Post Chronology

November 2015
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Speaking Engagements

Predict and Prepare sponsored by Workday 12/16

The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #171, 2/15
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #160, 8/14
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #145, 1/14
Workday Predict and Prepare Webinar, 12/10/2013
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #134, 8/13
CXOTalk: Naomi Bloom, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, and Michael Krigsman, 3/15/2013
Drive Thru HR, 12/17/12
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #110, 8/12
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Business Value," 5/3/12 Audio/Whitepaper
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/7/11
HR Happy Hour - Episode 118 - 'Work and the Future of Work', 9/23/11
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #87, 9/11
Keynote, Connections Ultimate Partner Forum, 3/9-12/11
"Convergence in Bloom" Webcast and accompanying white paper, sponsored by ADP, 9/21/10
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #63, 9/10
Keynote for Workforce Management's first ever virtual HR technology conference, 6/8/10
Knowledge Infusion Webinar, 6/3/10
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/8/09
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Preparing to Lead the Recovery," 11/19/09 Audio/Powerpoint
"Enterprise unplugged: Riffing on failure and performance," a Michael Krigsman podcast 11/9/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #39, 10/09
Workday SOR Webinar, 8/25/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #15, 10/08

Keynote, HR Tech Europe, Amsterdam, 10/25-26/12
Master Panel, HR Technology, Chicago, 10/9/012
Keynote, Workforce Magazine HR Tech Week, 6/6/12
Webcast Sponsored by Workday: "Building a Solid Business Case for HR Technology Change," 5/31/12
Keynote, Saba Global Summit, Miami, 3/19-22/12
Workday Rising, Las Vegas, 10/24-27/11
HR Technology, Las Vegas 10/3-5/11
HR Florida, Orlando 8/29-31/11
Boussias Communications HR Effectiveness Forum, Athens, Greece 6/16-17/11
HR Demo Show, Las Vegas 5/24-26/11
Workday Rising, 10/11/10
HRO Summit, 10/22/09
HR Technology, Keynote and Panel, 10/2/09

Adventures of Bloom & Wallace

a work in progress

Reflections For Thanksgiving 2015

Classic Windowsill Tzedakah Box

Being both Jewish and American presents me with two major opportunities each year (so on Rosh Hashanah and now on Thanksgiving) to reflect on how very fortunate I am to live in this amazing country and on what I can do to make it and myself better.  For all the problems we’ve got, and they are especially daunting at the moment, we are so very blessed to be here.  Yes, even in the midst of terrorist attacks and the threat of further such attacks (and I count here all the ordinary crazies with guns shooting up their communities), in the face of growing zenophobia and the anger in our public discourse whose angriest voices claim their own deeply religious values, and with all the other challenges faced by each of us individually (I’d put aging on that list) and collectively (and here goes climate change, inequality of opportunity, even the drought in many of our richest agricultural areas), I am going to count my blessings.  But that’s not all.  Due to a 2011 Facebook entry by Ron’s first cousin Barbara Wallace Schmidt, I’m also focused on the giving part of this so American holiday, and that’s where I’m going to start.

Having grown up in an orthodox Jewish home (well, modern orthodox), I learned from a very young age that philanthropy (tzedakah) isn’t about extra credit.  It’s an obligation.  The window sill over our kitchen sink was the home of five or six tin boxes, called pushkas, into which my Dad deposited his pocket change each night after work.  Periodically, a representative of one of the charities that distributed these pushkas would stop by to collect them, have a cup of tea and something sweet with the lady of the house (who rarely worked outside the home in those distant days), and leave a bright new empty box to be filled up again.

And then there were the naming opportunities.  Maybe we Jews didn’t invent this concept, but we sure as hell perfected it.  There’s not a tree in Israel or a toilet stall in a Jewish nursing home that doesn’t bear a plaque with the name of the donor whose funds paid for it.  With my dimes, brought every week to Sunday school (Hebrew School after public school was on weekdays, and then we wrapped up all that learning plus on Sunday mornings), I must have filled dozens of folded cards with enough slots for two dollars worth of dimes that could then be turned into my very own tree in Israel.  Every time we passed a stand of trees on our 2014 travels in Israel, I couldn’t help but think that somewhere among those trees were my very own.

It’s been more than a half century since I saw my Dad empty his pockets into those pushkas and I put my dimes (which I would have preferred to spend on candy) into the “plant a tree” card, but I remember them like they were yesterday.  The Hebrew term for philanthropy is tzedakah, literally fairness or justice, and we learned it young and continuously where I grew up.  Ron and I have been hugely blessed, and nothing gives us more pleasure than to be able to make our year-end donations to support the organizations to whose missions we’re most committed.  One thing we’ve learned about donations is to concentrate our efforts rather than see them pissed away with a few bucks here and a few bucks there — something you too may want to consider doing.

And lest you think that all philanthropy is equal, Maimonides offers a hierarchy of giving, with the first item listed being the most worthy form, and the last being the least worthy.  I find it interesting that the most worthy form is to help a person in need to become not only self-sufficient but also to join the circle of tzedakah in their own right, not unlike the later Christian notion of teaching a man to fish.  Translated from Maimonides:

  1. Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
  2. Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
  3. Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving tzedakah before being asked.
  6. Giving adequately after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving in sadness (it is thought that Maimonides was referring to giving because of the sad feelings one might have in seeing people in need as opposed to giving because it is a religious obligation; giving out of pity).

Although the term tzedakah was never mentioned, the first hour or more of Marc Benioff’s keynotes at Dreamforce are a paean to the power of tzedakah.  And his 1-1-1 approach to corporate philanthropy should be the mantra of every business, especially those run by folks who would like to shrink our government sector.  If everyone and every business put tzedakah at the top of their priorities, then much more of what the right hates about government could be done by the private sector.  So yes, this is a call to everyone, but especially to my Republican friends and family members, to give until it hurts — of your time, your capital and your annual profits — in the spirit of Marc’s 1-1-1 philanthropic mantra.  I don’t know Marc personally, but I’ve often wondered if his Jewish upbringing shows in his views on philanthropy.

I think that this view of giving, of philanthropy, of tzedakah, is the flip side of the Jewish notion of success.  We believe (at least those of us who haven’t gone so far off the rails as to believe their own press releases — but that’s another story) that your successes are not solely of your own making and that one should not take too much credit for them.  As it happens, we are all either blessed or cursed by the circumstances of our birth and by the good or bad fortune, the mazel, that has accompanied our journey through life.  Born in the US?  Mazel.  Born healthy, intelligent, and loved?  Mazel.  Wanted and raised by two reasonably together and prepared parents?  More mazel.  Managed to get through school, university, life-to-date without dread diseases, terrible accidents, loss of your freedom or life in civil unrest?  Pure mazel.

What you build on top of all that good luck through your own hard work, careful choices, and perseverance is absolutely yours for which to take credit, but it’s important to remember just how much of what we become, of who we are, and of what we have is just plain dumb good luck.  Thinking about life this way, as a three-legged stool (the good fortune of our birth, the good fortune of our lives, and what we ourselves accomplish through our own efforts) of which we only control one leg, makes clear why tzedakah is an obligation for those of us whose stools have three good legs.  Knowing that so many such stools have two wobbly legs explains why I’m on the progressive side of the political divide.

And now for the thanks part of this post.  My list doesn’t change much over time, but my appreciation for these blessings has grown so much over the years.  For those of you who haven’t started your list, here’s mine for Thanksgiving 2015:

  • Ron Wallace — if you haven’t met The Wallace, you’re in for a treat.  He’s smart (and never flaunts his far greater intellect than mine), beyond funny (especially when doing those imitations of all the satellite systems he helped design), kind to everyone even when they’re not, 150% behind me in everything I do, an enthusiastic dancer (even though my best dancing days are in the rearview mirror of life), able to design/fix anything electronic/mechanical/plumbing/etc., infinitely patient, very slow to get anywhere close to angry, doesn’t complain no matter how ill/uncomfortable he is, shares my love of travel/adventure/British mystery DVDs/boating/theater/the list of shared interests is very long, understands my need to “fly” solo at times, never asks me what anything costs (knowing I won’t go overboard even when we’re buying me great jewelry), likes many of my friends and is happy to have them travel with us, has provided full infrastructure support so that I could pursue my dream career and other interests, still a hunk after all these years (Ron went through college on gymnastics scholarships), and thinks I’m the best thing that ever happened to him.  What more could any woman want?  Most important, because aging comes to all who get this far, Ron has made it possible for me to keep doing a lot of what we love to do by pushing the chair when my increasingly unreliable legs can’t go the distance.
  • Friends and family who are also friends — I value friendship above diamonds, and those who know me realize that’s high value indeed.  No one gets through life unscathed, NO ONE!  And it’s your friends who not only share your triumphs but will also see you through the really tough times.  And I can tell you that, as you and your friends get older, the tough times increase, and you need each other more than ever.  Friendship isn’t something I take lightly, and I expect a lot from those in my inner circle.  When that call comes, when a friend is in need or in crisis, real friends drop everything, show up, and do whatever they can to alleviate your distress.  But even casual friends ease our way when they lend a hand, offer a referral, or just ask how we’re doing.
  • Good health, great health insurance, and the smarts to manage my own healthcare — Ron and I have watched the whole health care reform discussion with just one point of view: everyone should be as free from worry about their health care costs as we have been, even as we’ve battled a growing number of expensive health issues.  I can’t even imagine having to fight with an insurance company in order to get what Ron needed when he was diagnosed 10+ years ago with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  The bills were enormous and would have broken even our generous budget if not for great coverage.  And I’ve had so many joint repairs that the staff at the surgical center know me on sight, and that’s only the beginning of what aging has done to my llambada.  But thanks to Ron’s NASA career, we’ve had the same kind of private insurance our Congressmen have, converted now to our supplemental plan while Medicare is primary.  We’d like to see everyone have this level of financial protection and peace of mind, but what do we know about health care?  For the record, Medicare is income adjusted so I’m paying a ton for it, and that’s entirely fair, but I’d love them to add a few higher brackets so that Mr. Ellison was paying even more.
  • My career, clients and colleagues — I’ve had an amazing career run.  I got in on the very ground floor of the use of computers in business and am still able to contribute.  For those of you who are worried about your own career, and who isn’t with robots coming to replace many types of workers, please take heart.  There’s always opportunity for those who talented and willing to work their butts off, invest in their KSAOCs, and do the heavy lifting.  To all the colleagues and clients from whom I’ve learned so much, I’m very grateful for the opportunities and hope I’ve given as good as I’ve gotten.  And I’d like to say a special thank you to my much younger colleagues who have welcomed this digital immigrant with open minds and helping hands.
  • The accident of my birth — I come from pioneer stock.  My grandparents were refugees (aren’t all Jews?) from a shtetl in Lithuania.  They came to the USA at the turn of the 20th century to avoid conscription into the Czar’s non-kosher army as well as to escape the pogroms.  Like every American except our Native Americans, we’re all refugees of one sort or another, even those who think they’re special because they came first or brought some wealth with them.  Were it not for my grandparents having the courage to leave the familiar behind, to make what was then quite literally a trek across Europe to get bilge (they thought steerage was first class) passage to the USA, to arrive with no English and just the bundles they carried to a gentile America which was still quite hostile to Jews, I would never have had the opportunities that so many of us take for granted.  Were the founders of our country legal immigrants?  Hell no!  They were conquerors who killed off the indigenous population after having only survived that first awful winter because of the kindness of those very natives.  Were your ancestors legal immigrants?  Probably not.  Were my grandparents legal immigrants?  I haven’t a clue.  Perhaps that explains my own support for addressing our current immigration issues with humanity and a real respect for those who are following in the same path as our collective ancestors, seeking refuge from poverty and/or repressive governments, seeking a better life for their children, seeking a chance to work and live free from religious/political/economic/ethnic persecution.
  • Our military and first responders along with their families — Freedom isn’t free, and democracy isn’t a birthright, so count your blessings that you’re here.  And thank those who never rest so that we can, those who work the midnight shifts in emergency rooms, those who keep your power on and your news reported.  There are so many who won’t be having as peaceful or comfortable a Thanksgiving as you and I will have.  My thanks to every one of them.

Although Thanksgiving isn’t really a religious holiday, I think it’s prayer-worthy.  So here’s mine for all of us.  Life is short, fragile and amazing, so live large and purposefully while you can and out of respect for all those whose three-legged stools have always had one or two broken legs.  G-d willing (now we’re back to mazel) we’ll live long and prosper and be the life of the party at the old farts home.

Prepare Your Questions For #HRTechWorld and #HRTechConf

If you don’t ask the right questions, you sure as hell won’t get useful answers!

It’s HR technology conference season, and we’d better get our act together if we’re going to get the maximum value from our time spent at Carnac In Bloomthese conferences.  That means knowing what questions we’re trying to answer before we’re bombarded with vendors, consultants, pundits and blogging fools telling us that whatever they’re selling is the answer to our not-yet-formulated-clearly questions.

That’s why I published the original take of this post on 9-12-2011, just in time for the 2011 HR Technology Conference, and I’ve been doing almost annual updates ever since.  I keep finding myself wanting not only to update the questions but also to provide my thoughts on the answers, and that’s a black hole from which I may never extricate myself.  Nonetheless, I’ve included a few answers so that you’ll know (as though there was ever a doubt) where I stand.

For 2015, I’ve done a thorough update and added more of my own thoughts on the answers to these questions.  So what you’re getting here is a mix: lots of questions with my current thoughts on the answers to some of them.  But please note that this is really intended as a “starter kit” of possible questions rather than a definitive list.  Please feel free to use my questions as a starting point, but your own questions should be much more specific and complete.  And of course what matters are your questions, so there’s no time to waste.

As always, in the spirit of full disclosure, you should presume that I have worked with many of the major vendors in our space whether they are mentioned or not, that my thinking is certainly informed by the smart people with whom I work across the vendor/thought leader/influencer communities, and that I have strong biases (on full view across this blog) about what constitutes great HRM and great HRM enterprise software.  Given my already stated plans to wind down my consulting practice, I’ve clearly stepped over the “trying to be ecumenical line” and cast caution to the winds with my answers to some of these questions.

Some combination of these questions almost always has been the impetus for that first call/email/DM/whatever to me from a global HR executive or their IT partner, and they also permeate the online HR technology conversations.  Unfortunately, it usually takes a broader planning effort to make sure that sir/madam HR leader isn’t playing that loser’s game of whack-a-mole in resolving these types of questions.  You know that game:  no sooner do you put one question to rest than two more rear their ugly heads, and soon you’re entangled, not unlike Gulliver, by a hairball of these issues.

Unfortunately, unlike my good friend and fellow Enterprise Irregular  Ray Wang, there are no Naomi clones.  Just this solo consultant who’s been trying to save the world from crappy HRM and HR software for more years than most of you have been alive.  And while I’ve been a pretty productive and hard worker, there were never enough hours to support every HR exec who called about their always interconnected, whack-a-mole HRM delivery systems issues.  So I have referred a lot of business to capable colleagues, suggested useful reading/conferences/discussion groups/etc., and helped as many as I could directly.

Knowing the questions is the first important step toward getting good answers regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or getting (hopefully great) 3rd party advice.   Toward that end, and presuming that you have studied my methodology for strategic HRM and HRMDS planning, here’s my list, updated as of 10/14/2015, of the HRMDS questions that have given rise to so many of those requests for assistance — as well as my thoughts on some of the answers — in no particular order.  Please note that, in the Talmudic tradition of reflection and analysis in which I was raised, for topics I consider to be of particular complexity and/or importance, the same topic is addressed with multiple questions to explore it from different angles.  You’ll also note that I start with the foundations of your HRM delivery system, HRMS/TM.

