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Andy Kirschner 2
Andy Kirschner, contributing blogger

Born in Detroit, Andy Kirschner lived in Chicago for about 10 years after college and currently finds himself just outside Washington, DC. He has had several job titles over the last 10 years, including knife seller, recruiting manager, bagel maker, life coach, tour guide, career counselor, Birthright Fellow and trade officer. Currently he combines all of those skills working in Young Leadership at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He also works part time with Weight Watchers, though the views expressed in his articles do not reflect the views of the company. Andy spends his free time running distance races, running back to the Midwest to visit family and friends and running out of time to make an Oy! deadline. After all that, he runs home to his wife to apologize for being so busy. He is passionate about his involvement in the Jewish community—religiously, culturally, and professionaly! He is also getting better at spending more time with his wife.

ARTICLES BY THIS AUTHOR
100 Reasons to Live photo_th
11/10/2009

Remember Super Size Me—you know, the movie about the man who ate McDonald’s every day, three meals a day, for 30 days straight?  And after you saw it, you were sure to say “I’m never going to be able to eat at a fast food restaurant again!”

JVS logo_th
12/02/2009

Thanksgiving kicks off the season of family gatherings, holiday parties with friends and outings to the mall and Michigan Ave. for shopping, food and fun.  To borrow a quip from our Christmas-celebrating friends, “ ‘Tis the season for peace, love, and joy!”  But what about the over 10% of Americans on the unemployment roles or the estimated 10% more who are either underemployed or out of work for so long, they are no longer eligible to get help?  ‘Tis it really the season for them?

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12/28/2009

For many of us that were born and raised in America, particularly in areas that have significant Jewish populations, we aren’t readily faced with overt, in-your-face anti-Semitism. So you can imagine how taken aback I was the other day when the following took place:

2010 the New Year for Netw-OY-rking! photo_th
01/05/2010

I run a job strategy and networking group for young Jewish professionals.  At our last meeting, I found out that most of the group had made New Year’s Resolutions to do more networking.  It is a great idea, as over half of jobs out there seem to be coming through networking.  Most studies show that less than 10% come from sitting at home and applying online.  But hold on employed readers, this article is still relevant for you.  Any accomplished professional will tell you it is a good idea to keep your network going while you still have a job, because quite frankly you never know.

2010 the New Year for Netw-OY-rking! photo_th
02/01/2010

Last month I posted an article on Oy! that convinced you that Networking is essential to a young professional’s career.  Hopefully, it left you hungry for more details on how exactly you go about building a network.  Think of this article as Networking 201.  (If you are not already open to the idea of networking, I suggest you go back and read last month’s installment before going forward.)

To my brother photo_th
03/01/2010

On February 22nd, 2010 Operation Enduring Freedom, the current U.S. war in Afghanistan, surpassed the Revolutionary War as the longest war in American history.  I am sure those who read the articles marking the occasion found it to be a sobering reminder that our troops have been in harms way for over eight years.

How a Meeting of Three Became an Event for 250 photo_th
04/21/2010

I’ve now written a couple of blog posts about the virtues, the benefits, and the "how-to’s" of networking.  These were a few of the thousands of blog posts out there from experts, professionals, and aficionados on the subject.  However, I still meet with many people who do not take advantage of this tool to improve their professional, personal, or employment standing.

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05/24/2010

Not long after I had moved back to Chicago, my boss approached me with an idea. Business was going well at the sales company where I worked at the time. We were the #1 division in the company for sales that year and he wanted to acknowledge the key role I had played as a part of the division staff by offering to pay for me to see a life coach.

Breakdancing in Kiryat Gat photo_th
07/19/2010

I was lucky enough to be one of the group leaders on a recent Shorashim Birthright Israel trip.  We had an amazing 10 days in Israel with all the necessary highlights—the climb up Masada, the dunk in the Dead Sea, the beach in Tel Aviv, the Wall in Jerusalem and more.  But what surprised me most wasn’t a tourist attraction at all.

Rosh Hashanah dinner for two photo_th
09/13/2010

Shana Tova!  Like many of you, I have been reflecting on this past year, 5770, and looking ahead to the next, 5771.  Over the past year I have transitioned from one full-time job to another, completed a part-time fellowship, staffed a Birthright-Shorashim trip to Israel, and proposed, planned a wedding, and married the woman of my dreams…just to name a few of the events that kept me busy last year.

Franken Reagan photo_th
11/08/2010

I have been performing most of my life.  There are few things I won’t do to get a chance at holding the microphone and having a moment in the spotlight.  For the last four years I have been a part of an Improv Comedy Team in Chicago.  A group of us put together a team as we were finishing classes together at IO Chicago.

