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  • 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.


    yearbook – part 2

    2007 - 05.09

    Raizel Garfinkel

    I remember Raizel, well, before she was Raizel.  As the oldest of three siblings I believe you can the best way to judge who the oldest child is, is by looking at the younger siblings.  Whether they admit it or not, they become who they are based on the role model status of the oldest.  If you look at Dani and Kayla, you will immediately see where they get there outgoing personalities and leadership qualities from.

    I have a whole lot more to say, but I am being censored [you can thank Yacha later)  so I will just say, job well done.  We wish you the Bracha that all you do in the future is with Mazal and Brocha.

    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. 


    Support a good cause

    2007 - 05.04

    Etz Chaim NCSY is having there annual Torah Fund yearbook campaign.  The proceeds from these ads go to help a great cause.  Proceeds go directly towards scholarships for NCSYers attending Regional Conventions, Summer Programs and Yeshiva in Israel and America..  This great book has honored some greats like Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, Nina Hochman, Jesse Ican’tspellhislastname and Menachem Chinn.  It has also in the past honored some crazies like the parents of Kayla-Rachel Michal.  This year the yearbook will honor 4 groups of people.  IN the upcoming weeks, I plan to write about each of them in my blog, and then delete what I wrote at fear of being sued, or more importantly being forced to join a French fry eating, while swimming in a pool of Dr. Pepper contest contest.  (long story).  Well anyways, more to follow but to start off, Mazal Tov to

    • Raizel Garfinkel
    • Ashley and Eli Klapper
    • Malya Kurzweil
    • Avrohom and Rachel Lieberman

    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..


    The Home Show

    2007 - 02.19

    So yesterday was Sunday and I had a great idea, go to the Home Show at the Meadowlands convention center.  Sounded like a good thing for someone who wants to do minor repairs at his house, i thought that maybe I’d get an idea or something. 
    It took 15 minutes to find parking, and I should have taken that as a sign to turn around and go home.  But at last, I continued.
    The first booth I walked into was for a basement finisher, Hey I thought, I want to finish my basement.  So I looked around (doesn’t take so long for a 6 by 8 foot booth and started to ask a question.  The sales person (I think that is what I should call him) gave me a dumb look.  I then asked (on cue) what do you guys do here.  He replied, we have a basement finishing system.  I then asked would it work in a shorter basement.  He asked where I lived (which I told him) and said “I don’t know, maybe.”  I then tried asking more questions, but all he could care about was getting me to fill out a card with my name, address and phone number so someone could call.
    I left his booth thinking, OK, maybe he is not normal.  However, when I found a nicer booth with an older women selling glass block windows, I thought, hey let me try again.  (Hey I already shelled out $7 for this “expo” and I asked her approximately what this cost.  “well it depends”  she said.  I asked for an approximation, a guess (hey per block what does it cost”?  Again, all she wanted was my contact info.  She was nice, and I understand that there is a large range, but then she admitted, we don’t know the prices, they pay us to get these cards filled out.
    While there I also was given the opportunity to buy a Gansu knife, a rubber squeegee and a pin maker.  All exactly what I was looking for!!!  (oh, and there were 4 cooking demonstrations.)
    While I think the idea is nice, if no one is willing to talk to you and all it is, is a glorified sales pitch, then maybe they should be paying me to attend and not vice versa.

    The water heater – part 1

    2006 - 10.24

    So,  as you know from reading my blog, we (Yacha and I) moved into our new house about 2 months ago.  B”H, there haven’t been any big surprises that we were not aware of.  Until last night…

    Last night Yacha calls me to the basement saying there is a flood.  A small one albeit, but a flood (40 gallons).  Once i figured out how to turn off the intake to the hot water tank i started swimming.  Once I got the required amount of exercise I started mopping. And mopping. And mopping. And mopping. (get the point?)

    Now I am home from work (realize, I am still working, b/c i don’t know how to take a sick day) and waiting for PSE&G to tell me what I already know, that the tank is dead.  What is more fun is the paying about $800 to get a new tank.

    How will this play out?  Stay tuned for our next installment.


    as always,



    mo-b, where have you gone?

    2006 - 09.27

    I have been getting a bunch of slack that I have not been posting to my blog.  This has been for several reasons:

    1. I have been busy
    2. Work has been busy
    3. I forgot my login password

    As you will see the internet is strange.  It wants me to remember 2,000 passwords like 8h65TFd$%qa1Z.  That is not as easy as it looks.

    But now that I figured out hoe to log in I will bring you my latest dilemma.  To paint, or not to paint?  That is the question.  I would like to paint a room or two because I don’t like cream (the current color) and think it will give the room some life.  Yacha thinks I am crazy. 

    If you would like to give me your 2 cents you know my e-mail. 

    Until next time, I remain.



    p.s. we are im”h getting FIOS over Sukkos!!!!