There is a story
that I've told no one. Until now. It’s a life lesson that all
supervisors should heed.
saga stretches back decades. Yet the memory of the incident remains
as vivid as if it had occurred yesterday. Despite its age, it
stands relevant. I felt a lot of anguish then, but it subsided with
The matter mortified me, which is why I never discussed
fundraiser, I managed all four pillars of fundraising — annual
giving, capital campaigns, endowment funds, and planned gifts.
During that period, I recruited a wonderful team that helped us
achieve financial success, and we also started a legacy-giving
concept of establishing a planned giving program is akin to
planting seeds. For the initiative to grow, clients need to be
patiently nurtured with a focus on their unique needs, as well as a
multitude of tax advantages. First gifts might also take a long
time to wrap up.
then, we promoted charitable gift annuities with very competitive
interest rates. Donors and charities enter into a charitable gift
annuity contract. With cash, securities, or other assets, you
contribute significantly to the nonprofit organization. In
exchange, the benefactor is eligible for a partial tax deduction.
As an added benefit, you receive a fixed stream of tax-free income
from the fund for the rest of your life. The annuitant's interest
rate increases as he grows older, making it an attractive
the time, we hired a young woman who was "wet behind the ears," but
well versed in charitable gift annuities. She also showed great
promise. Our system was designed to give her the experience she
needed to excel in her field.
always greeted the staff cheerfully as they arrived in the morning.
At the end of the day, I also bade them a cheerful farewell. My
approach was sincere. I relate to people in this way.
off for the weekend, I wished our crew a “Good Shabbos.” However,
our newly hired employee advised me that while she was Jewish, she
was not observant. So, my wish for her Friday afternoons was to
enjoy a "Great Weekend." I should have
remembered Proverbs 13:3: “Whoever
guards his mouth preserves his life….” (20:20 hindsight: I
should’ve asked what she would prefer to hear).
story on June 7, 2018, in The Jewish Link of
NJ, gives us some insight into the term “Good
Shabbos.” Jon Kranz wrote,
believe that the phrase “Good Shabbos” derives from the Yiddish
“Gut Shabbes” but that does not explain the usage of the word
“good.” He continues, “It should be noted that the word
“good” has special significance in the Torah.
In Bereshit (Genesis), the word “good” is used
[often] throughout the creation story to describe each miraculous
development, thus elevating the word “good” to otherworldly
quotes the Shulchan
Aruch (307:5) that
“One should not
speak words of Shabbos like the words of a weekday. Thus, on
Shabbat, instead of greeting someone with “Good morning,” “Good
Afternoon,” or Good Evening,” one should greet them with “Good
can conjecture that the idea of wishing people a Good Shabbos on
Fridays, or even before, evolved from
this beautiful custom on Shabbos.
to my story.
brand-new staff member's performance was mediocre and not up to the
task. With time, it became clear she wasn't the right person for
the job. We invested our resources in helping her succeed but to no
avail. Mentoring sessions were not even fruitful.
summons from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
arrived a week before she was dismissed. “What’s this?” I asked
myself, scrutinizing the legalese. The essence was that I had
discriminated against this employee because I wished her a “Great
Weekend” but bid the others a “Good Shabbos.” The irony of ironies
was that there would be an EEOC hearing the following Friday
few hours later, the Director of Human Resources assured me that
the charge had no substance and was likely to be thrown out. As it
turned out, the EEOC rejected the grievance the following week,
after each party appeared before the commissioners.
was a valuable lesson in sensitivity. Watch what you say to your
employees and be consistent in your approach. But, don’t forget
that Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the
Fathers), 4:20 and 1:15 teach us “Be the first to
greet every person…” and “… receive every person
with a pleasant countenance.”
always remember this adage: “Words are free. It’s how you use them
that may cost you.”
2022 Norman B. Gildin. All rights reserved.