Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Discussion" with wife about being attacked this morning for Triangle-K blog post.

I had an argument with my wife this morning where I felt that she wasn't playing fair. The conversation started out about the discussions about the Rubashkin hechure where her butcher (a.k.a. pundit) told her that some of the people at Rubashkin were going to jail. I explained to her that there was an issue where Rubashkin hired bochurim to work there who were illegal immigrants, and that they got caught with them. She told me her butcher thought it was a kashrus issue with them, and I told her that the whole Crown Heights community still uses Rubashkin as their primary hechure. I also told her to be careful rumors because there is a lot of evidence that there is corruption among the major hechures where they bully customers and start rumors about other hechures. I gave MealMart as an example where as far as I know, that's a Satmar hechure and they've been known to badmouth Rubashkin, and vice versa based on what happened almost twenty years ago where a bunch of Satmar chassidim beat up a bunch of Lubavichers, and the Satmar Rebbe refused to renounce their actions when the Lubavicher Rebbe confronted him and asked him to renounce it to stop further hatred. As a result, each said not to trust the other's meat. Hence, Lubavichers don't eat Satmar hechures (e.g. I believe MealMart) and Satmars don't eat Lubavich hechures.

Then the conversation moved to Triangle-K. I told her that many of the problems with the hechure might be based on rumors, and that Rav Ralberg has not openly fought against them confirming them or denying them as opposed to Rubashkin who has fought against most rumors that come their way. ...At that point, my wife accused me of not keeping kosher and accusing me of regularly eating Triangle-K, which makes me think that she has been reading my blog, this blog, behind my back. She then went so far as to forbid me from eating triangle-k (as if I eat it just as readily as I eat OU or OK etc.) and said that if I eat potato chips from triangle-K, then she's going to go and eat Little Debbie's. I thought that was not playing fair. Our conversation is below:

