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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

The Pros & Cons of Job/resume Posting Boards

Monday, March 16th, 2009

If you are old enough, you may remember how your job search was predicated on getting a head start on the Sunday editions of the New York Times and the New York Daily News and making a list of all the places you would call and all the resumes you would mail out on Monday morning. Then technology advanced to the era of the fax machine. Sunday was still the major day for job listings, but you no longer had to mail a resume; now you could fax it directly to the company on Sunday, or even Saturday night.

 

Along came advanced technology, and today information flows instantly 24/7/365. With this new technology came job/resume posting boards, which now proliferate throughout cyberspace. Today there are thousands of places to go online to search for a job and post your resume.

 

But before you boot up your computer, you need to determine where to search for a job and where to post your resume to be seen by the right decision makers – and not by your bosses. You also need to know which job postings are worth responding to and which ones are long shots at best.

 

However, before we begin learning about job/resume boards, a word of caution to those of you who place too much dependence on them to find a new job. In 2000 (only nine short years ago/how fast time flies), you could submit a resume to a posting board and there was a good chance you would get a response. Today you are in for a rude awakening if you think you will get similar results.

 

To begin with in 2009 job seekers are more tech savvy and there are special software programs that automatically search the internet and all posting boards for you and automatically submit your resume everywhere that minimally matches your key word and search criteria. The outcome is that companies are inundated with worthless resumes; therefore they depend on technology of their own to screen out well suited and ill suited candidates alike who don’t know how to get a resume past these electronic gatekeepers.

           

Next we must consider the old equalizer from Economics 101: Supply & Demand. During the current economic crisis there are fewer jobs, especially here in New York, and the number of people willing to accept those jobs is growing exponentially by the week. It is not unheard of today to have a $100k controller apply for a $50-$60k job as an accounting manager; or similar reduction of expectations in your field.

 

Last but not least, in many cases job boards are like loss leaders in retail marketing. By the time your resume arrives, there is a good chance the job has been filled, put on hold or eliminated from the budget completely. But the company does not take it down because it serves their purpose of seeing who is available and accumulating a database for future reference. This is especially true for job board postings placed by intermediaries such as executive search firms, personnel agencies and interim staffing companies, AKA temporary employment agencies.

 

Now that you are aware of some of the pitfalls, let’s discuss the different types of job boards.

 

Although there are well over 5,000 job/resume boards on the internet, I break them down into five major categories.

1:  National job boards 2:  Industry and profession specific job boards3:  Local, regional and geographic location specific job boards 4:  Corporate/recruiter websites

5:  Information exchange and networking websites

 

1: National job boards

National job boards average 200,000+ job opportunities and candidate resumes covering all 50 states in dozens of job categories and sub-categories. Examples of the most populated and the most popular national job boards are Monster.com, HotJobs.com and CareerBuilder.com.

 

Pros and Cons

The main advantage of a national board is sheer volume. Or so we may think. From the perspective of the number of online job listings this is indisputably true. However you must understand that while national boards do not charge a fee to post a resume, employers pay a fee to post jobs and access the website resume database. Depending on the board, the fees an employer must pay can be quite steep and this limits the number and type of companies and recruitment firms that are using them regularly or on an as need and ongoing basis. You will find that companies with multiple locations and lots of jobs to fill tend to use national job boards, as well as aggressive private search consultants, and they have a tendency to screen resumes. Also, using them are companies whose posts are very selective in the candidates they contact for interviews.

 

There is also the problem of oversaturation of job listings and respondents, and more so the oversaturation of resumes that are posted. Companies do not have the time or the staff and finances to find the needle in the haystack.

 

2: Industry and profession specific job boards

 

As the volume of online resumes and the competition to find a perfect candidate kept growing, niche boards emerged within specific professions, industries and income levels. Examples of these boards are Dice.com for IT professionals, and 6FigureJobs.com, a site focusing on jobs with a salary over $100K.

