Friday, August 28, 2009

My New Job!

So, I started work yesterday (Thursday, August 27) at 4 AM! I had a break to go daven, but otherwise I there until a bit after 12 PM, on my feet the ENTIRE time. The work was hard, exhausting, and sometimes grueling. But you know what? I LOVED it!!! It was fantastic starting to learn a new skill, one in which I have my own private and rather considerable experience. The owner of the bakery liked my work and told me so. I go back Monday - Thursday next week, mostly for just a few hours a day except next Thursday. After next week, the work, the owner told me, becomes really hard in preparation for the chagim.

I look forward to continue learning this profession and becoming proficient at it. Thank God this is happening!

Thanks to all for your moral support. It's been invaluable.

Darth Vader at the Improv?

Hilarious! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A JOB!!!

Holy moly! I actually found a job, and it's something I actually WANT to do! I'll be working at a local kosher bakery, training to take over as baker and manager. I'm starting off on a trial period that will last through the chagim. If all goes well, and I sincerely hope it does, I'll be hired full on for a salaried position. The more I take on, the more money I'll make, the better I'll get at it. Later down the line, when we're a bit more financially secure and maybe even have some money set aside, again, if all goes well, God willing, I'll even have the option to buy the bakery because the owner actually wants to sell it.

Oh, boy! It really is a new start. I hope and pray it goes really well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 Election news had a fascinating dissemination on health insurance and whether the insurance model is even the right model for the United States. Take a read. It's very eye-opening.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Holy Moly! I have actually started interviewing! What a shock! My first one was today at a local kosher bakery. The owner is looking for someone to learn all the ropes, bake, and manage the bakery as he steps back from the day-to-day operations. He even mentioned the option, later down the road, to buy in to the bakery and own a stake in it!

This is great. Today, he had me come in so he could give me a tour of the facility. I'm supposed to speak with him next week about whether I'm interested. I definitely am. It will start off as an apprenticeship and move on up from there. The starting pay is pretty low, but I'm hoping I can negotiate a better starting pay. Hours will be a bit funky (it IS a bakery, after all!), but I think I can live with that.

I'm also waiting to hear from a local restaurant about a manager's position there. Not as excited about it because it doesn't really offer as much opportunity as the bakery, but the starting pay (which is really important right now) might be better.

The question will be: Will I be able to go to school at least part-time while working a bakery job? Since much of the work is seasonal (it IS a full-time job, but there are times of years that are busier than others), having set hours when I know I can attend classes might be difficult.

In any case, I will continue studying for the GRE exam (started today - wish me luck!). At least, once I take it and hopefully do well and get it out of the way, I'll be able to see how things work out and apply to school when I can.

Once again, this is one of those instances where it's WHO you know, not WHAT you know. My chavruta, a rav in the community, also happens to be the bakery owner's chavruta, and he connected us, knowing the owner was looking to gradually step back (and possibly even sell it at some point, though I'm not too sure about buying a bakery at this point if my ultimate goal is to make Aliyah) and knowing I love baking and would love to work a bakery job, despite the funky hours. My chavruta also knows I desperately need a job.

As for my other work, the "company" my father so lovingly left me, I think that's done. While at first, after his death, I was rather busy and even managed to sell two systems (for a total of $1800 in commissions - woo hoo), it's been deathly quiet of late. I MAY have set up a system installation, which I will probably attend IF this deal goes through and I'll make a whole $1000. Though if I end up taking this job before installation begins, I'll probably just give that up since I won't want to take off a real job to go learn something that may or may not pan out for future training in installing system.

In the meantime, I'm pretty ready to lay my father's business to rest and bury it with him and move on to better, more concrete things. It's just going to be part of the process of fixing our financial mess, straightening ourselves out, and getting on the path of success and maybe even Aliyah at some point.

Monday, August 17, 2009


This is just too funny! Of course you DO see it coming as soon as the empty arrow hits the wall...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why There Will, And Can, NEVER Be Peace With the Palestinians

Mitchell Bard published a fact sheet recently discussing why peace with the Palestinians, or at least their rulers, and unfortunately, an entire younger generation brainwashed by those rulers, is pretty much impossible, and that the Obama administration is really quite naive when it comes to these matters. Maybe someone should forward this to the White House.

Fact Sheet

#71: Palestinians Declare Three Noes to Peace
(August 11, 2009)
Echoing the Arab rejection of peace with Israel expressed at Khartoum almost exactly 42 years ago ("no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel"), the Palestinians declared at the Fatah conference in Bethlehem in August 2009 three noes: no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and no end to the armed struggle against Israel.

The delegates to the conference, the first Fatah has convened in two decades, were competing among themselves to see whose position toward Israel would be more radical. Though deeply divided over who will control the movement, the Palestinians were united in their obduracy toward Israel.

In fact, in addition to the three noes to peace, the Palestinians had more than a dozen other demands, including Israeli acceptance of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees, the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, the freezing of all settlement construction and the lifting of theGaza blockade. They also vowed to continue the struggle against Israel "until Jerusalem returns to the Palestinians void of settlers and settlements. "

These recalcitrant positions come after Palestinian AuthorityPresident Mahmoud Abbas's previous statements that he will not negotiate with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand expects President Obama to bring about Netanyahu'sdownfall.

Fatah officials also discussed the possibility of forming a strategic alliance with Iran, the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, which opposes the peace process and has threatened to destroy Israel. Fatah's Jerusalem Affairs Liaison, Hatim Abdul Qader, said that in light of the stalled peace process, Fatah had no choice but to seek help from Iran and, last month, Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Egypt. Paradoxically, Iran has funded Fatah's opponents, Hamas, which prevented Palestinians in Gaza from participating in the conference.

