Born and bred in Philadelphia, 27-year-old Albert Eisenberg had a somewhat typical Jewish upbringing, but his career path is a decidedly modern one.
He grew up partly in the city and partly in Lower Merion — “where even my Catholic friends know what a good nosh is,” he said — and counts himself lucky for that experience.
His immediate family has a range of Jewish identities, from an atheist mother to a father and stepmother who keep kosher and read Torah, as a well as a frum sibling living in Israel.
As for work, Eisenberg runs a self-named social advertising and political consulting business. Here are some of his thoughts about his career and life in the Jewish community.
Q: What does a digital marketer and communication specialist do in this day and age, and how quickly is that role changing?
A: I focus on political messages that cut through the noise, which is more important than ever with the amount of content in the world.
One challenge that I face is tone, because all the incentive is toward snark, “clap-backs” or just pure hatefulness. That’s what’s rewarded on the social platforms. I think of myself as a bridge-builder. That can be tough today.
In other ways, the precepts of good communications have not changed at all. People crave principles that create order in a chaotic world, stories that compel them to action, and ideas that in some way organize and elevate their lives. This has been true since we first gathered around the campfire.
Q: How did you choose that career and what in your background/personal makeup makes it a good fit for you?
A: Some kids knew all the baseball stats. I always wanted to know all the members of Congress, and their various issues and quirks. This came pretty easily to me. I was always the kid in class raising his hand with a contrarian opinion, and growing up like this allowed me to foster an unconventional angle and sharpen my arguments.
Q: Have you ever worked with clients you didn’t like/respect/believe in and how did you make that relationship work?
A: The reason I moved on from the agency world (where I landed after college) was to apply my skills to clients I thought deserved a greater voice. So I’ve been able to do interesting work on issues I really care about, like LGBT issues on the Republican side, law enforcement and victims’ rights, school choice, and supporting the Jewish community in Philadelphia and abroad.
Every time you work on somebody else’s behalf, you do subvert a bit of yourself, but that’s just the natural dynamic of playing on a team.
Q: You’ve been involved in political communications on the Republican side. How do you deal with the rising levels of nasty discourse from both major parties?
A: It is certainly tough, even and especially with close friends and family that do not share my political beliefs. There is a scary and growing sentiment, that I see on the left especially, that if you aren’t for everything they support politically, you are essentially a bad person (a bigot, a homophobe, etc.) operating in bad faith. This is a dangerous mentality and has been personally isolating to me.
There is also a concept in the conservative movement of the “Happy Warrior,” somebody who puts on their armor and walks into the fight with a smile and sense of purpose. I try to channel that. Jews, above all, know that the world is not perfect, will never be perfect for us. Do I often feel scorn and even hatred because I work on the Republican side? Yes. Do I accept that this is the price of admission to do substantive work that I care about, and to perform my own version of tikkun olam? Also, yes.
Q: Are you involved in the Jewish community?
A: Yes, and I feel myself drawn to spiritual observance more and more so. Speaking the same words as my ancestors through the ages is a fundamentally grounding concept in a world that feels disjointed and isolating a lot of the time.
Q: Anything else related to your career or community involvement you’d like to mention?
A: My biggest interest is building diversity in the Republican party, both for LGBT people like myself and for other conservatives that “don’t fit the mold” of what you’d expect from the Republican Party (white, straight, old, Christian, male, etc.).