  1. Can we afford to/should we upgrade our licensed, on-premise ERP/HRMS?  In almost all cases, my answer is a resounding NO.  However, you might be the one in a thousand for whom this is still a sensible course of action, perhaps using 3rd party maintenance, at least until the newer true SaaS ERP/HRMS/TM (yes, with truly and deeply integrated talent management capabilities because core HRMS and TM are inextricably intertwined) have matured sufficiently for your industry/geography/business requirements.  But if you do plan to wait, please keep an eye on the future because it’s racing toward you, and use this time wisely to rethink every aspect of your HRM policies/practices/data and coding structures/processes/business rules/etc. for the current era and to clean up you ratty data and coding structures for the future.  This preparation will help you to move as quickly as possible when you’re ready to move to true SaaS.
  2. Can we afford/manage the integration of separate talent management applications?  Here too, in most cases, my answer is a resounding NO.  I’m not talking here about niche add-ons which extend talent management, e.g. sourcing tools, video conferencing, or course creation, but rather about the core applications which make up an integrated talent management suite.  Here too you might be the one in a thousand for whom this is still a sensible course of action, and for the very same reasons and with many of the very same caveats as in #1 above.  When you develop object models for talent management, the sheer number and complexity of the interconnections are revealed, and it is those interconnections which argue for more rather than less integration of the resulting applications and business processes.  That said, some TM processes are less interconnected than others, so there are options here if — IF — you study carefully those interconnections.
  3. Are we better served by getting our talent management capabilities already integrated with our system of record’s (SOR’s) foundation from our SOR’s vendor than by piecing together/layering on a variety of separate talent management applications, no matter how supposedly integrated they may be?  Yes, but only if that so-called integrated talent management software from your SOR vendor is really integrated rather than glued together with some complex set of marketing-speak “integrations” across disparate object models, architectures, and underlying assumptions about HRM.  With so much M&A across the HR technology industry, not to mention separate development efforts at the same firm, many brands now own a hodge podge of HRM software, including talent management software.  While many of these applications may be quite good on their own, most are not integrated in the deep, profound way that’s only achieved through organic development of an HRMS/TM suite based upon a shared set of object models, architecture and development environment.  But, and it’s a huge BUT, organic development doesn’t necessarily produce great software.  So we need both deeply integrated and great HRMS/TM.  That’s the ideal, but all manner of approximations and combinations may work for you depending on your current HRMDS and your overall HRMS/TM strategy.  Here too, modeling the domain leads to an understanding of what it is about core HRMS and TM which are inextricably intertwined and where there are less interconnected areas.  But please note:  if you plan to embed predictive analytics, calculated on the fly across a wide range of HRM processes and delivered “point of sale” to decision makers along with the related and actionable advice, you’d better ensure that all of these are resting on a common object model, with a common approach to effective-dating etc. so that your analytics aren’t a house built on sand.
  4. Are the so-called integrated talent management capabilities from our SOR’s (system of record’s) vendor truly integrated or are they in some stage of being interfaced and given a more or less common user experience?  This is where those “killer” scenarios (and do search my blog on that phrase to find many posts covering the actual scenarios) come in along with your vendor’s own documentation.  If there are integration processes/documentation/roadmaps etc., then you know a priori that you’re not dealing with the deepest level of integration which is only achieved during an organic build.  Should you care?  That depends entirely on where you need deep integration and where perhaps you don’t, and this is another great question best answered via using your own vision of HRM.
  5. Does our system of record’s (SOR’s) coding structures/data granularity/data accuracy/data-entry style self service/processes/business rules/etc. support talent management at the level we need?  Let me say for the umpteenth time that you can’t do succession planning (executive or more broadly), position-based staffing, position-based organizational design (or even great org charts), workforce planning at any level of granularity, and so much more in TM if you don’t include a reasonable understanding and implementation of position in your coding structures.  No pain, no gain.  Organizations which continue to implement new software on top of outdated processes, data and coding structures, and business rules are fooling themselves.  Yes, you’ll be able to deliver analytics of some flavor to mobile devices, but you won’t have valid analytics or know if you’re even asking the right questions.
  6. Are the right capabilities available in our SOR and/or have they been implemented properly?  So many of the ERP/HRMSs implemented with the help of major SIs were customized within an inch of their lives, often at the customer’s insistence — “we’ve always done it this way” — thus becoming a nightmare to upgrade.  And with that huge sunk cost, on-premise ERP/HRMSs are going to have a long tail.  But there’s a potentially huge opportunity cost to not having up-to-date capabilities, of not being agile in the face of business change, of not being able to attract and engage workers with a consumer user experience, etc.  That opportunity cost can and must be measured as part of making the business case for staying on or moving off of your current SOR; use only TCO (total cost of ownership) at your peril.
  7. How can we bring our data entry-style self service into the mobile and social world?  The bad news is that if you don’t build it, they won’t come — or they’ll sidestep everything you provide in favor of the consumer apps they know and love.  Today’s workforce, especially those special folks with scarce KSAOCs who fill the key roles driving business outcomes, expect high quality technology enablement of their business processes, to include a consumer grade (but industrial strength) user experience.  And they vote with their feet.  In some cases you can upgrade a legacy on-premise HRMS or even an older standalone TM application with a new user experience, but that can often look like putting lipstick on a pig.  So beware the shiny mobile thingy that doesn’t address the fundamental issues of having modern data structures, processes, business rules, etc.
  8. If we’re running on an ERP/HRMS, should we upgrade in place, implement that vendor’s next gen (when it’s ready, and whether or not it’s more or less next gen than we need), mix and match, or consider the options from other brands?  I think I’ve already answered this, but let me say it one more time.  Whatever else you consider, it’s absolutely necessary to take a hard look at all your options and not just those from your incumbent.  This will be a new implementation even if you stay with your incumbent’s next generation, so you might as well take a look around before you make these decisions.  Just because it’s time for a divorce, however civilized, it’s absolutely NOT the right time to jump into bed with the first person who asks.
  9. Will our smaller, primarily domestic, totally focused on HCM and still independent core HRMS vendor(s) be able to make the needed global, regulatory, architectural and functionality investments needed in their products to support our growing business?  Will they be around long enough and with sufficient resources to deliver on mobile, social, global, analytics, gamification and so much more?  This is an easy one because facts are facts.  Just look at the track record of M&A in our industry, and you can see how many once independent players are now owned by aggregators, including private equity-funded aggregators.  And while many of these products are still around, with some getting decent levels of maintenance investment, I believe it’s now clear that the weak are not going to inherit the software kingdom as we move aggressively to true SaaS.
  10. Lots of our vendors are describing their latest products as SaaS.  How would we know if that’s true? Why should we care?  Please, please read my posts on these points (just search for “true SaaS” to get them all) before concluding that if it’s hosted and subscribed you’ll be just fine.  Those of us who’ve been around for a while remember very well what happened when then PeopleSoft put “client server” on the tips of every prospect’s tongue.  Suddenly, every mainframe era HRMS vendor was declaring their product client server by coming up with definitions than even some of those vendors couldn’t say with a straight face.  Anyone remember screen scraping?  The whole debate about two-tiered vs three-tiered vs n-tiered?  The bottom line was that you needed to start over, with a clean sheet of paper, in order to design truly client server software, and the same is true with SaaS.
  11. If our current vendors aren’t true SaaS as Naomi has defined it, are they likely to be viable long-term?  Are there other workable definitions that make sense for some vendors?  Sure.  For example, one major vendor, Oracle, has a very different view of true SaaS than I do, and they have the long tail of their installed base plus almost unlimited resources to ensure that their point of view has legs.  However, you should still educate yourself, if you’re a PeopleSoft or even EBS HCM customer, about the real compare and contrast between Fusion HCM and your other options.  And that said, do read my posts on the business benefits of true SaaS as I define it to be sure that you’re going to get those benefits via someone else’s definition of same, no matter the size of their marketing budget.
  12. Is it the right time to make the leap to a newer, SaaS generation of integrated HRMS/TM which are still building out talent management functionality and global capabilities?  It’s clearly no longer a question of whether but of when.  All the major vendors of licensed on-premise HRMS/TM are moving as fast as their legs can carry them to the cloud (regardless of whether I agree or don’t with their definitions) as well as to build out their cloud offerings, so they clearly are betting on a SaaS future (again, whatever their definitions).  And there could be substantial $$ savings which would argue persuasively for a sooner rather than later leap.  But our timing may be linked to an energizing event, e.g. the arrival of a new CIO who’s experienced with true SaaS and was brought in to move us there faster and/or the arrival of a giant bill from our vendor for extended support of an aged HRMS.  Frankly, many of the leading organizations have already moved or are in high gear to do so very soon, so it’s well past time to get started.
  13. Should we stick to our older on-premise ERP/HRMS and add one or more talent management applications on top?  With what approach to interfacing and/or integration?  Forget integration if you go down this path as the best you can do is a great job of two-way interfaces.  But if you must stay where you are for core HRMS — see above for potential reasons — then by all means figure out how to fill the gaps with interfaced talent management applications.  The key to making this work is to really understand the limitations of and maintenance workload associated with these interfaces so that your expectations are in line with the reality delivered.
  14. What types of social technology capabilities should we consider for HRM? Across our organization?  Unleashed within what processes?  I’m a big believer in use case-based unleashing of a rich assortment of collaboration tools rather than just providing those collaboration tools and expecting customers to do the unleashing.  One reason I feel this way is that results-oriented collaboration can degrade quite easily into time-wasting social noise.  Another is that to achieve meaningful collaboration requires a full rethink of all the incentives and barriers to human collaboration, e.g. job descriptions, performance goals, and organizational designs.  Seeing collaboration embedded within HRM processes, like the ability to add video “sticky notes” wherever you’d like or opportunities to rate proposals/suggestions/ideas/interactions/etc. and add relevant commentary, enrich the whole HRM experience while improving group decision-making.
  15. Should we be looking for social tech within the foundations of our HRMS/TM unleashed where we want them or looking at specific social apps?  Not to sound like a weasel consultant, but the correct answer is both.  Fundamental collaboration tools — embedded, user-created video content; discussion forums and threads; LinkedIn deeply connected to all worker/applicant KSAOC profiles and so much more — don’t all need to be built because many either open source or commercial capabilities can be made a part of the HRMS/TM foundations.  But whether built or bought and deeply embedded, there are considerable use cases for embedding a wide range of collaboration tools into the foundations of all HRMS/TM software.
  16. Is it better to provide social technology capabilities that are specific to an HRM process or to provide broad access to those capabilities across HRM with a build it and they will come approach?  See comments on 14-15 above.
  17. What policies are needed to balance the value of social and mobile technology, including “Bring Your Own Device” (so BYOD), with protecting our intellectual property, personal data privacy, and organizational productivity? 
  18. Is it better to provide mobile technology capabilities that are specific to an HRM process or to provide broad access to those capabilities across HRM?  What’s this I hear about “mobile first” design, and why is that better?
  19. Even as we’re automating the hell out of HRM, are there still obvious HRMDS targets for outsourcing?  Of course there are, so are we doing as much of this as makes sense for us?  Subscribing true SaaS is a form of outsourcing but here we’re referring to outsourcing an entire HRM process where the provider delivers the results to an agreed service level.  I’ve long thought that background checking and US tax filing were obvious candidates for outsourcing to specialist providers.  Global payroll processing and distributions also requires very specialized in-country capabilities in which many to most organizations shouldn’t indulge.  Other great candidates include KSAOC assessment development and administration, US benefits administration, and those other regulatory processes, like garnishment management, which aren’t deeply interconnected with core HRMS/TM and which do benefit mightily from economies of scale.
  20. What impact would outsourcing specific HRMDS components have on our ability to present an integrated view of organizational HRM data?
  21. What impact would outsourcing specific HRMDS components have on our ability to provide embedded, actionable analytics?
  22. Are there areas within the HRMDS that just don’t make sense to do any way other than via tightly integrated components?  Here core HRMS comes immediately to mind, and increasingly I believe that core TM requires tight integration with core HRMS.
  23. What impact would using best-of-breed solutions for specific HRMDS components have on our ability to present an integrated view of organizational HRM data?  You also have to consider how analytics, particularly the quest for embedded, predictive analytics with advisory content, will work if various components are on different object models, with different approaches to effective-dating, etc.
  24. Our ERP/HRMS is described as licensed/on-premise, and we’re paying 22% of retail in annual maintenance.  Are we getting enough value to justify those annual payments?  You might want to follow the legal proceedings of Oracle vs Rimini Street to gain real insight into the reasons why so many customers are looking at other, lower cost options for the maintenance of their aging core HRMS.  In many to most cases, I don’t believe late adopters of SaaS are getting enough innovation in their on-premise core HRMS to justify such high annual maintenance fees.
  25. Will our vendor’s next generation be free to us because of those annual maintenance payments?  Are they essentially giving away their cloud software, at least for a time, or providing major discounts in order to keep us in the family?  There’s definitely some deep discounting going on by long-established vendors to retain their customer base as they transition to cloud, but there’s no shame in taking advantage of such discounts (always presuming there’s nothing ugly hidden in the fine print) if that vendors cloud products are the very best for your organization.  But don’t be lulled into thinking that you won’t have a new implementation if you stay with the same vendor or that you can avoid a full-scale product and vendor evaluation to ensure that your incumbent vendor’s offering is the best fit for you.  No pain, no gain.
  26. Are there alternatives to making those on-premise maintenance payments?  Are their other sources for basic maintenance, especially if we’re on an older release?  The answer is yes, and the options are many, but please do read the Oracle vs Rimini Street court documents.
  27. Will our talent management software vendor(s) survive and prosper?  What’s at risk if we’ve bet on a vendor that gets acquired?
  28. With all the consolidation going on in talent management, how can we determine if our vendors will be acquirers or be acquired?  Does it matter?  It does matter, and you have some important homework to do.
  29. Is it more important for us to get talent management right than to invest further in our administrative HRM foundations or will poor administrative foundations cripple our talent management efforts?  This is one of the central questions addressed in any competent strategic HRM and HRMDS planning effort.  Please see above for some useful links.
  30. Do we really have to build/maintain the whole data warehouse apparatus just to get obvious analytics?  To support actionable analytics at the “point of sale” (i.e. embedded in employee and manager self service)?  The simple answer is no with the big IF you’re running on an integrated HRMS/TM platform that does the heavy lifting for you.  And that’s pretty much where you need to be because the whole data warehouse thing is so yesterday.
  31. Why can’t our payroll provider (yes, we outsourced that years ago) support the variety of workers, work roles, work schedules, total compensation plans, and other practices that we’re now using or need to use?  What are our options here?  The good news is that there are payroll providers which can address modern requirements.  The bad news is that there aren’t many depending always on the geographies you need to cover.  And no matter what they say, those providers cannot overcome the limitations of their software platforms without a ton of manual workarounds (which can of course be automated separately, but that’s by no means ideal), so perhaps it’s time to do a completely new assessment of both your needs and the capabilities of the best of today’s payroll outsourcers — especially of what their software actually can do and with what architectural and object model robustness that software operates.  Yes, you’ve got it, I’m an object model and architectural bigot.
  32. What about our global payroll requirements?  We’ve got large populations in a few countries and very small populations scattered everywhere else?  Should we handle this ourselves?  Do NOT try to handle all of this yourself.  If you’re really concentrated in just a few countries with sizeable populations there and just a scattering of folks elsewhere, you might be a great candidate for using the true SaaS (but be sure that it really is true SaaS) payroll from your core HRMS vendor if they cover those key countries and then one of their global outsourcing partners to do the rest.  Or, you could outsource the whole thing to one of a very small number of providers which is set up to do this well and at a reasonable cost.  But for those organizations with significant populations in many different countries, perhaps with growth where you already are and more countries coming, you’re going to have to do a very careful assessment of capabilities needed versus costs because even the most capable providers differ in what they do best, where they do it best, and how they will price what you need.  As of this writing, there is no global payroll provide using a single true SaaS payroll engine to service every country on the planet and with feet on the street in every country, so ALL of them are piecing together some combination of their own robust capabilities with those of owned in-country providers running on different (usually lesser) technology and 3rd party in-country providers over which they have VERY different levels of control.  My own bias, assuming they have the capabilities that you need, is towards global vendors with the greatest control over their supply chain because that’s your best insurance policy.
  33. And what impact will the coming changes in health care, talent management, social learning, robotic workers, globalization, HR technology, workforce diversity, executive compensation caps, government-inspired and/or -led growth programs, [you name the issue] have on our aging, too many moving parts, never implemented well and/or too expensive to maintain HRM delivery system — and on our ability to deliver the HRM outcomes our organization expects?  
  34. We seem to have a disconnect between our administration and strategic HRM data — could that be the result of disconnected systems, data definitions, organizational responsibilities, HRM business rules, etc.?
  35. What changes should we be making in our HRM policies and practices to support a more social, mobile and global workforce?  Won’t our software vendors provide these?
  36. I keep hearing about social/mobile/global/embedded analytics/the importance of integrated talent management/[you name the hot topic here], but these capabilities seem to be add-ons at added cost etc. from our primary vendors.  Is that right?
  37. How do I push more and more responsibility for HRM to managers and to the workforce without having a whole range of compliance/productivity/decision-making problems?  How do I provide these users with enough embedded intelligence to enable effective decision-making?  To enable correct and timely HRM transactions?
  38. Every time I ask for a briefing on the current state of our HRMDS, my eyes glaze over from the complexity and detail.  How do I know if we have more moving pieces than we need?  If we have the right pieces?  If we’re spending the right amount to achieve our needed outcomes?
  39. How can we keep all the pieces well playing together?  How much bailing wire and chewing gum does it take to keep everything running?
  40. Our CEO asked me if we have the HRM capabilities we need to help the organization deliver improved business outcomes.  Frankly, I haven’t got a clue.
  41. How can I find enough resources to invest in strategic HRMDS components when everything’s being starved because of the black holes of administrative HRM, including compliance, which really don’t drive business outcomes no matter how well-done they are?
  42. Cloud/smoud — my CIO is deadset against it but all the hot new software is built for it.  What do I do?  I could be flippant and say just wait for your CIO to be replaced, but that’s not very helpful.  Perhaps you could provide your CIO with selected readings?  Show him/her what true SaaS applications which are already in use — and yes, you’ve already got some, perhaps a lot, of SaaS in your organization — are delivering for the business.
  43. I know we need analytics, but which ones?  My team has proposed 217, all of which sound interesting and potentially relevant, but what I really need are the half dozen that would tell me how we’re really doing?  One of my favorite metrics for linking what HRM does to organizational outcomes is to calculate the average contributions to revenues and profits of each FTE worker (so both employees and contingent workers).  In a for profit organization, increasing revenues and profitability are central to both survival and success, so why not start there?  Going deeper, you want to highlight those aspects of HRM which drive revenue and profitability per FTE.
  44. Social sourcing sounds wonderful, and everyone’s doing it, but is it really applicable to our need for [place your scarce KSAOC list here]?  I’m a big believer in social sourcing, using public services like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to broadcast opportunities and research potential candidates.  But, and it’s a big BUT, the power of such broadly-based communities works best for those who have built up considerable street cred within these communities.  If I tweet a link about job opportunities in the HR technology industry, there’s a huge probability that likely candidates are among my followers.  But if I tweet the need for a nuclear physicist for a faculty position at MIT, there’s a much lower probability that my followers will include likely candidates.  Building a positive and useful presence online, for yourself and for your organization, takes time and a ton of effort.  If you intend to use such presence as a sourcing mechanism, there’s no time to lose because it will take considerable elapsed time before you’re ready to source effectively in this way.

And now for a few of my personal favorites, those calls for help for which I can no longer provide anything more than an hour of conversation and referrals, just for laughs.

  1. We subscribed the software, signed up for a three year lease, and we’ve been given our own tenant.  We’re expecting to load our own data, but it seems to sit there waiting for us to tell it what to do.  Is that right?  Doesn’t it come loaded with “best practices?”  We budgeted for a “vanilla” implementation on that expectation.
  2. My global head of talent is telling me that we must get all of our talent applications from the same vendor in order to get the deep process and data integration that he tells me integrated TM requires.  If we do that, buy everything from a single vendor, will it really truly scouts’ honor be fully integrated?
  3. The last guy who’s able to maintain the extensive COBOL code we used to create our highly customized Cyborg/Genesys/Tesseract/Integral/MSA/[put your favorite truly over-the-hill essentially payroll but now doing everything imaginable application brand here, and with full knowledge on my part that all of these brands are getting some level of quite sincere regulatory support and other updates from their current owners] has gone out on emergency long term disability, and we never did get him to document that code.  Help!
  4. My predecessor insisted that we needed an enterprise-level ERP/HRMS.  Four years and millions of $$ later, we’re not implemented, the SI (systems integration) leader (the new one, his predecessor was promoted) tells me that we don’t have either our organizational structure nor our jobs defined right to meet the analytical requests I’ve made of the system, the release we’ve been implementing seems to have been overtaken by the vendor’s newest release (and that’s the one that has the improved user experience that we really need), and now my new golfing buddy (who’s a partner at another SI) suggests that what we’ve selected is gross overkill for our 500 person, entirely US-based call center business for which our financials are moving “into the cloud,” whatever that means.  When I told a trusted HR exec colleague about all of this, she said don’t make another move until you talk to Naomi.

All laughs aside, these are really tough questions, all of them.  And you know that I’ve addressed a lot more, along with my thoughts on how to answer them, across my blog.  When you put these questions into the context of a specific organization, of your organization, answering them is worthy of your best efforts.  So “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” then delve into the details to develope their own answers.  If you are facing any of these questions, please do your homework and don’t be flimflammed.  And please do take full advantage of the upcoming #HRTechConf and #HRTechWorld (where I’ll be doing two sessions which may be of interest) conferences to help answer your questions.

#HRTechWorld And #HRTechConf 2015 Attendee Tips

I Love Paris In The Fall!

I Love Paris In The Fall!

With only one of me while both major HR technology conferences — if you haven’t attended the HR Tech World Congress, you may not realize that it’s become as large and as much of a must attend as the wonderful and separately owned/produced HR Tech Conference & Expo— are scheduled over just 10+ days later this month, I’ll be doing two sessions in Paris and taking my industry meetings there in 2015.  With greater separation in their 2016 scheduling, and if I’m invited to speak at both shows in 2016, I’ll hope to see you in both Chicago and Paris.  But whether you’re going to both shows or just one of them (and I can’t imagine that any of you will be missing both of them), it’s time to finalize your preparations so that you get the most out of your time in Paris and/or Las Vegas.