(7:51:47 AM) Wife: hello what?
(7:54:51 AM) Zoe Strickman: Tell me the truth, have you been reading my blog?
(7:56:44 AM) Wife: what???? no
(7:56:52 AM) Wife: why what did you write
(7:56:58 AM) Zoe Strickman: do you even know the blog address?
(7:57:06 AM) Wife: no
(7:57:12 AM) Wife: :S
(7:57:36 AM) Zoe Strickman: I thought your comments this morning were unfair and you accused me of things that you shouldn't have.
(7:58:12 AM) Zoe Strickman: I've been very careful to keep our standards of yiddishkeit very high... brb
(7:58:38 AM) Wife: ok good
(7:58:40 AM) Wife: im glad
(7:57:06 AM) Wife: you just said that you eat tringle K after i explained to you that no orthodox person eats that
(7:57:15 AM) Wife: its just a fact
(7:57:33 AM) Wife: anyways im doing something nice for you now
(7:57:33 AM) Zoe Strickman: ok, I'm back. Joanne walked in about the litigation project
(7:57:44 AM) Wife: ok
(7:57:53 AM) Zoe Strickman: anyway, as I was saying...
(8:00:26 AM) Zoe Strickman: I've been very careful to keep our standards of yiddishkeit very high, and that includes things that neither of us kept 100% before the marriage, like cholov yisroel, etc.
(8:01:39 AM) Zoe Strickman: Early in our marriage, we had a conversation where you realized that I thought triangle-K was okay and I was oblivious to the fact that it was not okay because I saw Rabbi Friedman using it (yes, for apple juice) at the time.
(8:02:49 AM) Wife: listen i dont think you are not relgious and if you do do something that you are not suppose to I know it is because you just didnt realize so i was restating to help you realize the extent of how unkosher ppl view it
(8:03:17 AM) Wife: i dont think chas veshalom you dont care or that you are lax
(8:03:27 AM) Zoe Strickman: That's why I asked if you've read my blog lately which I consider to be private...
(8:03:42 AM) Wife: now i want to read it
(8:04:00 AM) Zoe Strickman: You and I had a conversation about triangle-k a few weeks ago which sparked my interest in learning what was the real story with the hechure.
(8:04:31 AM) Zoe Strickman: I put it on my list of things to do, and I did some research and wrote my findings.
(8:05:58 AM) Zoe Strickman: Hence, I found the issues I told you about this morning, namely that they had the reputation of being too small and unable to regularly check the hechures they gave out, and there was also the issue with the non-kosher oil tanker from a number of years ago that caused many to doubt the validity of the hechures.
(8:06:01 AM) Zoe Strickman: hechure.
(8:07:18 AM) Wife: ok
(8:07:23 AM) Zoe Strickman: These were my findings. So in my blog, I wrote that Rav Ralberg should not rely on the stupid fact that he's "a talmid chochom" which in my opinion is idiocy and misnogdishe stupidity, but that like Rubashkin, he should fight against the rumors and should open admit the things he did wrong or fight against them.
(8:07:41 AM) Zoe Strickman: Here's where I felt you fought dirty --->
(8:08:19 AM) Zoe Strickman: This morning you brought up the topic, and I wanted to share my findings about corruption and rumors with you because its an interesting topic in my mind.
(8:08:58 AM) Zoe Strickman: You immediately went from me telling you why I thought that triangle-K might be the victim of rumors to you accusing me of eating non-kosher.
(8:07:47 AM) Wife: well you said you eat it once in a while outside the home
(8:07:52 AM) Zoe Strickman: when did I say that?
(8:07:53 AM) Wife: you said it i didnt accuse you
(8:8:05 AM) Wife: you said you buy chips and stuff
(8:8:16 AM) Zoe Strickman: I said that anyone who eats it SHOULD NOT BRING IT INTO THE HOME.
(8:11:00 AM) Wife: ok anyways i dont feel so hotly about this i apologize for jumping on you incorrectly and jumping to wrong conclutions
(8:11:18 AM) Wife: again i dont doubt you are a relgious caring man
(8:12:32 AM) Zoe Strickman: You should know that I *do* feel hotly about the issue and I DON'T eat triangle-K because my research back in law school, and then my more recent research suggests that triangle-K *MAY* be a victim of rumors, where the rumors won the battle and they were too stupid not to fight against the rumors, unless the rumors were true.
(8:12:55 AM) Zoe Strickman: sorry, I mixed 2 thoughts.
(8:15:04 AM) Zoe Strickman: 1) I don't consider triangle-K as a good hechure and hence I don't eat it. That being said, for full disclosure because I don't lie to you, I have a number of times during our marriage had moments of weakness and I have purchased Sun Chips which are triangle-K, and I felt very bad as I did it.
(8:15:36 AM) Zoe Strickman: but NO, I don't eat triangle-K.
(8:17:35 AM) Zoe Strickman: That being said, WHY I don't eat triangle-K is the hot topic. This is one of the things I do because I am Lubavich and I follow things they say even though I don't understand their reasons... e.g. pas yisroel.
(8:17:56 AM) Zoe Strickman: I honestly don't understand the pas yisroel issue.
(8:17:02 AM) Wife: right but we never took time to understand it
(8:17:06 AM) Zoe Strickman: I know it's a bad example because you and I don't officially keep pas yisroel, but we try as hard as we can to keep it.
(8:17:20 AM) Zoe Strickman: what, pas yisroel?
(8:17:25 AM) Wife: yeah
(8:20:23 AM) Zoe Strickman: I tried. I couldn't figure out why it was a problem, especially when OU and OK and chof-K and all the others give hechures to certain breads that are not pas yisroel and pretty much ALL orthodox jews eat those breads WITHOUT feeling bad.
(8:22:41 AM) Zoe Strickman: ...anyway, this is a totally different topic than triangle-k. My opinion of the hechure is that it POTENTIALLY has issues because of the person giving the hechure and his ego and talmid chochom status. However, that's not the reason I don't eat triangle-k. The reason I don't eat triangle-k is because most of the orthodox world doesn't eat triangle-k, not because it is treif, chos v'sholom.
(8:23:44 AM) Zoe Strickman: Hence, I felt it was unfair of you to immediately twist my words into saying that it is okay to eat it, and that you'll go so far as to eat little debbies which is NOT EVEN CHOLOV YISROEL!
(8:24:04 AM) Zoe Strickman: That's where I felt you fought dirty.
(8:27:22 AM) Wife: ok, im sorry
(8:27:26 AM) Zoe Strickman: ...because if you ask my opinion, I don't think triangle-K food is not kosher as a rule, however there are enough questions not to rely on it, such as why a food company would go for that hechure and not OU if they had the choice. (with those exceptions of moment of weakness which I told you about) I'm just being careful about kashrut and holding to the level we are expected to hold to.
(8:28:22 AM) Zoe Strickman: so as you see, I *am* hot about this topic, just as I am hot about other topics of kashrus that I don't quite understand, even though I do understand the halachas about those topics.
(8:27:20 AM) Zoe Strickman: it's just one of those things about being chassidic versus joe the plummer orthodox that I am not happy about, but I go along with and trust the majority.
(8:32:46 AM) Wife: yes ok i understand
(8:33:07 AM) Wife: i think we analyzed and reanalyzed and spoke to death about the issue
(8:33:37 AM) Zoe Strickman: that's because it's not a hot topic for you.
(8:34:04 AM) Zoe Strickman: anyway, yes, I feel like we talked this issue to death and I need to get back to work.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sometimes the same event can be ascribed opposite meanings. Even though they are opposites, BOTH are often true.

