JREP makes a positive difference in the world

Limor Spilky works with Location Matters and is on the planning committee for Federation’s Jewish Real Estate Professionals (JREP) Group along with Bobby Israel, Sam Levy, and Kevin Tarson. Following are Limor’s edited remarks from the August 28th JREP event. As she thanked Federation, she said, “We couldn’t have pulled any of this off without their support.”

Thank you all for being here today and showing your support for San Diego’s small (in number) but mighty JEWISH real estate community. We make up every part of the Real Estate ecosystem in our city, from Owners & Developers to Real Estate Attorneys, Appraisers, Lenders, Property Managers, and Brokers. We have all at some point attended one of the many real estate networking groups out there and on the face of it, this may seem like just another one. But it’s not – it’s so much more. JREP is where you will come to learn about real estate trends, yes, and network with other Jewish professionals. But this should also be a place for you to come and light that fire from within, be inspired to make a positive difference in the world, support our people as we have for generations, and give back because that’s what being Jewish is about.  

I look around the room and I see so many bright, intelligent, and of course successful professionals, some with longstanding roots in this city, and some newer arrivals. All of us combined are likely connected to a good chunk of San Diego’s real estate in some way or another. That’s pretty remarkable, and also gives us great responsibility. 

Real Estate for most is about the money, isn’t it? People historically join our industry for the financial rewards, chasing that big commission, adding value, pushing that IRR and ROI, landing the next big tenant. In Real Estate, we tend to put financial success at the top of the success ladder. But really, the order should be more like this: #1 our faith and ethics, #2 family and family values, and #3 financial success. Irrespective of your level of faith or beliefs, in Judaism we believe that Good things happen to Good people. That by doing right to others, and always leading a moral life, even if sometimes those actions are not to your direct benefit, in the long run you will influence your own future and create new opportunities for yourself.

To this point, I’d like to share a quick story with you – you knew there was going to be a story in here somewhere, right? 

A very wealthy man in town who had a relationship with a poor carpenter who had been struggling all his life approached him and said, ‘I’m going away for a year and I want you to build me a house. I am going to give you all the money you need to do it right. I want the best of everything that you can get to build the house.’ 

“As the carpenter began building the house, he says to himself, ‘The owner won’t know the difference. Why should I use all these expensive materials when I can put in cheap imitations and pocket the difference?’

“So, he builds the house as cheaply as he can. The rich man comes back and the carpenter gives him the key to his newly constructed home. The rich man says to the carpenter, ‘No, here. The key is for you. I wanted to build the house for you, so I am giving you the house as a present.’”

The moral of the story is to be careful; don’t cheat others because you may be cheating yourself.

In the words of David Weitzner, who wrote the article “Radically Jewish Business Ethics,” ask yourself every day, are you creating more opportunities for business and opening doors for more people to join in transactions? Are you acting ethically, whether you are a buyer, seller, broker, lender, or borrower? The moral good that comes from business activities done well is as real and meaningful as the moral good that may come from anywhere else; that is business b’emunah [faith].” 

If we conduct our everyday business in good faith and set a positive example for our community and our children, we create a transformation in both our business and personal lives, and the lives of the people around us. And that’s what true success looks like. 


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