If you’re anything like me, from the time you arrive in Paris and/or Las Vegas, it will be:

  • non-stop vendor/industry meetings,
  • exhibition hall booth visiting (I make a valiant effort each year to stop at everything single booth, but now Paris has gotten so large that many of these visits will be flybys with no disrespect intended),
  • session attending,
  • session delivery,
  • intense but wonderful hallway and restroom exchanges (do guys do as much substantive chatting and networking in their restrooms as we do?),
  • time with valued colleagues and long-standing industry friends,
  • an occasional meal and more than an occasional drink,
  • tweetups and meetups,
  • our annual Brazen Hussies gatherings, and more.

I’ve just turned 70, a landmark birthday in so many respects, and am still basking in the afterglow of another year well-lived.  Living large, personally and professionally, honors those who never got this far, and the number of loved ones who didn’t grows longer with each passing year.  One of the byproducts of aging that’s rarely discussed is how many friends and family members you outlive, and each one of those losses really hurts.  But another byproduct, at least in my case, is that I’ve got sufficient mobility challenges that those of you whom I’ll be meeting for the first time this month in Paris should know that I’ll be using an electric scooter, otherwise known as my magic carpet, to get around your much larger conference facility.

As I’m finalizing my own preparations for these conferences, I thought you might enjoy a few tips from my personal list.  And like all good twitterstreams, please read from the bottom up:
Bonus tip:  This is where I had planned to suggest that you read my entire blog, from 11/9/2009 forward, but that seemed really pushy.  Instead, just read those posts that are relevant to your purpose in Paris and/or Las Vegas.  I can’t help but encourage you to focus on the posts that discuss what’s happening in HRM software that’s just out of sight, what you should be looking for “derriere le mirroir.”  What you don’t know can cost you dearly!

#Tip #10:  Get dates for #HRTechConf and #HRTechWorld 2016 on your calendar and in your budget right now.  With both shows approaching parity in both attendees and vendor exhibitors, even as each has its own special flavor and areas of emphasis, if your organization and/or your own career has global underpinnings and/or aspirations, you’re going to want to attend both shows, so get that budget justification in process now.

#Tip #9:  Talk, talk, talk and listen, listen, listen because sharing questions, ideas and experiences with colleagues is the point.  Bring your list of the folks you follow most on Twitter and make it a point to meet them.  Come up to me after my sessions and hit me with your questions.  And do feel quite comfortable approaching almost anyone about anything reasonable; it takes a village, and that’s HCM and HR technology all over.  And I would definitely get your foreign language skills in gear — a MUST if you’re hoping to support global organizations or becoming a global citizen yourself — whether you’re planning to attend the Paris conference or just take a gondola ride at The Venetian in Vegas.

#Tip #8:  Bring a swag carrier if you’re flying in and plan to carry your giant stuffed toy home in your lap.  Ron can’t imagine coming home from Paris or Las Vegas without a new monster, and who’s going to tell him that we’re overrun with them here at HQ?  And if you’re a vendor doing some swag planning, we love: umbrellas (the rainy season is on right now, and you can never have too many), interesting stress reduction toys, cuddly creatures (why doesn’t anyone ever give away big stuffed alligators), shoe bags (those soft ones in which you pack your shoes when traveling), towels (all sizes appreciated), t-shirts (medium for Ron, XL for me — embarrassing but true), international electrical plug sets, great bottles of wine, and books we’d really like to read, but please no more vendor-branded tablet or phone covers.  The risk of meeting with Vendor A with your iPad wrapped in Vendor B is just too high.

#Tip #7:  Leave room in your schedule for serendipity and for nature breaks — well at least nature breaks.  I’ve met some amazing women during those nature breaks; I can’t speak for what goes on in the men’s room.  Having spent three weeks in France last year, I think their idea of shared restrooms — common sink area and a collection of stalls into which you slip as they become available — has real merit.  Why should women be waiting on line while stalls in a separate men’s room are free?  And sharing the sinks would also provide opportunities for mixed gender ad hoc discussions of conference-related topics — or not.

#Tip #6:  Attend as many sessions as possible.  I do because, at least when there’s NO sales crap allowed, they’re generally excellent.  Come prepared to be an active listener, to take notes, to provide a twitterstream for your colleagues who couldn’t attend in person, and to boo any speaker who dares to give you a sales pitch or to trash their competitors.  And the best thing we can do to support the hard-working men who program these conferences — so Peter Russell for the Paris show and Steve Boese for Las Vegas — is to complete those evaluation forms, adding comments as appropriate.

#Tip #5:  Don’t try to attend > 3 vendor parties after a long first day of sessions.  I hate missing all those great parties, but my party all night and work all day years are behind me — and behind many to most of you as well.  Save at least a few brain cells for the second day of sessions; you’ll thank me if you do.  And for those of you attending the Paris show, surrounded by some of the greatest wines in the world, I’ve learned my lesson about indulging in too much of those wines at the mid-morning coffee break.

#Tip #4:  Plan your conference in advance.  With what vendors do you want to schedule extended and/or private demos?  Make those appointments now.  What attendees with whom you share specific issues/vendors/industry concerns/etc. do you want to meet?  And if you’re all on the same true SaaS product, you won’t have to waste a minute asking each other what release you’re on!  Do that outreach and arrange those meetings now.  Pick your sessions and, because there are too many good ones for just one person, find a buddy with whom you can divide and conquer.  Better yet, bring a whole team to these conferences and cover the ground.

#Tip #3:  Carry a water bottle and refill it at every chance you get.  Convention center climates are designed to dessicate, and they don’t always have enough refreshment stations.  Lately I’ve been carrying a protein bar or two in my briefcase, something you may also want to consider.  And I could also suggest that you bring a restorative flask, but we HR people would never make such a suggestion.

#Tip #2A:  Assume that the convention center will be too cold/too hot/too drafty/too whatever, and dress accordingly.  We’ll be overrun with executives from across the industry, buyers and sellers, so you may want to lose the flipflops, cutoffs, and anything that reveals parts of you that I’d rather not see.  Here I’m showing my personal biases, but business casual does not translate in my book into anything lower down the sartorial scale than clean pressed jeans, a similarly clean ironed t-shirt with at least short sleeves, most of your tattoos tactfully covered, and shoes.  Of course, these suggestions only apply to the granddaddy of HR technology shows, the big Kahuna, in Las Vegas.  Our Continental colleagues lean toward business formal, as in dark suit and tie.  Hmm….

#Tip #2:  Wear your most comfortable walking shoes.  There will be few places to sit except in sessions and long convention center distances.  Yes, I know that my younger female colleagues will want to show off those Manolo D’orsay spikes — the latest in fashionista circles — and I don’t blame you, but be sure you’ve got a suitably designed male colleague at the ready to carry you after the first hour.  Having done my fair share of spike heel time, I’m convinced that there’s a direct connection to my now arthritic joints.  It doesn’t matter what shoes I’ll be wearing as I flash by on my magic carpet, but you’ll be limping by noon if you don’t select your shoes carefully.  And speaking of that magic carpet, we finally found, in an English antique shop, a suitable horn so that I can give fair warning before running over fellow conference goers.

#Tip #1:  For vendors of greatest interest, do your homework in advance, preparing the mental scenarios that you’d like to see, so that booth time is hands-on demo time.  And be sure to spend time on the floor checking out some of the newer/smaller vendors.  There’s a ton of innovation going on in our industry, and it isn’t always on offer at the flashiest booths.  In spite of the heavy industry consolidation, VC moola has been flowing into all things HR technology, so there are going to be a bazillion vendors at both conferences of which you’ve never heard.

I’m sorry that I won’t be seeing more of you in Las Vegas as I’ll be there just long enough for the Brazen Hussies event and a few industry meetings.  But I’ll be in Paris for the entire show, and I’ll hope to see you there.  Whichever you attend, have a terrific conference, and be sure to say thank you to the conference organizers.

Reflections On Turning 70 — I’m Not Going Quietly!

Naomi & Cousin Ronni Circa 1950

Naomi & Cousin Ronni Circa 1950

I’m turning 70 this week — yes, 70 years old — and that milestone, combined with the natural period of reflection that I always observe around the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, has reminded me of just how truly blessed has been my life, how very lucky I am to have gotten to this point.  Many of my childhood friends didn’t make it into their twenties, my birth mother as well as my two closest friends didn’t make it to 40 (including my so talented and full of life cousin Ronni), and the number of people I’ve loved who are no longer with me just keeps growing.  Losing my Uncle Paul Bloom earlier this year, just after his 99th birthday, meant there is no longer an older generation in my family.  Now, I am it.

My body doesn’t work as well as it once did (if you’ve seen me scootering past you at a major conference, then you know that I have some mobility challenges, but then most of you didn’t know me during my llambada-enriched, sailing the Caribbean prime so as to have a proper basis for comparison), my dental repair bills are stratospheric, and I have macular degeneration (but thankfully with no visible impairment as yet) — and that’s just for starters.  Believe me when I tell you that even if you escape truly life-threatening diseases and accidents, aging brings with it a shitload of minor medical issues.  From revolting skin barnacles and easier/constant bruising (particularly true for older men) on your arms to challenging changes in your digestion and the increased time it takes for anything to heal, these are annoyances for which none of us are prepared.  When I think of how lightly I used to travel compared to all the crap that’s now needed to keep me on the move, I am very thankful that my status with most airlines means that I don’t have to pay for checked bags.

But this post is not a lament on aging or my distant youth.  Rather it is a celebration of a life well-lived, of my life thus far and of the life that’s in front of me.  While so many of my friends and family never made it to 70, I’m still here.  I’ve survived.  More than just survived, I’ve flourished and prospered and had a truly wonderful time.  And, in my own way, I’ve made an effort to improve the world around me.  Sometimes that’s been related to my professional life, as in trying to save the world from crappy enterprise HRM software and equally crappy HRM practices/policies/plan designs/etc. by helping to design and deliver better software and better HRM.  Sometime that’s been related to my personal life, as in making philanthropy central to our budget, both of time/energy and of financial resources.  Sometimes it’s all about lending a helping hand, reaching out to comfort, being there even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient or you really don’t know what to say or do.  And sometimes it’s about pushing and pushing and pushing because there’s a wrong that really needs righting.

I haven’t accomplished anything monumental in my life thus far, and it’s unlikely that I’m going to do so.  But I’d like to think that a little bit of good done here and a little more done there adds up to what we’re commanded as Jews (but I really think this applies to everyone) to do in the words tikkun olam, literally to fix the world.  But there’s so much to fix (more now than at any time in my lengthening life) that I often feel overwhelmed at where to begin, not to mention that there’s never time to keep my closets organized and my books alphabetized, to select cards and gifts for every occasion while changing our home’s décor with the seasons, or to master any of the topics/authors/etc. about which I’d love to be more knowledgeable.  But the important thing about turning 70 is that it’s time to make peace, if you’re ever going to do so, with the fact that you’ll never be able to do everything you’d like to do.  It’s truly time to refine ruthlessly your priorities.

Ron and I spent the last few weeks in England, and I spent a good bit of quiet time staring out to sea and noodling on those priorities.  Where on this earth do we want to travel?  With whom among our friends and families do we want to spend time?  What old friend books and what new ones do I want to read?  Do I really want to make time to improve my Spanish, sketching, marine navigation, and so many other skills?  And what about boating, theater, music, museums, and just lolling in our pool?  Then there’s the remodeling project from hell that’s consumed far too much of the last 18 months because of truly awful execution by the firm we’re in the midst of firing (but which still must be made to finish work that can’t be picked up by someone else, like pulled apart furniture awaiting reupholstery).  What about my work with The Florida Repertory Theater (on whose Board I’ve sat for 10+ years and which is a nationally rated professional regional theater) or with a half dozen other local organizations which I support personally as well as financially?  And all of that is apart from my continued efforts in #EnSW.

Doesn’t it feel like a little priority refinement is in order?  Don’t we all know that if everything is important than nothing is?  Well, I don’t have any great insights on how to handle all of this, but I can tell you from the vantage point of having lived large these almost 70 years that setting life priorities does not get any easier unless you choose to withdraw from life — and that’s not going to happen here.  But the only real insight I’ve achieved about all of this is that, if you’re inclined to be a neurotic overachiever, that doesn’t change just because your joints are screaming and your hairdresser has to work harder at covering the grey.  Au contraire.  Those habits of a lifetime define not only how we live but also how we age.  And for me, although the todo list has evolved and my priorities have changed, and while I’ve had to make a range of changes in everyday living to accommodate the physical changes of aging, it appears that I’m not likely to slip quietly into a bingo game-laden, early bird special dining, daytime television-watching style of aging.  Not while I’m still sentient.

So watch out world.  Naomi at 70 could be even more trouble — and having more fun — than Naomi at 50 or 40 or 30.  And that’s the point.

In Enterprise Software And Luxury Accommodations, Details Matter And No Disappointments Accepted

St. Mawes, the quintessential south Cornish coast village.

Ron and I have been spending a lovely holiday in England, treating ourselves to very high end accommodations in London and the Cotswolds, and now on the south coast of Cornwall.  We’ve been having a wonderful time, including visits with friends, lots of theater in London, and endless explorations of quiet Cotswold and Cornish villages.  Our next stop is Salcombe, on the south Devon coast, where we have tickets for various theatrical performances as part of the International Agatha Christie Festival.

But this post isn’t a travelogue.  Instead, I wanted to highlight the similarities between the expected user experience of enterprise grade, integrated HRMS/TM software and the expected user experience of staying in very high end accommodations, for both of which you pay dearly.  You might not have thought about this before, and I certainly didn’t before this trip, but in both cases the user experience is expected to be flawless — all the time and every time.

Years ago, when budget required and back allowed for far less luxurious accommodations (e.g. we spent our honeymoon camping across the USA in a 6′ by 6′ tent), our modest expectations were much more in line with what we’ve come to expect of consumer applications.  If our accommodations, including campgrounds, worked out well most of the time with only the occasional unpleasant surprise balanced by the occasional pleasant one, we were delighted.  It was the travel budget that mattered when it came to accommodations and meals, and it is the usefulness at essentially no cost that matters with today’s consumer software.  Oh, we might complain a little when the budget accommodation had lumpy beds and a little mold around the tub’s grout, but what could you expect at those prices?  And I’m the first to complain loudly when Twitter goes down at an inopportune moment, e.g. when covering an industry event, but it’s quickly forgotten because we never get a bill.  But that’s not what happens with either enterprise HRMS/TM or luxury accommodations.

On this trip, we’ve been paying top dollar (or should I say top pound?) for truly wonderful accommodations/locations/catering/service/etc.  So when the kitchen at our current location appears to be staffed by the team at “Faulty Towers,” when the wifi at our last country house hotel and again at this glorious spot on the coast is purely episodic and/or dial-up slow, and when the beds in the Cotswolds and here in Cornwall are squishy, those big invoices in plump Great British Pounds add insult to injury.  And that’s exactly how enterprise software customers and users feel when their pricey, top of the line, HRMS/TM doesn’t behave exactly as expected — stunningly simple/fast/effective/useful/etc.

But to me the most interesting aspect of this comparison is that disappointed customers/users behave exactly the same way whether we’re talking enterprise software or luxury accommodations.  In the past, we’d have told our friends and, perhaps, mentioned our concerns to vendor management.  Today, we tweet/blog/post reviews and generally shout our displeasure via the rooftops of social tech.  And that’s exactly what I’m doing, having already, as a courtesy, put the management of our Cotswold and Cornwall hotels on notice about the problems we’ve experienced.  There’s been a ton to love about both places, and a less discerning client might not have noticed the lapses (or a less online client might not have spoken out so forcefully — which may explain the continued shortcomings since the average client age in both these wonderful country house hotels has been way past ours), but then I wouldn’t be Naomi.

Of course all of this is predicated on properly matching customer expectations to vendor offerings, be they software or country house hotels, before you commit.  I did go down my use case checklist with each hotel but, mea culpa, I delegated that review to our AMEX travel advisor, and I know now that I must make that use case list far more detailed and explicit if I’m to delegate its use in the future.  Squishy beds and bolloxed up catering aside, not having reliable and reasonably swift wifi has made me crazy.  Just getting this post up has taken hours because of spotty service, and inserting a picture has been a nightmare.  Also, please note that I haven’t mentioned any names here, and quite deliberately so, both of enterprise software that disappoints and of the two offending hotels on this trip.  If you need those hotel names, please contact me directly.

Reprise: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, And The “Days Of Awe” — 5776

Not only does Yom Kippur begin at sundown on 9/22/2015, but my birthday follows immediately thereafter — 9/24/2015 — and it’s A BIG ONE, 70.  It’s the age I always thought of as really old, but of course I’ve now redefined old age to start at 90.  It’s another decade of my life coming to a close, thus increasing the incentives for quiet reflection, reassessment and rededication which are central to this period on the Jewish calendar.  It’s a wise person who uses this time to take stock of their lives, summing up their accomplishments and vowing to mitigate their shortcomings, deciding what they’d like to do/see/experience/learn/change/accomplish/improve/etc. in the coming years as well of how and with whom they want to spend increasingly precious time.

Each year, even if I’ve been thinking about these questions at other times, I take seriously the purpose of the Days of Awe, that period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when we Jews are commanded to take stock, to address our own shortcomings, and to rededicate our lives to higher purpose.  We are also commanded, during this period, to resolve outstanding earthly issues before we seek atonement for our spiritual ones during Yom Kippur.  Hopefully, I haven’t offended or harmed too many of you this year, and I’ve certainly tried to right any such wrongs.  But, if I have wronged anyone inadvertently, please accept my apologies.

This year I’ll be celebrating Rosh Hashanah in England, returning home just in time for Yom Kippur.  Being abroad provides a unique opportunity to see the world through different eyes, and through news that’s not US-centric.  But no matter your geopolitical perspective, we’re clearly starting our highest holy days amid a dismal set of global and domestic challenges, and it seems like we could all do with a little extra reflection, life analysis, list-making and rededication.  Have we done as much as possible during the last year to serve mankind?  Have we used our capabilities to the max in benefit not only of ourselves but of humanity?  Have we dealt honestly with our family, friends and colleagues in both our personal and business dealings?  Are there acts of kindness which we should have committed but whose moment we let pass without action?  The list is long of all the ways in which we may or may not have lived up to our potential, and so is the list of commitments to improvement that we should be making for the New Year.

Jews live with the responsibility to carry out 613 mitzvot (commandments) which, taken together, represent a value system that really does put the humanity back into human and the civilized back into civilization.  And while many of those mitzvot may well appear outdated or even foolish when read on our smart phones while sipping a latte, it’s quite a collection of golden rules by which to live a full and worthwhile life while respecting the desire of others to do the same.  Even if you’re completely non-religious, or if you practice a completely different religion, you’ll find in the mitzvot of Judaism at least a few ideas for improving your behavior, your contributions to society, your relationships and so much more.  For your convenience, I’ve copied below the entire list from that great resource “Judaism 101.”  Having taken a ton of teasing from Bill Kutik for my lengthy blog post lists, this should push him right over the edge.

To my Jewish friends, family and colleagues, “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem,” may you and yours be inscribed in the Book of Life for a sweet year.  And to all the wonderful gentiles in my life, I wish you exactly the same, even if you’re working off a different calendar.  We can but pray that 5776 will be the year when mankind grows up.