An interesting thing is happening at work... As you know, one of my close friends -- the one who got me this job -- was fired, and while things seem to be sound, there is evidence of problems down the line, as my semi-annual review is coming up where my friend was fired, so I could be next.

I've been managing a project that has been a disaster from the beginning. Initially, I took the project over because the owner of the company was giving instructions to a secretary who had no idea what he wanted of her. I clarified his needs and created a project to get him what he wanted. However, from its inception, the project has been plagued with incompetence where paralegals were billing over 20 hours for tasks that should have taken an hour or so and so on. As soon as I caught the error (on day 2), I brought it up to my boss for him to do something about it. We shuffled around who was working on the project, but in the end, there seems to have been no enthusiasm about the project and so nobody has been moving on it despite my assigning tasks and deadlines which are being missed and so the project is flopping on my watch.

Today my manager came over to me and asked me for a report explaining the project, and he asked for my review of the project. I wrote him an e-mail explaining what is happening, and the challenges I am facing with the project, but I know I was only giving him evidence to use against me to make the case to dismiss me for performance issues. If you don't remember, this was the manager who was opposed to me taking the Sabbath off and almost fired me when I first came to work for the company over me leaving early on Friday to get home in time for Shabbos. Since that event, he's begun to understand that I am a good worker, but I've always been careful around him, as he has been around me.

Anyway, my IM conversation with my wife about this e-mail is below.

Zoe: ok. did you read the letter I e-mailed you?

Wife: yeah. what was that about

Zoe: I'm not sure, but I have to watch my back. I have a feeling bad things are under the surface.

Wife: you think? maybe he just wants to know how much work to give you.

Zoe: Obviously that is how I am taking it, but between us, I can't be stupid. I *must* think the what if's or else I'll end up like my co-worker who was fired.

Zoe: this isn't the place to discuss it.

Zoe: Bottom line, while things are fine, he's asking questions and creating a paper trail of him asking about my performance.

Zoe: From an attorney's point of view, it's called gathering evidence.

Wife: intresting. i'm sure things are fine; not much you can do anyways

Zoe: True. And of course things are fine. You just have to understand that if there is a case being made against me for performance issues, this is one of pieces of evidence that would be used as support to show how I was mismanaging the paralegals and how I was being an ineffective manager, even though that's not my title. Also, under my watch, the project failed because I was in charge of it -- the owner said so himself, remember?

