Extreme Makeover: Journalist’s Edition

By Forward Staff

Published May 19, 2006, issue of May 19, 2006.
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The Forward sent intern Joshua Yaffa out to get a story. He came back with new pants and new shoes.

Yaffa’s saga started when he showed up at the University Club in Midtown Manhattan for a press conference, held by the Israel Democracy Institute, about producing a constitution for the Jewish state. Dressed in jeans and sneakers, Yaffa was denied entry to the exclusive hangout.

But then Barry Adams, the club member who was hosting the event, stepped in. He took Yaffa to a nearby Gap store to spiff him up, dropping $50 for a lightweight pair of blue cotton trousers. When our formal-phobic intern returned to the club, however, the powers that be informed him that he still needed appropriate footwear. By then, his new benefactor already had left, so Yaffa hurried to a nearby Syms, where he ended up spending $50 of his own money on a pair of brown leather loafers.

Through a spokesman at U.S. Trust, where he works, Adams declined the Forward’s efforts to reimburse him for the pants. Yaffa, on the other hand, says he would be quite happy to get his money back, even if it means giving up the shoes.

As it turns out, a staff writer for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Chanan Tigay, was also caught unprepared by the press conference’s strict dress code. His leather shoes and jacket were fine, but not his jeans. Tigay, a seasoned professional, politely declined an offer from Adams, opting instead to pay for his new pair of Gap pants himself.

As for reimbursement from JTA, Tigay says he’s not interested: “I like the pants.”

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