Blog -- High Holy Days cabafd044aa24c289cb81f5021eb3056


A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments)
613 Mitzvot (in Hebrew)

Level: Advanced

• Jewish tradition teaches that there are 613 commandments
• This is the list of 613 identified by Rambam
• The order and organization is my own

Below is a list of the 613 mitzvot (commandments). It is based primarily on the list compiled by Rambam in the Mishneh Torah, but I have consulted other sources as well. As I said in the page on halakhah, Rambam’s list is probably the most widely accepted list, but it is not the only one. The order is my own, as are the explanations of how some rules are derived from some biblical passages.

For each mitzvah, I have provided a citation to the biblical passage or passages from which it is derived, based primarily on Rambam. For commandments that can be observed today, I have also provided citations to the Chafetz Chayim’s Concise Book of Mitzvot (CCA refers to affirmative commandments; CCN refers to negative commandments; CCI refers to commandments that only apply in Israel). Commandments that cannot be observed today primarily relate to the Temple, its sacrifices and services (because the Temple does not exist) and criminal procedures (because the theocratic state of Israel does not exist).


  1. To know that G-d exists (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6) (CCA1). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  2. Not to entertain the idea that there is any god but the Eternal (Ex. 20:3) (CCN8). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  3. Not to blaspheme (Ex. 22:27; in Christian texts, Ex. 22:28), the penalty for which is death (Lev. 24:16) (negative).
  4. To hallow G-d’s name (Lev. 22:32) (CCA5). See The Name of G-d.
  5. Not to profane G-d’s name (Lev . 22:32) (CCN155). See The Name of G-d.
  6. To know that G-d is One, a complete Unity (Deut. 6:4) (CCA2). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  7. To love G-d (Deut. 6:5) (CCA3). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  8. To fear Him reverently (Deut. 6:13; 10:20) (CCA4).
  9. Not to put the word of G-d to the test (Deut. 6:16) (negative).
  10. To imitate His good and upright ways (Deut. 28:9) (CCA6).


  1. To honor the old and the wise (Lev. 19:32) (CCA17).
  2. To learn Torah and to teach it (Deut. 6:7) (CCA14). See Torah.
  3. To cleave to those who know Him (Deut. 10:20) (the Talmud states that cleaving to scholars is equivalent to cleaving to Him) (CCA16).
  4. Not to add to the commandments of the Torah, whether in the Written Law or in its interpretation received by tradition (Deut. 13:1) (CCN159). See Torah.
  5. Not to take away from the commandments of the Torah (Deut. 13:1) (CCN160). See Torah.
  6. That every person shall write a scroll of the Torah for himself (Deut. 31:19) (CCA15). See Torah.

Signs and Symbols

  1. To circumcise the male offspring (Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3) (CCA47) See Brit Milah: Circumcision.
  2. To put tzitzit on the corners of clothing (Num. 15:38) (CCA10). See Tzitzit and Tallit.
  3. To bind tefillin on the head (Deut. 6:8) (CCA9). See Tefillin.
  4. To bind tefillin on the arm (Deut. 6:8) (CCA8). See Tefillin.
  5. To affix the mezuzah to the doorposts and gates of your house (Deut. 6:9) (CCA12). See Mezuzah.

Prayer and Blessings

  1. To pray to G-d (Ex. 23:25; Deut. 6:13) (according to the Talmud, the word “serve” in these verses refers to prayer) (CCA7). See Prayers and Blessings; Jewish Liturgy.
  2. To read the Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7) (CCA11). See Jewish Liturgy.
  3. To recite grace after meals (Deut. 8:10) (CCA13). See Birkat Ha-Mazon: Grace After Meals
  4. Not to lay down a stone for worship (Lev. 26:1) (CCN161).

Love and Brotherhood

  1. To love all human beings who are of the covenant (Lev. 19:18) (CCA60). See Love and Brotherhood.
  2. Not to stand by idly when a human life is in danger (Lev. 19:16) (CCN82). See Love and Brotherhood.
  3. Not to wrong any one in speech (Lev. 25:17) (CCN48). See Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra.
  4. Not to carry tales (Lev. 19:16) (CCN77). See Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra.
  5. Not to cherish hatred in one’s heart (Lev. 19:17) (CCN78). See Love and Brotherhood.
  6. Not to take revenge (Lev. 19:18) (CCN80).
  7. Not to bear a grudge (Lev. 19:18) (CCN81).
  8. Not to put any Jew to shame (Lev. 19:17) (CCN79).
  9. Not to curse any other Israelite (Lev. 19:14) (by implication: if you may not curse those who cannot hear, you certainly may not curse those who can) (CCN45).
  10. Not to give occasion to the simple-minded to stumble on the road (Lev. 19:14) (this includes doing anything that will cause another to sin) (CCN76).
  11. To rebuke the sinner (Lev. 19:17) (CCA72).
  12. To relieve a neighbor of his burden and help to unload his beast (Ex. 23:5) (CCA70). See Love and Brotherhood.
  13. To assist in replacing the load upon a neighbor’s beast (Deut. 22:4) (CCA71). See Love and Brotherhood.
  14. Not to leave a beast, that has fallen down beneath its burden, unaided (Deut. 22:4) (CCN183). See Love and Brotherhood.

The Poor and Unfortunate

  1. Not to afflict an orphan or a widow (Ex. 22:21) (CCN51).
  2. Not to reap the entire field (Lev. 19:9; Lev. 23:22) (negative) (CCI6).
  3. To leave the unreaped corner of the field or orchard for the poor (Lev. 19:9) (affirmative) (CCI1).
  4. Not to gather gleanings (the ears that have fallen to the ground while reaping) (Lev. 19:9) (negative) (CCI7).
  5. To leave the gleanings for the poor (Lev. 19:9) (affirmative) (CCI2).
  6. Not to gather ol’loth (the imperfect clusters) of the vineyard (Lev. 19:10) (negative) (CCI8).
  7. To leave ol’loth (the imperfect clusters) of the vineyard for the poor (Lev. 19:10; Deut. 24:21) (affirmative) (CCI3).
  8. Not to gather the peret (grapes) that have fallen to the ground (Lev. 19:10) (negative) (CCI9).
  9. To leave peret (the single grapes) of the vineyard for the poor (Lev. 19:10) (affirmative) (CCI4).
  10. Not to return to take a forgotten sheaf (Deut. 24:19) This applies to all fruit trees (Deut. 24:20) (negative) (CC10).
  11. To leave the forgotten sheaves for the poor (Deut. 24:19-20) (affirmative) (CCI5).
  12. Not to refrain from maintaining a poor man and giving him what he needs (Deut. 15:7) (CCN62). See Tzedakah: Charity.
  13. To give charity according to one’s means (Deut. 15:11) (CCA38). See Tzedakah: Charity.

Treatment of Gentiles

  1. To love the stranger (Deut. 10:19) (CCA61). See Love and Brotherhood.
  2. Not to wrong the stranger in speech (Ex. 22:20) (CCN49).
  3. Not to wrong the stranger in buying or selling (Ex. 22:20) (CCN50).
  4. Not to intermarry with gentiles (Deut. 7:3) (CCN19). See Interfaith Marriages.
  5. To exact the debt of an alien (Deut. 15:3) (affirmative).
  6. To lend to an alien at interest (Deut. 23:21) According to tradition, this is mandatory (affirmative).

Marriage, Divorce and Family

  1. To honor father and mother (Ex. 20:12) (CCA41).
  2. Not to smite a father or a mother (Ex. 21:15) (CCN44).
  3. Not to curse a father or mother (Ex. 21:17) (CCN46).
  4. To reverently fear father and mother (Lev. 19:3) (CCA42).
  5. To be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28) (CCA43).
  6. That a eunuch shall not marry a daughter of Israel (Deut. 23:2) (CCN136).
  7. That a mamzer shall not marry the daughter of a Jew (Deut. 23:3) (CCN137). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  8. That an Ammonite or Moabite shall never marry the daughter of an Israelite (Deut. 23:4) (negative).
  9. Not to exclude a descendant of Esau from the community of Israel for three generations (Deut. 23:8-9) (negative).
  10. Not to exclude an Egyptian from the community of Israel for three generations (Deut. 23:8-9) (negative).
  11. That there shall be no harlot (in Israel); that is, that there shall be no intercourse with a woman, without previous marriage with a deed of marriage and formal declaration of marriage (Deut. 23:18) (CCN133). See Marriage.
  12. To take a wife by kiddushin, the sacrament of marriage (Deut. 24:1) (CCA44). See The Process of Marriage: Kiddushin and Nisuin.
  13. That the newly married husband shall (be free) for one year to rejoice with his wife (Deut. 24:5) (affirmative).
  14. That a bridegroom shall be exempt for a whole year from taking part in any public labor, such as military service, guarding the wall and similar duties (Deut. 24:5) (negative).
  15. Not to withhold food, clothing or conjugal rights from a wife (Ex. 21:10) (CCN42). See The Marital Relationship.
  16. That the woman suspected of adultery shall be dealt with as prescribed in the Torah (Num. 5:30) (affirmative).
  17. That one who defames his wife’s honor (by falsely accusing her of unchastity before marriage) must live with her all his lifetime (Deut. 22:19) (affirmative).
  18. That a man may not divorce his wife concerning whom he has published an evil report (about her unchastity before marriage) (Deut. 22:19) (negative).
  19. To divorce by a formal written document (Deut. 24:1) (affirmative). See The Process of Obtaining a Divorce.
  20. That one who divorced his wife shall not remarry her, if after the divorce she had been married to another man (Deut. 24:4) (CCN134). See Divorce.
  21. That a widow whose husband died childless must not be married to anyone but her deceased husband’s brother (Deut. 25:5) (CCN135) (this is only in effect insofar as it requires the procedure of release below).
  22. To marry the widow of a brother who has died childless (Deut. 25:5) (this is only in effect insofar as it requires the procedure of release below ) (CCA45).
  23. That the widow formally release the brother-in-law (if he refuses to marry her) (Deut. 25:7-9) (CCA46).

Forbidden Sexual Relations

  1. Not to indulge in familiarities with relatives, such as kissing, embracing, winking, skipping, which may lead to incest (Lev. 18:6) (CCN110).
  2. Not to commit incest with one’s mother (Lev. 18:7) (CCN112). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  3. Not to commit sodomy with one’s father (Lev. 18:7) (CCN111).
  4. Not to commit incest with one’s father’s wife (Lev. 18:8) (CCN113). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  5. Not to commit incest with one’s sister (Lev. 18:9) (CCN127). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  6. Not to commit incest with one’s father’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:11) (CCN128). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  7. Not to commit incest with one’s son’s daughter (Lev. 18:10) (CCN119) (Note: CC treats this and the next as one commandment; however, Rambam treats them as two). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  8. Not to commit incest with one’s daughter’s daughter (Lev. 18:10) (CCN119) (Note: CC treats this and the previous as one commandment; however, Rambam treats them as two). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  9. Not to commit incest with one’s daughter (this is not explicitly in the Torah but is inferred from other explicit commands that would include it) (CCN120). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  10. Not to commit incest with one’s fathers sister (Lev. 18:12) (CCN129). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  11. Not to commit incest with one’s mother’s sister (Lev. 18:13) (CCN130). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  12. Not to commit incest with one’s father’s brothers wife (Lev. 18:14) (CCN125). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  13. Not to commit sodomy with one’s father’s brother (Lev. 18:14) (CCN114).
  14. Not to commit incest with one’s son’s wife (Lev. 18:15) (CCN115). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  15. Not to commit incest with one’s brother’s wife (Lev. 18:16) (CCN126). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  16. Not to commit incest with one’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:17) (CCN121). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  17. Not to commit incest with the daughter of one’s wife’s son (Lev. 18:17) (CCN122). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  18. Not to commit incest with the daughter of one’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:17) (CCN123). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  19. Not to commit incest with one’s wife’s sister (Lev. 18:18) (CCN131). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  20. Not to have intercourse with a woman, in her menstrual period (Lev. 18:19) (CCN132).
  21. Not to have intercourse with another man’s wife (Lev. 18:20) (CCN124).
  22. Not to commit sodomy with a male (Lev. 18:22) (CCN116).
  23. Not to have intercourse with a beast (Lev. 18:23) (CCN117).
  24. That a woman shall not have intercourse with a beast (Lev. 18:23) (CCN118).
  25. Not to castrate the male of any species; neither a man, nor a domestic or wild beast, nor a fowl (Lev. 22:24) (CCN143).

Times and Seasons

  1. That the new month shall be solemnly proclaimed as holy, and the months and years shall be calculated by the Supreme Court only (Ex. 12:2) (affirmative) (the authority to declare months is inferred from the use of the word “unto you”).
  2. Not to travel on Shabbat outside the limits of one’s place of residence (Ex. 16:29) (CCN7). See Shabbat.
  3. To sanctify Shabbat (Ex. 20:8) (CCA19). See Shabbat.
  4. Not to do work on Shabbat (Ex. 20:10) (CCN6). See Shabbat.
  5. To rest on Shabbat (Ex. 23:12; 34:21) (CCA20). See Shabbat.
  6. To celebrate the festivals [Passover, Shavu’ot and Sukkot] (Ex. 23:14) (affirmative).
  7. To rejoice on the festivals (Deut. 16:14) (CCA21).
  8. To appear in the Sanctuary on the festivals (Deut. 16:16) (affirmative).
  9. To remove chametz on the Eve of Passover (Ex. 12:15) (CCA22). See Passover.
  10. To rest on the first day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:7) (CCA25). See Passover.
  11. Not to do work on the first day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:6-7) (CCN147). See Passover.
  12. To rest on the seventh day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:8) (CCA27). See Passover.
  13. Not to do work on the seventh day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:8) (CCN148). See Passover.
  14. To eat matzah on the first night of Passover (Ex. 12:18) (CCA23). See Passover.
  15. That no chametz be in the Israelite’s possession during Passover (Ex. 12:19) (CCN3). See Passover.
  16. Not to eat any food containing chametz on Passover (Ex. 12:20) (CCN5). See Passover.
  17. Not to eat chametz on Passover (Ex. 13:3) (CCN4). See Passover.
  18. That chametz shall not be seen in an Israelite’s home during Passover (Ex. 13:7) (CCN2). See Passover.
  19. To discuss the departure from Egypt on the first night of Passover (Ex. 13:8) (CCA24). See The Passover Seder.
  20. Not to eat chametz after mid-day on the fourteenth of Nissan (Deut. 16:3) (CCN104). See Passover.
  21. To count forty-nine days from the time of the cutting of the Omer (first sheaves of the barley harvest) (Lev. 23:15) (CCA26). See The Counting of the Omer.
  22. To rest on Shavu’ot (Lev. 23:21) (CCA28). See Shavu’ot.
  23. Not to do work on the Shavu’ot (Lev. 23:21) (CCN149). See Shavu’ot.
  24. To rest on Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:24) (CCA29). See Rosh Hashanah.
  25. Not to do work on Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:25) (CCN150). See Rosh Hashanah.
  26. To hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (Num. 29:1) (CCA30). See Rosh Hashanah.
  27. To fast on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:27) (CCA32). See Yom Kippur.
  28. Not to eat or drink on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:29) (CCN152). See Yom Kippur.
  29. Not to do work on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:31) (CCN151). See Yom Kippur.
  30. To rest on the Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:32) (CCA31). See Yom Kippur.
  31. To rest on the first day of Sukkot (Lev. 23:35) (CCA34). See Sukkot.
  32. Not to do work on the first day of Sukkot (Lev. 23:35) (CCN153). See Sukkot.
  33. To rest on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) (Lev. 23:36) (CCA37). See Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
  34. Not to do work on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) (Lev. 23:36) (CCN154). See Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
  35. To take during Sukkot a palm branch and the other three plants (Lev. 23:40) (CCA36). See Sukkot.
  36. To dwell in booths seven days during Sukkot (Lev. 23:42) (CCA35). See Sukkot.

Dietary Laws

  1. To examine the marks in cattle (so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean) (Lev. 11:2) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  2. Not to eat the flesh of unclean beasts (Lev. 11:4) (CCN93). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  3. To examine the marks in fishes (so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Lev. 11:9) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  4. Not to eat unclean fish (Lev. 11:11) (CCN95). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  5. To examine the marks in fowl, so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Deut. 14:11) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  6. Not to eat unclean fowl (Lev. 11:13) (CCN94). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  7. To examine the marks in locusts, so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Lev. 11:21) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  8. Not to eat a worm found in fruit (Lev. 11:41) (CCN98). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  9. Not to eat of things that creep upon the earth (Lev. 11:41-42) (CCN97). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  10. Not to eat any vermin of the earth (Lev. 11:44) (CCN100). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  11. Not to eat things that swarm in the water (Lev. 11:43 and 46) (CCN99). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  12. Not to eat of winged insects (Deut. 14:19) (CCN96). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  13. Not to eat the flesh of a beast that is terefah (lit torn) (Ex. 22:30) (CCN87). See Kosher slaughtering.
  14. Not to eat the flesh of a beast that died of itself (Deut. 14:21) (CCN86). See Kosher slaughtering.
  15. To slay cattle, deer and fowl according to the laws of shechitah if their flesh is to be eaten (Deut. 12:21) (“as I have commanded” in this verse refers to the technique) (CCA48). See Kosher slaughtering.
  16. Not to eat a limb removed from a living beast (Deut. 12:23) (CCN90). See Kosher slaughtering.
  17. Not to slaughter an animal and its young on the same day (Lev. 22:28) (CCN108).
  18. Not to take the mother-bird with the young (Deut. 22:6) (CCN189). See Treatment of Animals.
  19. To set the mother-bird free when taking the nest (Deut. 22:6-7) (CCA74). See Treatment of Animals.
  20. Not to eat the flesh of an ox that was condemned to be stoned (Ex. 21:28) (negative).
  21. Not to boil meat with milk (Ex. 23:19) (CCN91). See Separation of Meat and Dairy.
  22. Not to eat flesh with milk (Ex. 34:26) (according to the Talmud, this passage is a distinct prohibition from the one in Ex. 23:19) (CCN92). See Separation of Meat and Dairy.
  23. Not to eat the of the thigh-vein which shrank (Gen. 32:33) (CCN1). See Forbidden Fats and Nerves.
  24. Not to eat chelev (tallow-fat) (Lev. 7:23) (CCN88). See Forbidden Fats and Nerves.
  25. Not to eat blood (Lev. 7:26) (CCN89). See Draining of Blood.
  26. To cover the blood of undomesticated animals (deer, etc.) and of fowl that have been killed (Lev. 17:13) (CCA49).
  27. Not to eat or drink like a glutton or a drunkard (not to rebel against father or mother) (Lev. 19:26; Deut. 21:20) (CCN106).

Business Practices

  1. Not to do wrong in buying or selling (Lev. 25:14) (CCN47).
  2. Not to make a loan to an Israelite on interest (Lev. 25:37) (CCN54).
  3. Not to borrow on interest (Deut. 23:20) (because this would cause the lender to sin) (CCN55).
  4. Not to take part in any usurious transaction between borrower and lender, neither as a surety, nor as a witness, nor as a writer of the bond for them (Ex. 22:24) (CCN53).
  5. To lend to a poor person (Ex. 22:24) (even though the passage says “if you lend” it is understood as obligatory) (CCA62).
  6. Not to demand from a poor man repayment of his debt, when the creditor knows that he cannot pay, nor press him (Ex. 22:24) (CCN52).
  7. Not to take in pledge utensils used in preparing food (Deut. 24:6) (CCN58).
  8. Not to exact a pledge from a debtor by force (Deut. 24:10) (CCN59).
  9. Not to keep the pledge from its owner at the time when he needs it (Deut. 24:12) (CCN61).
  10. To return a pledge to its owner (Deut. 24:13) (CCA63).
  11. Not to take a pledge from a widow (Deut. 24:17) (CCN60).
  12. Not to commit fraud in measuring (Lev. 19:35) (CCN83).
  13. To ensure that scales and weights are correct (Lev. 19:36) (affirmative).
  14. Not to possess inaccurate measures and weights (Deut. 25:13-14) (CCN84).

