Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Year Come and Gone

Yesterday I celebrated my 30th birthday. I am officially not able to get away with public anyway. I am officially too old to still know where my blankie is (but I do). I am officially old.

I am now at the age that I thank God that my parents are still around. I am also at the age where I regret not seeing them more than I do. I am now at the age where my friends are moving on. We used to all live in the same neighborhood, now we are all dispersed around the US, with new families, new jobs, new educations and experiences. Some even in foreign countries.

I am now at the age where I can be proud of my accomplishments. I don't think its big headed or egotistical to look back on a year and smile at your merits. I won't say it was perfect. I'm sure I harmed people. I'm sure I didn't try hard enough to repair relationships that I'd damaged. I'm sure laziness and the flaw of wanting to take on too much too fast kept me from helping more people than I did. But, I did do good stuff too.

There have been a lot of changes in my life over the past year. Most importantly, I married my bashert Evan. He is absolutely the perfect match for me. He lets me be myself with no reservations and tells me every day how awesome I am. I pray that I put into this relationship at least a percentage of what I receive, because even that would be a ton. I loved my wedding. Not that I remember much about it, but it had been a long time since my whole family had been together. My fam doesn't have many opportunities to see one another. I got to see cousins that I hadn't seen in years and that was awesome. I am thankful that Evan has a large and loving immediate and extended family. They are all so great and have made me feel incredibly loved and accepted as one of them. Even if I am too busy to say it all the time, I know that Evan and I are very blessed.

I have worked hard to help others too, not just myself. Professionally, I am still working at NJOP and have been writing their @JewishTweets on Twitter. I love having this opportunity and getting to meet amazing Jews throughout the world that are using Twitter (of all places, right?) to engage in their heritage, whether by asking questions, telling jokes or sharing an inspiring story. I'm also interacting with fans on the Jewish Treats Facebook Page. If there is anything you want to learn about Judaism, let me know. If I don't know the answer, I have great people to ask for help.

Also this year I've worked on ParnasaFest (see blog I wrote on it here). What started out over lunch in Downtown NYC last February has turned into a internationally recognized grassroots initiative. After the mass layoffs in the Jewish nonprofit world, a couple friends and I asked ourselves, how can we help. A couple days later, we hosted our first ParnasaFest, a job networking event for those who need it. Whether they're in need of a new job opportunity, in need of new business contacts, or needing to meet people who are dealing with the same craziness in their lives that they themselves are dealing with, if nothing more than to shmooze and commiserate. Whatever their reason for attending an event or utilizing resources on our website, I hope they found utility in our work. I think they have, and that makes me happy.

I have also become a matchmaker on SawYouAtSinai's sister site YUConnects which is meant to facilitate matches amongst those in the Yeshiva University community. I love having this type of tool at my disposal to help Jewish singles. If you are on either of the sites, please seek me out on the matchmakers page and send me a message. I'd love to try to help you find your bashert!

Also, I was inducted into the prestigious ROI Community of young Jewish innovators and attended their summit in Israel this past summer. What an amazing collection of people to be grouped together with. It was a great honor.

And finally, I was honored last month to receive a nomination from a friend of mine in the United Jewish Communities' Jewish Community Hero contest. Its a huge honor. A lot of my fellow nominees are just like me. They desire to help their fellow Jews every day. A couple nominees who I'm voting for every day are Rabbi Moishe Engel who started the Gan Israel in my community that I attended every summer growing up and I attribute a lot of my religious growth to that experience and my friend Sharon Weiss-Greenberg who has just taken on the role of JLI Co-Director at Harvard where she and her husband are working with the Jewish students on campus. Then there is the Jewish Robot William Levin, my fellow ParnasaFester Dave Weinberg, and many more. So many great people on there that I'm happy are being recognized for what they do. Here is my profile, please check it out and shoot me a vote if you can. The prize money could be a huge help for the Jewish projects that I work on.

That's the year in review. I am so thankful for the friends and family in my life. I love you guys alot. Thank you thank you thank you. Shana Tova Umetuka, I hope you have a happy and sweet New Year. I hope you have a prosperous year full of opportunities to better yourself and those around you. I hope you receive all the things you desire at the right times. I hope you take advantage of your new clean slate and start filling it up with mitzvos and good deeds. And I will do my best to do the same. Gmar Chasima Tova, May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good!


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