Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving it’s Chanukah!

Standard

Happy Chanukah! Happy Thanksgiving! I had a wonderfully low-key day with the kids and when my husband, Daniel, returned from supervising the kosher department at a local market, my whole family sat down to a turkey and latke dinner like many American Jewish families I know. I love the overlapping theme of gratitude in Thanksgiving and Chanukah- it’s a great time to appreciate what and who matter most.

Did Maya Angelou really say this? It makes this quote so credible if she did. Either way, until we make a stable and comfortable living (God willing), I endeavor to follow her advice (funny how easy it is to take advice from Maya) and count my blessings, kiss my kids, and appreciate my life. Still, even with full bellies and gratitude, we carved out a part of our evening to The Job Hunt. Gulp.

If only finding a job just required a couple clicks on a keyboard. I have concluded that technology has hindered our prospects because employers are flooded with resumes as soon as they post a job on any career site- Jewish sites included.  Daniel and I search Indeed.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, LinkedIn.com, JewishJobs.com…to no avail. We are often led through tedious and repetitive applications that go unnoticed as some HR ghost hoards resumes like I hoard chocolate (joking of course- our chocolate never lasts long). Still, we search, apply, email, call, rinse, repeat.

There are so many well-meaning people out there dispensing “feedback” that leaves me scratching my head. We moved to San Diego in the summer and yes, as a matter of fact, I do know San Diego has a high cost of living with very few jobs for Jewish community leaders and finance people. But we made the decision to be here- for now. Why? For starters, I have parents and a sister who I liberally boss around (I am the baby in my family even at 30) which really helps me adjust to working full-time and supporting a husband who is struggling to find a job/career. One of the first women I was introduced to in San Diego instructed me to move somewhere else because the prospects are so dismal. Funnily enough, her husband just found a job.  Those who believe they’ve cracked the code for finding a dream job in record time love to tell us how we need to focus more, work harder, network better, smile wider.

There’s another category of unwanted advisers who have equally good intentions. I dub them Whandis (Wannabe Gandhis). These are the sweet people who knowingly tell me beautiful but empty rhetoric that sounds more like a greeting card than a to-do list  (see above- yes, I’m serious).

The feedback I really appreciate is specific, constructive, tangible and (even better when) paired with effort on the part of the adviser. Any kind of effort from anyone who might know someone who knows someone is appreciated. Short of that, if a close friend or family member reassures me with “You’ll see, it will be okay” that warms my heart because (depending on the day) I know it will, in fact, be okay. Listening (or in your case- reading) is huge too since I get to kvetch my little heart out and then go about my day business as usual.

So I raise my Thanksgivukah glass to you, well-meaning naysayers, Wandhis, family, and friends. Keep the feedback coming- the silence would get boring after a while anyway. And while you’re talking, maybe you can pass along the word that Daniel is looking for a job?

The following links below are Daniel’s resumes: One for a position in non-profit (rabbinical/director capacity) and the other in finance. We had help from family, friends, and professionals and somehow still feel unsure of the finance one (I’m pleased with the non-profit because of his experience). I do ask that you read one (or two!) and, if at all possible, forward along to friends and colleagues. If you could share this blog with others you know so they too can help, I’d be grateful. It’s hard to be in the vulnerable position of asking for favors but here I am so THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Here’s the link to his rabbinical resume:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7JHujxI2lfHMEN4MzNlWU96NlE/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s the link to his finance resume:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7JHujxI2lfHdml0X3BlOXJFd2R4RThfeWRJZ3hWYm5vMGhn/edit?usp=sharing  

 

Advertisements

The Conference

Standard


Thank you kindly for reading this and being so supportive- it has encouraged me to share with you more and I hope it helps the reader as much as it’s helping the writer.

This year, I didn’t get to go to The Conference. The picture above is from last year- I’m the brunette in purple on the right but we all look alike 😉 The Conference I’m referring to is the annual conference held in Baltimore for WIK (Women In Kiruv — Kiruv is Jewish outreach). Obviously, I’m no longer a Woman In Kiruv so I miss The Conference this year. And boy do I miss it. Last year, I met so many other women in community and campus outreach, connected with a few new ladies, caught up with a few old ones, shared and received ideas to improve every aspect of the job, and argued over what expectations are and what they ought to be. Like I said, the WIK Conference last year was amazing.

Here’s an example of a topic that was discussed- but there were so many. It was the first (and only) time I’ve left my young children for a couple nights and I came back floating! Listening to experts in the field generously share their experiences, hearing other women from around the world who all but live my life, being part of the idealistic out-to-better-the-world club of Women In Kiruv was a dream come true and all the more difficult not to return this year.