 

Pros and Cons

The advantages and disadvantages here are much the same as generic national job boards. But the advantage is having a niche. This makes them easier to search, they attract more companies with specific jobs in your field, and employers are receptive to people who will relocate. They are also great for finding recruiters specializing in your field. From a resume perspective, they are also more advantageous because companies search for key words and if you have the right keywords, you will at least get to first base. Again a major disadvantage is the economy and oversaturation. Companies in industry specific boards look for the top 5%-20% of available talent, and agents have self-interest, not your best interest, at heart.

 

A word of caution: It is a waste of your time to submit or post a resume to a National or Industry Board unless it is in something called ASCII format because it will not enter the database. If you don’t know how to format in ASCII, please feel free to call me. 

 

3: Local, regional and geographic location specific job boards

 

Most businesses and recruiting companies don’t have the budget, time or staff to receive or search through the volume a national job board can generate. More important, for most jobs, the employer and candidate want to narrow the search to a radius of 5-50 miles. This is where regional, geographic-specific job boards come into play, the most popular one today being Craig’s List which different websites for most major US cities. Also in the local category are online newspaper classified ad boards.

 

Pros and Cons

The most obvious advantage is that they cater to the area you live in and have a greater listing of mid and lower level jobs, internships, part-time jobs and jobs that national boards don’t carry like caregivers, tutors, drivers, etc. The main disadvantages is that people come to rely on them too much and forget to network.

 

4: Corporate/recruiter websites

 

Where some companies want their job listings to be anonymous or fly under the radar, more and more companies have incorporated a job listing or career page on their website to beef up their recruitment efforts. You can search for available jobs and submit your resume on these web pages, and enter your resume into their database for positions that may become available at a later date. I suggest you research potential employers in your field and visit everyone’s web site to see if they post jobs. If they do, bookmark the site and visit it regularly. On the other hand, every good recruitment firm will post some of its jobs and all accept unsolicited resumes.

 

Pros and Cons

Visiting corporate websites offers an education into the industry and the company, and you’ll have a lot of good information to use on an interview, and if you have something to offer a smart recruiter will contact you to add to their roster and network.

 

What is also great about these sites is that when you do get an interview, you will find useful information about the company’s history, corporate culture, employee benefits, products and services and much more. Some of this information is critical to know before you meet with them face-to-face. 

 

A disadvantage is most companies don’t pull jobs that are filled or on hold from their site and some recruiters will want to use you rather than help you.

 

On the flip side permanent and temporary staffing agencies, industry and profession-specific recruitment organizations, and executive search firms have access to the largest number and widest range of job opening both nationally and locally, most of which will go unadvertised. They represent the majority of jobs listed on national and industry/profession specific search boards, and every one of these firms has a website where you can submit your resume. One word of advice here: ‘Caveat Emptor.’ Beware and submit your resume with caution.

 

5: Networking and information exchange websites

 

These sites are steadily increasing in popularity with job-seekers and decision makers. Unlike the other websites mentioned above that are impersonal and are one-way communication, these websites foster communication and help expand business contacts. Another advantage of these sites is they promote audio/visual contact by allowing members to post pictures and online videos that can be viewed by others.

 

 

Pros and Cons

 

Business and Social networking sites are a grey area in the frum community and, although I personally find these sites incredibly useful in business, I understand the reluctance of people in our community to use them. This is true of sites like Facebook and MySpace where you have less control of content and need to be more careful.

 

Linked-In and these type of networking sites I find lees problematic for frum and non-frum people alike because:

 

a: They list actual jobs and you can post your qualifications and ask people if they know jobs you qualify for

 

b: People who use these sites want to share business contacts, and information. They understand the concept of “what goes around comes around.”

 

c: They have great professional groups where people will answer your business questions and give you inside information you can use on job interviews.

 

d: They are great for finding and reconnecting with people you lost touch with.

