As the only two Orthodox Jewish contestants on this season’s “The Apprentice,” Lee Bienstock and Daniel Brody often would discuss their faith with other cast members as they vied for the right to spend one year working under the tutelage of Donald Trump. Brody and Bienstock were known to frequent synagogue together, and they shared a kosher George Foreman grill in the cast suite, high above Fifth Avenue in New York City’s Trump Tower.
But in the end, religion and business don’t always mix.
The Shmooze has learned that in the days preceding the Monday night finale of the show’s fifth season, Brody sent an e-mail to friends, urging them to vote for Sean Yazbeck, a British recruitment consultant, over Bienstock, who was the other finalist. During the live finale, Brody publicly expressed his support for Yazbeck.
Trump and the viewers went with the Brit.
“Because Lee and I were on the same team on the show, we were essentially vying for the same slot,” Brody later told the Shmooze. “I wasn’t put in that position with Sean, so we were able to develop a different kind of bond.”
Meanwhile, Bienstock remained upbeat after his defeat. “I never expected Dan to support me just because I’m Jewish,” he said. “Ultimately it has nothing to do with religion, heritage or nationality — it has to do with business.”
Steven I. Weiss, who kept up with the season on his blog, Canonist.com, said that the “tension between Brody and Bienstock was apparent on the show, and most Orthodox viewers seemed to feel the fault lay with Brody.”
“They’d probably find it quite fitting to hear that Brody sent out those e-mails,” Weiss added.
Despite whatever competition existed on the show, they now seem ready again to focus on their shared faith. The pair will be speaking together this Friday, June 9, at a shul, the Jewish Center in Manhattan, and neither is ruling out future joint speaking engagements in the Jewish community.
In reference to the difficult balance that the two Orthodox contestants faced, Brody said, “There is no question that it was a positive thing to share the experience with another.”