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12/06/2010

Happy Chanukah, Oy! Readers!  For me, this marks my 12th Oy post and first anniversary Blogging for Oy!Chicago.  It has been great being an Oy! blogger, a website made possible by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.  This post is dedicated to the good folks who fundraise to make possible Oy!Chicago and a whole lot more.

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01/03/2011

L’Shana (secular) Tova, Oy! readers!  I have the distinguished honor of posting the very first Oy! blog post of the year. I have the tough task of bringing the first bit of inspiration in 2011.

The Honeymooners photo_th
01/31/2011

I just returned from one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken.  The best part—it was my honeymoon!  Remember that day you were all left in Chicago with below zero wind-chills?  I was on a beach in Aruba...

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03/28/2011

Early in March, I was speaking with my mom on the phone to let her know we had cleared a Sunday in our schedule to celebrate her birthday together.

The last run down the lake photo_th
05/23/2011

I was running down the lakefront path. To my right, LSD and the whirl of buses and cars rushing up and down the highway. Just beyond that was the parking lot and main entrance to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

My Facebook confessions photo_th
06/20/2011

 Facebook—some of us curse its very existence, while some of us let it consume us. Oh, I LIKE your last status about going to the post office. Yes, I am a FAN of my high school and I WILL ATTEND your birthday happy hour next weekend.

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08/16/2011

After two weeks at my new job at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, I was sent to Israel for a training conference, but was lucky enough to get a few extra days to tour around on my own. I have always been infatuated with the beauty of Israel and the rich connection of the land and people to the history of the Jews.

There’s no time like the PresenTense photo_th
09/12/2011

This past week, PresenTense announced that it will launch 13 social entrepreneur fellowships in 10 cities around the world. Some of the fellowships are with existing partnerships and others are brand new. By next summer, dozens of new social ventures will launch in Chicago, Washington DC, Cleveland, Kansas City, Jerusalem, Moscow, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

DC vs. Chicago photo_th
11/08/2011

Earlier this year, my wife got a “too good to pass up” job offer outside of our nation’s capital. She arrived in April to start work, and I figured it would be reasonably good form for our new marriage if we lived together, so I quit my job in Chicago and headed for the East Coast. Now that I have been living here for six months, I thought I would do a head-to-head comparison.

DC vs. Chicago photo_th
12/05/2011

Those of you that tuned in to my post last month were treated to an un-OY-fficial match up of DC vs. Chicago. In a tight race, I graciously called it a draw between the Gem of the Midwest and the Jewel of the Mid-Atlantic. Stephen Richer of Gather the Jews, a DC based website, brought on a full challenge to my results, claiming DC as the definitive winner to this civic battle.

100more_th
01/30/2012

Over the last year, I have lost over 50 pounds. Around 10 more pounds from here, and I will be within the recommended range for Body Mass Index of 25. I will have made the journey from just over 300 pounds in 2004, to just over 160, eight years later.

Runner’s high photo_th
02/27/2012

I had actually planned to sleep in last Thursday, but after lying in bed for over an hour, unable to get back to sleep, I decided to put my energy to good use, lace up my sneakers and log a few training miles.

4:23:12 photo_th
03/26/2012

Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, while many flocked to the streets to enjoy the parades and then to the bars to enjoy a fresh pint of Guinness, I ran my first marathon. I crossed the finish line after four hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds of beating up my body.

Tuesdays with Toolie photo_th
04/25/2012

The other day, I was lying on the couch catching up on some reading and Toolie jumped up on my chest to see what was going on. Then she started licking my face. Eventually, I got her to settle down and just lie on my stomach for a while.

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05/21/2012

I recently traveled a ways to make it to my youngest sister's graduation from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. We listened to the commencement speaker give a rather frank assessment of what lay before these young, ambitious rookies to the American workforce.

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06/25/2012

I am on the road, headed back to Washington from a long road trip to a wedding in Illinois. I put off submitting my post this month, thinking that the time in the car would leave me ample space and inspiration to craft a masterful piece for Oy! readers.

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09/10/2012

I was in synagogue recently and inserted into the service was the special blessing for the Hebrew month of ElulElul is the last month of the Hebrew calendar which means it's only a matter of another lunar cycle before we kick off the Jewish New Year with Rosh Hashanah and deny ourselves 25 hours' worth of food and drink on Yom Kippur.

JUF gets Wind of Hurricane Sandy and Sends Relief photo_th
11/06/2012

Every water bottle, pitcher or jug we owned was filled with water. A pyramid of canned beans, corn and tuna were stacked neatly atop the counter. The pantry was full of stove-top friendly fare, such as rice and quinoa. The freezer was packed with extra ice, so that it would hold its contents better— in case we lost power.