 

POSTING YOUR RESUME ON A BOARD

 

An interesting factor to consider is who is most likely to respond to an online posted resume. This too is not surprising. You will get many more sales recruiters responding to your resume than actual employers. The reason is that employers are motivated by the bottom line, and are only looking for serious candidates who are worth their time and effort to interview. This is analogous to a fisherman who uses a rod and reel with bait that will attract the type of fish they are fishing for. On the other hand, sales recruiters view candidates with a different perspective. When they screen resumes online on a national job board they may call you not because of who you are, but to pick your brains and find out what and who you know.

 

If you have questions or suggestion of topics we should cover in the future, drop us a line at pnewman@jewishpress.com. To view previous articles on job search, do a search on this site for Perry Newman and you will find archived articles.

 

Perry Newman, CPC is President/CEO of Fist Impressions Resumes in Brooklyn, and has over 30 years experience as a resume writer, career coach and executive recruiter.

 

If you need help writing your resume, or would like to receive an e-copy of Mr. Newman’s e-book ‘Job Hunting in the 21st Century, compliments of the Jewish Press, please call him at 646-894-4101.

Where The Job Listings Are

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

   Advanced technology allows information to flow instantly 24/7/365, which is why job boards have become larger and more sophisticated. But before you boot up your computer, you need to know which boards to use.

 

   1: National Job Boards: They average 200,000 job opportunities and an equal amount of candidate resumes covering all 50 states in countless categories. The most well know is monster.com.

 

   Advantages: The main advantage is sheer volume. Another advantage is for job seekers in a position to relocate. They are also good for candidates with desirable skill sets for a hard to fill job.

 

   Disadvantages: Over-saturation; plus most jobs are out of New York and very few are for small and midsize companies and for candidates without a degree or specialized skills. Also, over 50 percent of the job openings and over 70 percent of the resume searches are from some form of recruitment firm who can only refer you; not hire you.

 

   2: Industry and Profession Specific Job Boards: These are also national in scope but have a niche market such as IT, accounting, teachers or candidates seeking over $100k. Examples of these are Dice.com and 6FigureJobs.com.

 

   Advantages: Have advantages of other national boards, but also have a niche and are more receptive to people who would relocate. They’re also great for finding recruiters specializing in your field.

 

   Disadvantages: Also over-saturation and they tend to look for the Top 20 percent of available talent.

 

   A Word Of Caution: Don’t submit or post a resume unless it is in ASCII format. If you don’t know how to format in ASCII, call me.

 

   3: Local, Newspaper, Organization Job Boards: Local Boards like Craigslist work for many. And online newspaper classifieds, like www.jewishpress.com, and job boards from organizations are helpful, as are college alumni websites.

 

   Advantages: Most obviously, they cater to the area you live in and have a larger listing of mid and lower level jobs, internships, part-time jobs and jobs that national boards don’t carry, such as caregivers, tutors, etc.

 

   Disadvantages: People rely on them too much and forget to network.

 

   4: Corporate and Recruiter Websites: More and more companies list their jobs and accept unsolicited resumes on their websites. Research potential employers in your field and visit everyone’s web site to see if they post jobs. If they do, bookmark the site and visit it regularly. Also, every good recruitment firm will post some of its jobs and accept unsolicited resumes.

 

   Advantages: By visiting corporate websites you can gain an education into the industry and the company, and you’ll have a lot of good information to use on an interview, and if you have something to offer, a smart recruiter will contact you to add to their roster and network.

 

   Disadvantages: Most companies don’t pull jobs that are filled from their site and some recruiters will want to use you rather than help you.

 

   5: Social Networking and Information Exchange websites: Social networking sites are a gray area in the frum community and although I personally find these sites useful in business, I can understand the reluctance of some of you to use them.

 

   Advantages: There are two kinds of SN sites; the more social ones like Facebook and Myspace and professional ones like LinkedIn. I prefer the professional sites because: (a) they list actual jobs; (b) people here want to share business contacts, and information; (c) they have great professional groups where people will answer your business questions and give you inside information you can use on job interviews. On Facebook and LinkedIn you can reconnect with people you lost touch with.

