Ask Brock: Where Was Everyone Last Friday?

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Brock Fantasia is the only remaining person in the JPMorgan analyst class of 2002 to still work at JPMorgan, which is in no way testament to the work environment at JPMorgan. In fact, Brock likes to think of himself as the Highlander of his analyst class, wielding an indestructible claymore of corporate finance.

After “totally wrecking” (in his own words) the Analyst-to-Associate program in the M&A group, Brock was briefly moved to the Natural Resources group, due to increased deal flow in the M&A group. Brock graduated from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Wharton with a degree in Finance and is working in investment banking until he can find a buy-side job. Brock has been interviewing for buy-side jobs throughout the past 3 years and has not been a “good fit” anywhere, despite his ever-burgeoning skill-set.

[Editor's P.S.,- Some of this is true. But only some of it. Previous Ask Brocks are here. Send your questions to : brock AT dealbreaker DOT com]
Shalom! Brock here, so let’s Brock out with your stock out.
You may have noticed last Friday that several of your Jewish, semi-Jewish, or born-again Jewish colleagues at the bank left early, or were even absent, without even pretending to be orthodox. No, the Jews on Friday weren’t rushing off to see the matinee of All the King(David)’s Men, The (Broken) Covenant or even Jet Li’s Fearless, they were rushing off to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Friday afternoon was one of those rare periods in which one comes to appreciate the vast cultural diversity of investment banking, through countless hours of offloaded work. As I sat there Friday night toiling away on an extremely meaningful profile of the B2B Publishing industry, I questioned the dwindling of my deal team. Funny, I always thought my associate Saul Goldblumenthalenfeldberg was a goy. Maybe he was faking, which takes me to my advice for this week: if you work for an investment bank, pretend that you are Jewish.
Rosh Hashanah literally translates to “Head of the Year,” which is why Jamie Dimon celebrates it wearing a yarmulke emblazoned with a golden dollar-sign. Dimon, in another bold stroke of cost-cutting genius, removed all means of leavening bread from JPMorgan dining facilities, including 18-minute stoppers on all ovens, serendipitously ensuring that all JPMorgan starches are pro-Israel. Sans leavening agents, Dimon mistakenly believes that this will cut down on company medical expenses incurred by yeast infections, rampant among middle management, especially VPs and staffers, who are known to pee a little bit every time a managing director says something. On a side note, Dimon is considered an official member of the tribe by many New York Talmudic scholars in his inspired rabbinical attempts to actually circumcise JPMorgan. For Dimon, the removal of the corporate foreskin is the only way to reduce over-head.