Reflections on my ann-Oy-Versary photo_th
12/03/2012

I am proud to say that I am celebrating my three year ann-OY-versary! I wrote my first post in November 2009. Do you remember way back then? Obama was President, gas was only $3.44 per gallon and the biggest issue facing our nation was the economy. It's amazing how much can change in just three short years- Obama is still president, gas was $3.44 per gallon on 11/12/12, and the economy is filling the headlines. Hmmm, so I guess the big stuff has stayed the same.

Jewish enough for ya? photo_th
01/28/2013

What makes something Jewish? Who owns the labeling rights to call something Jewish enough? If I go to a service, how do I know if I am experiencing something authentically Jewish? It’s a question that I grapple with. I have a non-Jewish spouse, and when we have kids, we have committed that together we will raise them Jewish. It’s important to me that they are raised “Jewish enough.”

V’Nahafoch Hu photo_th
02/25/2013

This past weekend we celebrated the Jewish Holiday of Purim. Purim celebrates the story from the Book of Esther and one of the major themes discussed around the holiday is the concept of nahafoch hu. This is Hebrew for turning something around or flipping something upside down. The Esther story is full of characters that turn things around and plot twists that seem to turn the story upside down.

What a Difference a Decade Makes photo_th
04/24/2013

Several months ago, after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, I decided that I was officially returning to a career in life coaching. It helped that two individuals had already reached out to me and asked if I would coach them. I had the start of a business and the desire to pursue it.

Hallelujah photo_th
05/20/2013

The message came over Facebook late Monday night. “I just heard from his cousin. Josh took his own life last night. I am in shock. So sad.”

Turn Your To Do List into a Must Do List and Get #$%^ Done! photo_th
06/14/2013

Let’s take a moment to pay homage to the almighty To Do List. It is the quintessential organizational mechanism in the How-to-Get-#$%^-Done tool kit. I know people that live and die by the list. You know them too. They get a high from checking off the boxes; they add things to the list they just completed so they can have the thrill and satisfaction of crossing them off.

andy running thumb
08/12/2013

I am running the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13 to benefit an amazing organization called PresenTense. That is 26.2 miles through the streets of my kind of town, sweet home Chicago! PresenTense is where community and entrepreneurship meet.

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09/16/2013

On Wednesday morning of Erev Rosh Hashanah, I found myself overwhelmed with the thought that it was the start of the Jewish New Year. Soon I would be sitting in synagogue pondering transgression, judgment and forgiveness. I felt a pit in my stomach because the notion was so final.

Going the Distance in Chicago photo_th
10/14/2013

The fact that I just ran the Chicago Marathon for charity is a lie. Don't get me wrong – I believe in the cause and I still have every intention of hitting my goal of raising $2500 to benefit PresenTense. It's just that the whole charity piece is really an excuse to do what I really want, which is run – run really far.

Do More Than Change Your Facebook Status photo_th
11/11/2013

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, Veterans Day is a "celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."

chinesefoodsign_th
12/24/2013

Tonight and tomorrow, Jews will descend on Chinese restaurants across the United States to honor the annual tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas (most likely followed by a movie).

Braiding True Love photo_th
02/10/2014

I always thought that I would marry someone Jewish. It seemed like a given; USY and Hebrew school classes were sometimes dedicated to teaching us about the challenges of marrying outside the faith. I was on board, and my beshert would surely be Jewish. My true love would naturally have an affinity for my first love, Judaism.

Shabbat as a Choice photo_th
03/28/2014

Several years ago, I was privileged to staff a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip for Shorashim. From the moment I found out I’d be going, I was really looking forward to celebrating Shabbat in Israel again.

Topol Fiddler thumb
04/23/2014

Passover has now ended and with it some of the most widely observed traditions in Judaism.

On the Cusp of Jewish Parenthood photo_th
05/08/2014

I was squirming a bit in my seat and not exactly breathing regularly, yet Rose seemed relaxed. Her smile was gentle, even as she explained the less glamorous moments for women in their first trimester.

Five Aspects of Parenthood I Didn’t See Coming photo_th
07/29/2014

Becoming a new parent comes with a whole list of new challenges and experiences. Leading up to the birth of our son, John, my wife, Rose, and I tried to prepare as much as we could. We read books, downloaded apps and watched videos to make sure we had all the right skills and had purchased all the right supplies.

Let Them in Your Personal Space photo_th
08/25/2014

The High Holidays are around the corner, and with them comes an opportunity to share many meals with friends and family.

A Daddy at Mommy and Me Yoga photo_th
09/22/2014

I was already sweating when we walked into the yoga studio. We had been running late, as usual, and I had double-timed it from the car to the building. Just before walking in, I remember hesitating. Did I really want to go to Mommy and Me Yoga?

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