My career has taken me to many places, shown me fantastic experiences and introduced me to some very incredible people. From politics to policy, stateside and overseas, corporate and philanthropy, I have had the pleasure of enjoying my work almost all of the time. Public relations, when done right and for the right clients, allows freedom of expression and skill, and can put you in front of people whom most never get to meet.
I have walked with state, national and world leaders, dined with celebrities, counseled the super wealthy, handed out food to wanting hands in Haiti after Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted; and I advocated for Israel throughout every job I have held. I always came home with wonderful stories about some excitement or another. Some can get up and go to work every day and simply do it for the paycheck, but I always sought out more than that. My career has helped me achieve the paycheck and what my wife calls “the glory”. Sure it has been exciting and does have glorious aspects to it, but it is the fun and the meaning that engage me. My most meaningful experience was when I helped Christopher Reeve on his quest for better stem cell technology. That one trip connected both my profession and a huge passion of mine – Israel. I accompanied this incredible and incredibly driven man to Israel to tour its stem cell labs and to meet children affected by spinal injury or birth defects. Never before has any one person inspired me as he did. I was so proud of Israel for the message it sent the world, I was proud of Reeve for his courage and just proud for being able to be there.
A by-product or PR, and maybe not a great one, my name has appeared in newspapers throughout the years. Whether I considered a run for New York City Council in 1997, my challenge to make the Lower East Side a neighborhood for Orthodox Jews to move into, or over my family’s bialy bakery (Kossar‘s) that my wife runs, our choice of credit card clearing houses, other politicians I represented, Christian movie makers, a dynamic Indian evangelist and a host of other times, including my own letters to the editor, I have been written about, quoted and even contributed my own work.
I have also received bad press too, some deserved, and mostly from blogs and the untamed and unnamed posters to such – usually for client work, and usually from the left when it was a so-called right-leaning client. So, I have seen the power of the press to do good and to harm. The harm hurts, trust me. Yet, we move on.
I do have one comment on this matter, and it is to the nature of the mean spirited posters to blogs. In my 18 years of doing this work, I never encountered such a level of low-hitting nastiness that stays with anyone for the life of the Internet. Bloggers themselves have free reign to write what they wish – for right and for ill purposes. Yet, those who believe that they are taking a “high” road by never censoring the comments are vastly contributing the scandal that holds back the power of the Internet. The bloggers who attacked what they think they know about me fuel the fire, yet the height of the painful rhetoric came primarily from commentators who just wrote nasty, presumptuous disparaging remarks – about me and about members of my family.
This is what I found the most difficult. Reporters wrote as fact what they merely assumed, bloggers ran with the ball to satisfy the need for viewers using the notion of “the bigger the scandal, the bigger the click-through proceeds”, yet the hoards of anonymous posters, seemingly scared to use their real names to attack others (makes you wonder what they have to hide or the credibility of their information) are relentless.
I challenge anyone who felt the need to write about me with a pseudonym to talk to me directly. Let’s see the bold and self-righteous step up.
As I see it now, there is so much more to do, and so many more experiences to be had. I decided to leave agency public relations to pursue other interests. I now want to focus on people and work that I care about deeply without the noise of the work we often need to do to pad the ledger columns. I will be working with a non-profit agency that found a unique way to feed people in need while not seeking donations and handouts. In fact, it sends money back into the communities that it serves.
Admittedly I had a rough year. Yet, my experience could either make me retreat or come back stronger. I choose the latter.I began this blog with the hope that I will be posting regularly. My new job is similar to what I have been doing passionately for some time, but will put me where I can do more good, still be challenged and continue doing the parts of my career that have made be happiest.
To turn into something
I could believe in…
This is the time of my life.”