the schmooze


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

*The expression "alts iz gut" means "everything is all right."

ben and jerryWe all face rejection at some point in our lifetime. That Greek letter sorority or houseplan turns you down, the admissions counselor at an Ivy League college is "umgliklekh" (unhappy) with your SAT (Sheer Agony Test) scores and wishes you luck elsewhere, Yale University's B-school wouldn't accept you because they only accept students who on average fall within the 94th percentile on the verbal part of the GMAT, and Mary Anne Madden (New York Magazine's Competition Editor) does not publish your definition of "nebash"--a party for nerds.

To make matters "erger" (worse), you may have grown up in a "heym" where mom gave mixed blessings: "You can't fail/You can't win"; "Don't worry/worry"; "If Godforbid you don't get the job at Ampersand, Ampersand & Ampersand, knock wood..." And everyone had a teacher who stressed "Beshere's Formula": There are only two kinds of people who fail: Those who listen to nobody and...those who listen to everybody."

Many years ago I had applied for the position of C.E.O. at Ben & Jerry's. (Once again, my septuagenarian mom was upset at the thought that IfGodforbid I should be hired, I'd have to move to Waterbury, Vermont.)

Well, I received my "Official Rejection Letter." Ben stated that he received entries from every walk of life imaginable--senior citizens, classrooms of children, husband-wife teams, people nominating their pets/ pets nominating their people, mothers, fathers, grandparents ("zeyde-bobe"), babies, people that are well-off in life, and people much less fortunate, even inmates in "turme" (prison). I was competing with applicants from all over the United States and from many, many countries. The resumes received by Ben were both "corporately-correct" and simply handwritten. They contained top-10 lists, poems, family photos, plaques, hand painted wooden concoctions, costumes, etc.

Ben broke the "nayes" (news) as gently as possible. He wrote, "We almost wanted you, Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe, to be our C.E.O. Congratulations! You did a great job on your application for the position of C.E.O. for Ben & Jerry's. It warms our hearts--and blows our minds--that someone of your high caliber would even consider a career with us.

"Your impassioned eloquence, remarkable qualifications, and astonishing ability to consume super premium ice cream and frozen yogurt convinced the search team to put your name near the top of our long short list.

"What a rich, fulfilling life you've led! And what an appetite!

"That said, it is with mixed ingredients that we give you the bad ("shlekht") news and the good news. The bad news is that you didn't get the C.E.O. job. The good news, however, is that you didn't get the C.E.O. job. Whew!

(I thought, "A gezunt in dein pupik"--Thanks for a small favor.)

The letter continued...

"But now you can tell your children and grandchildren you came this close to running our company.

"To say you're overqualified might seem like a cheap kiss-off. (And it might tick off the new C.E.O., and who needs that?) So let's just say that your talents and potential convinced us that a much higher calling awaits you."

"Yo! Go and follow your destiny! You're just too valuable to the world to be peddling ice cream ("ayzkrem"). (end of letter) I wonder whether "Chozen Kosher Ice Cream"--the ice cream that would make Tevye happy--is looking for a C.E.O. Oh, how I love their "Matzoh Crunch" and "Chocolate Gelt" flavors! My resume is ready.


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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