Zoe: Anyway, I'm just showing you what's under the hood, so to speak. Obviously to someone not paying attention, things are fine and that he's just checking up on me to see how much more work I can take on.

Zoe: Remember, in life, there are always a MULTIPLE number of things happening at the same time. As you think things are, they are, but there are always other stories happening at the same time with very different meanings.

Zoe: I smile, you think I'm happy... yadda yadda.. There are always multiple things happening at the same time. Take my friend's conversation last night with me. You know there were different things happening at different levels on that conversation.

Zoe: Same thing here. Got it?

Wife: yes

Anyway, sometimes when you speak to someone, you say something that is quite valuable and true, but the truth of it doesn't hit you until you say it. I've always believed that there are always multiple things going on at the same time, but I didn't have an appreciation of it until I explained it to my wife.

Here's the thought: "You see the world around you and thing your interpretation of events ARE the way things are. And while you might be correct, THERE ARE ALMOST ALWAYS OTHER THINGS GOING ON AT THE SAME TIME, to the point where an opposite interpretation could ALSO be true of those same set of events."

G-d seems to elude us sometimes, where we wonder, "How could G-d's doing X [event] to me (or to a friend, or a member of the family) be good? X is evil." And while that might be true, X could also have been "the best thing that ever happened to you."

You see, while this thought is engrained in us, we don't often take the time to appreciate it. If you're not appreciating it now, you didn't grasp the thought.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Is Sarah Palin Jewish?

I am totally blown away by this snippet I received, and I wanted to share it with you. Obviously, check the cites and the references, because the article is a cut-and-paste from a larger answer which also posits the answer that she is not Jewish. -Zoe

10/27/08 5:40pm UPDATE: Ahuva has shown the statements in the article below to be incorrect. Her comments and research can be found here.

Is Sarah Palin Jewish?
Source: Wiki Answers - Sarah Palin

Yes, based on Jewish tradition that makes one "Jewish" if born to a mother of Jewish ethnic decent, although touting at least a mask of evangelical Christianity. was most upset about her relationship with Jews for Jesus, see link:

Sarah Palin's mother (Sally Sheigam) was of Lithuanian Jewish heritage and so were both of her mothers parents (Louise Sheigam and Shmuel Sheigam). Her father Chuck Heath can also be considered of Jewish blood because his mother, Beatrice Coleman, was of Jewish decent. Further information on Governor Palin's ancestors can easily be found in the vital records in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius. link: The Archives holds birth, marriage, divorce, and death records for the Lithuanian Jewish community from 1851 until 1915 when the Jews were required to leave the country because of World War I. They are in 18th Century Cyrillic script and Yiddish Many of these records include the mother's maiden name and town of registration.

Palin has three flags in her office: the flag of Alaska, the flag of the United States, and the flag of Israel. Two of Palin's prominent Alaska Jewish allies, Rabbi Joseph Greenberg and businessman Terry Gorlick, told Politico they consider her a friend of the Jews...see link:

In addition, when she ran for governor, the Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks issued the following statement today: "By choosing Governor Sarah Palin as the vice-presidential candidate, John McCain once again demonstrates good judgment and a commitment to challenging politics-as-usual. As governor of Alaska, Palin has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Alaska's Jewish community.

Palin’s Maternal Grandfather And Grandmother
Her maternal grandfather, Schmuel Sheigam, was a Lithuanian Jew, born in 1912 in Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, The Sheigam’s The grandmother was a Jewess named Gower.
The Names Are Altered. At Ellis Island Immigration Centre, the name was entered as Sheeran, a standard practice when immigration officers were unable to understand the pronunciation of non-English speaking immigrants. They are buried in the Jewish cemetery at Budezeriai.

Additional Links:
Link 1:
Link 2:
Link 3:
Link 4: Jewish Press

Why I am voting for John McCain.

I want to be quick on this blog entry because I need to get to work, but I wanted to share my point of view about the elections.

I am voting for John McCain. I don't quite like him, nor do I think he will be very effective, and while I do feel it MIGHT be another 4 years of the past 8 years, I feel it is the lesser of two evils.

