Working With Torah: A Guide To Employment

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In the aftermath of the “Great Recession”, it has become harder than ever for frum families to achieve economic stability. Costs are rising while salaries have fallen – and many frum families, whose expense sheets include tuition, kosher food, and large families, have nowhere to cut back.

Meanwhile, many young fathers who are contemplating leaving yeshiva for the first time face an even tougher task than most. Because of the terrible state of the economy, entrepreneurship is riskier than ever, so yeshiva graduates are more inclined to look for jobs. But the prevailing 10% unemployment level means that there are not enough jobs even for people with proven skills and years of experience.

There is no easy solution for any of this. Success comes from the Ribono Shel Olam, often through the classic hishtadlus combination of networking, creating a competent resume, polishing skills, and pounding the pavement. Several organizations help people with that hishtadlus, notably, PCS and Mesilah. A new resource that promises to help bnei Torah research jobs is the new book by Rabbi Boruch Clinton, Working with Torah.

Rabbi Clinton is a rebbi in Ottawa, and is the author of several previous books. In Working with Torah, he presents the fruits of meticulous research and Torah knowledge.

The amount of career advice in the Gemara is astounding. What sort of job is ideal for a ben Torah, and which careers should a ben Torah avoid? How much hishtadlus should a person put in to parnassah? What attitude should one take toward ones occupation, especially as compared to avodas Hashem? The Gemara and mussar sefarim address all of these questions, and Rabbi Clinton, in Working with Torah, collects the advice and makes it relevant to the bnei Torah of the 21st century.

In addition to the Torah part of Working with Torah, there is also a working part. The book outlines how to choose which type of careers are relevant. It discusses different types of careers and different training options; as well as the advantages and disadvantages of many. For certain careers, a college degree may be necessary, for others, a vocational program may suffice – and will avoid many of the problems associated with universities. How should one interview? Create a resume? Market oneself to potential employers? Where should one look for job openings? Working with Torah addresses all of these questions concisely, with answers that fit the situation specific to bnei Torah.

There are an infinite number of books and websites on the subject of finding and maintaining employment and balancing a career and lifestyle. But Working with Torah is the only one that is written specifically to address the unique needs and circumstances of yeshivaleit. Together with the other resources that the community develops to assist Klal Yisrael in the pursuit of parnassah, Working with Torah can be the means by which the Ribono Shel Olam provides us with an easy and ample livelihood.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What a breath of fresh air!

    Someone actually thinking about and helping people realistically plan for the future.

    R’ Clinton is definitely on to something!

    ‘Shkoyach!

  2. If, after consulting with one’s parents and Torah mentors, one decides to pursue a career in a design field (architecture, engineering, construction, interior design, etc.), the following should be of interest:

    In cooperation with ORT, I have developed a series of ONLINE Torah-oriented CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) courses. For these college-level courses, McGraw-Hill has agreed to publish a special edition of their standard textbook with exercises involving drawing the Mishkan and the Bais HaMikdash HaShlishi TVBB”A, based on my architectural renderings, published at the former Web site of Machon Lev in Yerushalaim —

    HaMishkan:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20050205165245/www.jct.ac.il/SeferToratHamishkan/index-new.html

    Bais HaMikdash HaShlishi TVBB”A:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20040820025933/www.jct.ac.il/judaica/mikdash/nm1.html

    For information, please contact me: [email protected]

    Avraham Yaakov Rokach, SE, PE, MS-MIT

  3. The tension on a ben Torah of modest means to support his family while leaving time to learn, daven, spend time with mishpacha, etc, can not be overstated. I therefor wanted to bring up the idea of out of town communities which are far less expensive to live in. There are many excelent ones with all frum amenities, where houses can be purchased for 150-300k. Communities like Phoenix, Milwaukee, and Cincinatti, beyond having all the frum amenities and affordable living, have terrific gov’t help with tuition. It may mean living a bit further from mishpacha, but it behooves us to calculae the losses and gains. In Detroit and Cleveland, the bnei Torah are many and a house can be purchased for 100k…but their economies are weak. “Out of town” communities also offer great opportunity to play an integral role in the kehilla. Kdai to look into and consider.

  4. “Several organizations help people with that hishtadlus, notably, PCS and Mesilah.”

    PCS is worthless organization. All they do is allow you to subscribe to some weekly e-mail of posted jobs. These jobs are bogus and one should not waste their time with them. This may explain why they’ve lost their funding as well.