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How To Respond To Your Opponents

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There are two ways to deal with anti-brand communities, or simply opponents.

1. Negative
  • Ignore – don’t respond in any way
  • Respond – sharply and directly take them on – e.g., argue point by point why they are incorrect
  • Attack – e.g. go further than #2 – try to take them down, through threat, marginalization, or expulsion from the community.

2. Positive
  • Convince – a.k.a. “educate” – of course this is education biased toward one point of view and it involves appeal to logic and emotion
  • Engage – a.k.a “outreach” – this is a more emotional appeal than #1
  • Inform – transmit the facts without bias – on the assumption that logic is the cause of the opposition

How organizations choose their approach:

1. Risk Tolerance

Risk management is frequently poorly understood at the senior level, which ought to be the locus of strategy and therefore suffers from the deficit.

The default, normally incorrect assumption is that some version of a negative approach is preferred.
  • Ignoring the opponent is deemed a way to delegitimize them. It also enables denial.
  • Attacking the opponent is magically believed to engender agreement by the intended audience. The problem with that logic is that defense is by default perceived as an indication of guilt by the public.

2. Communication Savvy

Most organizations:
  • devalue;
  • underfund; and
  • misunderstand


Therefore they are content to…
  • make incorrect assumptions about the discipline and
  • trust technical operational experts as versus skilled communicators.

Smart organizations do three things instead:

  • Understand the nature of the attack and respond accordingly. If your opponent simply wants you “dead,” there is nothing you can do to convince them. You must neutralize the threat in other ways.
  • Respond in the preferred communication style – e.g. emotionally to emotional people; logically to logical people. Some like words, some pictures. Offline or on. And so on.
  • Anticipate future problems and either correct the problem or respond in advance. The first mover (as stated previously) has the advantage.

Resharing my answer first posted on (slightly edited for blog format). As always all opinions are my own and not those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Rocky IV screenshot via, "The Drago Workout." No endorsement expressed or implied. Screenshot for illustrative/educational purposes only.

What Saves Us

"Life sucks and then you die" was a popular saying when I was younger, and from what I can tell that saying still holds true today.
My father-in-law, may he rest in peace, used to put it this way: "The chances are only one in a million of something going wrong, but then again there are a million and one things."
If you head over to any the bookstore, you'll find rivers of titles promising you some relief from the inevitable suffering that is life. Religion, of course is essentially focused on this.
And Buddhism asks the question: Given that earthly existence is basically a form of punishment for being bad in a previous life ("karma") how do you muddle through in the way that is most helpful?
I cannot speak for others but I can tell you what has worked for me. I'm going to tell you the truth and not sugarcoat it.
Coming to terms with my conscience. You can believe in anything you want. But "living in the light" matters to me. For too many years I pretended that I could walk away from questions of faith, but trying to do that only scarred me. I wrestle with it; I am happier. I am flawed, deeply flawed but I love G-d, and I believe that G-d loves me and everyone.
Being myself with my family. There were so many years that I pretended to be something I was not, especially as a younger person: the perfect wife and mother, perfectly religious (before my personal crisis), the old "everything is fine as long as you're a Black Model T." When I broke free from the mold and confronted my family with my truly weird but lovable humanity, the honesty created a closer bond that was much more satisfying. 
Writing it down. I don't understand things as I experience them. They only make sense in the processing. I believe it is important to take it in, share what I can and give it to other people for use in the future. Now I've started to take photos and use them in the same way. Yes it is a lot - self-help, social media, branding. But as I like to say, "there is something for everyone." :-)
An extended personal and professional network. Everybody - everybody, everybody, everybody - goes through a lot of difficult stuff in life. The worst thing you can do is hold it in, but then again you can't exactly call "1-800-HELP ME" every time you want to bang your head against the wall. There is great relief in sharing your experiences with others, helping them if you can and asking them in turn to help you.
For all of these things, publishing on social media has proven invaluable to me. Discovering that I was not alone, happened because of the Internet. Finding community here and across the sea, quite literally, keeps you from living that famous saying that "most men lead lives of quiet misery."
A life filled with others is a life filled with joy. While it is true that G-d always walks with us, He is embodied in other people, and their presence tells you that you are not alone.
All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo by Lilian Gesla Photography via Flickr (Creative Commons). 