Employees, Servants and Slaves

  1. Not to delay payment of a hired man’s wages (Lev. 19:13) (CCN38).
  2. That the hired laborer shall be permitted to eat of the produce he is reaping (Deut. 23:25-26) (CCA65).
  3. That the hired laborer shall not take more than he can eat (Deut. 23:25) (CCN187).
  4. That a hired laborer shall not eat produce that is not being harvested (Deut. 23:26) (CCN186).
  5. To pay wages to the hired man at the due time (Deut. 24:15) (CCA66).
  6. To deal judicially with the Hebrew bondman in accordance with the laws appertaining to him (Ex. 21:2-6) (affirmative).
  7. Not to compel the Hebrew servant to do the work of a slave (Lev. 25:39) (negative).
  8. Not to sell a Hebrew servant as a slave (Lev. 25:42) (negative).
  9. Not to treat a Hebrew servant rigorously (Lev. 25:43) (negative).
  10. Not to permit a gentile to treat harshly a Hebrew bondman sold to him (Lev. 25:53) (negative).
  11. Not to send away a Hebrew bondman servant empty handed, when he is freed from service (Deut. 15:13) (negative).
  12. To bestow liberal gifts upon the Hebrew bondsman (at the end of his term of service), and the same should be done to a Hebrew bondwoman (Deut. 15:14) (affirmative).
  13. To redeem a Hebrew maid-servant (Ex. 21:8) (affirmative).
  14. Not to sell a Hebrew maid-servant to another person (Ex. 21:8) (negative).
  15. To espouse a Hebrew maid-servant (Ex. 21:8-9) (affirmative).
  16. To keep the Canaanite slave forever (Lev. 25:46) (affirmative).
  17. Not to surrender a slave, who has fled to the land of Israel, to his owner who lives outside Palestine (Deut. 23:16) (negative).
  18. Not to wrong such a slave (Deut. 23:17) (negative).
  19. Not to muzzle a beast, while it is working in produce which it can eat and enjoy (Deut. 25:4) (CCN188).

Vows, Oaths and Swearing

  1. That a man should fulfill whatever he has uttered (Deut. 23:24) (CCA39).
  2. Not to swear needlessly (Ex. 20:7) (CCN29).
  3. Not to violate an oath or swear falsely (Lev. 19:12) (CCN31).
  4. To decide in cases of annulment of vows, according to the rules set forth in the Torah (Num. 30:2-17) (CCA40).
  5. Not to break a vow (Num. 30:3) (CCN184).
  6. To swear by His name truly (Deut. 10:20) (affirmative).
  7. Not to delay in fulfilling vows or bringing vowed or free-will offerings (Deut. 23:22) (CCN185).

The Sabbatical and Jubilee Years

  1. To let the land lie fallow in the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:2) (affirmative) (CCI20).
  2. To cease from tilling the land in the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11) (affirmative) (Lev. 25:2) (CCI21).
  3. Not to till the ground in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:4) (negative) (CCI22).
  4. Not to do any work on the trees in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:4) (negative) (CCI23).
  5. Not to reap the aftermath that grows in the Sabbatical year, in the same way as it is reaped in other years (Lev. 25:5) (negative) (CCI24).
  6. Not to gather the fruit of the tree in the Sabbatical year in the same way as it is gathered in other years (Lev. 25:5) (negative) (CCI25).
  7. To sound the Ram’s horn in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:9) (affirmative).
  8. To release debts in the seventh year (Deut. 15:2) (CCA64).
  9. Not to demand return of a loan after the Sabbatical year has passed (Deut. 15:2) (CCN57).
  10. Not to refrain from making a loan to a poor man, because of the release of loans in the Sabbatical year (Deut. 15:9) (CCN56).
  11. To assemble the people to hear the Torah at the close of the seventh year (Deut. 31:12) (affirmative)
  12. To count the years of the Jubilee by years and by cycles of seven years (Lev. 25:8) (affirmative).
  13. To keep the Jubilee year holy by resting and letting the land lie fallow (Lev. 25:10) (affirmative).
  14. Not to cultivate the soil nor do any work on the trees, in the Jubilee Year (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
  15. Not to reap the aftermath of the field that grew of itself in the Jubilee Year, in the same way as in other years (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
  16. Not to gather the fruit of the tree in the Jubilee Year, in the same way as in other years (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
  17. To grant redemption to the land in the Jubilee year (Lev. 25:24) (affirmative).

The Court and Judicial Procedure

  1. To appoint judges and officers in every community of Israel (Deut. 16:18) (affirmative).
  2. Not to appoint as a judge, a person who is not well versed in the laws of the Torah, even if he is expert in other branches of knowledge (Deut. 1:17) (CCN64).
  3. To adjudicate cases of purchase and sale (Lev. 25:14) (CCA67).
  4. To judge cases of liability of a paid depositary (Ex. 22:9) (affirmative).
  5. To adjudicate cases of loss for which a gratuitous borrower is liable (Ex. 22:13-14) (affirmative).
  6. To adjudicate cases of inheritances (Num. 27:8-11) (CCA73).
  7. To judge cases of damage caused by an uncovered pit (Ex. 21:33-34) (affirmative).
  8. To judge cases of injuries caused by beasts (Ex. 21:35-36) (affirmative).
  9. To adjudicate cases of damage caused by trespass of cattle (Ex. 22:4) (affirmative).
  10. To adjudicate cases of damage caused by fire (Ex. 22:5) (affirmative).
  11. To adjudicate cases of damage caused by a gratuitous depositary (Ex. 22:6-7) (affirmative).
  12. To adjudicate other cases between a plaintiff and a defendant (Ex. 22:8) (affirmative).
  13. Not to curse a judge (Ex. 22:27) (CCN63).
  14. That one who possesses evidence shall testify in Court (Lev. 5:1) (affirmative).
  15. Not to testify falsely (Ex. 20:13) (CCN39).
  16. That a witness, who has testified in a capital case, shall not lay down the law in that particular case (Num. 35:30) (negative).
  17. That a transgressor shall not testify (Ex. 23:1) (CCN75).
  18. That the court shall not accept the testimony of a close relative of the defendant in matters of capital punishment (Deut. 24:16) (CCN74).
  19. Not to hear one of the parties to a suit in the absence of the other party (Ex. 23:1) (CCN65).
  20. To examine witnesses thoroughly (Deut. 13:15) (affirmative).
  21. Not to decide a case on the evidence of a single witness (Deut. 19:15) (CCN73).
  22. To give the decision according to the majority, when there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Sanhedrin as to matters of law (Ex. 23:2) (affirmative).
  23. Not to decide, in capital cases, according to the view of the majority, when those who are for condemnation exceed by one only, those who are for acquittal (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
  24. That, in capital cases, one who had argued for acquittal, shall not later on argue for condemnation (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
  25. To treat parties in a litigation with equal impartiality (Lev. 19:15) (affirmative).
  26. Not to render iniquitous decisions (Lev. 19:15) (CCN69).
  27. Not to favor a great man when trying a case (Lev. 19:15) (CCN70).
  28. Not to take a bribe (Ex. 23:8) (CCN71).
  29. Not to be afraid of a bad man, when trying a case (Deut. 1:17) (CCN72).
  30. Not to be moved in trying a case, by the poverty of one of the parties (Ex. 23:3; Lev. 19:15) (CCN66).
  31. Not to pervert the judgment of strangers or orphans (Deut. 24:17) (CCN68).
  32. Not to pervert the judgment of a sinner (a person poor in fulfillment of commandments) (Ex. 23:6) (CCN67).
  33. Not to render a decision on one’s personal opinion, but only on the evidence of two witnesses, who saw what actually occurred (Ex. 23:7) (negative).
  34. Not to execute one guilty of a capital offense, before he has stood his trial (Num. 35:12) (negative).
  35. To accept the rulings of every Supreme Court in Israel (Deut. 17:11) (affirmative).
  36. Not to rebel against the orders of the Court (Deut. 17:11) (CCN158).

Injuries and Damages

  1. To make a parapet for your roof (Deut. 22:8) (CCA75). See Love and Brotherhood.
  2. Not to leave something that might cause hurt (Deut. 22:8) (CCN190). See Love and Brotherhood.
  3. To save the pursued even at the cost of the life of the pursuer (Deut. 25:12) (affirmative). See Life.
  4. Not to spare a pursuer, but he is to be slain before he reaches the pursued and slays the latter, or uncovers his nakedness (Deut. 25:12) (negative).

Property and Property Rights

  1. Not to sell a field in the land of Israel in perpetuity (Lev. 25:23) (negative).
  2. Not to change the character of the open land (about the cities of) the Levites or of their fields; not to sell it in perpetuity, but it may be redeemed at any time (Lev. 25:34) (negative). See Levi.
  3. That houses sold within a walled city may be redeemed within a year (Lev. 25:29) (affirmative).
  4. Not to remove landmarks (property boundaries) (Deut. 19:14) (CCN85).
  5. Not to swear falsely in denial of another’s property rights (Lev. 19:11) (CCN30).
  6. Not to deny falsely another’s property rights (Lev. 19:11) (CCN36).
  7. Never to settle in the land of Egypt (Deut. 17:16) (CCN192).
  8. Not to steal personal property (Lev. 19:11) (CCN34).
  9. To restore that which one took by robbery (Lev. 5:23) (CCA68).
  10. To return lost property (Deut. 22:1) (CCA69).
  11. Not to pretend not to have seen lost property, to avoid the obligation to return it (Deut. 22:3) (CCN182).

Criminal Laws

  1. Not to slay an innocent person (Ex. 20:13) (CCN32). See Life.
  2. Not to kidnap any person of Israel (Ex. 20:13) (according to the Talmud, this verse refers to stealing a person, distinguished from Lev. 19:11, regarding the taking of property) (CCN33).
  3. Not to rob by violence (Lev. 19:13) (CCN35).
  4. Not to defraud (Lev. 19:13) (CCN37).
  5. Not to covet what belongs to another (Ex. 20:14) (CCN40).
  6. Not to crave something that belongs to another (Deut. 5:18) (CCN41).
  7. Not to indulge in evil thoughts and sights (Num. 15:39) (CCN156).

Punishment and Restitution

  1. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by decapitation with the sword (Ex. 21:20; Lev. 26:25) (affirmative).
  2. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by strangulation (Lev. 20:10) (affirmative).
  3. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by burning with fire (Lev. 20:14) (affirmative).
  4. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by stoning (Deut. 22:24) (affirmative).
  5. To hang the dead body of one who has incurred that penalty (Deut. 21:22) (affirmative).
  6. That the dead body of an executed criminal shall not remain hanging on the tree over night (Deut. 21:23) (negative).
  7. To inter the executed on the day of execution (Deut. 21:23) (affirmative)
  8. Not to accept ransom from a murderer (Num. 35:31) (negative).
  9. To exile one who committed accidental homicide (Num. 35:25) (affirmative).
  10. To establish six cities of refuge (for those who committed accidental homicide) (Deut. 19:3) (affirmative).
  11. Not to accept ransom from an accidental homicide, so as to relieve him from exile (Num. 35:32) (negative).
  12. To decapitate the heifer in the manner prescribed (in expiation of a murder on the road, the perpetrator of which remained undiscovered) (Deut. 21:4) (affirmative).
  13. Not to plow nor sow the rough valley (in which a heifer’s neck was broken) (Deut. 21:4) (negative).
  14. To adjudge a thief to pay compensation or (in certain cases) suffer death (Ex. 21:16; Ex. 21:37; Ex. 22:1) (affirmative).
  15. That he who inflicts a bodily injury shall pay monetary compensation (Ex. 21:18-19) (affirmative).
  16. To impose a penalty of fifty shekels upon the seducer (of an unbetrothed virgin) and enforce the other rules in connection with the case (Ex. 22:15-16) (affirmative).
  17. That the violator (of an unbetrothed virgin) shall marry her (Deut. 22:28-29) (affirmative).
  18. That one who has raped a damsel and has then (in accordance with the law) married her, may not divorce her (Deut. 22:29) (negative).
  19. Not to inflict punishment on Shabbat (Ex. 35:3) (because some punishments were inflicted by fire) (negative). See Shabbat.
  20. To punish the wicked by the infliction of stripes (Deut. 25:2) (affirmative).
  21. Not to exceed the statutory number of stripes laid on one who has incurred that punishment (Deut. 25:3) (and by implication, not to strike anyone) (CCN43).
  22. Not to spare the offender, in imposing the prescribed penalties on one who has caused damage (Deut. 19:13) (negative).
  23. To do unto false witnesses as they had purposed to do (to the accused) (Deut. 19:19) (affirmative).
  24. Not to punish any one who has committed an offense under duress (Deut. 22:26) (negative).


  1. To heed the call of every prophet in each generation, provided that he neither adds to, nor takes away from the Torah (Deut. 18:15) (affirmative).
  2. Not to prophesy falsely (Deut. 18:20) (CCN175).
  3. Not to refrain from putting a false prophet to death nor to be in fear of him (Deut. 18:22) (negative).

Idolatry, Idolaters and Idolatrous Practices

  1. Not to make a graven image; neither to make it oneself nor to have it made by others (Ex. 20:4) (CCN9).
  2. Not to make any figures for ornament, even if they are not worshipped (Ex. 20:20) (CCN144).
  3. Not to make idols even for others (Ex. 34:17; Lev. 19:4) (CCN10).
  4. Not to use the ornament of any object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 7:25) (CCN17).
  5. Not to make use of an idol or its accessory objects, offerings, or libations (Deut. 7:26) (CCN18). See Grape Products.
  6. Not to drink wine of idolaters (Deut. 32:38) (CCN15). See Grape Products.
  7. Not to worship an idol in the way in which it is usually worshipped (Ex. 20:5) (CCN12).
  8. Not to bow down to an idol, even if that is not its mode of worship (Ex. 20:5) (CCN11).
  9. Not to prophesy in the name of an idol (Ex. 23:13; Deut. 18:20) (CCN27).
  10. Not to hearken to one who prophesies in the name of an idol (Deut. 13:4) (CCN22).
  11. Not to lead the children of Israel astray to idolatry (Ex. 23:13) (CCN14).
  12. Not to entice an Israelite to idolatry (Deut. 13:12) (CCN23).
  13. To destroy idolatry and its appurtenances (Deut. 12:2-3) (affirmative).
  14. Not to love the enticer to idolatry (Deut. 13:9) (CCN24).
  15. Not to give up hating the enticer to idolatry (Deut. 13:9) (CCN25).
  16. Not to save the enticer from capital punishment, but to stand by at his execution (Deut. 13:9) (negative).
  17. A person whom he attempted to entice to idolatry shall not urge pleas for the acquittal of the enticer (Deut. 13:9) (CCN26).
  18. A person whom he attempted to entice shall not refrain from giving evidence of the enticer’s guilt, if he has such evidence (Deut. 13:9) (negative).
  19. Not to swear by an idol to its worshipers, nor cause them to swear by it (Ex. 23:13) (CCN13).
  20. Not to turn one’s attention to idolatry (Lev. 19:4) (CCN16).
  21. Not to adopt the institutions of idolaters nor their customs (Lev. 18:3; Lev. 20:23) (CCN21).
  22. Not to pass a child through the fire to Molech (Lev. 18:21) (negative).
  23. Not to suffer any one practicing witchcraft to live (Ex. 22:17) (negative).
  24. Not to practice onein (observing times or seasons as favorable or unfavorable, using astrology) (Lev. 19:26) (CCN166).
  25. Not to practice nachesh (doing things based on signs and portents; using charms and incantations) (Lev. 19:26) (CCN165).
  26. Not to consult ovoth (ghosts) (Lev. 19:31) (CCN170).
  27. Not to consult yid’onim (wizards) (Lev. 19:31) (CCN171).
  28. Not to practice kisuf (magic using herbs, stones and objects that people use) (Deut. 18:10) (CCN168).
  29. Not to practice kessem (a general term for magical practices) (Deut. 18:10) (CCN167).
  30. Not to practice the art of a chover chaver (casting spells over snakes and scorpions) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN169).
  31. Not to enquire of an ob (a ghost) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN172).
  32. Not to seek the maytim (dead) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN174).
  33. Not to enquire of a yid’oni (wizard) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN173).
  34. Not to remove the entire beard, like the idolaters (Lev. 19:27) (CCN177).
  35. Not to round the corners of the head, as the idolatrous priests do (Lev. 19:27) (CCN176).
  36. Not to cut oneself or make incisions in one’s flesh in grief, like the idolaters (Lev. 19:28; Deut. 14:1) (CCN28).
  37. Not to tattoo the body like the idolaters (Lev. 19:28) (CCN163).
  38. Not to make a bald spot for the dead (Deut. 14:1) (CCN164).
  39. Not to plant a tree for worship (Deut. 16:21) (negative).
  40. Not to set up a pillar (for worship) (Deut. 16:22) (CCN162).
  41. Not to show favor to idolaters (Deut. 7:2) (CCN20).
  42. Not to make a covenant with the seven (Canaanite, idolatrous) nations (Ex. 23:32; Deut. 7:2) (negative).
  43. Not to settle idolaters in our land (Ex. 23:33) (negative) (CCI26).
  44. To slay the inhabitants of a city that has become idolatrous and burn that city (Deut. 13:16-17) (affirmative).
  45. Not to rebuild a city that has been led astray to idolatry (Deut. 13:17) (negative).
  46. Not to make use of the property of city that has been so led astray (Deut. 13:18) (negative).

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

  1. Not to cross-breed cattle of different species (Lev. 19:19) (according to the Talmud, this also applies to birds) (CCN142).
  2. Not to sow different kinds of seed together in one field (Lev. 19:19) (CCN107).
  3. Not to eat the fruit of a tree for three years from the time it was planted (Lev. 19:23) (CCN105). See Tu B’Shevat.
  4. That the fruit of fruit-bearing trees in the fourth year of their planting shall be sacred like the second tithe and eaten in Jerusalem (Lev. 19:24) (affirmative) (CCI16). See Tu B’Shevat.
  5. Not to sow grain or herbs in a vineyard (Deut. 22:9) (negative).
  6. Not to eat the produce of diverse seeds sown in a vineyard (Deut. 22:9) (negative).
  7. Not to work with beasts of different species, yoked together (Deut. 22:10) (CCN180).


  1. That a man shall not wear women’s clothing (Deut. 22:5) (CCN179).
  2. That a woman should not wear men’s clothing (Deut. 22:5) (CCN178).
  3. Not to wear garments made of wool and linen mixed together (Deut. 22:11) (CCN181).