Luckily, I am teaching Jewish Studies to first graders and seventh grade girls which makes me very happy. I believe Kiruv is not a far cry from Chinuch (Jewish education) but as I interviewed last year, many administrators disagreed which astounded me. During one such interview, the school’s principal noticed that my resume accurately portrayed most of my work experience in Jewish outreach as opposed to teaching. The principal asked me if I realized how vastly different Kiruv is from Chinuch. With Kiruv, one can concentrate on relationship-building and each individual whereas in education, the focus needed to be on the curriculum at hand.

Perhaps that’s an apt description of a typical Jewish studies class but having read the results of the Pew survey and personally meeting the overwhelming number of assimilated Jews, should it be?  My dad still cringes when recollecting memories as a boy attending cheder (Hebrew school) which all the Jewish kids in his neighborhood were sure was a punishment. I was interviewed by a dean at another Jewish school where I mentioned that my high school experience was dry when it came to Jewish studies. His response was that he wasn’t interested in his teachers doing more than they already did and when I came across his graduates who now attend USC (the campus my husband and I worked), many find Judaism irrelevant now. I shouldn’t and don’t place blame on any one thing or person though if it’s broke- why not try to fix it?

But I digress. I am so fortunate to have found one of the only Jewish Day Schools left in the USA that has a complete and thorough mix of affiliations and each student is accepted and cherished. Not to mention the school’s headmaster and principal are student-centered and sensitive to the importance of relationship-building outside a classroom. While I’m no longer a Woman In Kiruv, at least I get to be a woman who spreads Torah’s wisdom, devotion to God, and love for Judaism. Interestingly enough, people used to ask me all the time “How do you do it?” when I was a Woman In Kiruv. No one asks that anymore because working mothers are far more common- though no less formidable. Truth is, my lifestyle then was much easier because I got to set my own schedule. I would meet several girls for coffee daily, recruit new students with my husband on campus daily, host weekly programs and cook for Shabbos meals which definitely adds up to a whole lot of work but I loved it and I got to make my own hours. Now that I have a job with a set schedule, I dash out of the house at 7:30am having gotten the kids changed, breakfasts served, lunches made- not to mention a mirror check so I look presentable. I return home at 4:30pm to help with homework, make dinner, organize/clean remains from the morning, bathe children, and do bedtime routines. By 7:00pm I have my evening to grade papers, create lesson plans, prepare for the following day’s rush, and talk to you fine people. I guess I’m whining about what every working mom whines about but I never realized that being a Woman In Kiruv would be a less consistently exhausting career.

So, what was this post about? Ah, yes. The Conference. By now I hope you know that being a Woman In Kiruv is an identity – just like being a Rabbi In Kiruv is one. My husband is not only facing a possible career change but also a transition in identity. The Conference serves as a reminder of that- or rather missing it does.

There are many mitzvos (commandments) that Jews are supposed to do daily, weekly, monthly but only six that we are instructed to do constantly. The first of the six? Faith in Hashem. God does everything for us and what we perceive as difficult is actually training ground to grow as bigger and better people. My prayer for myself, my husband, and anyone else that needs it is that we receive the blessings, clarity and resources we need to live our lives to the fullest and maximize ourselves as individuals.

Unemployment

Standard

This isn’t my husband but if the sign fits… As it turns out, my husband is job hunting. Don’t get me wrong- we’re grateful for the job he has but while kosher supervision is necessary and puts food on the table (pun intended), he doesn’t want it to be his future.

So now you know. If you’re my facebook friend and now you’ve found my blog, don’t be offended to find out this way! We’re real friends and not just the facebook kind (probably!) but I’m not the greatest “networker” and tend to be private- despite this very public appearance.

My husband, Daniel, got his degree in Finance from YU and is taking graduate-level classes in Finance at UCSD. If you hear of a job opportunity, I’d so appreciate you thinking of him and dropping me a message. It’s tough out there! For more on that and this blog, read this.

As I said before, I like my privacy and in that vein, blogs leave bloggers…exposed! Plus what can I contribute? There are some incredible Jewish blogs out there. I love this blog for recipes and great food pictures. I love this blog for scarf inspiration to beautify the mitzvah of covering a married Jewish woman’s hair. I like many Torah-based blogs for thought-provoking articles. So, why/how should I write a unique blog?

No two people are alike and all I have are my personal experiences. Truth is, this blog is for me- this is a year of transition and challenge and I’d like to document it to look back on because I have faith that God will get us through this.

A-journey-of-a-thousand-miles

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. These are wise words but the Jews put it differently: Rabbi Tarfon (Pirkei Avos 2:16) said  “It is not incumbent on you to finish the work – but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it!” With that in mind, I enter the blogosphere with every intention to come and no plans to stay. Take your shoes off, put your feet up, and make yourself at home! Mi blog es su blog and I welcome anyone’s feedback.