Nobody Is Ever Ready

When I was five years old my mother announced we were moving.
"Pack your things," she said. I had just walked in the door and was sweating. 
"What?" Dizzy, the feeling of falling. Raggedy Ann hung wearily off the windowsill.
"Daddy got another job, and we are leaving for Ohio. No time."
We moved around pretty frequently in those days. 
Each time, I wasn't ready.
* * *
"Come with me," the principal said, taking my hand.
"Where are we going?"
The sun shone brightly and directly on my face. The hallway felt long.
"You did very well on that IQ test," he said. "You're skipping a grade."
The rest of that year is a total blank...except for one thing.
Zayde taught me how to ride a bike.
Let go before I was ready.
* * * 
"What the hell is sociology?" "Is that like being a social worker?"
"I don't know," I said. Marx, Weber, Durkheim.
It was all a blur. 
Graduate school, before I was ready.
* * * 
On the day I met my husband I'd just come home from a really bad date.
"Men suck! I hate men! I am never getting married," and I slammed and slammed and slammed my way through the apartment.
And then I heard his voice on the other end of the line.
"Oh my G-d," I told my mother. "I think I'm getting married."
* * * 
It is a list and it does not seem to end:
  • Babies
  • Moving
  • Academia
  • Branding
  • Social media
  • Consulting
  • Government
 Until one day I woke up and finally realized -- that my greatest thrill?
It's the thrill of not being ready. 
All opinions are my own and not those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo by Clemens V. Vogelsang via Flickr.

A Sex Talk For Jewish Girls

There is a Jewish saying to the effect that "the generations get worse over time," meaning that people were better/holier in the olden days.

I don't know if that is true - having watched the episode on Game of Thrones last night where they threw a young maiden to the dogs, literally - but they did have more perspective. For sure they had a more holistic view of things than we do today.

In that sense, my late grandmother, Muriel Garfinkel (may she rest in peace) is my "guiding angel." Whenever I have a question, I imagine her giving me advice in that smart, loving way she did.

  • "Dossy baby," she would say, "remember that a girl always needs to hang out a shingle." -- by this she meant that all women should know how to be financially self-supporting.
  • "Dossy baby, let me tell you, don't be a schmuck." -- by this she meant, don't let a man walk all over you.
  • "Dossy baby, remember that I love you." -- by this she meant that no matter how depressed, discouraged or down on my luck I was, she would always be with me in spirit.

Grandma was a "Miss Subways" 1948, just absolutely gorgeous. She was as feminist as could be, too -- raised six kids in a playpen, guarded only by a dog named Butch, the legend goes -- and at the same time equally devoted to my grandfather and the family.

Grandma was a real-life Rosie the Riveter.

When she got too old to do anything else, Grandma would lay with my Grandpa in bed under the covers and watch Days of Our Lives at 1:00 pm weekdays.

On the Jewish holidays we'd visit them, in their little house in the mountains. And I remember we would go to their room precisely at 12:55. "And so are the days of our lives." (My father wasn't supposed to know...we were breaking with religion.)

It may not seem possible to fit fifteen people in two double-sized beds with elderly people inhabiting them, but we did it.

I loved my Grandma so much it makes me cry to remember how much I loved her. She was an astounding human being. I remember her strength, her goodness, her loyalty, her resourcefulness, her cheerfulness, and her intense love for the children, the grandchildren, cousins, friends, and strangers.

Her table was open to anybody and the only person she couldn't tolerate was the one who treated others badly, particularly her girls, meaning my mother and her sisters. She could not stand people who "put on airs," either.

In 1997 after several years of research I wrote my dissertation about soap opera viewing. It was supposedly an academic treatise. But in reality it was a tribute to her.

One time some guy made a pass at her. She was stunningly beautiful and she sold real estate in the country. That alone was a recipe for trouble, but what can I tell you, they needed the money and there were not a lot of jobs in the woods.

"Don't you dare get fresh with me," she told that guy. "My husband has a shotgun."

If you would call up Grandma she and Grandpa would pick up the phone at once.

Often Grandpa wouldn't even announce himself, but still, he was there.