Dimon’s most recent controversial personnel initiative is also all over the news. With JPMorgan buildings buttressing both sides of Park Avenue on 47th street, Dimon declared the westernmost building the “West Bank” and ordered all Jews to relocate to 277 Park Avenue.
While sitting in my cubicle at 2:00am waiting for my associate to fax me important font changes to a stacked bar chart in my B2B industry profile, I did some in-depth research on Jewish holidays and why one should pretend to be Jewish at an investment bank. This is not only for me, but for the uninformed other 99% of the country. For starters, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, which kicks off the “Ten Days of Awe” to WWE’s SummerSlam, also known as Yom Kippur, which falls on the 2nd of October this year. The two days of Rosh Hashanah are actually considered one long day by smarter adherents who get to milk an extra day off. As long as there is no porking during that milking, things are cool.
For the many followers in finance, Rosh Hashanah merely represents a non-bank related period in which showering is frown upon, proving that one man’s restrictive deity is another man’s demanding MD. For others, it’s time to take off that extremely constrictive pantsuit, Challah back, and party like it’s 3,761 years past the date on the Gregorian calendar.
That’s right folks, year 5767 plans to be a crazy one, also known as the diamond matzo anniversary and the year of the Pig-Dog according to the Chinese Zodiac. People born in the year of the Pig-Dog are known as playful, intelligent and often times French. Rosh Hashanah commemorates “The Day of the Blowing of the Shofar,” which manifests itself in a wacky Jewish parody of Ricola advertisements, coming soon to Broadway. Unfortunately, the many Jewish boys named Shofar eagerly anticipating this day are out of luck unless they happen upon some former orthodox day-schoolers. Supposedly, you can convince them anything’s kosher.
The shofar can be the horn of any kosher animal, except a cow, because blowing a cow horn would be completely arbitrary. The person who blows the shofar is referred to as the Ba’al Tekia which translates into Master of the Blast, or Ram-flavored Lips. The Shofar was also a secret power-up in the hit 1988 Nintendo game, Master Blaster, giving you temporary invincibility from ridicule.
The first great thing about pretending to be Jewish at an investment bank is that you get this random day off in September. But wait, there’s more! The next great thing about pretending to be Jewish at an investment bank is that you get another random day off in October (or another one in September), Yom Kippur.
Just as the Rosh Hashanah hangover is ending, silly bankers caught not pretending to be Jewish are left stranded once again during Yom Kippur, or “The Day of Atonement.” Yom Kippur is like the Jewish Labor Day, in which very holy things are commemorated by doing absolutely no labor. Seriously, “atonement” must be Hebrew for “staring at the wall,” because you are not allowed to do anything on Yom Kippur, including eating, sex, bathing, wearing fancy shoes, daydreaming, cellular respiration, autoerotic asphyxiation or ironically even festering. It is the Holiest of all High Holy Days, after Arbor Day.
Perhaps the most unfathomably awesome of all Yom Kippur customs is the usage, predominantly by the orthodox, of the mikvah. The mikvah is an extremely literal cleansing mechanism, used primarily by women after menstruation and childbirth. It is a pool built upon a natural water source where orthodoxy dunks its gals after bleeding from their naughty bits. Granted the mikvah is used in select other instances, like before Yom Kippur, before marriage, in some conversions to Judaism and occasionally on dishes, pots and pans, but it is still mainly for the double-X chromosome. Nice to see that orthodox women have finally caught up to pots and pans, in another 3,000 years they may have the rights of an entire kitchenette. After parting with their red sea, women can finally engage in intercourse with their husbands without exploding.
In other words, the mikvah is like a hot tub, only kosher. Yes, there is a lifeguard, only one who makes sure you drown (or that total submersion is achieved), and probably does not resemble Pamela Anderson, even with Manischewitz goggles. Most laypeople will remember the mikvah from the pilot episode of the new dating show J-limidate, where Golda, in her response to “what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to break fast,” removed her shroud and mixed milk and meat, only to be J-liminated by Ari, who went with the nubile Wong-Li at the show’s conclusion.
For those of you pretending to be Jewish, you’re excused. I hope you learned a little bit and have a great Yom Kippur not spent at the bank.
For those of you who actually are Jewish, and strictly thus, I have some ideas that can spice up Yom Kippur, or any Shabbat. Taking a systematic approach, there are exactly 39 activities that are prohibited on the Shabbat as decreed by the seventh chapter of the tractate Shabbat in the Mishnah. These activities include scraping hides, marking hides, plowing, grinding and putting the finishing touch on an object, proving that the writers of that tractate were extremely repressed individuals.
This repression is hard to circumvent. You can’t sit passively at a strip club, for instance, because the area you are allowed to traverse during Shabbat is restricted by an eruv, which is a rope or string that encircles a predetermined space in a Jewish community, and does not currently encircle Scores. Fortunately the Washington DC eruv includes the White House, so planning Middle-Eastern invasions never hits a snag.
To prevent Judaism from being one giant cock-block, my advice is to fashion a thong or G-string out of an eruv, place this said garment on your submissive life-partner, and rock that terrain like southern Lebanon. Has no one thought of this? Seriously? Hell, I’m sure this is something you can buy from Victoria’s Secret, or at least Victoria Schwartzman’s Secret in Syosset. You can thank me later.
If you absolutely must abstain, try living vicariously through these popular Jewish adult titles:
(PS - Make sure you set your TV and DVD/VCR timers to automatically turn on, as manual operation of electronic devices is a no-no).
Atoning for Atonement – Jews Gone Wild
Naughty Schul-Girls, Vol. 5
Once a Serpent, Now a Staff
Three Mensches Making Babies (and sequel: Three Mensches on a Little Lady)
Taming the Burning Bush
Sparing the Child and Spoiling the Rod
Jacob’s Unholy Submission Techniques
You Call That a Pillar? Sodom and Gomorrah Revisited
Hooker on the Roof
Alpha Epsilon Pi-hole
Schism Guzzlers 7
That’s it everyone and have a great holiday. Kol tuv and l’hitraot.

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