 

   Disadvantages: On sites like Facebook you have less control of content and need to be more careful.

 

   Email Perry at pnewman@jewishpress.com. Also visit www.jewishpress.comand search “Perry Newman” for past articles.

 

   Perry Newman, CPC, is President/CEO of Fist Impressions Resumes (www.firstimpressionsresumes.biz) in Brooklyn, and has over 30 years experience as a resume writer, career coach and executive recruiter. If you need help writing your resume, or would like to receive a copy of ‘Job Hunting in the 21st Century, call me at 646-894-4101.

Modern Day Heroes (Part I)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

We live in very scary economic times. Many people have lost their jobs and are having difficulty finding other ones. This is causing families to lose their homes, unless they can find new means of making money in order to pay their mortgages. Retooling and leaving professions or jobs is difficult for everyone. Well spouses and the working chronically ill have less flexibility than most, as they are limited by their illness or the care-giving responsibilities.

 

Despite anti-discrimination laws, most employers will find a reason for not hiring the chronically ill or the caregiver; worrying about excessive absenteeism and fearing dealing with an illness they don’t understand. Psychologically it is very difficult for everyone whether limited by family illness or not, to search for a job after years of being in another profession. It challenges your sense of self, your ego, your resilience and can be one of the scariest things you’ve done in decades. But focusing on supporting your family and making those difficult changes even if it means a very different way of earning a living has, to my mind, made heroes out of many. I’d like to tell you about some heroes I have met (*names changed).

 

Yossi* had been a carpenter for years. But as his MS progressed so did his loss of equilibrium.  He could no longer keep his balance when working on bridges and buildings. Working with power tools was becoming dangerous as well. He had no choice but to leave the profession he loved and had trained for years. Going on Government disability was an option but the reduction to his family income would have been so great they would probably have lost their home and barely gotten by, even with his wife taking a second job.

 

It took months of rejection but finally Yossi got a job as a Teacher’s assistant in a class for mentally challenged teens. As the disease was beginning to affect his memory, Yossi began carrying a notepad with him to write down everything the teacher asked of him. As the weeks progressed so did the disease, but Yossi was determined to hold on to his job.

 

With each advancing deficit to his brain and body, he was determined to find ways to get around it and not let it affect his job performance. Yossi still has his job. He lives in fear ever day that his disease will progress to the point that he will no longer be able to compensate for what he is losing and will be dismissed. He showed me the many notepads he had filled in order not to forget the teacher’s instructions. During the workday, he consults his notes several times an hour. It is tedious and it is depressing but Yossi is determined to keep this job and do it well. To date, he has done an exemplary job. I see him as a hero.

 

Nathan* was a Pulpit Rabbi. He loved his shul and loved everything involved with being a Rabbi. But recently, his shul had to close their doors. The neighborhood had changed, people had left the community and the lack of funds finally took its toll. Nathan found himself jobless after almost 20 years. While looking for a new job he advertised in the local papers and did funerals and unveilings and for anything else he was qualified, in order to support his family.

 

Undeterred and determined, Nathan was finally able to get a job as a teacher in a new experimental program for difficult children. He accepted the position and went about it with the same enthusiasm he had when he was in the pulpit. However, after a year the program lost its funding and Nathan was jobless once again.

 

Nathan never felt that any job was beneath him. He is now a “shadow” for a severely handicapped child. He has gone from Pulpit Rabbi to changing diapers on a teen in two short years, But Nathan told me how grateful he is to be employed and still provide for his family. Always smiling when he talks about this “sweet kid” he is helping, he is ever enthusiastic about his work. To me, Nathan is a hero.

 

It is so difficult to reinvent yourself. Yet these heroes have not only willingly entered this new phase in their life because they put the needs of their family over their own needs, but they have done so in good spirits and with an open heart and mind. Perhaps their attitude is somewhat responsible for their success.

 

More stories of modern day heroes next week.


