Friday, February 5, 2016
MISHPACHA MAGAZINE, ISSUE # 595, 1-27-2016, EYTAN KOBRE'S TEXT MESSAGES ON BCC' INTERVIEW
...Professor Twerski's story of the early days of his career provides an interesting counterpoint to that of Baruch Cohen, a Los Angeles attorney I interviewed several years ago for a story in these pages.
Prior to graduation, he had received an unsolicited invitation to interview with the Los Angeles office of a very prestigious law firm, which was unusual in itself, and even more so give,n that Cohen had attended a good but non-Ivy League school.
His law school dean told him, ''I know you always wore that religious skullcap all through law school, and you still wear it now that you are clerking in bankruptcy court, and I respect that, but now you have an opportunity to get into an elite firm. The skullcap could turn them off and cost you the job."
After being told by other religious lawyers that wearing a yarmulke at work was just not done and inquiring about the halachic propriety of not doing so, he decided to go to the interview bareheaded. He entered the office for his interview and there, sitting at his desk, was the interviewing attorney, a yarmulke atop his head. Then came the next shock: The interviewer took one look at Baruch's uncovered head and said incredulously, ''Where is your yarmulke?"
Baruch sat speechless as the interviewer went on to explain. "Do you know why you got this interview? I happened _to be in the bankruptcy court where you clerk and it impressed me that someone in Los Angeles would have the conviction to proudly· wear a yarmulke in court. I researched you and found that you spent years learning in yeshivah. And now you show up to this interview without a yarmulke?! I am so deeply disappointed in you. You'll never make it in this firm -this is a firm of leaders, not followers. The interview is over."As Aaron Twerski had, Baruch Cohen wept that night, not, he said, because of the loss of the job opportunity or the harshness of the rebuke, but because deep down he felt the interviewer was right.
Taken together, the two experiences - that of a Jew who refused to give up on wearing full chassidic garb, yet ended up with a notable career in teaching law, and of another one for whom compromise itself spelled the loss of a plum opportunity in the law (yet who learned from it and went on to a Successful career, too) - merge to convey a single message: Hashem is in charge.