Meet Jewish Person of the Week Zak Shapiro

zak shapiro jewish person of the week chitribe

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Wilmette, IL

What did you do Jewish growing up?

I attended Hebrew school and had my Bar Mitzvah at Beth Emet in Evanston, I was also involved in BBYO. 

What do you do Jewish now?

I am involved in many Jewish organizations, celebrate shabbat, meet with a Rabbi to learn Torah, and enjoy eating the Challah that others are kind enough to bake for me! 

zak shapiro jewish person of the week chitribe

What Jewish organizations are you involved with?

My biggest affiliations are serving on the Young Professional’s board of JNF (Jewish National Fund) and the Ember Foundation (a torah learning group). Outside of those I attend events for JUF, IPF, Chabad River North, Israel Bonds, ChiTribe and more!   

Where did you go to school?

I went to Northwestern for undergrad and was recently admitted to the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business AND Harris School of Public Policy to pursue a dual MBA / MPP. 

What do you do for fun/to relax?

I play piano, and I engage in politics. For the piano part, you can catch me at the Zebra Lounge where I recently started performing. For politics, I began a group for moderates to gather and discuss politics, policy, and ideology over a year ago now. This is a space to dig deep into some of the more pressing questions of our day without judgment, and if you are interested in joining us let me know! 

I also enjoy hikes, snow skiing, wakeboarding – leading an active life in general.

zak shapiro jewish person of the week chitribe

What is your favorite Jewish Chicago event?

This is a tough one, can I give a few? I have to rep JNF first and foremost with our annual summer gala, Windy City Shabbat. This year we were thinking of making it a Layla Lavan party instead but alas, COVID. We also have an annual dreidel tournament, which is the biggest in the country and the best part of Hannukah. Outside of JNF, I am a big fan of the Israel Bonds annual Binny’s event. 

What do you for work?

I work for Morningstar (finance, not vegetarian foods). Morningstar provides investment research to banks and financial professionals, and I help our existing institutional clients use our software and data, while also growing our relationship with them. 

How has that changed during COVID?

Pre-COVID I was on the road every other week, now I am working from home! Besides that, the job has been consistent, taking more Zoom meetings and fewer client lunches but the conversations and workflows remain constant, and business is busy as everyone needs good financial research these days. 

zak shapiro jewish person of the week chitribe

How do you stay motivated during the Pandemic?

I try to keep a regular schedule and focus on improvement. I do morning yoga, keep regular working hours, play piano, and read sci fi. I try to schedule my social life too and see people outdoors as much as possible, as a Chicago native I am not afraid to put on a coat and go for a walk, no matter the weather! 

I also have spent a lot of time with my family (and family dogs) during this pandemic, they keep me grounded and I am lucky to have them around! My siblings and family are all in the Chicago area, and my Jewish mother is beyond thrilled to have us around all the time. 

Favorite takeout spot during the Pandemic?

Lou Malnati’s, easy, also my favorite take out spot when it’s not a pandemic. 

Where are you about to start Business school and for what?

I am about to start school at Booth (University of Chicago)! I am not sure what it will look like, right now they have 50-50 remote and in person, but I am optimistic that by the time I start things will have settled down and we can revert to full in-person learning. I am hoping to work at the intersection of business and policy, looking for work at Facebook or Google after graduation in their policy department. 

zak shapiro jewish person of the week chitribe

Best virtual resource for people working from home?

For those working from home, I recommend taking advantage of your downtime and listening to podcasts! Now I am aware that everyone on this email has listened to podcasts, but instead of just your go-to’s I recommend learning something new. I highly recommend the “History That Doesn’t Suck” podcast if you want a refresher of American History and a reminder that 2020 is probably not the worst year to be alive. 

Complete the phrase: When the Tribe Gathers…WE EAT!

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Rebecca Schwab

Rebecca Schwab

Rebecca creates best practices and executes marketing campaigns for Jewish organizations who are trying to reach the next generation of the Jewish community - specifically Millennials and Gen Z - through digital marketing, social media, online and in-person events.