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

Job Hunting In The 21st Century

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Resume Writing – The Stakes Are Too High To Leave It To Chance

Imagine yourself a business owner who provides an incredible service; however the market is saturated with your Competition. What’s more, customers have no clue about the value of what you have to offer; it’s as if you don’t exist.  Still, you are undeterred. You know that all you need to succeed is a sizzling brochure with focused introduction and follow up letters, and a way to get them into the hands of important decision makers. Once accomplished, you’re confident you will be able to set up meeting and people will hire you. The all important question is where you should go to prepare your marketing kit. A Madison Avenue advertising/ marketing executive, Oscar Madison, or maybe you can save some money and do it yourself?

 

For a job hunter this is no hypothetical case, it is a true life story. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are a business with lots of Competition with a capital C. And your resume, cover letters and thank you notes are the door opening marketing tools that facilitate getting calls from all the right people.

 

A fellow resume writer, Don Mennig of Executive Resumes in Pennsylvania says it best, “Resume writing is marketing; a resume is ‘pure and simple’ a sales document. ” This is so true. The fictional Oscar Madison from the Odd Couple was an acclaimed sports writer, you may be a great creative writer as well; but this does not necessarily qualify either of you to write award winning ad copy. To write a resume that will propel you forward, you must have special writing skills and a thorough understanding of how employers think.

 

The stakes are too high in your job search to leave it to chance. This is why I suggest that, before you begin, get some professional assistance in writing your resume and conducting your job search. You can pay resume writers and career coaches who have a track record or consult with someone you know that screens resumes and interviews and hires people as part of their job. They all have hands on experience and know what sells and what will turn off people who will screen your resume and interview you. Depending on your industry and level of experience you can ask a co-worker, an accomplished writer or a professor to help you write your resume. As a last resort you can use a professional resume guide and write it yourself.

 

However if you write it yourself, do not submit it without someone else checking it out first. Take it from me writing an interview generating resume is a complex responsibility and, unless you are a professional, proofreading and critiquing it yourself can bring about some disastrous results.

 

Now let’s get down to basics: 1: begin by gathering your facts and dates, and use the PAR system to jot down your accomplishments and selling points. 2: Resumes are snapshots, not full-length movies. One page is enough for most resumes, two pages max; even for top executives. 3: Remember you’re writing a sales brochure, not your autobiography. 4: Focus on positions you seek and what makes you special. 5: Describe your accomplishments, not responsibilities. 6: Insert keywords to bypass ATS and OCR scanners 7: Prepare an ASCII resume for job board and online submissions. 8: There is no excuse for spelling and grammatical errors. 

 

According to Robert Mandelberg, CPRW of Creative Edge Resume & Writing, “the sooner you get to the point the better off you are.”  What decision makers read in the first 10 seconds determine whether you go in the keeper-file or the circular file. The catch here is, not all readers start at the top. In fact, most busy recruiters and hiring authorities don’t read resumes. They scan the sales document for key words and accomplishments. If what they are looking for is omitted or does not sell, you can kiss that job good-by.

 

Throughout your resume avoid trite and overused adjectives like hard working, dedicated, bright, responsible etc. These words are meaningless. Seeing is believing! Show people what makes you special, don’t tell them. SELL, SELL, SELL!!!

 

Resumes follow three basic formats 1: Chronological: This is best for people with stable job histories, and up to 4 jobs in their background. 2: Functional: This is best for older people and people with numerous jobs or glaring gaps. 3: Combination: This is a mix of both styles to fit your specific needs. Your age, industry, job title and accomplishments will dictate the format that is best for you. Details on each style can be found online or in resume books at the library.

 

There are two main sections in a resume; Experience and Education. There can also be sections titled: Objective, Profile, Skill Sets, Summary of Qualifications, Accomplishments and Licenses. Depending on industry, position and the over abundance or the lack of sellable content, you may want to include one or more of these sub-sections your resume.