The Firstborn

  1. To redeem the firstborn human male (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20; Num. 18:15) (CCA54). See Pidyon Ha-Ben: Redemption of the Firstborn.
  2. To redeem the firstling of an ass (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20) (CCA55).
  3. To break the neck of the firstling of an ass if it is not redeemed (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20) (CCA56).
  4. Not to redeem the firstling of a clean beast (Num. 18:17) (CCN109).

Kohanim and Levites

  1. That the kohanim shall put on priestly vestments for the service (Ex. 28:2) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  2. Not to tear the High Kohein’s robe (Ex. 28:32) (negative). See Kohein.
  3. That the kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary at all times (i.e., at times when he is not performing service) (Lev. 16:2) (negative). See Kohein.
  4. That the ordinary kohein shall not defile himself by contact with any dead, other than immediate relatives (Lev. 21:1-3) (CCN141). See Kohein, Care for the Dead.
  5. That the kohanim defile themselves for their deceased relatives (by attending their burial), and mourn for them like other Israelites, who are commanded to mourn for their relatives (Lev. 21:3) (CCA59). See Kohein, Care for the Dead; Mourning.
  6. That a kohein who had an immersion during the day (to cleanse him from his uncleanness) shall not serve in the Sanctuary until after sunset (Lev. 21:6) (negative). See Kohein.
  7. That a kohein shall not marry a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7) (CCN140). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  8. That a kohein shall not marry a harlot (Lev. 21:7) (CCN138). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  9. That a kohein shall not marry a profaned woman (Lev. 21:7) (CCN139). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  10. To show honor to a kohein, and to give him precedence in all things that are holy (Lev. 21:8) (CCA50). See Kohein.
  11. That a High Kohein shall not defile himself with any dead, even if they are relatives (Lev. 21:11) (negative). See Kohein, Care for the Dead.
  12. That a High Kohein shall not go (under the same roof) with a dead body (Lev. 21:11) It has been learnt by tradition that a kohein, who does so, violates the prohibition, “Neither shall he go in “, and also the prohibition “He shall not defile himself” (negative). See Kohein, Care for the Dead.
  13. That the High Kohein shall marry a virgin (Lev. 21:13) (affirmative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  14. That the High Kohein shall not marry a widow (Lev. 21:14) (negative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  15. That the High Kohein shall not cohabit with a widow, even without marriage, because he profanes her (Lev. 21:15) (negative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  16. That a person with a physical blemish shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Lev. 21:17) (negative).
  17. That a kohein with a temporary blemish shall not serve there (Lev. 21:21) (negative). See Kohein.
  18. That a person with a physical blemish shall not enter the Sanctuary further than the altar (Lev. 21:23) (negative).
  19. That a kohein who is unclean shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Lev. 22:2-3) (negative). See Kohein.
  20. To send the unclean out of the Camp of the Shechinah, that is, out of the Sanctuary (Num. 5:2) (affirmative).
  21. That a kohein who is unclean shall not enter the courtyard (Num. 5:2-3) This refers to the Camp of the Shechinah (negative). See Kohein.
  22. That the kohanim shall bless Israel (Num. 6:23) (CCA58). See Kohein.
  23. To set apart a portion of the dough for the kohein (Num. 15:20) (CCA57). See Kohein.
  24. That the Levites shall not occupy themselves with the service that belongs to the kohanim, nor the kohanim with that belonging to the Levites (Num. 18:3) (negative). See Kohein, Levi.
  25. That one not a descendant of Aaron in the male line shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Num. 18:4-7) (negative).
  26. That the Levite shall serve in the Sanctuary (Num. 18:23) (affirmative). See Levi.
  27. To give the Levites cities to dwell in, these to serve also as cities of refuge (Num. 35:2) (affirmative). See Levi.
  28. That none of the tribe of Levi shall take any portion of territory in the land (of Israel) (Deut. 18:1) (negative). See Levi.
  29. That none of the tribe of Levi shall take any share of the spoil (at the conquest of the Promised Land) (Deut. 18:1) (negative). See Levi.
  30. That the kohanim shall serve in the Sanctuary in divisions, but on festivals, they all serve together (Deut. 18:6-8) (affirmative). See Kohein.

T’rumah, Tithes and Taxes

  1. That an uncircumcised person shall not eat of the t’rumah (heave offering), and the same applies to other holy things. This rule is inferred from the law of the Paschal offering, by similarity of phrase (Ex. 12:44-45 and Lev. 22:10) but it is not explicitly set forth in the Torah. Traditionally, it has been learnt that the rule that the uncircumcised must not eat holy things is an essential principle of the Torah and not an enactment of the Scribes (negative). See Brit Milah: Circumcision
  2. Not to alter the order of separating the t’rumah and the tithes; the separation be in the order first-fruits at the beginning, then the t’rumah, then the first tithe, and last the second tithe (Ex. 22:28) (negative) (CCI19).
  3. To give half a shekel every year (to the Sanctuary for provision of the public sacrifices) (Ex. 30:13) (affirmative).
  4. That a kohein who is unclean shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:3-4) (negative). See Kohein.
  5. That a person who is not a kohein or the wife or unmarried daughter of a kohein shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:10) (negative). See Kohein.
  6. That a sojourner with a kohein or his hired servant shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:10) (negative). See Kohein.
  7. Not to eat tevel (something from which the t’rumah and tithe have not yet been separated) (Lev. 22:15) (negative) (CCI18).
  8. To set apart the tithe of the produce (one tenth of the produce after taking out t’rumah) for the Levites (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:24) (affirmative) (CCI12). See Levi.
  9. To tithe cattle (Lev. 27:32) (affirmative).
  10. Not to sell the tithe of the herd (Lev. 27:32-33) (negative).
  11. That the Levites shall set apart a tenth of the tithes, which they had received from the Israelites, and give it to the kohanim (called the t’rumah of the tithe) (Num. 18:26) (affirmative) (CCI13). See Kohein, Levi.
  12. Not to eat the second tithe of cereals outside Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  13. Not to consume the second tithe of the vintage outside of Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  14. Not to consume the second tithe of the oil outside of Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  15. Not to forsake the Levites (Deut. 12:19); but their gifts (dues) should be given to them, so that they might rejoice therewith on each and every festival (negative). See Levi.
  16. To set apart the second tithe in the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the sabbatical cycle to be eaten by its owner in Jerusalem (Deut. 14:22) (affirmative) (CCI14) (today, it is set aside but not eaten in Jerusalem).
  17. To set apart the second tithe in the third and sixth year of the sabbatical cycle for the poor (Deut. 14:28-29) (affirmative) (CCI15) (today, it must be separated out but need not be given to the poor).
  18. To give the kohein the due portions of the carcass of cattle (Deut. 18:3) (according to the Talmud, this is not mandatory in the present outside of Israel, but it is permissible, and some observant people do so) (CCA51). See Kohein.
  19. To give the first of the fleece to the kohein (Deut. 18:4) (according to the Talmud, this is not mandatory in the present outside of Israel, but it is permissible, and some observant people do so) (CCA52). See Kohein.
  20. To set apart t’rumah g’dolah (the great heave-offering, that is, a small portion of the grain, wine and oil) for the kohein (Deut. 18:4) (affirmative) (CCI11). See Kohein.
  21. Not to expend the proceeds of the second tithe on anything but food and drink (Deut. 26:14). Anything outside of things necessary for sustenance comes within the class in the phrase “Given for the dead” (negative).
  22. Not to eat the Second Tithe, even in Jerusalem, in a state of uncleanness, until the tithe had been redeemed (Deut. 26:14) (negative).
  23. Not to eat the Second Tithe, when mourning (Deut. 26:14) (negative).
  24. To make the declaration, when bringing the second tithe to the Sanctuary (Deut. 26:13) (affirmative) (CCI17).

The Temple, the Sanctuary and Sacred Objects

  1. Not to build an altar of hewn stone (Ex. 20:22) (negative).
  2. Not to mount the altar by steps (Ex. 20:23) (negative).
  3. To build the Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) (affirmative).
  4. Not to remove the staves from the Ark (Ex. 25:15) (negative).
  5. To set the showbread and the frankincense before the L-rd every Shabbat (Ex. 25:30) (affirmative).
  6. To kindle lights in the Sanctuary (Ex. 27:21) (affirmative).
  7. That the breastplate shall not be loosened from the ephod (Ex. 28:28) (negative).
  8. To offer up incense twice daily (Ex. 30:7) (affirmative).
  9. Not to offer strange incense nor any sacrifice upon the golden altar (Ex. 30:9) (negative).
  10. That the kohein shall wash his hands and feet at the time of service (Ex. 30:19) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  11. To prepare the oil of anointment and anoint high kohanim and kings with it (Ex. 30:31) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  12. Not to compound oil for lay use after the formula of the anointing oil (Ex. 30:32-33) (CCN145).
  13. Not to anoint a stranger with the anointing oil (Ex. 30:32) (negative).
  14. Not to compound anything after the formula of the incense (Ex. 30:37) (CCN146).
  15. That he who, in error, makes unlawful use of sacred things, shall make restitution of the value of his trespass and add a fifth (Lev. 5:16) (affirmative).
  16. To remove the ashes from the altar (Lev. 6:3) (affirmative).
  17. To keep fire always burning on the altar of the burnt-offering (Lev. 6:6) (affirmative).
  18. Not to extinguish the fire on the altar (Lev. 6:6) (negative).
  19. That a kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary with disheveled hair (Lev. 10:6) (negative). See Kohein.
  20. That a kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary with torn garments (Lev. 10:6) (negative). See Kohein.
  21. That the kohein shall not leave the Courtyard of the Sanctuary, during service (Lev. 10:7) (negative). See Kohein.
  22. That an intoxicated person shall not enter the Sanctuary nor give decisions in matters of the Law (Lev. 10:9-11) (negative).
  23. To revere the Sanctuary (Lev. 19:30) (today, this applies to synagogues) (CCA18). See Synagogues, Shuls and Temples.
  24. That when the Ark is carried, it should be carried on the shoulder (Num. 7:9) (affirmative).
  25. To observe the second Passover (Num. 9:11) (affirmative).
  26. To eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb on it, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Num. 9:11) (affirmative).
  27. Not to leave any flesh of the Paschal lamb brought on the second Passover until the morning (Num. 9:12) (negative).
  28. Not to break a bone of the Paschal lamb brought on the second Passover (Num. 9:12) (negative).
  29. To sound the trumpets at the offering of sacrifices and in times of trouble (Num. 10:9-10) (affirmative).
  30. To watch over the edifice continually (Num. 18:2) (affirmative).
  31. Not to allow the Sanctuary to remain unwatched (Num. 18:5) (negative).
  32. That an offering shall be brought by one who has in error committed a trespass against sacred things, or robbed, or lain carnally with a bond-maid betrothed to a man, or denied what was deposited with him and swore falsely to support his denial. This is called a guilt-offering for a known trespass (affirmative). See Asham: Guilt Offering.
  33. Not to destroy anything of the Sanctuary, of synagogues, or of houses of study, nor erase the holy names (of G-d); nor may sacred scriptures be destroyed (Deut. 12:2-4) (CCN157). See The Name of G-d.

Sacrifices and Offerings

  1. To sanctify the firstling of clean cattle and offer it up (Ex. 13:2; Deut. 15:19) (at the present time, it is not offered up) (CCA53).
  2. To slay the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:6) (affirmative).
  3. To eat the flesh of the Paschal sacrifice on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan (Ex. 12:8) (affirmative).
  4. Not to eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb raw or sodden (Ex. 12:9) (negative).
  5. Not to leave any portion of the flesh of the Paschal sacrifice until the morning unconsumed (Ex. 12:10) (negative).
  6. Not to give the flesh of the Paschal lamb to an Israelite who had become an apostate (Ex. 12:43) (negative).
  7. Not to give flesh of the Paschal lamb to a stranger who lives among you to eat (Ex. 12:45) (negative).
  8. Not to take any of the flesh of the Paschal lamb from the company’s place of assembly (Ex. 12:46) (negative).
  9. Not to break a bone of the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:46) (negative).
  10. That the uncircumcised shall not eat of the flesh of the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:48) (negative). See Brit Milah: Circumcision
  11. Not to slaughter the Paschal lamb while there is chametz in the home (Ex. 23:18; Ex. 24:25) (negative).
  12. Not to leave the part of the Paschal lamb that should be burnt on the altar until the morning, when it will no longer be fit to be burnt (Ex. 23:18; Ex. 24:25) (negative).
  13. Not to go up to the Sanctuary for the festival without bringing an offering (Ex. 23:15) (negative).
  14. To bring the first fruits to the Sanctuary (Ex. 23:19) (affirmative).
  15. That the flesh of a sin-offering and guilt-offering shall be eaten (Ex. 29:33) (affirmative). See Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings
  16. That one not of the seed of Aaron, shall not eat the flesh of the holy sacrifices (Ex. 29:33) (negative).
  17. To observe the procedure of the burnt-offering (Lev. 1:3) (affirmative). See Olah: Burnt Offering.
  18. To observe the procedure of the meal-offering (Lev. 2:1) (affirmative). See Food and Drink Offerings.
  19. Not to offer up leaven or honey (Lev. 2:11) (negative).
  20. That every sacrifice be salted (Lev. 2:13) (affirmative).
  21. Not to offer up any offering unsalted (Lev. 2:13) (negative).
  22. That the Court of Judgment shall offer up a sacrifice if they have erred in a judicial pronouncement (Lev. 4:13) (affirmative).
  23. That an individual shall bring a sin-offering if he has sinned in error by committing a transgression, the conscious violation of which is punished with excision (Lev. 4:27-28) (affirmative). See Chatat: Sin Offering.
  24. To offer a sacrifice of varying value in accordance with one’s means (Lev. 5:7) (affirmative).
  25. Not to sever completely the head of a fowl brought as a sin-offering (Lev. 5:8) (negative).
  26. Not to put olive oil in a sin-offering made of flour (Lev. 5:11) (negative).
  27. Not to put frankincense on a sin-offering made of flour (Lev. 5:11) (negative).
  28. That an individual shall bring an offering if he is in doubt as to whether he has committed a sin for which one has to bring a sin-offering. This is called a guilt-offering for doubtful sins (Lev. 5:17-19) (affirmative). See Asham: Guilt Offering.
  29. That the remainder of the meal offerings shall be eaten (Lev. 6:9) (affirmative).
  30. Not to allow the remainder of the meal offerings to become leavened (Lev. 6:10) (negative).
  31. That the High Kohein shall offer a meal offering daily (Lev. 6:13) (affirmative).
  32. Not to eat of the meal offering brought by the kohanim (Lev. 6:16) (negative).
  33. To observe the procedure of the sin-offering (Lev. 6:18) (affirmative). See Chatat: Sin Offering.
  34. Not to eat of the flesh of sin offerings, the blood of which is brought within the Sanctuary and sprinkled towards the Veil (Lev. 6:23) (negative).
  35. To observe the procedure of the guilt-offering (Lev. 7:1) (affirmative).See Asham: Guilt Offering.
  36. To observe the procedure of the peace-offering (Lev. 7:11) (affirmative). See Zebach Sh’lamim: Peace Offering.
  37. To burn meat of the holy sacrifice that has remained over (Lev. 7:17) (affirmative).
  38. Not to eat of sacrifices that are eaten beyond the appointed time for eating them (Lev. 7:18) The penalty is excision (negative).
  39. Not to eat of holy things that have become unclean (Lev. 7:19) (negative).
  40. To burn meat of the holy sacrifice that has become unclean (Lev. 7:19) (affirmative).
  41. That a person who is unclean shall not eat of things that are holy (Lev. 7:20) (negative).
  42. A kohein’s daughter who profaned herself shall not eat of the holy things, neither of the heave offering nor of the breast, nor of the shoulder of peace offerings (Lev. 10:14, Lev. 22:12) (negative). See Kohein.
  43. That a woman after childbirth shall bring an offering when she is clean (Lev. 12:6) (affirmative). See Birth.
  44. That the leper shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed (Lev. 14:10) (affirmative).
  45. That a man having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed of his issue (Lev. 15:13-15) (affirmative).
  46. That a woman having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after she is cleansed of her issue (Lev. 15:28-30) (affirmative).
  47. To observe, on Yom Kippur, the service appointed for that day, regarding the sacrifice, confessions, sending away of the scapegoat, etc. (Lev. 16:3-34) (affirmative).
  48. Not to slaughter beasts set apart for sacrifices outside (the Sanctuary) (Lev. 17:3-4) (negative).
  49. Not to eat flesh of a sacrifice that has been left over (beyond the time appointed for its consumption) (Lev. 19:8 ) (negative).
  50. Not to sanctify blemished cattle for sacrifice on the altar (Lev. 22:20) This text prohibits such beasts being set apart for sacrifice on the altar (negative).
  51. That every animal offered up shall be without blemish (Lev. 22:21) (affirmative).
  52. Not to inflict a blemish on cattle set apart for sacrifice (Lev. 22:21) (negative).
  53. Not to slaughter blemished cattle as sacrifices (Lev. 22:22) (negative).
  54. Not to burn the limbs of blemished cattle upon the altar (Lev. 22:22) (negative).
  55. Not to sprinkle the blood of blemished cattle upon the altar (Lev. 22:24) (negative).
  56. Not to offer up a blemished beast that comes from non-Israelites (Lev. 22:25) (negative).
  57. That sacrifices of cattle can only take place when they are at least eight days old (Lev. 22:27) (affirmative).
  58. Not to leave any flesh of the thanksgiving offering until the morning (Lev. 22:30) (negative).
  59. To offer up the meal-offering of the Omer on the morrow after the first day of Passover, together with one lamb (Lev. 23:10) (affirmative). See The Counting of the Omer.
  60. Not to eat bread made of new grain before the Omer of barley has been offered up on the second day of Passover (Lev. 23:14) (CCN101). See The Counting of the Omer.
  61. Not to eat roasted grain of the new produce before that time (Lev. 23:14) (CCN102). See The Counting of the Omer.
  62. Not to eat fresh ears of the new grain before that time (Lev. 23:14) (CCN103). See The Counting of the Omer.
  63. To bring on Shavu’ot loaves of bread together with the sacrifices which are then offered up in connection with the loaves (Lev. 23:17-20) (affirmative).
  64. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Passover (Lev. 23:36) (affirmative).
  65. That one who vows to the L-rd the monetary value of a person shall pay the amount appointed in the Scriptural portion (Lev. 27:2-8) (affirmative).
  66. If a beast is exchanged for one that had been set apart as an offering, both become sacred (Lev. 27:10) (affirmative).
  67. Not to exchange a beast set aside for sacrifice (Lev. 27:10) (negative).
  68. That one who vows to the L-rd the monetary value of an unclean beast shall pay its value (Lev. 27:11-13) (affirmative).
  69. That one who vows the value of his house shall pay according to the appraisal of the kohein (Lev. 27:11-13) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  70. That one who sanctifies to the L-rd a portion of his field shall pay according to the estimation appointed in the Scriptural portion (Lev. 27:16-24) (affirmative).
  71. Not to transfer a beast set apart for sacrifice from one class of sacrifices to another (Lev. 27:26) (negative).
  72. To decide in regard to dedicated property as to which is sacred to the Lord and which belongs to the kohein (Lev. 27:28) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  73. Not to sell a field devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28) (negative).
  74. Not to redeem a field devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28) (negative).
  75. To make confession before the L-rd of any sin that one has committed, when bringing a sacrifice and at other times (Num. 5:6-7) (CCA33).
  76. Not to put olive oil in the meal-offering of a woman suspected of adultery (Num. 5:15) (negative).
  77. Not to put frankincense on it (Num. 5:15) (negative).
  78. To offer up the regular sacrifices daily (two lambs as burnt offerings) (Num. 28:3) (affirmative).
  79. To offer up an additional sacrifice every Shabbat (two lambs) (Num. 28:9) (affirmative).
  80. To offer up an additional sacrifice every New Moon (Num. 28:11) (affirmative).
  81. To bring an additional offering on Shavu’ot (Num. 28:26-27) (affirmative).
  82. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Rosh Hashanah (Num. 29:1-6) (affirmative).
  83. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Yom Kippur (Num. 29:7-8) (affirmative).
  84. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Sukkot (Num. 29:12-34) (affirmative).
  85. To offer up an additional offering on Shemini Atzeret, which is a festival by itself (Num. 29:35-38) (affirmative).
  86. To bring all offerings, whether obligatory or freewill, on the first festival after these were incurred (Deut. 12:5-6) (affirmative).
  87. Not to offer up sacrifices outside (the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:13) (negative).
  88. To offer all sacrifices in the Sanctuary (Deut. 12:14) (affirmative).
  89. To redeem cattle set apart for sacrifices that contracted disqualifying blemishes, after which they may be eaten by anyone. (Deut. 12:15) (affirmative).
  90. Not to eat of the unblemished firstling outside Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  91. Not to eat the flesh of the burnt-offering (Deut. 12:17). This is a Prohibition applying to every trespasser, not to enjoy any of the holy things. If he does so, he commits a trespass (negative).
  92. That the kohanim shall not eat the flesh of the sin-offering or guilt-offering outside the Courtyard (of the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  93. Not to eat of the flesh of the sacrifices that are holy in a minor degree, before the blood has been sprinkled (on the altar), (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  94. That the kohein shall not eat the first-fruits before they are set down in the Courtyard (of the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  95. To take trouble to bring sacrifices to the Sanctuary from places outside the land of Israel (Deut. 12:26) (affirmative).
  96. Not to eat the flesh of beasts set apart as sacrifices, that have been rendered unfit to be offered up by deliberately inflicted blemish (Deut. 14:3) (negative).
  97. Not to do work with cattle set apart for sacrifice (Deut. 15:19) (negative).
  98. Not to shear beasts set apart for sacrifice (Deut. 15:19) (negative).
  99. Not to leave any portion of the festival offering brought on the fourteenth of Nissan unto the third day (Deut. 16:4) (negative).
  100. Not to offer up a beast that has a temporary blemish (Deut. 17:1) (negative).
  101. Not to bring sacrifices out of the hire of a harlot or price of a dog (apparently a euphemism for sodomy) (Deut. 23:19) (negative).
  102. To read the portion prescribed on bringing the first fruits (Deut. 26:5-10) (affirmative).

