SpectruMed President & CEO, Cherryl Glazer speaks on faith, and how her beliefs have helped carry her through parenting and running a mega-business
She is the person behind the beauty industry giants, Cherryl Glazer, mother to two boys, is no stranger to dedication and hard work. Sprouting from curiosity, her thirst for answers led her down the path of a newfound belief that completely changed her life. A woman steadfast in her ways, Cherryl talks to us about discovering Judaism, and how embracing their values have had a lasting impact on her life.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Cherryl married her husband Doron and converted to the Jewish faith. Although it was made official during their wedding, Cherryl was already drawn to Judaism even before she and Doron met, and that is a true calling. Her conversion was a personal choice — all due to her desire to find the answers about the mystery we call life.
Could you tell us your experience of converting from Catholicism to Judaism?
It all started when I read the book The Da Vinci Code. I explored and asked a lot of questions, and for years, I was looking for answers.
Growing up, I had no clear understanding of why I was born Catholic. I went to a Catholic school, and grew up with devout Catholic parents, but I wasn’t as committed. I can count with my fingers the number of times I’ve been to church. Being Catholic was just there for me, it just so happened that I was born into it. But I was curious, and had been reading books and, had a real craving to understand the beginning and source of it all.
Getting married to an orthodox Jewish man is a lot to embrace, and no one can really fathom the intensity of it if you aren’t in that situation. There was a factor of his family accepting me as a Convert or as a newcomer as well, which, in the end, turned out to be positive, including being loved by my mother in-law.
At first, my parents asked questions like, “Why do you need to do that? What is it for?” It was a lot for them to take in and understand, so they ended up saying “Whatever will make you happy — go for it! We will support you all the way.”
My sister thought I was weird. When I had to walk from Rockwell to Dela Costa (where the synagogue is located) in the scorching summer heat, she was confused. Part of keeping Shabbat, which starts Friday night and ends Saturday evening, is to restrict yourself from driving or riding a car. She asked, “Why do you have to walk in this heat?!”
How has converting to Judaism affected your lifestyle?
I’ve had to adjust to a lot of things. There’s clothing (no more walking on the street in shorts and sleeveless tops), food (no more shellfish & lechon), and my schedule. I’ve had to become more mindful of how my parents, my siblings, or friends understood my new way of life.
In Judaism, modesty is the name of the game. Food options are limited as I have to keep kosher, and my kitchen is properly organized using two separate sinks and kitchen utensils, one for meat and one for dairy (because the mixing of the two is explicitly forbidden).
There are no more Friday night parties, because Shabbat starts Friday night and ends Saturday evening. Instead, I spend time with our kids, we go to the synagogue together, or have dinner and lunch with Jewish friends. Friday to Saturday is really family day. TGIF was a big thing when I was single— bars and music filled my weekends. Now, quality time with family is the essence of my weekends.
I usually miss events that are held during Shabbat or any other Jewish holiday. I skip those events since I cannot ride or drive a car. It is a day of rest, so i can’t even switch on my phone, touch a light, or press the elevator— all of which have explanations. All my questions about all of these things have been answered.
If there’s one decision I never ever regret in my life, it’s becoming Jewish. The holistic approach of life and the values that I embrace fully are what I love the most.
Do you believe Judaism / your belief has greatly contributed to your success in business and the way you parent your children?
I think the perspective of having a successful business varies. For me, success only comes by persevering despite failure, and a lot of the values I learned in Judaism has definitely been applied, but it’s always hard work more than anything.
As a parent, my belief has a big influence. We make sure our kids observe everything in Judaism. They won’t even touch food when they aren’t sure if they are allowed to eat or not. They would even call me in the middle of a meeting to ask if they can eat a particular type of ice cream. So, as a parent Judaism formed my family, and our lives are built around that.
What have you taken away from this experience?
Judaism is a way of life. Earlier I said I grew up Catholic, but had no clear understanding of what that really meant. Judaism is what you live by. It’s within, it’s a way of living — from food down to your values, there are answers to every question. Everything we do has a deeper and clearer meaning.
Continue searching until you find your answers, never give up in finding yourself. Take a stand for what you believe and embrace it fully.
How has it had an impact in your understanding of people’s beliefs?
For me, it is very important to know why you believe in or do something. We all deserve respect for what we believe in. There should be no argument. No one can judge anyone, and most importantly, no one should be discriminated against, hurt, bullied or even questioned because of their beliefs.
Our differences in beliefs and faith are deeply rooted in history. One organization might have a different view about the other, but I believe we have to be tolerant and respectful of one another. At the end of the day, whatever we believe is the value we want to pass on to our children and our children’s children. I stand strong against hate and bigotry. There is no need for conflict. In the end, we all have to strive for unity.
Living my life the way I do is a choice. I urge all of you to do the same — find your purpose, choose to live your faith, and only then will you find all the answers to your questions.