 

Under Experience, for each position write 3-5 lines that describe value and add 2-4 accomplishments in bullet points. Edit it, re-edit and proofread it until every word and sentence is perfect.  Here are a few examples.

 

Wrong: Responsibilities included reorganizing the company’s bookkeeping and collections procedures, AR, AP and payroll.

 

Right: Personally revamped company financial procedures resulting in a cost savings of $10,000 in the first year plus a 6%-15% increase in collections from delinquent accounts in the fiscal years 2002-2007.

 

Wrong: Aggressive and hard working salesperson who thrives on new challenges.

 

Right:  Through effective use of newsletters and direct marketing, increased annual sales production from $145,000 to $375,000 annually in the years 2002-2005.

 

If you are older or had a lot of different jobs, you need not go back to the beginning of your career or include them all. Focus on the past 10-15 years and use a section to expound on your accomplishments and selling points, and then just list employers, titles and dates.

 

A resume should be written using Times New Roman, Ariel, Century Gothic or Tahoma fonts in 11 point typeface. Use italics and bold when highlighting words or phrases for additional visual emphasis. 

You may use a second font with 14 point type to emphasize headings. 

 

Some resumes must get past automatic tracking systems (ATS) and optical character recognition (OCR) scanners. ASCII format and imbedded keywords are helpful here.

 

            If you have would like me to review your resume and my professional recommendations call 646-894-4101.   You can also receive an e- copy of “Job Hunting in the 21st Century,” compliments of the Jewish Press by emailing me at pnewman@jewishpress.com.

 

           Perry Newman, CPC is President/CEO of Fist Impressions Resumes and has over 30 years experience as a resume writer, career coach and executive recruiter.

Forty Years Since March Of ’68

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

        Throughout Jewish history there have been many defining moments.  In March 1968, one such moment occurred, possibly the harbinger of future Jewish life in Poland. At the time, people said it would complete the goal of Hitler, y”s, to make Poland Judenrein (free of Jews).

 

         That event was the expulsion of Jewish Intelligentsia from Poland in 1968. Many circumstances led up to their banishment.

 

      The world was in a state of turmoil. Viet Nam was heating up, with sizable American losses, and student riots took place at all major universities in America and Europe. The unrest reached Poland, the only Communist Bloc country where students held protests.

 

     Another major factor was that is was less than a year after the Six-Day-War, in which Israel defeated the Communist-backed Arab armies.

 

         In an attempt to gain favor with the Soviets and to suppress the masses, the Communist Government in Poland seized the traditional scapegoat, the Jews.

 

         On June 19, 1967, Prime Minister Władysław Gomułka, gave a speech calling the Jews a “fifth column,” suggesting they be transferred to Israel. The Polish Communist Party began a process to purge “Zionist” (Jewish) elements, primarily aimed at the liberal opposition movement. Many Poles (irrespective of actual faith) were accused of being Zionists and expelled from the Party.

 

         In March 1968, the anti-Semitic campaign peaked, as in the words of The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (Yale University Press): “The Interior Ministry compiled a card index of all Polish citizens of Jewish origin, even those who had been detached from organized Jewish life for generations. Jews were removed from jobs in public service, including teaching positions in schools and universities. Pressure was placed upon them to leave the country by bureaucratic actions aimed at undermining their sources of livelihood and sometimes even by physical brutality.”

 

         The Communist Government, faced by massive anti-Soviet opposition of Poles, used hate propaganda to divide the nation. Jewish organizations were shut down, Yiddish was banned and anti-Semitic slogans were used in rallies.

 

         By 1968 most of Poland’s 40,000 Jews had already been assimilated into Polish society, but over the next year, they became the center of an organized campaign to equate Jewish origins with Zionist sympathies and thus disloyalty to Poland.

 

        Approximately 20,000 Jews lost their jobs and had to emigrate. The campaign, despite being ostensibly directed at Jews, who had held office during the Stalin era and their families, affected most of the remaining Polish Jews, regardless of background.