The Fatah conference demonstrated once again that the range of Palestinian opinion is not from radicals opposing peace withIsrael to moderates who favor a negotiated settlement, but from radical to even more radical opponents of an end to the conflict.

Sadly, the desire of the Palestinian people to coexist with their Israeli neighbors has once again been sublimated to the irredentist ideology of their fanatical leaders leaving Israel with no partner for negotiations. Roughly half of the population is under the thumb of Hamas, which is at war with Fatah. Meanwhile, Fatah is at war with itself and divided into at least three factions. And none of the men (and they are all men) who claim to represent the people are interested in peace withIsrael.

The Palestinian position, combined with that of the king ofSaudi Arabia and other Arab leaders who rejected President Obama's pleas to take steps toward normalizing relations withIsrael, has driven a stake through the heart of theadministration's entire Middle East strategy. The administration approach was built on the premise that publicly pressuringIsrael would win support from the Arab states, who would then take steps to normalize ties with Israel, which would lead to a peace agreement, which, in turn would result in Arab cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue and make all of the other problems in the region melt away.

The question now is whether the administration can recalibrate its policy to the reality that negotiating with Abbas is a dead end and that pressuring Israel alienated the Israelis while emboldening the Arabs to believe he would force Israel to capitulate to their demands without them having to do anything in return.

Read all Fact Sheets

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009


So. We've bankrupted. A new beginning, albeit a kind of lousy way to go about it. But we'll survive.

Now we have to figure it all out. I'm looking for a job. My business tanked. Frankly, I never liked it anyway. It was my father's and not something about which I ever truly strongly felt. So, we'll see if any opportunities pan out.

Ideally, I'd like to find something part-time. My wife (who is also looking for a new job because she hates the one she's at right now) has full benefits, so those aren't really an issue for me when job searching. I'm going to study for the GRE exam (that's the one to get into grad school). I'd like to go back to school. I have a few choices in front of me. One is a PhD in counseling psychology. Another, one that is probably more realistic, is a Master's in education. It's something I can use in Israel.

Which brings me to the next step. I'm hoping, once done with school, in whatever subject I choose, to make Aliyah. It's getting to be time. My wife, given a workable, viable, REALISTIC plan, is open to the idea.

While I would like nothing better than to pack up tomorrow and go home, I won't do it. First, there's the history lesson. My dad did it that way. You know what it did? It screwed up my life. Royally. He didn't give one damn where we ended up, whether he had a job waiting, or what the quality of the schools was for his children. I actually ended up in a cheder for two and a half years. No general studies education whatsoever. For that entire time. Imagine how well I did when we came back to the States at the beginning of high school. Yeah. Not so well...

Second, there's a Shalom Bayit issue. I love my wife very much. I am completely devoted to her. Only problem is I haven't acted that way the last several years. That's changing. She will not go without a real plan of where and how we're going to live and we will absolutely go somewhere ONLY that offers the best possible school for our children. And she will not go without at least one of us, preferably both, and most preferably me, without a job waiting. Period. And you know what? She's absolutely correct. I have a friend/fellow blogger who told me the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael is more important than Shalom Bayit. I respectfully disagree. And I speak from experience. It's not just Shalom Bayit between spouses. It's also about Shalom Bayit with one's children and doing what's best for them in the best possible way. My father did it in the worst possible way. The results were, and still are, unacceptable. It's not going to happen that way again.

So there you have it. We'll go, God willing. But we'll go properly this time, not helter-skelter as my father did. I will NOT screw up my children's lives the way he screwed up mine. Period.

Now I just gotta take that GRE exam. Oy. Then I gotta figure out what I want to do. I'll only get one chance at this, and I gotta do it right.

Well, That SUCKED!

Ok. We had our bankruptcy hearing today. All done. Only bump was that since we own my car outright, it's an asset the trustee wanted to liquidate and give the money to the creditors. However, what he will do is take $4000 out of the equity I have in the car and make me pay it back over the course of a year, at $333.33 per month, no interest, which is actually a pretty good deal, assuming I can afford the $333.33 per month, which I'm hoping I will. It's a gamble, but a good one.

Here's to hoping!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Am I Too Young To Be a Great Uncle?

Apparently not! My nephew, who is almost 24 years old, just became a daddy! That makes my sister (heh heh heh!) a GRANDMOTHER, and my mother a GREAT-grandmother.

Pretty cool! Mazal Tov to my nephew, his lovely wife (whom I've never met and to whom I've never spoken), my sister (the grandma, heh heh heh!), all my other nieces and nephews, and my mother. I'm pretty sure there will be MANY more to come in the future (after all, my sister is a mother of EIGHT!).

As for me, my oldest (of two, and we're pretty sure it's gonna stay that way!) is only seven years old, so I've got plenty of time until I become a grandparent! :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Priceless... Star Trek Style

What could be better than a Star Trek "Priceless" Mastercard commercial? :)

Another MIssed Opportunity for an Absolutely FANTASTIC Show!

I just finished watching the shortened season of NBC's Kings. Placed in a modern day setting, it is essentially the story of a young David and an older King Shaul, called Sylas in the show. Ian McShane plays David, and does so wonderfully. While using many basic plot elements from Tana"ch, the show is original, and really quite wonderful.

Unfortunately, Philistines that so many people are, not many tuned in to watch the show, and it died before it could gain much of a foothold. It's really too bad, because this was a really fantastic series.

All thirteen episodes are available on Hulu for free.

Maybe the Sci Fi Channel (sorry, Syfy) will pick it up. If they don't, it'll be a real missed opportunity. Kind of like Firefly, which I also watched recently and really enjoyed.