"What is it?" they'd say in unison, and I would have to laugh. They didn't even realize it was funny.

My mother and her sister grew up imbibing Grandma's values. And each of them raised me in accordance with her love.

From my mother - a nurse - I learned to look at sex objectively. It is a bodily function and need like any other, very normal for both girls and boys.

My mother loved me into being a writer, too. She told me always to say what's on my mind, and just to be careful about things that need be private versus public.

My aunt lived with me and took care of me when my mother went to work. I used to crawl up into her bed, she tells me, and she would hold me when I cried.

It was my aunt who taught me that being female meant dressing as an actual woman. That makeup, hair and clothing were essential to a woman's self-esteem, and that it was okay to celebrate beauty and to enjoy being beautiful in the world.

The women in my family don't call themselves "feminists." But their attitudes toward sex are extremely enlightened.

We ought to take great joy in being female. There is no contradiction between sex, love, beauty and spirituality. We ought not get caught up in academic debates about "a woman's role."

As Grandma would have said: "Dossy baby, just be normal."


All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo: "NYC Transit Museum Miss Subways" by Wcnghj at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Rosie the Riveter Poster: "We Can Do It!" by J. Howard Miller, artist employed by Westinghouse, poster used by the War Production Co-ordinating Committee - From scan of copy belonging to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, retrieved from the website of the Virginia Historical Society.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

To Build Brand Equity, Develop Your Team

At the end of the day a good brand continuously builds its own equity - that is, a price differential between itself and its competitors - by doing three things well. They can be summarized by the following imperatives:

1. "Choose Me": Help the customer make a decision quickly.

2. "Be Me": Provide the customer with a sense of identity.

3. "Join Us": Create a like-minded group of people rallied around a meaningful cause.

The urgency behind these "commands" flows from a brand creator and their team working together to accomplish three goals:

1. Communicating: Explicitly or implicitly setting forth a unique value proposition that has value to a specific target audience.

2. Consistently delivering: Actually providing the real (functional) and/or perceived (emotional) value they promise.

3. Continuously moving: Symbolically and actually "living," moving about in the world and representing themselves to their audience/s.

But brand teams can't read brand creators' minds. To help them deliver every single day, the brand creator must provide guidelines:

1. Purpose (Meaning)

     a. Vision: In one or two words, how do we make a positive difference in the world?

     b. Mission: In a sentence, how are we making the vision happen? 

     c. Values: What kind of people are we? Why would you want to work with and/or buy from us?

2. Approach (Style)

     a. Complexity: Highly technical, college-educated, or mass-market?

     b. Narrative: Just-the-facts, research paper, or romance novel?

     c. Data: Screenshots, photos, infographics, multimedia, or charts and tables?

3. Brand (Persona)

     a. Visual: Wordmark/logo usage, color palette, photography style, and font

     b. Spokespeople: Just the boss, senior executives, all employees, or customers?

     c. Themes: One big theme, two interlocking, or three related (no more than three)

In short, brands win by "acting spontaneously," but the spontaneity comes from an immersive approach to training. 

This doesn't mean handing out dry, stiff guidelines that take the wind out of everyone's sails.

It does mean having an ongoing conversation, one that starts with a basic set of principles.

When you're doing it right, your representatives are so fluent -- so fluid in the brand's language, culture and symbols -- that they come up with new and better representations of the brand on your behalf.

They don't ride your wave, they create their own.

And they don't even have to think twice about what they're trying to accomplish.

All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo by Alexey Naumov via Flickr.

Dissolving Workplace Dysfunction

I have a dear friend, colleague and mentor who spent her whole life in the government and was sidelined for almost as many years.

The "funny" thing is, she's a genius. And whenever they had a problem, they'd come to her.

"That's alright," she used to say, "I keep everything in Outlook."

And she would reach in to one of her folders from five years back and retrieve exactly the thing they wanted to know about right now. 

"I told them a long time ago this would come back to bite them," she used to say. "But of course and as usual, they never wanted to hear."

My friend is still around and I've urged her to write a book about her professional travels. I want her to tell you about the time they stuck an adult toy in the cubby of a high-ranking female executive, during that era (is it over?) when women were very rarely seen in the high ranks.