 

         While there was little outright physical violence, the events of March 1968 have been labeled a pogrom by many historians.

 

         Until recently very little had been known about the events that, for all intents, finished the job that started with the Kielce Pogrom in 1946, of making Poland a land seemingly devoid of Jews. Most of those that remained were not culturally or politically active and remained, for the most part, in the shadows.

 

         It took the overthrow of the Communist regime for the small nucleus of a Jewish community to sprout and begin to flourish to attain what they have today – active communities, synagogues, schools and festivals.

 

         Last week, to commemorate the events of 40 years ago, a conference was held in Warsaw sponsored by The City of Warsaw; The Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw; the E.R./I. Kaminska Yiddish Theater; the Shalom Foundation; many other institutions; and scholars and artists. It was titled The Jewish March 1968/2008.

 

         The titles of the different events, lectures, debates and exhibits that were showcased during the conference tell the story of the strange relationship between the Poles and the Jews. Not only did the conference look at the events of 1968, but was also an overview of the often-confrontational historic relationship.

 

         Some of the titles were, “What is a Catholic allowed to believe: a debate over the 1913 blood libels,” with Jolanta Zyndul; “Hatred in Polish Culture” by Maria Janion; and “Anti-Semitic Stereotypes in the Documents of the Security Services in the 1960s” with Krystof Peresak. These lectures examined the roots of anti-Semitism in Poland with the idea that understanding the cause can prevent the problem from occurring in the future.

 

         Other topics included, “Where We Were and Where We are Now,” with Teresa Toranska. The Yiddish theater had a repertoire of shows and exhibits highlighting the loss both to the Jews, as well as to Poland, as a result of the expulsion of 20,000 citizens. “Here they left behind more then they had,” and many films were also shown, such as “Travel Document,” directed by Golda Tenzer and “Farewell My Country,” directed by Andrzej Krakowski.

 

         Hopefully the conference will bring a closer understanding of the events of 1968 and heal some of the deep wounds that have persisted between Jews and Poles for almost as long as Poland has existed.

A Book For Metsaholics

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Of the writing of baseball books there is no end. Of the writing of good baseball books there is not nearly enough. For every The Glory of Their Times or Ball Four or The Boys of Summer or Baseball’s Great Experiment, there are hundreds and hundreds of instantly forgettable hack jobs, clip jobs and ghost jobs.

So as a baseball fan – and more important, a Mets fan – it was with much pleasure that the Monitor recently devoured a book by Dana Brand, a professor of English and American literature at Hofstra University, titled, with perfect appropriateness, Mets Fan (McFarland & Company).

It’s a slim (201 pages including the index), soft-covered volume with a hardcover price ($29.95) – and it’s the best exploration yet written about what it means to be a Mets fan, about the all too many lowlights and all too few highlights of Mets history, and about the profound emotional and psychological differences between Mets fans and Yankees fans.

Some selections to savor on a cold winter day and, if you’re a fan of baseball and fine writing, to whet your appetite for the rest of the book:

“There is no good reason why I should care about the New York Mets,” writes Brand in his first chapter. “Like all baseball teams, they are a business. I should care no more about their success than I care about the success of a movie studio or television network. Yet I choose to care, deeply and powerfully. I have cared about the Mets for 45 years and probably will for the rest of my life. I enjoy my loyalty. I enjoy the irrationality and intensity of my loyalty.”

Of the “Meet the Mets” theme song Brand writes, “It is so sweet and so tacky. So Mets. This isn’t a song with which you charge to the top of the standings, or celebrate triumph or a glorious tradition. It is not a song for champions. They must have figured this when they wrote it. You can hear in the song an understanding that an expansion team in 1962 could not get away with taking itself too seriously. It would need to get by on charm. It could not compel your respect or admiration. It would just have to be nice and a little corny. You would come and meet the Mets the way you would come and meet a nutty neighbor who put out a bowl of pretzels and a bottle of soda on a coaster on a table with too many magazines. You knew the line about ‘knocking those home runs over the wall’ was, well, not true.”

