I will never forget my very first job interview. We were living in Eretz Yisrael at the time, and I had applied for a position as assistant rabbi at a shul in the tri-state area and was scheduled to meet with the senior rabbi, in the lobby of the Jerusalem Plaza Hotel. My hands were sweating, my heart was pounding, I was very nervous and eager to make a good impression.
My wife and I arrived promptly at 1:55, five minutes before our appointed time. We found a quiet place, sat down on one of the couches, across from a small restaurant in the lobby. There we waited, conversing nervously in an undertone, our eyes constantly eyeing the hotel’s main door.
We waited…and waited…and waited. Thirty minutes later, the rabbi had yet to show.
“Why don’t we get lunch?” I suggested. “While we eat, I’ll keep scanning the lobby and see if he’s coming.”
We walked over to the lobby restaurant and were seated in clear view of the front door. As Murphy’s Law would have it, no sooner had the waiter set my plate in front of me that the rabbi walked in. He was impossible to miss: an imposing man, over 6’5”, he saw me immediately and beelined right towards us.
“Lunch is on me!” he announced, patting my shoulder. “As soon as you’re done, meet me over there on the couches!”
My wife and I finished our meal in nervous silence. We bentched and walked back out to the main lobby, where the rabbi was patiently waiting. I sat down, mentally preparing my elevator pitch.
But before I could speak, the rabbi looked at me and asked, “Where’s your tie?”
“My tie?” I said, confused. “I don’t wear a tie.”