I want her to tell you about the boss, a woman (surely conscious of her stature), who "made up" for sexism with the words "we never close," and who sequestered her in a hotel room for months away from her very young child because "these are sensitive negotiations and I can't afford the risk of a leak."

It would be better if you could hear from her mouth how she submitted an idea very practical in nature to the "suggestion box," only to hear "we'll get back to you, thanks," and later to learn that a high school student was getting nationwide press for the exact same idea.

Yes, my friend put up with a lot.

"Back in the day, you had to go drinking after work with the guys," she also told me. "Because if you didn't, forget getting anything done from 9 to 5."

My friend did what the system told her to. And by the grace of G-d, she was saved from one of those guys she had gone drinking with.

It was this friend who told me we could do incredible Tweets even before people knew how to use Tweet as a verb (i.e. they used to say "I'm Twittering.")

9:00...9:15...10:30 a.m. and we could wait until the end of time to get a single "status update" approved.

"It's a big game, Dannielle, you see?"

She was telling me how executives get recruited.

"They only get people who have something on them. That way they can keep them under control."

I didn't believe it. She must have been lying, or making something up.

But the comment did make me think.

We frequently read about suffering employees in the news. And the corresponding bullying bosses who - quite literally - throw their weight around.

"I told one of them that he should keep throwing things," she said once. "Because the next time he did it, I'd be calling the cops."

We hear about women, and men, who are sexually harassed and who keep their mouths sealed firmly shut.

Whistleblowers warned about the possible consequences to themselves and their families.

And "ordinary" talented people who just can't seem to make it in the workplace, while sycophants and incompetents rise to rule the roost.

If any of the statistics are even remotely correct, most of the salaries paid and earned on any given day are a total waste of time - managers and employees alike are often, essentially, "checked out."

And yet the workplace goes on and goes on. Don't tell me that it's the government because I've been around. In the public sector, private sector or academia, the same toxic dynamics.

What I believe, in my heart of hearts, is that the problem is not a lack of data. Data we have aplenty.

Nor is it a lack of will. I don't say this to be a sycophant myself, but most people I know really are essentially good. They need to earn a paycheck, but they want to do a good job, and to make a positive difference in the process.

Here is where the problem comes in: a gigantic, complicated, massive superstructure of a social-economic system that beats them down every day. It's all mixed together: work, education, relationships, caregiving, health, "the meaning of life," church/synagogue/mosque/temple, getting the car fixed, shoveling snow, going shopping for food and you can't find tomato sauce in Aisle 5...all of it is impossible.

Another friend said the other day, "I called customer service at the airline and they told me they're not in the business of customer service, they're in the business of transportation."


And so dismantling any of this, especially the more problematic aspects, starts to seem impossible.

Almost like someone trying to re-architect the Empire State Building, beam by supporting beam.

I am here to tell you that the system can be changed.

It can be transformed.

It can be overcome.

We, together, can do it.

It isn't a big deal. It's not as daunting as it seems.

It doesn't have to take exaggerated drama.

And it doesn't require cruelty to those who are doing just fine in the toxic system, thank you.

All it takes is that collective "aha," that single breakthrough moment. Not just by "the people in charge" but by the workforce, the community, as a whole.

We have to decide, together, that there are certain things we will and will not tolerate. Not for ourselves, and not for each other.

The day we decide to make the workplace better - by taking concrete steps to support and encourage one another in health - is the day all the pain is going to end.

And in the end, the people who seemed content to live in a broken castle will reveal themselves to be sorrowful at having been contained within its walls.

It's time to build a better village.

All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo by FromTheNorth via Flickr.

Why I Care (A Short Meditation)

I can't believe I'm getting so old.

My eyes, when they are not retouched by an Instagram filter, have wrinkles at the edges. I have, as they say, "a furrow on my brow." And when I leave the hair salon the grays come three weeks after coloring.

Around me the people are dropping like flies. Sometimes literally. People we know from childhood - dead from cancer. People we know only vaguely - dead from a heart attack suffered on the tennis court while on vacation.

Little symptoms here and there, nothing serious, maybe serious. Warnings from the doctor: Take care of yourself now, before problems progress from a whimper to a shout.

