A 37-year-old member of Lakewood, New Jersey’s thriving Orthodox community has made waves by setting a new standard for simultaneous success in the sometimes-at-odds worlds of business and Torah study.
Ira Zlotowitz, a co-owner of Eastern Union Funding – one of the country’s largest private real estate mortgage brokerage companies – is on track to close $3 billion in commercial loan closings in 2013. Zlotowitz informed GlobeSt.com that Eastern Union looks forward to tripling the volume of financing it reached within this past year. The young entrepreneur notes that commercial lending has gained renewed strength over the past year-and-a-half and he believes this trend will continue.
“Thanks to our investments in new personnel and in a stronger corporate infrastructure, Eastern Union is closing deals more efficiently and more rapidly than ever before,” Zlotowitz told Real Estate Weekly. “Our reputation for best-in-class service has reached a point where our referral business is outpacing even what we had anticipated.”
A brief look at recent projects handled by Zlotowitz’s company – which maintains offices in Brooklyn, New Jersey and Maryland and at this time has $700 million in active transactions – reveals an impressive breadth of property usages and locations. In the past months, Eastern Union Funding has brokered: a blanket loan of $17 million on four elevator apartment buildings in Washington Heights and Inwood, New York; a $28 million loan to refinance two medical office buildings in Newark, New Jersey; a $34 million loan to refinance a four-building, 580-bed skilled nursing portfolio in New York and New Jersey; an $11.5 million bridge loan for a 10-building, 322-unit apartment complex in Lanham, MD; a $6,553,388 construction loan for the acquisition and gut renovation of a 65-unit multi-family property in Brooklyn; and a $2.3 million loan to refinance a multi-family property in Peoria, Illinois.
While Zlotowitz has been working passionately in commercial finance for many years – he actually began his career in the commercial mortgage business at the young age of 18 – he has separately made a mark for himself as a developer and leader of popular Torah study programs that benefit countless members of Klal Yisrael. In 1995, the then 19-year-old established the program known as Masmid Govoha, which motivates older elementary school yeshiva students to participate in Torah learning programs outside of their regular yeshiva curriculum. Starting out in Lakewood with just forty children from seventh and eighth grades, to whom Zlotowitz offered rewards for their additional limud haTorah, Masmid Govoha has expanded its reach to the point where it had 2,700 participants nationwide last year.
“The biggest motivation is recognition and positive reinforcement and every kid has the same exact chance to succeed,” said Zlotowitz. “Everyone wants to be recognized for their hard work.”
Clearly, Zlotowitz is not one to rest on his laurels with regard to his commitment to increasing Torah study on an everyday basis. This past year, the “business and spiritual entrepreneur” co-founded Lomdei Hadaf, an organization that assists Daf Yomi students with the often difficult task of remaining devoted to their daily studies, in order to reach the enviable but admittedly difficult goal of completing the entire Shas. Lomdei Hadaf helps to expedite that effort by giving Daf Yomi participants the opportunity to network with each other and share such valuable resources as shiurim, CDs, apps for mobile devices, seforim, e-mails, websites and other study aids.
In both the gritty, fast-paced world of business and the warmhearted, refined world of Torah study, Ira Zlotowitz has built – and continues to expand – a record of accomplishment that makes all of his public actions a true Kiddush Hashem.