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    Google Maps now has NJ Trasit directions!

    2008 - 09.24

    So this is cool.  We all know and love Google Maps. (gmaps) they now have put public transit directions for NYC metro area (including NJ Transit) online!  This is a great step in helping people navigate the many public transportation systems out there.

    Check out maps.google.com/nyc or on your blackberry at m.google.com/nyc 

    For my first demo it event found fatser (although less popular) directions from Grand Central Station to my house.  Not too shabby!  

    Even nicer is they finally after several e-mails to both them and the 2 major map companies have fixed the name of my street!

    My new map of Teaneck

    2008 - 02.17

    When I moved to Teaneck over 6 months ago, I was a bit unhappy about the fact that I could not figure out where anything was. The eruv map was out of date. The town was huge and as a non-native I did not know what was where. In fact, I kept finding new things in town every few weeks.

    To this end when I was president at Congregation Ahavat Shalom in Teaneck, I asked a member of my ritual committee to help make a nice new map of Teaneck that would include at least the eruv. Ezra took the project and ran with it inputting the old eruv boundaries as well as adding all of the RCBC kosher places.

    Time rolled on and no one could tell us where the eruv actually ended. Therefore it sat on a temperary server for a long long long long time.

    Well that was 2 years ago. About 6 months ago I took that old code and edited it and improved parts of it. I also updated and added many many places and removed the few that were no longer. I then went on a long journey to find out where the eruv boundaries actually are.

    And that brings us to today. My new map is hosted on my website, mo-b.net at http://www.mo-b.net/map It is also linked and templated like the Beth Aaron website at http://www.bethaaron.org/map (and these boundaries have been approved! YEAH!).

    I am now looking to figure out what else can be added to help the community in general.

    Until next time, happy strolling.

    Grand Prize Baby

    2007 - 05.10

    So we got a phone call from good friends of ours tonight telling us Mazal Tov.  We asked why and found out our daughter won ChopStix national baby search.


    We are not sure what she wins, but I know I’ll eat to this.  Oh, and visit www.chopstixusa.com and enjoy the great food!!!!

    Speech at extracurricular award dinner

    2007 - 05.10

    Last night, I was the guest speaker at a High School award dinner for members of clubs and teams.  Below is a draft of the speech I gave. The actual speech was slightly altered.


    There is a great ice-breaker I normally use when leading groups in team building exercises.  I pair everyone two by two and ask each person to introduce themselves to their neighbor and tell them 3 things about themselves with only two of them being true.

    Therefore, let me start by saying that
    ¨     In high school I was the starting goalie on the hockey team
    ¨     In college I was the head resident advisor for the Office of  University Housing
    ¨     I have written over 1.5 million dollars in Federal grants

    Please don’t guess yet, which ones are true, we will get back to the answer shortly.

    Now you might ask yourself what does any of this have to do with me being a member of a team or club?  Good question, we’ll get to that in a second.

    Back in my high school and college days I myself did a bunch of extra curricular activities.
    ¨     I ran my high school yearbook
    ¨     For three years I published a yearly student guide for the entire student body
    ¨     I ran my schools dinner program and my senior class dinner
    ¨     I bound over 1,000 books for the school and kept track of the library
    ¨     I was on student council
    ¨     I co-wrote my student councils constitution
    ¨     I ran student council elections
    ¨     I was the head-RA in the dormitories
    ¨     I even received national honors for works with the dramatic society
    o       I even occasionally went to class!

    And I can tell you each and every one of things helped me get ahead and has helped me become who I am today.

    First let’s look at this from the college and graduate school side.  I am not going to tell you that if you are the starting point guard of the team you can get strait D’s and still get into Harvard.  If you are the star QB, however, then that is a different story.

    I spent a number of years as the Assistant Director of Admissions for a top tier University and I can tell you a few things. 