"And so are the Days of Our Lives."

The clock is ticking and it's time to start giving back, big time. Help other people and share what I can. 

I don't know what day will be my last.

All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government. Photo by John Watson via Flickr.

Film Review: "Above and Beyond" (Producer: Nancy Spielberg - Director: Roberta Grossman)

On May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar on the Hebrew calendar), one day before the State of Israel was officially founded, its founder and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion read publicly its Declaration of Independence. Jews around the world commemorate this holiday of freedom every year on a holiday we call Yom Ha'atzmaut (literally, "day of independence).

I did not grow up a Zionist. My father's parents (may they rest in peace; z"l), survived Auschwitz and a Romanian labor camp and their focus was on survival and recovery - not discussions of horrendous memories (in fact such conversations were taboo) nor any dreams of a State, if they had them. We remain closely connected with the Satmar Hasidic community and they are strongly anti-Zionist as well; they believe that the act of retaking Israel and its existence as a secular state is against G-d's will.

As a child I remember being captivated by the works of Chaim Potok, especially The Chosen, which captures this conflict well. Set in the direct aftermath of the Holocaust, it portrays the budding friendship between the sons of two men who are each deeply committed to saving the Jews, but in diametrically opposite ways - the one by helping to establish the State of Israel, and the other by keeping his tiny community alive and religious.

So this was not really "my" holiday as a young person, and I remember also that we were not active in the movement to free the Soviet Jews, which was very intense during those years. This was not out of any philosophical opposition, but rather the result of my father's traumatic childhood lessons: We were lucky to survive the camps, you are an immigrant to the United States, the authorities may or may not come after the Jews at any time, keep your mouth shut and keep the family alive.

Many times I wanted to be part of the rallies. Every time, my father implored me, stay home.

Fathers matter. Not the least because they're socially endorsed as leaders of the family and by extension as leaders of society - exerting a tremendous influence on what we believe. 

In Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, Yossi Klein Halevi writes of his own worried father, who managed to get through the Holocaust by living in a hole in the ground - not a home, but an actual hole - and who was saved by a non-Jew who brought him food.

Halevi was not himself religious, but expressed his Jewish identity by trying to physically save Jews. A witness to his father's post-trumatic anxiety, he joined the Jewish militant movement in New York at that time. He was a disciple of the Zionist youth movement Betar, and a disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane (may he rest in peace; z"l).

Kahane was clearly a flawed man. But he stood for Jewish self-respect and empowerment, during a time when others frequently hesitated to take a stand. Though most Jews distanced themselves from his extremist views, Kahane's ideology was very clear: Jewish religion, Jewish culture, Jewish self-respect and the Jewish nation must be protected at all costs.

Ultimately Halevi married a non-Jewish woman, who converted out of her own desire to become Jewish, and who took the matriarchal name Sarah. He became religious, moved to Israel and is a lifelong journalist of Jewish survival as well as peace between Jews and other faiths in what is really a Holy Land for all of us.

It is against this background that I took in "Above and Beyond." On its face the film is a historical documentary about the founding of the Israeli Air Force, but it is really much more ambitious in scope than that - and it succeeds, often hilariously.

Through honest, painfully honest interviews with a handful of elderly pilots, the film shows us the miracle of Israel's establishment in 1948. And it was a miracle - it was a series of miracles - for there is no other way to understand how a handful of pilots, flying cobbled-together planes, illegally smuggled halfway around the world, managed to succeed at their missions.

The movie shows America's difficult position as Israel was formed, not really wanting to facilitate what would surely have been a bloodbath had things unfolded in a probabilistic fashion - that is, the Arabs by their numbers and might should have brutally overtaken the Jews.

It shows further the intense anti-Semitism that was pervasive in America at the time, with "only Christians need apply" job advertisements and frequent beatings of Jewish kids by non-Jews.

The focus of the film is mostly on American pilots, who'd fought for the United States during World War II despite the military recruiters' skepticism that Jews could fight at all.

These pilots risked their citizenship, they risked jail time, they risked their own lives to make sure that the Holocaust did not happen again, at least not on their watch.

