May our New Year be sweet, creative & strategic:

V E R Y.

I’m thinking that in 5779 , we will need to be extra resourceful and creative. Thus far, 5778 has been okay, but fraught with steep challenges. (I won’t delve into politics, grief or human rights violations in this post.) I like to think of 5778 as, “paying our dues in research, development, patience and strategy.”

From my view, none of this is really bad news. I think it all depends on how we see things and what we do with what we have. I like to believe that this upcoming year will be the greatest opportunity for all of us to get really creative, resourceful and strategic.

Today is technically the first day in my new professional role, as executive director for ORT Chicago. Thus far, I am totally rocking this job. It’s already afternoon and I can state without a shred of doubt, it’s the best day I’ve experienced in this role since it began.

It’s also Shabbat. I’m resting (sort of), but I also thought I’d use this morning and do a dry run of my sweet Rosh Hashanah gifts. Because I am a single mother and nonprofit professional, (plus, I’d already done the math on Amazon gift prices), I made the responsible decision to bake honey cakes for my family, friends and colleagues.

I didn’t expect to fulfill the dry run so literally.

In brief, the cake was so dry, even my dog Erin, who eats (and enjoys) cat litter, ran in the opposite direction.

Bashful Erin
Erin, hiding from my honey cake. Clearly, she is judging my baking prowess.

So, there I was… in my flour-filled, sticky-as-hell, tank top with an even stickier counter-top. I LOATHE STICKY –  HATE! ABHOR! DESPISE!


For a nanosecond, I considered making a second run of it, straight away. I began to think of it as a fun challenge to see if I could get our cat, Polly, to run in the opposite direction from me.

polly trim

Instead, I decided to take one bite of the cake, but first, quickly reviewed how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on myself.

heimlich me

Once I had a hearty guffaw picturing myself doing the Heimlich Maneuver, I took a bite of the crumbly cake. It was like unsweetened sawdust balls and that’s me being polite.

I obviously measured wrong. The dusty-crumbly-morsel-of-love, had less honey on/in it than was on my tank top.

So, rather than try to bake another cake today, I chose to make something else with my original “creation.”

So, to my loved ones –  you may be getting gift tags, cards to use for 5780, or some type of yet to be revealed art project. Whatever gift I give to you, it will undoubtedly have love, creativity, resourcefulness and strategy at its core. This much, I know.

Honey Cake gift tag
Look Grandma! This is MY version of honey cake! (Lekach)

As I continue to visualize and sculpt how our ORT Chicago team will succeed, I am certain there will be numerous occasions when the figurative honey is forgotten and cake turns out to be dusty-crumbly-morsels-of-love. We may not even have the resources to include honey in the first place, but we still must implement what IS possible.

So, let’s stay creative, resourceful and strategic. This new year is about making the very most out of very little. Whether, it’s about carrying out ORT’s mission, giving my daughters as much as I can on a limited budget, or working toward systemic change, we’ve already got most of the goods within us.

Based on my own history both personally and professionally, I have concrete proof that great success can come if collaboration, creative strategy and tactical implementation are fostered and encouraged.

THIS is how we’ll move forward, together. It may feel scary for some or all of the team and might even seem impossible. I promise it’s not. I have unshakable confidence in our collective abilities and am honored to lead us there, ever reminding you that I am nothing without you.

I may be a little bit early for this, but, “Kol Hatchalot Kashot”  –  Every beginning is difficult. If we just accept that and not get stuck in the stickiness of fear, we’ll be just fine.

AND as we move forward, I must tell you that now, I am going to bake another honey cake, because I am also not a quitter.


Great first day on the job.

Sending love to all of you,





Author: PKW

Writer, Speaker, Facilitator, Trainer, Fundraiser, Strategist, Listener, and Lover of Humans. My love for humans and relationship building are a part of every single thing I do, except for maybe using the bathroom.

Jake Lawler

Writer | Director | Motivational Speaker | Storyteller

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