Ritual Purity and Impurity

  1. That eight species of creeping things defile by contact (Lev. 11:29-30) (affirmative).
  2. That foods become defiled by contact with unclean things (Lev. 11:34) (affirmative).
  3. That anyone who touches the carcass of a beast that died of itself shall be unclean (Lev. 11:39) (affirmative).
  4. That a lying-in woman is unclean like a menstruating woman (in terms of uncleanness) (Lev. 12:2-5) (affirmative).
  5. That a leper is unclean and defiles (Lev. 13:2-46) (affirmative).
  6. That the leper shall be universally recognized as such by the prescribed marks. So too, all other unclean persons should declare themselves as such (Lev. 13:45) (affirmative).
  7. That a leprous garment is unclean and defiles (Lev. 13:47-49) (affirmative).
  8. That a leprous house defiles (Lev. 14:34-46) (affirmative).
  9. That a man, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:1-15) (affirmative).
  10. That the seed of copulation defiles (Lev. 15:16) (affirmative).
  11. That purification from all kinds of defilement shall be effected by immersion in the waters of a mikvah (Lev. 15:16) (affirmative).
  12. That a menstruating woman is unclean and defiles others (Lev. 15:19-24) (affirmative).
  13. That a woman, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:25-27) (affirmative).
  14. To carry out the ordinance of the Red Heifer so that its ashes will always be available (Num. 19:9) (affirmative). See Parah Adumah: Red Heifer.
  15. That a corpse defiles (Num. 19:11-16) (affirmative). See Care for the Dead.
  16. That the waters of separation defile one who is clean, and cleanse the unclean from pollution by a dead body (Num. 19:19-22) (affirmative).

Lepers and Leprosy

  1. Not to drove off the hair of the scall (Lev. 13:33) (negative).
  2. That the procedure of cleansing leprosy, whether of a man or of a house, takes place with cedar-wood, hyssop, scarlet thread, two birds, and running water (Lev. 14:1-7) (affirmative).
  3. That the leper shall shave all his hair (Lev. 14:9) (affirmative).
  4. Not to pluck out the marks of leprosy (Deut. 24:8) (negative).

The King

  1. Not to curse a ruler, that is, the King or the head of the College in the land of Israel (Ex. 22:27) (negative).
  2. To appoint a king (Deut. 17:15) (affirmative).
  3. Not to appoint as ruler over Israel, one who comes from non-Israelites (Deut. 17:15) (negative).
  4. That the King shall not acquire an excessive number of horses (Deut. 17:16) (negative).
  5. That the King shall not take an excessive number of wives (Deut. 17:17) (negative).
  6. That he shall not accumulate an excessive quantity of gold and silver (Deut. 17:17) (negative).
  7. That the King shall write a scroll of the Torah for himself, in addition to the one that every person should write, so that he writes two scrolls (Deut. 17:18) (affirmative). See Torah.


  1. That a Nazarite shall not drink wine, or anything mixed with wine which tastes like wine; and even if the wine or the mixture has turned sour, it is prohibited to him (Num. 6:3) (negative).
  2. That he shall not eat fresh grapes (Num. 6:3) (negative).
  3. That he shall not eat dried grapes (raisins) (Num. 6:3) (negative).
  4. That he shall not eat the kernels of the grapes (Num. 6:4) (negative).
  5. That he shall not eat of the skins of the grapes (Num. 6:4) (negative).
  6. That the Nazarite shall permit his hair to grow (Num. 6:5) (affirmative).
  7. That the Nazarite shall not cut his hair (Num. 6:5) (negative).
  8. That he shall not enter any covered structure where there is a dead body (Num. 6:6) (negative).
  9. That a Nazarite shall not defile himself for any dead person (by being in the presence of the corpse) (Num. 6:7) (negative).
  10. That the Nazarite shall shave his hair when he brings his offerings at the completion of the period of his Nazariteship, or within that period if he has become defiled (Num. 6:9) (affirmative).


  1. That those engaged in warfare shall not fear their enemies nor be panic-stricken by them during battle (Deut. 3:22, 7:21, 20:3) (negative).
  2. To anoint a special kohein (to speak to the soldiers) in a war (Deut. 20:2) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  3. In a permissive war (as distinguished from obligatory ones), to observe the procedure prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 20:10) (affirmative).
  4. Not to keep alive any individual of the seven Canaanite nations (Deut. 20:16) (negative).
  5. To exterminate the seven Canaanite nations from the land of Israel (Deut. 20:17) (affirmative).
  6. Not to destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare) (Deut. 20:19-20) (CCN191).
  7. To deal with a beautiful woman taken captive in war in the manner prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 21:10-14) (affirmative).
  8. Not to sell a beautiful woman, (taken captive in war) (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
  9. Not to degrade a beautiful woman (taken captive in war) to the condition of a bondwoman (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
  10. Not to offer peace to the Ammonites and the Moabites before waging war on them, as should be done to other nations (Deut. 23:7) (negative).
  11. That anyone who is unclean shall not enter the Camp of the Levites (Deut. 23:11) (according to the Talmud, in the present day this means the Temple mount) (CCN193).
  12. To have a place outside the camp for sanitary purposes (Deut. 23:13) (affirmative).
  13. To keep that place sanitary (Deut. 23:14-15) (affirmative).
  14. Always to remember what Amalek did (Deut. 25:17) (CCA76).
  15. That the evil done to us by Amalek shall not be forgotten (Deut. 25:19) (CCN194).
  16. To destroy the seed of Amalek (Deut. 25:19) (CCA77).

Persistent HRM Object Model Errors Part II — Separating Position From Worker

Objects To The Left Of Us, Objects To The Right

Objects To The Left Of Us, Objects To The Right


I’ve been on the warpath about flawed HR technology object models (and their predecessors, flawed data models) for longer than most of you have been sentient.  My pique on this subject goes way back to the late 80’s and a now infamous consulting gig at then PeopleSoft in its early days when I expressed my concerns about the flaws in their data model (some of which have surely been addressed, but whose core flaws ran really deep).  I loved the technology leap that PeopleSoft made when they came to market in the late 80’s, and I loved the vision Row Henson, then their HRM product strategist, had for HRM and her HRMS products, but I deplored the fact that they had not produced a contemporary data model of HRM as the basis for their then next generation software.  Fortunately, Dave Duffield and his leadership team didn’t hold my data model dinging against me, except perhaps for their sales leader.

Over the following decades, I wrote and spoke publicly about this subject often enough that folks were beginning to get bored with my preaching (did you think I hadn’t noticed?).  But all of the HR technology built throughout the 80’s and 90’s, and even much of what came to market early in the new century, continued to be built upon flawed model foundations (and some vendors still weren’t using formal models in their designs, if you can even believe that).  But instead of just wringing my hands, I began licensing my HRM Object Model “Starter Kit” across the vendor community from the mid-90’s, along with the recommended architectural behaviors, in hopes that would make a dent in improving HR technology underpinnings — and it did.

Then, in response to many requests, iIn May 2012, I published a blog post that covered the basics of objects and object modeling — the very basic basics.  Assuming you’ve all been studying this topic since then (if you hadn’t already done so), it seems like a good time to note that simply applying the right modeling techniques does not get you to correct and complete HRM object models.  Au contraire.  I’ve watched many, very smart HRM enterprise software architecture and modeling teams do their best, but it’s a rare team that doesn’t make one or more of the same errors, and they’re doozies.  And while I’ve covered all of these potential errors in my HRM Object Model “Starter Kit,” which is great for licensees (please note that I no longer license this material) but not so great for everyone else, I decided to highlight the most challenging ones through a series of blog posts for the benefit of those vendors — and their customers — who didn’t license my “Starter Kit” (and even for those who have a license but may not have modeled correctly these specific challenges).

I should also add that, if a vendor’s applications are created/maintained via a robust, models-driven, metadata-based, effective-dated, definitional development environment, etc., it’s a lot easier to adjust the models and resulting applications over time than in a traditional, procedural logic approach to applications development — and this agility really matters.  Throw in a “Blooming SaaS” architecture and fundamentally great functionality, and you’re really cookin’.  Since it’s so important that the object model be fundamentally correct and complete (for the desired scope of functionality) in any software you may choose to use, and the only way to get at this as a prospect/customer, short of reviewing object diagrams (which are impenetrable for all but the fully initiated), is to use case-based (aka scenario-based) product evaluation, that’s clearly the only way to go. 

My first post in this series focused on the difference between job and position, and I urge you to read that before proceeding.

Separating Position From Worker

Work and workers are two fundamentally different concepts, and getting them right, along with their appropriate attributes and methods as well as relationships, goes to the heart of having an effective enterprise HRM application.  For example:

  • We interview position seekers for one or more specific positions (whether empty or filled but expecting to be emptied).
  • We design employee career paths as a series of positions to be held.
  • We develop succession plans for specific positions to include named employee, contingent worker, or position seeker (in this case a person who may not be known otherwise to the organization but who is created by the organization as a position seeker during succession planning).
  • We hire, transfer, and promote employees into positions.
  • We terminate and retire employees from positions.
  • We contract for contingent workers and assign them to specific positions.
  • An employee or contingent worker may do the work of one or more positions at the same time, or a single position’s work may be done by one or more employees or contingent workers.
  • An employee or contingent worker may self-identify as a position seeker by applying for a specific position.

No one should be using an HRMS, let alone any talent management applications (and you know I feel strongly that these really deserve full integration as HRMS/TM, unless there are distinctly different and quite separate objects to describe:

  • The nature of the work to be done and how it’s organized into positions defined by jobs;
  • Those roles in the person object class structure (so those types of persons) which have done, are doing and/or could do work for the organization via their explicit, transaction-created relationship to one or more positions as employee, contingent worker, and/or position seeker; and
  • How specific workers are related to specific positions, e.g. a worker may be the named successor for a position that’s occupied currently even as that same position is associated with one or more employees via their career plans, or the usual work schedule for this position (which is associated directly with that position) may be 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily but, when filled by Naomi, the actual work schedule will be a negotiated 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM because of her incredible productivity and associated with the relationship between Naomi and that position.

As a side note, I’ve been updating my HRM object model thinking to allow for the mix of human and humanoid robot workers, but that’s a topic for another day.  Let’s stick with the basics here, focusing on human workers.

Within the person object class hierarchy, there are person objects which have nothing to do with the work of the organization, e.g. shareholder, person designee (someone designated by an employee who is participating in a total compensation plan for which having a designated recipient of provided benefits is a part of that plan’s design), or customer.  But there are other person roles through which the work of the organization gets done:

  • The obvious employee role (both current or past as defined according to the appropriate geopolitical jurisdiction having that responsibility, e.g. in the US, who is or is not an employee is defined by the IRS);
  • The vendor employee role (an individual who does the direct work of the organization, not through an outsourcing of process or the purchase of results/products but rather through the carrying out of tasks within the organization itself and who is not an employee but rather a contractor of some flavor, again according to the appropriate geopolitical jurisdiction having that responsibility e.g. in the US, who is or is not an employee is defined by the IRS); and
  • The position seeker role, which could be an employee or contingent worker who has self-identified to fill a specific position (or expressed a broader interest in working in a job, work until or work location of the organization), or has been designated as a named successor via a succession plan for a specific position, or someone of whom we’ve never heard before who either has self-identified as or been designated as a position seeker (where this is usually subject to the organization’s own business rules).

[Please note that a single physical person can of course fill one to many of these person roles either serially  or concurrently, position seekers may be applying for work generally with the organization, at a particular work location, for any position defined by a particular job, and these are just a few of MANY more complications that I’ve left out to keep this post from eating all of Florida.]

As noted in my first post in this series, jobs are templates from which positions are created.  Jobs describe broadly the nature of the work being done, in terms of what I call duties and responsibilities, as well as the KSAOCs (knowledge, skill, ability and other deployment-related characteristics, so these include surrogates like work experience and education, attitudes and behaviors, work schedule and environment preferences, etc.) and level of mastery thereof that are needed to do that work.

But work gets done via workers “sitting” in positions and carrying out the duties and responsibilities of those positions.  Positions, once created from a job template, must be given a work location (which could well be telecommuting), a negotiated work schedule (if different from the usual one), and their association with (place in) one or more work units.  Although they inherit a lot of their attributes and methods from job, positions may be assigned more specific duties and responsibilities, more specific KSAOCs and/or the weight and rating accorded to those KSAOCs.  Positions may also be given the rules by which accounting for the costs associated with those positions will be done (i.e. when cost accounting isn’t done on a time and attendance basis), rules for any position controls (whether headcount or budgetary) that will be applied when filling those positions, and rules for establishing the fit/recruiting sources/evaluation process/etc. when filling these positions should they need filling (i.e. succession plans, sourcing rules, etc.).

So what’s the big deal here?  Keeping position attributes and methods (nature of the work, desired profile of the worker, budget for the work, duration of the position, planned work schedule, and more) quite separate from the characteristics of the worker (preferred work schedule, agreed term of employment, negotiated hiring bonus, agreed accommodation in view of a disability but regardless of position, etc.) seems like a no brainer, but I assure you that many legacy on-premise systems still in use don’t do this very well or completely.  And, even when the software can do this right, implementations carry forward lousy coding structures that go back decades to a time before we had great object models.  And if you think it’s a muddle now, just wait until you’re generating predictive, embedded analytics at in-memory speed to inform managerial decisions on the basis of truly muddled data stored in outdated and/or just plain wrong data or object structures.  Yikes!


So that I don’t violate every principle Bill Kutik has tried to teach me about reader attention spans, I’ve just done the separating position from worker thingy here.  But please stay tuned as I work through a whole list of persistent object model errors — and let’s not even consider any vendor who’s still working with purely data models because they’re so far out of date in the art and science of software engineering that they’re probably wearing tie-dies and bell-bottoms around the office when such garb is really only appropriate for attending aging rocker or folky concerts.

  • Job and Position
  • Separating Position From Worker
  • Employee Status Code
  • Decomposing Total Compensation Plan Into Reuseable “Legos”
  • Addressing Multiple, Concurrent Worker To Position Relationships
  • Balancing Total Compensation Plan With Work Environment ProgramCrafting The KSAOC UmbrellaCommunity MembersProfessional Network and Networking As KSAOCsSeparating Work Unit From Work LocationSeparating Work Unit From Legal Entity

If I get that far, and you’re still interested, I’ll keep writing on this topic.  Meanwhile, if you’re a customer, starting checking your current portfolio of HRM software for the proper separation and implementation of job and position.  Lots more relevant use cases for work and worker can be found here here here and here.

Modest Rant — Your HR Technology Portfolio Contains Three Types Of HCM Applications

Different But Equally Beautiful

Different But Equally Beautiful

[This post was inspired by an exchange in the HR Technology Conference discussion group.]

When I look across all of HRM with the most expansive and contemporary perspective on work and workers (so here I include humanoid robots as workers but clearly not persons), I see the need and market for three very different types of applications.  I’ve chosen to call these (making it very obvious that I am NOT a marketing guru) utility, core and niche applications.

Utilities are those cross process foundations which are critical to providing customers with a terrific user experience while enabling all of the goodness needed by vendors in time, quality and cost-to-market and, in the world of Blooming SaaS, operational efficiency and effectiveness.  Increasingly, the term “platform” is being used to refer to the collection of these utilities, to the foundations upon which subject matter/domain applications are built, and I’m okay with that.  Included, therefore, in the platform are such capabilities as UX design, workflow, process management, inheritance across and within tenants, metadata management, systemic effective-dating, collaboration, video creation and embedding, mobility and the special considerations of mobile security, overall data privacy and security, reporting, analytics, and much, much more.  What’s important is that most of these utilities are very difficult to piece together by an end-user from disparate vendor products (although some of this could be done, with considerable pain and cost, both initially and in perpetuity, on a best of breed basis).  These utilities deserve to be part of the foundation of your HR technology strategy and are best obtained from the vendor you choose to provide your core applications.

