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The Schmooze

E-mail Etiquette: Forget Signing Off With Sincerely, Instead Try "Stay Jewish"

Looking to subtly promote Judaism and set yourself apart from the crowd? David Hirshley, executive vice president at HarperCollins, sets a fine example. The VP often sights his e-mails with the mantra, “Stay Jewish.” But Hirshley admits to the New York Times that he prefers to use the line with “friends who are Gentiles” and finds it’s most effective when “the person’s last name is something like O’Hara or Soprano.”

Apparently he’s not the only one putting extra thought and care into his e-mail sign off. Given the medium of email, it’s often difficult to decipher tone and character in messages, but e-mailers are determined to leave their mark. Judith Newman of The New York Times explains, “People go through periods where they try on different closes like hairstyles.”

Sure, you could go with the regular old “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or “Best,” but is that really how you want to be remembered? The problem is that more creative alternatives like Hirshley’s sign off may offend the e-mail recipient. So, is there any way to win?

Will Schwalbe, a co-author, with David Shipley, of the book “Send: Why People Email So Badly and How To Do It Better” told The New York Times, “We need to cut the world more slack — and ourselves less.” He explains, “On the one hand, we need to pay attention to how we sign off. But when we see e-mails coming to us, we don’t need to be the Style Police.”

Whether you’re sticking with the basics or taking a quirkier route before you hit “send,” Schwabe gets to the heart of the matter, “Sometimes an exclamation point makes the world a better place.”


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