Here’s Brand on that strange breed of fan who claims to like both of New York City’s big league baseball teams:

“You can’t root for both the Mets and the Yankees because each team offers a different portal into the pleasure of baseball. If you want what the Yankees will give you, it doesn’t make sense to root for the Mets. They’re failures, no fun. In order to root for the Mets, you have to renounce any desire you have for the monotony of dominance. You have to think it’s absurd to get excited about, or have your heart broken by, a team that has won so many times. You have to cherish triumph because it is unexpected and rare. When John Sterling screams ‘The Yankees win! The YAAANNNNNKKEEEESS WIN!!!!!!’ you have to enjoy the contempt you feel for the idiocy of his exuberance.”

Brand’s tale on Ed Kranepool, a Met for 18 seasons, longer than any other player and a symbol of lovable futility: “Eddie didn’t do anything like he was supposed to. He was like a grouchy robot that a kid can’t get to operate…. So the Yankees had Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and we had Eddie Kranepool. How come theirs worked and ours didn’t? Ours even had a weird name…. He never became a power hitter. He was an okay first baseman. One year he hit .280 and then there was a year when after all the smoke cleared, there was a .323 next to his name and no one could figure out how it got there…. Eddie was more the Mets than anyone else. He was a beloved disappointment. An incompetent who became indispensable.”

Finally, Brand plumbs the psyche of Mets fans: “The pleasure of being a Mets fan is that hitting the jackpot still feels the way it should. You hope. You lose. You lose some more. And someday you win. And you remember the pleasure of winning all your life…. I hope the Mets never become like the Yankees. I want my baseball to be like real life, seasoned with failure and disappointment, ennobled by hope, and studded with just a few spectacular moments of pure joy.”

Letter From Your Teenage Child

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Dear Mommy and Daddy:

Imagine how you would feel if you were told that, two years from today, our entire family would need to relocate to a different part of the country. You would certainly be quite concerned – for good reason. Think of all the questions you would have. Here are just a few of them:

• Where will we live?

• Will we be able to find jobs in the new location?

• Will we be prepared for those new positions?

• Will we make new friends?

• How about our old friends – will we still stay close?

• What will our standing be in the new community?

Now imagine what your anxiety level would be like if you would not be able to answer a single one of these questions.

Welcome To Our World

Welcome to our world.

Mommy, Daddy, I only posed these questions to you so you would gain some insight into my world.

You always say that you remember what it was like to be a teenager. I think you may remember on some level, but please don’t take this personally – I don’t think you really “get it.”

Come to think of it, I only asked you some of the questions that go through my mind. There are so many more.

• Will I get into a good high school and seminary?

• Which one?

• Who will I marry?

• Will I marry?

• How am I supposed to figure out whom to marry?

• Will I have a great marriage or will we fight all the time like some of my friends’ parents?

• Will I have children?

• What will they look like?

• Will I be able to afford to give my kids the things that we have at home?

Changing

These past few months you both have been complaining about how “I am changing.” You say that you don’t recognize me anymore. We argue more than we ever did.

Well, I am changing!! My body is changing, my mind is changing, and my life is changing. We both have to deal with that. I am not eight-years old any more. I still love you very much, but I need to move on and get my own life.

And what frustrates me is that I can’t seem to discuss things with you without a full-blown argument over my clothing, my friends, my language, whatever!

I thought that writing things down in a few letters might help you understand the big picture – what it is really like to be a teenager.

I am hoping that you will come to understand why my friends are so important to me, why I “zone out” sometimes. Why I get moody and impatient, and roll my eyes (sorry about that) when you lecture me.

I hope you will read this carefully. It was quite difficult to write this letter, but I’m hoping that it will be a good first step in improving our relationship.

Love, Adina

 

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.

For more information on the Project Y.E.S. teen and parent mentoring programs, to access our list of parent resources, please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/letter-from-your-teenage-child/2007/08/29/

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