles, draw in aggregate crowds of 15,000 people and gross $1M+ in sales in 3 short weeks is no small feat. The sale remains one of the highlights of my YU experience.”
Tzvi believes his current career in real estate, managing a 25-story, 340,000 square foot office building in Chicago’s Central Loop for New York-based AmTrust Realty Corp., would not be possible without the valuable experience he gained at the Seforim Sale. “I learned about problem-solving, delegating, budgeting, accounting principles, and perhaps most of all, teamwork.” Having the sale on his resume helped “open doors for me, land me interviews and eventually a career. Perhaps more importantly, some of my closest college friendships were formed during those late nights working alongside one another.”
Tzvi currently lives in Chicago, IL with his wife Metuka Hechtman, ’11S.
Isaac Dayan ’12SB
An accounting major in the Sy Syms School of Business, Isaac Dayan worked for the Seforim Sale in 2011 as an accounting intern, and in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Currently a CPA at Marks Paneth’s Real Estate Audit Group, Isaac gained a wealth of experience and knowledge from his work at the Sale. He was responsible for bookkeeping and reporting, including compiling financial statements. “In my capacity as an intern I learned about the Sale’s accounting and business cycles, and as CFO I was responsible for overseeing these processes and managing interns. I worked together with all divisions of the Sale for months before and after in order to prepare for the Sale, smoothly run its operations and close the books for the following year. I also learned how to perform all regulatory filings and banking requirements.”
Isaac received the 2011 Excellence in Accounting Scholarship from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) and credits his experience at the Seforim Sale for helping him with his continued success until today. “It was an experience that I referenced on every job interview. I learned how to properly record information and to manage accounts receivable and payable. I gained a skill set on the ins and outs of how to run a business. I have also been able to apply the not-for-profit accounting and tax experience that I learned while working at the Seforim Sale in my previous position and still today.”
Molly Brakha Hagler ‘15S
Molly Brakha Hagler made a college career out of the Seforim Sale: she worked there for all three years she was on campus. In 2013 as section manager, in 2014 as a productions manager, and the following year as COO of the entire sale.
“It was a lot of hard work, no matter what my position was, but we made it fun too. I made some of my closest friends through working at the sale. It was exciting because we were part of this bigger thing, something that attracted people from all over the world. Yes, many of our customers were from the tri-state area, but we had online orders coming in from England, Italy, Israel and even Australia.”
Molly knows one of the most important things she learned as COO was time management and preparation. “I was a full time student, and essentially I was working a full time job.” She emphasized that people “do not realize how much work goes into it, but the board and many of its employees spend months working on The Seforim Sale. Prep for the next year’s sale begins in June, 8 months before the sale actually begins.” Her skills will come in handy as she currently works as a Lab Assistant in the embryology lab at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York and prepares to take the MCATs and apply to medical school in the near future.
One of the most surprising things that came out of the sale for Molly was her husband; she married Ari Hagler this past November, current and previous CTO of the Sale. They are both amazed by the diversity of the customers that the sale attracts. “I don’t think that you can find that anywhere else. We have women in Kippas standing next to men in bekishas, browsing the same books. We have even had a few Christian customers. There is often so much conflict between different sects of Judaism, but somehow, no matter their background, they all came together at the sale.”
Shlomit Filhart Feldman ‘12S
“My job was to get customers in the door; I did that by planning and organizing the events that ran at the sale, including lectures, performances and book signings, as well as promoting the sale itself on social media. Another aspect of the job was selling ad space to generate additional revenue.”
As a Digital Media Planner at MediaCom for Volkswagen, Shlomit knows her experience at the Sale was “priceless work experience which helped get my foot in the door with my first post-graduation job.”