What haunts me about Obama are the many questions that have been raised over the months, but not answered. For the same reason I wouldn't give the Triangle-K hechure the stone-certain validity that I'll give to an OU or OK hechure, people raised some valid issues about Obama, but he never confronted them head-on nor did he answer them with an affirmation or a denial. ...and as you know, I believe a lack of a denial is really a passive affirmation.

What haunts me about Obama are where he comes from. No, I'm not talking about whether he was really born in Hawaii. It appears to me from the articles and opinions from the "Investors Business Daily - Editorials" (one of the few associations who seem to be doing their research unlike the mass liberalist media) that Obama doesn't necessarily stand for Obama, but for something else that the terrorists like. It is his past as a "community organizer" that troubles me. He has strong Arab / Syrian / terrorist connections who are the ones who put pressure on key United States figures to get Obama into Harvard Law School and who seem to be putting him in charge of the Presidency of the United States.

Why should I be okay with Middle-East terrorists placing a president into power? I am not, and I wish people knew about what I've been reading. ...and it is not one story that got me to say "Oh my gosh! Who is this guy?" but it is one piece of information after another after another!

After a while of hearing ALL THE BAD STUFF, I can't believe I still like the guy, and I can't believe in my own head I've been brainwashed to say "okay, yes, all this might be true, but maybe he'll be good for the country." It's shocking even to me that I am SEDUCED by Obama's words and politics.

That being said, any Jew knows how to vote with their head, and not their heart. My head tells me he is trouble and that he represents interests which don't represent me, and while I don't particularly love McCain, I do think that at least he will try his best to get the country back on the right side. I know for sure that he won't sell our soul to our enemies.

Barbara West Interviews Joe Biden (10/23/08)


It looks like the questions being asked should have been asked quite a long time ago. Spreading the wealth IS a communist / Marxist theory. However, based on Joe Biden's answers, I'm not so sure this is such a bad thing, as Bush HAS pretty much messed up the economy AND made the rich richer and the middle class MUCH poorer. Now I am and have been a McCain supporter throughout the election [inter alia] because of the questionable connections Obama has with people I wouldn't want running our government and his mysterious "rise to power."

However, hearing Joe's interview, I can't help but to think that maybe they're right and that PERHAPS they're just trying to reconcile what went wrong. Who knows.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Follow-up to previous post on Triangle-K

I wanted to preempt your question before you asked it. "Zoe, if you are frum and you have the slightest doubt about a piece of food you might eat, as a frum Jew, why would you even consider eating it in the first place?!?"

My answer is that much of what I eat when I eat in a restaurant, even one that has the best hechure, I have seen enough to have doubts about the kashrus of what I am eating, although bide'eved (after-the-fact) it is probably kosher.

When I eat at friends homes, while I am equally discriminating (l'chatchila), I often have doubts about kashrus after seeing things (e.g. over a recent meat sukkos meal, one of our newly-married hosts almost made a serious basar b'cholov mistake when after the meal, the husband took dairy soymilk into the Sukkah and wanted to serve us coffee with it; when questioned about it by his wife after seeing the looks of horror in our faces, he insisted it was parve [despite the dairy OU hechure on the back of the carton], exclaiming, "...soymilk is Parve!"-- NOTE: I will not be eating there anymore) thus I am slow to eat at people's homes.

When it comes to a bag of chips that is likely kosher, as you well know now, my opinion is that there is probably nothing wrong with eating it. If I have a legitimate reason to think it is TREIF (not kosher), I won't touch it and would likely vomit or spit it out. However, with triangle-K, all I would have here is a doubt that it is not up to my standards, not chos-v'sholom (G-d forbid) that the food would be treif!

Triangle-K -- not recommended, but after some diligence, it may be okay as a personal choice between you and G-d, but its not for your kosher kitchen.

