Let me start by saying I was as shocked as anyone else when Bari Weiss decided to resign from the NY Times, in July. But I was not surprised she chose to leave considering how much Bari values the fact that she is a Jew, and is willing to sacrifice her job to prove it. Bari is obviously a strong supporter of Israel and she is also very vocal about Judaism. She said that being publicly criticized as a Jew has inspired her to reconnect with Judaism.
“I joke to people, but it’s sort of true. I feel like I have a permanent kippa attached to my head at all times,” she said. “And that comes with gifts and it comes with responsibilities, as anyone who wears their Judaism publicly will tell you.”
“I say this a lot: It’s not enough for a Jew to be an anti-anti-Semite. That’s not what we were put on earth to do. We were put on earth to be Jews. The more deeply I connected to my own Judaism, Jewish history, the stronger my conviction has become. I am just extremely clear on who I am, what I’m about, and what I’m fighting for,” she said.
And that, said Weiss, was what made her decide to leave The New York Times.
I Had A Similar Experience While Living In South Africa But With A Twist
My Journalism Training Was Gained Under The South African WSJ Contributor Many Years Ago
It’s a unique story how I began working under Steve Mulholland who also was Editor of the “Financial Mail” which even today is the leading South African Weekly Financial Magazine published and produced in Johannesburg, where I worked. I also wrote for its sister daily publication known as Business Day.
While working under Mulholland’s guidance, he showed me the greatest amount of respect because I was the only employee he had working under him wearing a kippah, beard along with tzitzit hanging out as well. I can remember that whenever we had a Thursday morning staff meeting following the Wednesday when the magazine would hit the street, Steve would always greet me with a huge smile while entering his large office where the meetings took place. I always was made to feel part of the staff.
And for those of you Superman fans like I was when I was a young boy watching TV, he had the type of personality and looks similar to Clark Kent who belonged on stage or TV. While watching him conduct our weekly staff meetings, I had this feeling that any second he could rise from his desk and suddenly change into his Superman costume with the large letter “S” displayed on his chest.
Here is an opinion article he wrote which confirms his contribution to the South African publishing industry and the Wall Street Journal. It contains his picture and you can decide if you agree with me-
My Unexpected Road To Becoming A Financial Journalist Without Any Formal Training
I never expected I would become a journalist.
I had previously worked at various financial institutions in South Africa as a share trader, investment research analyst and head of industrial research at a major stock brokerage company. But that all came to an end during the 1988 Wall Street Crash, because the firm I worked for expanded too fast and so when markets fell, business dried up and research was one of the first departments to be closed. In my ensuing job search there were three offers I could have accepted, but I was prevented from doing so because of three different reasons-
Reason One- Appearance
One Stockbroker was happy to employ me for its research department however there was one thing that was bothering them – I looked too Jewish. I got the hint and immediately informed them I was not interested in the job.
Reason Two – Refusal To Eat In A Non-Kosher Restaurant
Another stockbroker also was happy to have me work for them but they made it clear I must agree to eat in any restaurant the client chooses. That was a tradition at that firm and the sad thing was that this firm was owned by Jews.
Reason Three – Shabbat
A French Financial Market Analyst who specialized in foreign exchange markets set up shop in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb. He needed my help writing research reports and putting together a weekly newsletter. The problem was the newsletter had to be sent out Friday night long after Shabbat came in and the Analyst refused to hear of any other time or that this would conflict with Shabbat. The analyst would send these newsletters out by mail which meant I most likely would need to stay in his office to finish late on Friday night. I therefore had no other choice but to thank him for his time and immediately left his office.
My Reward For Standing Up For My Jewish Rights And The Story Of Yosef
Instead of working in places that did not respect my religious beliefs, one day I received a call; from the investment manager at another financial institution who remembered me when I worked at the stockbroker. They needed an investment analyst and hired me shortly after my first meeting. Eventually I was rewarded with the title of General Manager – Equities.
One of my functions was to allocate how much business we would give each stockbroker with regard to the purchase and sale of shares, bonds or gilts and other financial instruments. In those days commissions for transactions of this type were substantial and both brokers who refused to hire me previously were suddenly my best friends and happy to take me to any kosher restaurant I chose. And it also did not bother them they would be seen spending lunch hour with someone that looks “too Jewish”.
It reminded me of the story about Yosef who was left for dead in the Torah by his brothers. As it turned out Yosef eventually became the person from whom his brothers would have to obtain their food supplies due to the famine that Yosef predicted from Pharaoh’s dream.
I Admire Bari Weiss For What She Did
Bari Weiss had every right in my opinion to resign from her NYT position. There is a saying that goes “A Change Of Place Results In A Change Of Mazel or Fortune”. I am positive that Bari will find a suitable position to match her qualifications if she has not done so already.