As I write this I my eyes well up at the magnitude of their sacrifice. The two Jews who came up with the logo used on the fighter jets came together from UCLA, and they died the same year, 1948, the one before the other, the other vowing not to leave without his best friend, and neither of their bodies ever found.

The story of the Air Force, the stories of the pilots, the stories of Jewish history and of Jews acting boldly and bravely and honorably to defend themselves and others ought to be more widely told. 

Many people died in the fight for Israel's independence. Many Arabs were dispossessed as well, a painful reality noted in the film. 

G-d has a plan for all of us. G-d loves all of us equally. May we put aside our religious differences, our pride and our ethnocentrism and come to a solution that enables us to live side-by-side in peace.


All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. According to its director, the film will be released April 28, 2015 on VOD, including at least Amazon and iTunes (no endorsement expressed or implied). Screenshot of film cover art via movie press kit. For more information, see the movie's official website and Facebook page.

A hypocrite in synagogue

It's become a weekly ritual for Saturday mornings. I walk with my older daughter and talk. She waits outside Starbucks while I go in to get a coffee. Then we walk some more, and part ways.

She has her synagogue, and I have mine.

This week we talked about morality. (When don't we?) I told her, "You have a halachic mind."

("Halacha" means "the system of Jewish law"; "halachic" means "in accordance with the Jewish legal framework.")

She does; she has a holy soul; she sees things in terms of black and white, you're either adhering to the Law or you aren't.

My thoughts were somewhat turbulent. "Here's what I can't understand. If there is only good and bad, how can there be two moralities?"

"I don't understand," my daughter said.

"Imagine a boy sexually molested in yeshiva," I started off. "He gets addicted to drugs, he totally rejects religion, he eats pig, he's not religious at all. But then he goes to rehab and gets his life back, and isn't religious but goes to synagogue maybe sometimes. I don't believe that G-d judges him for the bad."

"I don't either," she said.

"But that's not even a good example," I said. "Because something happened."

"Go on."

"Imagine that you're just a secular Jew," I said. "And you just don't believe in the halachic system, or you don't believe that halacha matters, compared with treating people with respect."

"Well there's no distinction between halacha and treating people with respect," she said. "You've always been lazy Orthodox."

I was silent. She had silenced me.

"I am a hypocrite," I said.

We walked and walked. The cars rushed by.

Finally we landed across the street from Starbucks. There were tables and chairs set up outside.

"Do you want to sit outside while I get my coffee?" I asked. On the Sabbath, Orthodox Jews stay out of stores.

"It's OK, I'll wait out here," she said. She leaned against the iron fence and looked up, and sideways.

(Orthodox Jews avoid ma'aras ayin, literally "appearance to the eye," meaning she wouldn't want someone to see her and think that she endorses shopping on the Sabbath.)

Outside, we kept on walking.

"Grandpa and I had a talk about this," I said to her. My father is an ordained rabbi. He told me a few months ago that I had strayed too far from halacha. And that I would die at an early age if I didn't clean up my act.

"You did? About what?"

"Grandpa said that everybody does their own thing in life, but there are certain basics you just have to keep."


We reached the intersection where we usually part ways.

"Well I'm going to go now," I said. "Have a good time in shul. I'll see you later."


She hugged me, a deep and feeling hug. And walked away from me.

Later, I sat in synagogue and looked at the huge golden letters inscribed on the Aron, the "Ark," the place where the Torah scrolls are kept. "Know before whom you stand," they said. ("Da lifnei mi atah omaid.")

דע לפני מי אתה עומד

My younger daughter sits next to me in that synagogue and she happened to lean over that day and ask me, "Why did they write that over the Ark?"

It wouldn't occur to her to need that kind of reminder.

"Because people are arrogant," I said, thinking of myself. "They think that they can do things all on their own."

"OK, but I still don't understand why they needed to print it so big and right there," she said.

I looked at her and felt bad that she couldn't understand, but I could. Obviously the letters were aimed straight at me.

"The point is to remind you that you are nothing before G-d, and to remember that after you leave the synagogue and go about your business for the week."

The sermon ended that week with a story, a joke and a reminder.

"You can fool the rest of the world, but you can't fool yourself."

All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo by me.