It's nice to be important, but it's much more important to be nice.
Published on Aug 27, 2020
Mr. Shlomo (Sol) Werdiger is a man who wears many hats.
He is the founder and CEO of licensed youth sports apparel manufacturer Outerstuff, and his company holds exclusive rights to outfit the top U.S. sports teams. That allows him to penetrate the pinnacle of American power, such as this month’s Olympic event in South Korea.
In the community, he is better known as an unstinting philanthropist and kiruv personality.
A story circulating last year had it that Mr. Werdiger was asked to dine several years ago with the then-South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Oh Joon.
Mr. Oh told Mr. Werdiger that his daughter had been working at Outerstuff for a while, and she often told him how impressed she was by the company’s ethics. How they stopped to daven Minchah every day, how they closed their doors for Shabbos every week, how every fundraiser was treated with dignity, how women such as she were treated with respect.
Mr. Oh said that the impression he got from his daughter changed his perspective on Jews, and led him to change his vote on Israel-related resolutions on three occasions, including once when he cast the pivotal ninth vote in favor of the Jewish State.
“Yes, it’s a true story,” Mr. Werdiger confirms. “That’s an unbelievably powerful story. It just comes to show you that you could never know. This didn’t cost me a penny. You can make an impact if you act like a mentch and you act morally.”
Mr. Werdiger says that when the story became known, “people in the Israeli government and people here said, ‘Sol, for millions of dollars you can’t influence the vote of a country.’”
The young Ms. Oh — a “terrific, terrific worker,” he emphasizes — eventually worked for him for many years until the family moved back to South Korea..
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