Holy smokes! I was trying to find out about the whole Triangle-K hechure issue to learn what the story was. After some searching, I found a website by the Canonist which gave some good commentary and an interview with Rabbi Ralberg regarding the Triangle-K hechure.

As you know, upon getting married, I was still eating Triangle-K totally oblivious to the various arguments. However, my wife was shocked when she found out I was eating it and she forbade me from eating it.

Back in law school, I asked a Rabbi (who is no longer with us) what the problem was -- he told me that it was difficult for the triangle-K hechure to supervise everyone, so just be careful and check the ingredients with the company before eating the food willy nilly.

More recently, in my Lubavich circles, triangle-K is only considered okay for some foods which generally don't need a hechure, but is frowned upon for pretty much everything else. This being said, in our home and when eating out, we keep cholov yisroel, pretty much pas yisroel (there have been some exceptions), and are otherwise very strict in our kashrut. I don't think, however, that one who goes to the convenience store to pick up a bag of potato chips or Sun Chips which are triangle-K (such as what happened a few times when I had an overwhelming desire and there was nothing else available with a more credible hechure) would be breaking halacha. Those few times it would happen to me, I would hesitate about it and would feel bad about it as I was walking with it to the cash register, but I never would think the food was treif, but rather that I was succumbing to a lower standard of kashrut. That being said, I wouldn't bring it into my house, however, just in case what I was eating turned out NOT to be kosher.

Here is my possibly twisted logic:
1) is it kosher? probably.
2) Is it up to my standards of kashrut? probably not.
3) Will I feel bad about buying it? yes.
4) Will I enjoy it when I'm eating it? you bet, but this isn't the reason I decided to eat it.
5) Again, IS IT PROBABLY KOSHER? probably. I see one flavor has the hechure, the other flavors don't, so there's obviously some selection.

Thus, I didn't feel SO BAD when buying it.

On a more general level, my position of it is that I wish that the hechure were okay across the board. Any hechure with unresolved questions is NOT one which I would openly tell people it's okay to eat, and is NOT one that I would use in my home or encourage my family members or friends to eat. The fact that I find little wrong with buying something like a bag of chips with that hechure doesn't mean that it's okay for others to do the same without first checking things out on their own; it would be a judgment call on halacha and a personal choice between you and G-d how careful you choose to be in your kashrut. That being said, *I MUST REPEAT* if I eat it, I would NOT bring it into my house just in case it isn't okay and I certainly would NOT put triangle-K food into anything that I cook, especially when if there is a real kashrus issue with the food, it would destroy the kashrus of our home which my wife and I so carefully guard.

That being said, I encourage Rabbi Ralbag to be more proactive in countering the accusations about his certification. There are a lot of rumors flying around, and he should either admit guilt and change, or aggressively refute the accusations with proof.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How Sukkos Affected Me

Okay, one more post for the night and then I'm done because I'm getting tired.

Firstly, making the Sukkah this year was a pleasure. The title picture is pretty much the same Sukkah I built this year with my father and my brother, except that we built ours with four walls. Oh, and we don't live in a forest either.

The Sukkah was from The Sukkah Project, and we were very happy with the Sukkah and Schach we bought from them. We purchased the 8' x 12' Wood-Frame Sukkah plus the SukkahScreen as the walls and bamboo schach. The whole thing cost us $275, and then the lumber cost us another $60 from Lowes. The assembly was easy and we were very happy with the quality and the sturdiness of it.

On a more refined note, I felt that this Sukkos was the first Sukkos that my wife and I were on our own. In previous years, we were always guests at someone's house, and this year was the first year we were on our own two feet. Yes we had a Sukkah last year -- a 6' x 5' tiny tiny thing that my dad built (which was bigger than the 5' x 5' that my dad and I had the year before), but this year we were established. I had a job (B"H for now I still have a job), and I was confident on my own, knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I fell a bit when it came to tying the knots on the Lulav, but all in all, everything ended up okay. I even hosted a close friend from the Army for a day, and I was happy to have him over and to catch up.

