Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Job Hunting

3 of the Eleventh Month 5768

After living in Israel for 10 years plus, I have to admit, I have been going through I pretty rough time lately.

It happens.

I have been unemployed for quite some time, and it is really beginning to get to me. After making a lot of money at my previous job, I decided to take some time off, and relax a while. I hope to learn from this mistake, and not fall into the same trap again. Others can get away with this. However, I have found that I am just one of those people who needs to be working. It has been really frustrating because even though I have been doing the necessary groundwork [or so I thought].

Actually, I found my first job in Jerusalem by pounding the pavement, looking in store windows. I happened along a private English-language school, now closed, in the middle of Downtown.

I found my first teaching job by sending resumes to schools I found listed in the Israeli Yellow Pages. Here is an additional on-line resource currently available, the Bezeq Directory, with its English companion, the Gateway to the Bezeq Directory. Don't forget Israel's on-line Reverse Look-Up. You never know when that will come in handy. And while I am on the topic of on-line, telephone resources, I was recently introduced to Free Fax Israel. Fax your resumes and other doc and pdf documents anywhere in Israel for free, even without a fax machine.

Here are links to some job sites:

When you arrive in Israel, you will soon learn the meaning of the word "potexia" (connections). Here are some job opportunities advertised on your own personal, English-speaker protexia sites:
(Jerusalem Area)
(Tel-Aviv Area)
...and here are some more job sites in English:

AACI's Jobnet


Job Central Israel

Jobs In Israel

The popular Craig's List has even reached Israel:
Craig's List Jerusalem

Craig's List Tel-Aviv

And here is the main site in Hebrew I have been monitoring:

Anyone interested in teaching English in Israel definitely needs to see the English Teachers Network in Israel [ETNI] site. You should also make a to your local Mefaqe'ah/at (Inspector). There are two for Jerusalem, one for the city and one for the surrounding area, which includes Bet-Shemesh, Mevaseret Tzion, Ma'aleh Adumim, Efrat, and Bet-El. There offices are located in the Ministry of Education Offices at Kanfei Nesharim Street 22, in the Givat Sha'ul shopping area, not far from the Nefesh b'Nefesh office. I suggest you call first to find out their office hours, 02-5602712.

The Tel-Aviv Inspector is Beverly Topaz. Her e-mail address is beverlyto (at) education (dot) gov (dot) il, and her phone number is 03-6896382.

Any professional requiring validation of college degrees needs to do so at the Ministry of Education, Diploma Bureau. The Jerusalem office is located in the same building as the English Inspectors. You will need to bring the original diplomas and transcripts, and submit copies of them. They receive the public on Mondays and Wednesdays. Call ahead, though, as the schedule is subject to change. Appointments are not necessary.

Physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, and I believe physical therapists need to apply for certificate through the Ministry of Health. The Jerusalem office of professional certification is located at Yaffo Street 157.

Please help me to keep this information updated by e-mailing me or posting a comment.

I hope this information has been at least a little helpful. My experience is that new immigrants tend to get the most help from fellow new immigrants.

I was very pleased recently to have received a call from Nefesh b'Nefesh. I had sent them a resume. They did not have anything available. However, the representative gave me some tips, which I found to be very helpful. She did not have to call me, but she took the time to do so anyway. This was my first experience with Nefesh b'Nefesh. It was not around when I moved to Israel. I must say I was impressed by its caring attitude.

Meanwhile I am still looking for a job, and am getting a bit nervous. Although I have been getting interviews. I had a job helping to tile a bathroom, which was good for me in more ways than one. The bank is on my case big time. My phone will be turned off soon, hopefully just the outgoing calls, so I will still be able to receive calls from prospective employers. I tremp (hitchhike) into Jerusalem, so transportation costs are down. HaShem help me when it rains and snows! Food wise I am getting by, Barukh HaShem.

My least favorite stereotype of Americans in Israel is that we are wealthy. There may be a little truth to that. I don't know. What I do know is that I am not one them. In fact, I don't believe I know any of these supposedly wealthy Americans. I assume they exist, because sometimes it's a American who propagates this stereotype. More than once when I have said that "I didn't have any money," it was an American who told me to go an automatic teller machine. Looking back at him in disbelief, I would say, "No. Really. I don't have ANY money." In equal disbelief, he would laugh, thinking that I was only joking. Then seeing my face, he would eventually realize that I wasn't. He could not possibly fathom how it could be that an American Jew didn't have money, but he would accept it as truth.

