In first person…Early assertiveness pointers still making strong imprint

Rabbi Reuben taught the first half of the class and Rebbitzen Didi taught the other half.

The rebbitzen taught assertiveness training, and it was one of the best classes I've ever had.

I was the quiet student who occasionally raised my hand to participate. Didi thought I wasn't very interested in what she was discussing in class. She found out that was way off base.

Didi has told me that after teaching assertiveness training for 16 years to 10th graders, I was her best student. Ironically, I was the only special-needs student in her class.

One of the most important lessons I learned was to take chances. After the class ended in June, I walked into the baseball card shop in Pacific Palisades and told the owner I wanted to work there. Much to my surprise I started the next Monday in my first job.

I have on my refrigerator a list of 15 assertiveness pointers Didi wrote for me to work on and look at often.

Rabbi Reuben and Rebbitzen Didi encouraged me to have a voice and not be afraid to express myself. Didi was a positive role model and believed in me. Didi is my friend and adviser for life. I also learned to hold onto my Jewish heritage and belong in the Jewish community. Jon Merwitzer lives in Rohnert Park .