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August 22, 2013 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-08-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

that we'll give them a free platform
to reach out to your fans, so we've
had a lot of Detroit rappers on the
site.
"We're trying to bring progressively
bigger and bigger rappers on — no
Eminem yet, but hopefully!" he said.
Currently, their strategy to find
rappers is a combination of social
media, partnering with local open
mic nights and using contests to lure
national artists to their site. Recently,
the site held a contest for a rap battle
where the winner opened at the July
27 Oakaloosa Music Festival, where
Girl Talk and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
headlined the show.
They've also expanded their team
to include Kevin Chen, Mat Lefkosky,
Randa Sakallah, Jacob Streiter and
Jonathan Tan, in addition to a team of
summer interns.
So far, rapt.fm has a record
of 1,000 viewers for one of its
Wednesday night battles. At the
moment, the site is only open for
six hours a week on Monday and
Wednesday nights but has plans to
expand its hours.
Because rap is Torenberg and Pitts'
passion, they are both pleased with
the work they're doing.
"I love that we're doing something

speakers inside the product that runs
wirelessly and can be controlled by
one's phone.
"We live in a wireless world," Selik
explained. "It doesn't have to be
complicated; it actually makes life a
little bit easier and much more fun. I
am happy to take the time to show my
customers how to use it."
Selik travels for work a minimum of
four times a year; twice to Las Vegas
and twice to North Carolina to look at
and potentially buy new furniture for
the store. Other trips throughout the
year include traveling to Europe, Asia
and Norway, which is one of Hillside's
biggest manufacturers.
"My company sent me to Norway
earlier this summer for the first time,"
Selik said. "They sent me to see how
furniture is made and the culture of
where the furniture comes from. Going
to the furniture market is like going to
the auto show to buy a car. Seeing the
furniture in person is really important."
After his business trip to Norway,
Selik decided to extend his trip and visit
Iceland. Prior to this trip, he reached out
to other Jews via the Icelandic Jewish
Facebook page. One of the 100 Jews
in Iceland told him she could not find

we're passionate about and
something we think can benefit
likeminded people. We're building a
platform for people to be creative as
a group. We love rapping and getting
people who haven't thought they
could rhyme before to rap," Torenberg
said.
Pitts enjoys his work with rapt.fm
because "it is definitely an adventure
every day with the team, and we
run into so many different kinds of
people because we're in hip-hop and
in the Michigan start-up scene. ...
What we're doing with rapt.fm on a
technical level is sort of an obsession
for me."
Torenberg is Jewish and has been
to CommunityNEXT events and has
been to the Downtown Synagogue a
few times. "I'm interested in learning
more and participating more in the
Jewish community in Detroit. I find
the community to be really supportive
and pretty large — I had no idea
there was such a large community
here."
As for rapt.fm , he thinks "anyone
can have fun freestyling, and we
love giving that a platform. I don't
see it as work; I see it as that I'm co-
building this platform, and that really
excites me to continue." ❑

a mezuzah anywhere in Iceland. Selik
purchased a mezuzah at home to bring
to this woman.
"I think there is no greater mitzvah
than sharing your Judaism with
someone," Selik said.
Selik is very involved in the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and
with Kids Kicking Cancer, a nonprofit,
volunteer-based organization dedicated
to providing support to families whose
children have cancer.
"When you have been blessed with
a community that has done so much for
you, it feels good to give back," Selik
said. "It's emotionally rewarding to
give a child in need something to make
them happy."
Selik's time spent away from Hillside
is with his 7-year-old daughter, Elena.
As a single dad, he teaches her the
importance of the traditions and
customs of Judaism.
"Being kosher is something that's
really important to me," Selik explained.
"I learned a lot about Judaism at Hillel
Day School but, of course, you do what
your parents do. While it's important
to me to teach her to keep kosher, it is
also important I give her skills to make
her own choices."



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August 22 • 2013

53

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