Core applications, back in the day, referred to basic HR recordkeeping, payroll and benefits administration with some basic T&A thrown in.  But today this core must include a broad range of workforce and talent management applications, from staffing and compensation management to development and succession and on to basic scheduling, assignments and time recording.  Today’s core is MUCH larger than that of yesteryear because we’re automated so much of what used to be done either manually or via an array of spreadsheets and similar office tools.  I define core as those applications which have deep and complex interconnections across and impact on work locations, work units, jobs, positions, persons and person roles plus non-person workers, and every flavor of knowledge, skills, abilities and deployment-related characteristics (what I call KSAOCs).  This core is the foundation of your HR technology portfolio.  It sits on top of the utilities and is enabled by them, and much of it is absolutely required for organizations of any significant size.  I think it’s critical to get as much as possible of the core from a single vendor but only if that vendor can offer you a truly integrated core.  And of course today’s core includes a deep reservoir of truly integrated embedded analytics, both operational and predictive.

And then there are the zillions of important niche applications which live around the edges of that core. From background checking and social sourcing to tax filing and assessments of all kinds, there’s a lot of valuable innovation going on in these many niches, but their interconnections to the core are well-defined and not terribly complex.  No matter how cleverly done is sourcing sourcing, it doesn’t change independently the organization’s design of positions.  And no matter how important tax filing may be, the data required to drive it is pretty stable and straightforward.  Sometimes, what starts out as a niche application, as did many ATSs, evolves to become a critical part of the core as the scope and complexity expand along with its interconnections across the core.  Others begin and remain niche applications, like tax filing or background checking, because their interconnections to the core begin and remain well-defined and quite bounded.  But in the end, what characterizes a niche has nothing to do with it’s importance, degree of innovation, addressable market or the flow of VC funding but rather the ability to bound its interconnections with the core in such a way as to enable relatively easy and survivable interfaces.

My view is that you should get most of those utilities, i.e. the platform, and as much as possible of the core applications from a single vendor (even if that vendor isn’t the owner of all the platform components) and then interface via APIs or platform-built extensions as many niche applications as are needed by your specific organization.  We will always need to be able to do these types of interfaces, and I hope that we get much better at doing this, but trying to piece together the core as a long term proposition is not the preferred approach, at least in my opinion.  And let me say it one more time: just because it comes from a single vendor does not mean that it meets my definition of integrated nor that it’s good software.  So much for my point of view on this topic; what’s yours?

Israel and Jordan: A Traveller’s Tale

The Bloom Girls And Husbands In Israel

The Bloom Girls And Husbands In Israel

[It’s been three months since I did my last direct client consulting, and I’m loving the transition to industry observer and kibitzer.  I’ve got two major blog post series underway — one on persistent errors I see in the underlying object models of far too much HCM software (including brand new software) and one a series of rants about the sloppy (and sometimes deliberate) misuse of important terminology — and lots more to come.  But first I’d like to finish this post that’s been waiting a year for me to digest and process all that we saw/heard/smelled/learned on our first (and for me life-changing) trip to Israel and Jordan in the Spring of 2014.  Now this may be of no interest to you, and I will get back to business shortly, but first I want to share with anyone who’s interested what happened to me on this trip and why it was life-changing.  My hope is that this post, most of which was written before last year’s Israeli/Hamas conflict erupted and without reference to it, will give readers a very personal backdrop to that conflict.]

It has taken me a long time to process all that we saw, smelled, heard, touched, tasted, etc., during our recent, first trip to Israel.  It was a life-changing trip for me, and I don’t say that lightly.  All travel is adventure travel, and Ron and I have done more foreign travel than most, but for me Israel wasn’t foreign — it was home.  And that was just the first surprise.

Existential Threats

Until this trip, I never appreciated what Benyamin Netanyahu meant by the term “existential threat,” but even I could follow the clues that this trip provided.  The first clue was the very odd route you fly from Istanbul to Tel Aviv.  You stay way offshore until, at the last moment, you make a quick turn and an even quicker descent into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.  The reason for that otherwise strange-looking route becomes obvious when you study the flight map: there are so many dangers along the more direct route, so many countries and/or militias which loath Israel, and so many terrorists with shoulder-fired rocket launchers who would love to take down a plane headed to Israel.

The second clue requires a more careful look at the map of Israel’s neighborhood and how that map has changed over the course of Jewish history.  Studying that history, the reality of Israel’s small size and tough neighborhood hits home as does the fact that most every successive ruler of that part of the world has tried their hand at wiping out the Jewish people — not to mention the efforts of most every ruler of most every country into which the Jewish Diaspora took refuge.  If everyone really is trying to get you, it’s not being paranoid to say so, and this is the truth of Jewish history.

The third clue was found in our visit to Independence Hall, formerly the art museum of Tel Aviv, which was the site from which Israel declared its independence to the world on May 14th, 1948.  In a very modest white-washed former gallery whose art works are still hung where they were, with a simple table for the declarers and an even simpler setup for the provisional members of the provisional Knesset, we sat where the dignitaries then sat, we listened to that declaration, and we wept.  Tears of joy for sure, but also tears of sorrow, because we knew that the joy of that announcement in 1948 was followed by the combined efforts of Israel’s neighbors to wipe our homeland off the face of the earth, to finish the job that Hitler could not. The young man who did the presentation could have been my grandchild, and he certainly didn’t hear about any of this first hand, but like every other young adult, he had served his time in the military and knew that there were still many of Israel’s neighbors who continued to hope, plan and work towards her destruction.  At Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, in the very room where the State of Israel was born, you can feel that threat and the strength of Israeli to meet it.

The fourth clue, and the most powerful impression from our first day in Israel, came after we finished touring — Museum of the Diaspora, Itzhak Rabin Museum (which really covers the history of the Jewish State), and our visit to Independence Hall.  We were sitting in a cafe having some wine and discussing the events of the day when a group of Israeli soldiers, men and women, came in laughing and sat down next to us with their automatic weapons in hand.  Those young people, full of exuberance and the chatter of youth, were living life fully, even with an understanding that their country was facing an “existential threat,” that is a realistic threat from very capable enemies who are truly committed to their destruction.

Watching these young soldiers, three thoughts went through my head.  The first was that we need to buy more Israel bonds, and we’ve done that.  The second and more profound thought was that these soldiers are not only defending Israel’s very existence but also mine and that of Jews everywhere.  But the third thought, which really surprised me, is that I am a Zionist, that I not only support Israel as the Jewish State but that I believe absolutely in our historical connection and rights to these lands.

From A Minority Living On Sufferance To A Majority Living Life Fully

On our second day in Tel Aviv, we had the most amazing experience ever at a museum when we visited the Palmach Museum.  Here, instead of viewing exhibits, we were inside of them.  The whole history of Israel’s fight for independence came alive through the stories of one Palmach unit, from their initial recruitment, through long years of training, to their being battled-tested, burying their dead and becoming a part of the new State of Israel’s IDF (Israeli Defense Forces).  I didn’t think I could walk so far (many of you know that I have mobility challenges), but there was no way I wasn’t going to push myself to the limit, no matter the pain, as we became part of these young people’s pushing themselves to the limit in defense of their country.  We emerged totally drained but understanding a lot more about the price paid for this amazing country, the price paid so that Jews won’t live — and die — at the mercy of whoever happens to run the countries in which we live.

For the Jewish people, who have been a minority across the Diaspora, living quite literally on sufferance from whoever happened to be in power at the moment, there is nothing sweeter than knowing that here, in Israel, we are the majority.  Even with a sizable Jewish population in my American home town of the late 40’s/early 50’s, we were still taught to keep our heads down, not to call attention to ourselves, not to give our gentile neighbors any reason to think ill of us.  So it was truly life-changing for me to be in a country where most people look like me (not the senior I’ve become but the young woman I was), where their sense of humor is the same as mine, and where their confidence and, yes, pushiness is a virtue and not something to be guarded against.  No Jew lives in Israel on sufferance — under an existential threat, but not on sufferance.  And again, as we rested after our tour of the Palmach Museum, I couldn’t help thinking about Zionism and what it mean to be a Zionist.

Borderlands: The Golan

If you use Google Earth to look for Metula, in The Golan, you can’t help but see the difference in the landscape on the Israeli versus Lebanese or Syrian sides of the borders.  What you won’t see are the signs all along the roads on the Israeli side of the Syrian border warning you not to walk off the roads because of the zillions of land mines that Syria planted when they held that territory.  You also won’t see — but we did because our guide knew where to look — the fortifications that the Syrians had been building on their side of the border whose only purpose could be offensive.  Just days after we were there, the Syrian civil war pressed right up against the border with Israel, and tourists were discouraged from visiting this area for fear that the Syrian conflict could spill over.  But we were able to see with our own eyes that there is so little protection for Israel from the next war her neighbors decide to start.

However, the most important learning from our trip to the Borderlands (my term), and our stay at Kibbutz Kfar Blum, had nothing to do with borders.  When I was 11, being raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, and a very good Hebrew School student, I learned along with the other girls in my class that what was until then a completely integrated program with the boys our age would now become a split program.  The boys would be prepared for their Bar Mitzvahs, and the girls would be prepared to run a Jewish home (think mid-50’s).  This didn’t sit well with me (perhaps I was born with feminist sensibilities), and thus began my exodus from orthodox Judaism — but not from the values and cultural foundations of my childhood.  And those foundations run very deep, not unlike the foundations of Jewish history in Israel.  With each passing day in Israel, I found myself more connected to my own Jewishness and more aware of what that means to me now.

At Kfar Blum on our first morning there, on that Saturday Shabbat morning, I sat in the garden below the in-house schul, through whose open windows the sounds of male davining took me back to my childhood.   There’s something about this place which awakened in me a sense of belonging, of being a part of something that goes back thousands of years and has resisted so many efforts to destroy it.  When I look at the history of this part of the world, I understand now why using the term “Palestinians” to suggest that they are the authentic inheritors of this land has always made me crazy.  Jews have been here from the beginning of recorded history as the archeological evidence makes clear, and it’s time everyone got used to the idea that this is our land, our place of birth.  And we’re not leaving!  So perhaps I’ve been a Zionist all along and just didn’t realize it?

Jerusalem of Gold

On May 4th, 2014, the sirens sounded in Jerusalem at 8:00 PM local time.  In our hotel room at the David Citadel, we turned on the TV to see if we could figure out what was happening, and there was a service starting at the Wailing Wall to mark the start of Israeli Memorial Day.  Watching that service, I couldn’t understand much of the Hebrew, but I knew what they were saying.  In such a small country, where most everyone serves in the defense forces (IDF), every life lost defending Israel against three major attacks by her neighbors (1948 War of Independence, 1967 War and the Yom Kippur War in 1973), not to mention all the other skirmishes and Gazan wars, is a friend or family member, a classmate or bunkmate, a neighbor or fellow Yeshiva bocher.  Israelis are all mishpocha, all family.  I joined in when they recited the memorial prayer and again when they sang Hatikva, and it suddenly hit me that I too am mishpocha, that we are all mishpocha.  And those brave men and women who were being memorialized died not just to create and preserve Israel but for the safety and future of the Jewish people.

On Memorial Day, May 5th, we began our day at The Western Wall, a place awash in its own history, surrounded by even more history, and arguably the most sacred place in the world for Jews of every flavor.  To be there on Memorial Day was very special.  Very early in the morning, we made our way there, my sister Marsha Bloom Weitz and I to the women’s section (yes, for once in my life I didn’t make a scene about this segregation by gender against which I railed loudly as a young orthodox woman), and my husband Ron Wallace and brother-in-law Irwin Weitz to the men’s section.  Walking down the sloped plaza, performing the ritual hand-washing, then approaching the wall itself, I could feel the power of this place where so many have prayed for over three millennium, ever since the time of the First Temple.  We said yahrzeit for those we’ve lost, special prayers for friends and family who were facing great health challenges and a general prayer for the good health of all we love (Marsha and I, by long tradition, pray only for good health), and then we said the special memorial prayer for those who have fallen in defense of Israel.  I was fortunate to have two mothers, and I remembered both of them in Jerusalem: Sarah, my birth mother, died when I was too young to know her, and Bertha, who raised me as her own.  Saying yahrzeit for both of them at the Wailing Wall, I knew that they were listening.  After a long quiet period of prayer, we placed our prayer lists in a crack in these ancient stones, as is the custom.  We stayed there, sitting quietly in the provided chairs, just absorbing the atmosphere.  Tourists, ultra-orthodox women with their very conservative dress, and a young female soldier, automatic weapon slung over her shoulder, all praying together as though they had been neighbors for years.  Mishpocha in our sorrow and in our triumphs, and reminded by the Western Wall and all that surrounds it of our many millenium claim to this land.

Is There A Path To Peace?

And just as I’ve relearned the history of the Jewish people, relearned my own history, I’ve seen firsthand why peace may not come in my lifetime.  How do you make peace with someone who is determined to drive you into oblivion?  How do you make peace with someone who raises their child to be a suicide bomber?  How do you make peace with someone who hates you as much as many of Israel’s neighbors hate them?  When you see in person the hard won agricultural miracle that is The Golan (you only need to see the awful, rocky landscape to understand with what effort and sacrifice the Israelis have created their farms), and you see a moonscape just feet away on the other side of the border, there’s living proof that Israel’s neighbors — and their wealthy co-religionists across the Arab world — haven’t begun to raise the standard of living which would give their own people a comparable quality of life.  No wonder their people are pissed, and it’s a lot easier to direct that anger toward Israel and the Jews than to take responsibility for it.

I feel tremendous gratitude toward those Israelis on the front lines of ensuring that never again will Jews under threat from mounting anti-semitism or worse be without a homeland — and that threat is as real today as it ever was.  It saddens me mightily to think that there won’t be real peace between Israel and all her neighbors in my lifetime.  Although I sure don’t see a way forward to make peace with the Hamas terrorists, I’ll keep praying that someone will figure out how to do this because the children of Israel and of her Middle East neighbors deserve to grow up in a better neighborhood than they have now.

So When Did I Become A Zionist?

It’s often easier to see what happened when you’re looking back than when you’re in the moment.  Was it when I was sitting in Independence Hall and listening to that scratched recording of the Declaration from 1948?  Was it when I was struggling with my mobility issues but determined to complete the Palmach Museum’s living exhibition out of respect?  When I was touching The Wall and, in doing so, establishing my own personal, physical connection to the many thousands of years of Jewish history in this place?  Or seeing the stark difference between what Israelis and Diaspora Jews have done with their corner of the desert compared to what hasn’t been done for many of their Arab neighbors by their own leadership and Diaspora?  Perhaps it happened when I was feeling for the first time what it’s like not to be a minority keeping my head down so as not to offend (and who among my American or European Jewish friends hasn’t been embarrassed by a too loud or too pushy member of the “tribe”)?  Or maybe it was seeing those young Israelis with their automatic weapons in every cafe and plaza, each of whom has pledged their own lives to ensuring that no Jews will ever again have to live on sufferance because now we have a homeland?  I really don’t know when or how the change in my thinking occurred, and it doesn’t matter.  I went to Israel as a tourist, and I returned as a Zionist.

[We saw a lot more of Israel on last year’s first visit, and we made an amazing side trip to Petra in Jordan, which is a must.  My travelogue notes from the road for family and friends documented the whole trip, as I try to do on every such trip.  But for this blog post, I wanted to focus on my very personal reaction to visiting Israel for the first, but not the last time.  We’ll be returning next year and, hopefully, many more times.  Perhaps on our next trip, we’ll have time to visit some of the amazing high tech startups that Israel is producing at a rate that impresses even Silicon Valley.]

Modest Rant — No HCM Pain/Rethink/Disruption, Then Little Business Gain

Don't Even Think About Getting Innovation Without Disruption

Don’t Even Think About Getting Innovation Without Disruption

[This post evolved from my Twitter reactions to a range of marketing messages and advertorials which make it sound as though their current on-premise customers, as well as the on-premise customers of other vendors, could get all the benefits of business innovation enabled by next generation HCM software without much rethinking, redesigning, and disruption.  Dare I say balderdash!] 

If and when you decide to migrate from your seriously old design, on-premise ERP to “the cloud,” please make sure that you get what you’re paying for. If any of the vendors proposing to subscribe you to their true or even faux SaaS products say that the new thing is non-disruptive, backward-compatible, just a migration, or similar, run for the hills.  Frankly, there are only two possible interpretations of this nonsense, two alternative realities in which such statements make sense, and neither is a desirable place to bet your business or your career. 

The first alternative reality is that the vendor is question has simply reincarnated much to mostly old thinking in new technology as was the case when PeopleSoft, although wonderfully new technically, was so close in domain concepts to its then mainframe competitors that it took litigation to prove that it wasn’t copied — on which point PeopleSoft won hands down — but rather just built to what were then (mid-80’s) common industry data designs, screens and processes.  In this case, you’re definitely not going to get next generation HCM process or business thinking but rather the same old same old with a thin overlay of mobile delivery and enhanced analytics with (hopefully) improved costs.  But the scary part of this reality is that the vendor in question may honestly not know how much change in business and HCM has taken place over the last 20+ years, or may not understand the importance of a complete rethinking of HCM with an eye on the future, and/or may honestly believe that the improvements in technology will in and of themselves drive the needed business outcomes.  It’s scary but true that there may be vendors who honestly believe that non-disruption is a good thing. 

The second alternative reality is a little darker although the vendor has done precisely the same thing with the software.  In this case, not out of ignorance, naivete or a lack of resources, but rather out of — and this is the generous explanation — their belief that customers won’t be willing to dig in and do the heavy lifting that it takes to move from 1970 through 1990 HCM practices to ones designed for 2020 and/or that they must protect their installed base from looking at their other “cloud” options by minimizing the effort to migrate to their “cloud” applications.  I do understand the enormous pressure for profits and the many other challenges that companies face when they try to reinvent themselves even as they must support current customers, but it can be done if there’s the will, early planning and effective execution.  And it’s true that many customers are late adopters, not just of technology but also of major process change.  I suspect late adoption/late-to-market is a big reason why the Fortune 500 company list changes SO rapidly.  But HCM software vendors — for that matter all enterprise software vendors — don’t stay momentum players by being lulled into a false sense of security by there late adopter customers.  Just one change in CHRO or CIO or CEO, and your previously happy on-premise customer is headed for someone else’s disruption-enabling “cloud.”

It’s really hard work, for both vendors and customers, to start over, to reconsider business processes in the face of changing times and changing technology, to design from scratch to meet tomorrow’s challenges, to clean up decades of poor data designs and coding structures, and to deliver all of this in a reasonable period of time.  It’s really hard work for everyone involved to educate their organizations about the need for disruptive change, to make clear why you can’t get there from here without lightening the load of yesteryear’s thinking and doing.  But only those organizations which are willing and able to reinvent themselves and their products/services frequently are going to survive and succeed.  And the results of all that hard work should be disruptive, should not be backward compatible, and should be a new implementation of the enabling technology.  And while you certainly don’t have to redesign every aspect of HCM at once, you can certainly use the help of a vendor which has thought through what next generation really means, not just in technology but in HCM as well, and gives you the tools you need to evolve as quickly as you can.

If you really just want something familiar but with and a more modern UX, increased processing speeds and pricing improvements, that’s fine, and there’s plenty of that to buy.  But if you want to reinvent your business for the next 5, 10, even 20 years, I don’t think that’s enough.  I think you need real disruption, and you need it now.  As in all such matters, the consultant I used to be knows very well that it’s entirely your call how fast and with what level of innovation you move to “the cloud.”  But please don’t think you’re going to get anything more than you pay for in the heavy lifting needed to achieve real innovation.