I have long since learned to accept such reactions from my fellow American Jews. I sometimes get free coffee out of the deal, as anyone who has had this conversation with me refuses to let me pay for coffee when we go, even when I have money. Go figure. What Americans lack due to their occasional cluelessness in the "Hello! Jerusalem is not a neighborhoods in New York!" department, they make up for in the "love and caring" department.

But, I digress....

As I mentioned above, I am frustrated. Everyone tells me how "employable" I am. Yet, no one seems willing to "employ" me.

After teaching for eight years, obtaining jobs with ease through my professional connections, I found myself in a similar situation in which I find myself today, unemployed and broke. My last school of employment "ran out" of money. That was after a year and a half of not receiving regular paychecks. At the end, we were not getting paid at all, but stuck around because we did not want to let our students down their national matriculation exams (bragruyot).

Fortunately, I had neighbors who gave me a job at their Internet cafe in Jerusalem. It was the frumest Internet cafe in Israel, if you believe there is such a thing. For six months, I worked the "graveyard shift," six nights a week. It was a lot of fun and hard work combined, but also with all the nuttiness of working at night in big city. I will spare you the details for now. Unfortunately, this place was closed down as well.

After a period of employment, I got a job working at a company called IDT Global, which employs a countless number of new immigrants. It's a great company, owned by Howard Jonas. He has personally given countless Jews their first jobs in Israel. I cannot tell you how powerful it is to be able to work and get paid in Israel. It can be a big boost to ones attitude and self-esteem in the face of dealing with a new country and culture. It was kind of weird be back around mostly Americans, many of whom had only been in Israel for a short time. I found myself being "accused" of acting Israeli once or twice, which, I took as a compliment. My project at IDT eventually closed. There did not seem to be anything else available for me. Although the people IDT made every effort to find positions for those of us completing a project. I worked there for a year. I made a lot of money, especially by Israeli standards. Living out in the middle of the Shomron (Samaria), which, albeit not for everyone, certainly made it easy to survive off of savings due to the relatively inexpensive rent.

The Ramba"m states that it is a higher level to assist someone to support himself than simply to give him money.

When I was in my last year of graduate school, I attended a group consultation with a psychiatrist. I thought of how fascinating it would be to get consultation from a well-known, local psychiatrist who has,...well, seen it all. It was fascinating, but only in that he was so practical. Anytime a colleague mentioned a depressed client, this psychiatrist's first question was, "Is he employed?" If the answer was "no," his response would always be the same, "Help him get a job."

Not much has changed since the Ramba"m first espoused this wisdom.

The intention of this blog is to encourage aliyah, not discourage it. However, I am also not interested in covering up the, sometimes grave, realities of living here. motivations (religious, spiritual, nationalist, etc.) for coming to live in Israel aside, I believe that my life is better now that I do live here. The challenges of life do not disappear, though. They are just,...well, different. It is hard to put it into words.

I will simply say that with every challenge there is a solution, even though it may be difficult to see at first. Even I have pondered jumping on the next plane to the U. S., assuming I had the money, which I do not. For me, that is not the practical solution. Money and dealing with a "new culture" tend to be the reasons why half of all North American immigrants return to North America within five years. That's what the statistics were 10 years ago. I believe that they are changing. THe funny thing is that when you have been in Israel as long I have, you too, will probably joke about what a culture shock it would be going back to the U. S. (or Canada, or the U. K., or wherever), even for a visit.

My goal here is to lay out the truth, share some of my experiences with you, and perhaps help you to get through some of the same difficulties, which invariably occur.

In the meantime, wish me success, pray for me, send me positive vibes, whatever you choose. You may even have an idea or two, or job for me, or a cousin who has a job for me. (Hint, hint) Please click on the link to my resume. Check it out. You never know. You may know of the perfect job for me!

More importantly, when you arrive in Israel, e-mail me. Let me know what I can do to help you. What may seem overwhelming to you, I may think is old hat. If I do not know the answer, I will probably know how to ask.

But, there is a catch. Well, it is not really a catch, at least not one you will mind. When you have been here, even for just a short while, please try to be available to help the next immigrants who arrive. This is the key: Immigrants identifying with one another, understanding what it is like, learning, sometimes stumbling, getting up again, and then passing it on to the next immigrant.

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