But the thing that I am coming away with is the feeling that I need to always remember that everything is impermanent and everything changes eventually, and that I should be happy for everything that I have while I have it because tomorrow it could all be gone. Further, I took away from this Sukkos that it is important to stay flexible both in character and when and/or if hardship hits, to take things one step at a time and to know that things have always been worse, and that we are built with the tools to deal with challenges as they come.

I want to wish my friend the best and an easy time finding the next job, and that it come with ease and with great profit and promotion in status, salary, power, and prestige.

My view of my job from a religious perspective.

Now to the religious stuff and the beliefs I have about everything that is going on.

Firstly, I have no idea whether I'm next or not, and whether when I go into work tomorrow I'll be told that I am no longer working there as well. I have to be prepared for this, even though my friend believes they'll just have me pick up his workload on top of my own.

<*!baby crying... be right back!*>

On Rosh Hashanna I did adequate Teshuva (repentance) -- not as wonderful as previous years' Teshuva, but I did have an idea this year of where I was strong in my religious observance and where I was weak. I am comfortable saying that last year I had so many things to be repentant for (my many sins) that it was hard to cover everything between the Shofar blasts.

This year, my list was very short. How I betrayed and disrespected my wife, my son, and my family by not being there for them as much as I could have been; how my Torah study was not as strong as it was in previous years; how I indulged in to the desires of my body far too often and disrespected my health by letting myself eat food and rob my body of sleep causing me to gain weight; and how I still squabble with certain kashrus issues such as Pas Yisroel and triangle-K hechures (kashrut certifications) which a normal Jew should have taken care of long before they were at where I am in my level of yiddishkeit (Judaism).

But all in all, I am satisfied with my Teshuva. Further, I did fast Yom Kippur and I did go to shul (synagogue) -- what I like to refer to as "bad tasting medicine" -- both during all the Yom Tovs and regularly for 6:30am minyanim (prayer) throughout the year. This was such a big accomplishment that in addition to providing a parnossa (a living) for my family and in addition to chinuch (child education) and just being an example for other Jews, I hope that I am in good favor with Hashem and that my sins have been forgiven and that I have been inscribed and sealed for a good year.

I believe that I"YH (if it is the will of G-d) that I have done what I need to do and if I am meant to have a good year I will and if not, then not, so if I get fired then I am sure it is the will of Hashem and I will just pick up and move to the next chapter in my life. Obviously it will be uncomfortable and change is never fun, but this is the way things are. On another note, if I am not to be fired, then I will continue to work hard and to stay on the plan to get the degree so that I can get the patent attorney job I've been longing for for so long.

My close friend and co-worker was fired this afternoon.

I don't know how to talk about this so I'll just come out and say it -- one of my close friends at work got fired while I was out for Sukkos. Obviously I change things on this blog so I'll call him a her and/or vice versa, but no doubt, should he read this he'll know I'm writing about him, but I only have good things to say.

This friend of mine got me my job. He fought for me to get an interview and now over ten months later, they let him go. I just called him on the phone and it appears that while it was a shock, he had the feeling it was coming.

This concerns me because while I have worked my hardest to make myself valuable to the company and to the owner of the company, nobody can deny that we're in tough times. Even speaking to my superiors, they have acknowledged that these are tough times. Yes, the patent world is said to be recession-proof since even during an economic downturn, customers who own patents start to enforce them through licensing programs.

But that doesn't change the reality of things -- times ARE tough and I was even telling my wife that I'm fearful for my job because there is a lack of stability in the air. I don't remember the contents of my conversation with my wife -- actually now I do -- she wanted us to consider moving closer to my work which is over an hour away from our current home, but I told her that would be an unwise plan because I have a feeling my job could go away at any moment, and now the cut has gone to the one person who got me into this company.

I will end this post here. I have a lot of feelings about this, but let me just say that my heart goes out to my friend and if the company were smaller and I had some clout which I don't, I would say "let's all quit." But it is certain that this was a business decision and the company is weighing in and they had to cut a branch and my friend was the one running that branch.