    At the University we looked at 100’s if not 1,000’s of applications and many of them all look the same.  On one day I could get 50 or more applications where each applicant has the same 1280 SAT and 88 GPA.  I sat in honors meetings where all of the applicants had the same 1500/99.  How do you tell these people apart? Admissions is a lot more than numbers.  Committees look tremendously at non-academic issues.  It is the
    ¨     Sports teams
    ¨     Student Clubs
    ¨     Extra circular activities
    That help distinguish you from your peers. 
    In school and in the real world people are looking for people who file niches, people who are unique, people who do things that they themselves did when they were growing up, or things they wished they did. 

    When at admission committee meetings as well as at scholarship and honor selections meetings, I can tell you that the committee goes on and on about different extracurricular activities applicants have.  I have witnessed firsthand students with a 95 average and 1500 SAT rejected because they were nothing except grades.

    Now while it is hard for me to give good solid examples from the admissions side, as none of you want me to sound clinical and say, candidate X had a 3.2 GPA a 540 SAT math yadda yadda, but he volunteered every week at the nursing home and therefore we accepted him, or we gave her a scholarship, it is easy for me to give you a few real world examples of how extra curricular activities do help you get ahead.

    When I was an intern at a medical school I came into work one day to find that my boss and almost my entire department was gone, fired, kaput.  When I asked the only remaining secretary what I should do, I was told to keep showing up and wait for the new boss to meet with me.  One advantage about being at the bottom to the totem pole is it took two weeks for the new COO figure out that I even existed.  He met with me on a Friday (with me figuring I am a goner, I was ready to just pack up my stuff and leave) and he asked me to tell him about my education and what I did during college.  I told him about college and all my extracurriculars and two of them struck his fancy.
    One was the dramatic society and one was the fact I was the head RA of the dorm.  He told me that back in High School he was in his school’s play and went on about his love for the theatre.   Then he told me that one of his major projects was to build a new residence hall and based on the fact I had a lot of insight on dorms, he put me in change of the initial stages of the design and development.  It saved my job and kept me employed for months. 

    That is just one example of how extracurriculars helped me get ahead.

    If you are still awake you’ll remember I started off with an ice breaker.  Three statements, two true:
    ¨     In high school I was the starting goalie on the hockey team
    ¨     In college I was the head resident advisor for the Office of  University Housing
    ¨     I have written over 1.5 million dollars in Federal grants

    So now you know that in college I was the head resident advisor in the dormitories.  As to having written over 1.5 million dollars worth of federal grants, all I can say is the job that led to that came across my desk because someone was a fan of one of my other club activities during college – while working with student council I was the editor and publisher of a book called “The Guide to the Perplexed” which was distributed and used by over 2,500 people annually.  This boss remembered seeing my name as the editor of “The Guide” and hired me.  That job led me to do a lot of grant writing and ultimate led to me applying for and receiving grants from the NIH.

    So you guessed it, I was not the starting goalie in high school, I was the second string goalie.

    Congratulations to all and much luck in the future.


    Yes, I am on facebook

    2007 - 05.04

    A funny thing happened last weekend.  A great friend of ours came for shabbos (after months of hidding in the Dominican republic) and she said to me, “wow, I am shocked that you are not on Facebook”. 

    Well, pier pressure is a bad thing, but I am now on Facebook.  Now all I need is some friends.  This thing is so confusing.  I already have to check about 10 e-mail accounts a day.  Now another inbox.  I give up. 


    OK, I need to post more often

    2007 - 04.22

    So i keep having people ask me why I don’t post more.  In honor of this request I would like to give a mazal tov to my friend who managed to put up her 100th post (which she did just to spite me on the fact I only have like 5 or 10 posts!!).


    Check out her blog at http://whoneedsalastname.blogspot.com/

    I remain.


    p.s. thank you to everyone who has used the amazon link.  A check was sent with Tedakah this week!

    Just do good!!

    2007 - 03.07

    Today is a simple short post.  Do you shop from Amazon.com?  if so click the Amazon.com link from the side box of links or bnelow in this postand a percent of your purchase will go to Tzedakah!!

    Not too shabby..