June 24, 2024
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Jason Dov Greenblatt: Fostering the Work-Life Balance

Teaneck–Many Jewish children (and adults) grew up listening to the songs of Uncle Moishy. Everyone laughed at the silly exaggerations of Big Gedaliah Goomber’s erev Shabbos adventures. Children sing along as Gedaliah Goomber works on a building on the 100th floor and drops the pile of bricks to make Shabbos.

Jason Dov Greenblatt, a resident of Teaneck and Excecutive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at The Trump Organization, found himself holding a real-life version of Gedaliah Goombers ton of bricks on an erev Yom Tov about eight years ago. It was a busy time, where unlike this year, the majority of the holidays fell out in September, making it a difficult and choppy month for work. Greenblatt was in charge of an $800 million deal. In order to maximize his time in the office before being out for days at a time, he even slept in the office for several nights. While his dedication was exemplary, there were delays that fell out of his control and he could not complete what needed to get done. “I had a lump in my throat,” recalled Greenblatt. “It was the worst I had ever felt. But Donald Trump was such a mensch.” When he explained to Trump the course of events, Trump told him to, “Go home and pray, and we will pick it up after the holidays.” Luckily the deal picked up after Yom Tov and everything worked out.

Greenblatt acknowledges Trump’s response as incredibly understanding and generous. Finding a way to maintain Jewish priorities without conflict at work is an oft-discussed topic among many in the corporate work environment. Greenblatt feels that with hard work it is very achievable for many people. Obviously, a tolerant boss helps achieve balance. But in addition, Greenblatt explained that one must show his or her own commitment to work as well. “Stepping into corporate dynamics is stepping into a complex world,” explained Greenblatt. “It is doable, but you have to bend over backwards for your employer, just like you want them to do for you.”

In fact, Greenblatt feels that sometimes a Shomer Shabbos employee should put in twice as much dedication for an employer, and be even more accommodating toward their priorities as one would like their employer to be to their own. “Our religion demands so much from us. Shabbos, Yom Tov, holidays such as Purim are all days when we request special arrangements,” Greenblatt said. “If you want work to take you seriously as a dedicated employee, don’t leave work at 2 p.m. on Friday when Shabbos is not until eight.” Everyone needs to remember that to be successful at any job requires strong commitment.

In addition to the importance of dedication to an employer, Greenblatt cannot speak enough about the importance of family. As Chief Legal Officer for a multi-billion dollar company, Greenblatt works incredibly hard. At the same time, he cherishes the time with his wife Naomi, a psychiatrist, and his six children–Noah, Julia, and Anna, 15-year old triplets, Sophia, 11, Avery, 8, and Vera, 3. Though he is required to travel for work occasionally, he makes strong efforts to always be home for Shabbos. Mr. Trump has even scheduled flights around Greenblatt’s Shabbos and Yom Tov schedule.

While the work-life balance definition can change from family to family, Greenblatt is fortunate that he generally does not work on weekends. He uses that time to be heavily involved with his family. If he is home early enough on a weeknight, he spends his time carpooling his children between various extracurricular activities. In a time where society finds itself strongly connected to communication devices–even for non-urgent matters–Greenblatt also emphasized that he tries very hard to put down his smartphone when his time is focused on his children and family, though he admits it is a challenge. “The benefit of the smartphone is that it allows me to leave the office, but of course that means I need to check it. The trick is in only checking and replying to important, work-related emails when I am focused on my family, and not less important emails.” Greenblatt explained.

Of course, there are only so many hours in a day; between dedicating his work time to focusing on business, and the time at home to strengthening his bond with his family, there is always something that still needs to get done. Greenblatt strongly asserted that his priorities are “family, work, and being frum,” but laughingly admitted that he needs to find a way to get more exercise and eat healthier.

Another aspect of a work-life balance that is important to Greenblatt is his community involvement and guidance to a new generation of young leaders entering the workforce. He has spoken at a “Latte and Learning” program to enable Jewish youth to connect and support each other in a relaxed environment. He also speaks in business circles about ethics. Recently, he spoke and hosted a YU Connects event at Trump Tower, entitled “How to Succeed in Business…Without Any Lying.” Being an honest, ethical person in business is important to Greenblatt and he hopes to inspire others. Greenblatt, his wife, Naomi, and their family were recent speakers at a shul in Manhattan, and have plans to speak at a shul in Canada this fall.

Greenblatt described Donald Trump, as well as Trump’s three children, as “extraordinarily respectful” to the frum community. Having interacted with them, Greenblatt has only the most positive things to say about them and their commitment to supporting his family and religious choices.

For his part, Trump recognizes and appreciates Greenblatt’s efforts as well. As Trump told the Jewish Link, “Jason’s faith is such that it permeates all aspects of his life–from his family to his work, and his loyalty runs just as deep,” professed Trump. “As a lawyer, he has 100% focus, and I have the utmost respect for his work and family ethics. They don’t get any better than Jason.”

By Jenny Gans

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