Close this search box.

Jobs Wanted – Desperately: Emergency Campaign Aims to Help Breadwinners Regain Parnassa

hw.jpgAs director of placement at the New York office of Professional Career Services (PCS) – Agudath Israel of America’s job network – Moshe Tyberg is well positioned to know  just how strong an impact  the economic downturn has had on the Orthodox Jewish community.  Yet even he was brought up short, he says, by a recent incident at his shul.

“A particular individual who had lost his job and was unable to come  down to our offices asked if I could stay behind and conduct an interview with him after minyan one morning. Another shul member  picked up on what we were discussing  and came over to me afterwards to tell me he also desperately needed a job. And then, as discreetly as he could, he turned around and pointed at a few men who were lingering in shul and whispered, “and so does he… and so does he… and so does he.”’

Even before last month’s meltdown on Wall Street, Mr. Tyberg observes, hundreds of families in our community were hurting as result of the economic slide of the last eighteen months – a  decline  that was largely precipitated by the weakening real estate market. The recent collapse of Lehman Brothers and other financial giants, he notes, is sure to exacerbate what is already a crisis situation.

“Aside from the many breadwinners who worked directly for Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers or any of the affected financial institutions and who are now unemployed, there are many baalei mishpacha  in related fields who will also suffer. Deloitte and Touche, for example, which was Lehman Brothers’ accounting firm, has already let many people go.”

But it’s not only professionals who are hurting as a result of the weak economy, emphasizes Mr. Tyberg.  “For every mid-size or large business in our community that closes down, scores of people—from middle management personnel to chief operating officers — join the ranks of the unemployed.  And when people are out of work, they’re not making purchases at local businesses, they’re not paying bills, they’re not paying tuition – in short, the entire community suffers.”

The toll that job loss takes on a breadwinner and his family goes way beyond the financial,” Mr. Tyberg continues. “When a baal mishpacha loses his job, his self-esteem is affected and, in far too many cases, his sholom bayis, as well.  “Some of the stories I hear from job-seekers about the tension levels in the home, the impact on innocent and confused children – they’re nothing short of heartbreaking.”

Rabbi Yoel Tolwinsky, who is the director of placement for the Lakewood-based New Jersey PCS office, concurs. “In some ways, the situation in this community is even more difficult since many of the job-seekers are just coming out of kollel or until recently had well-paying jobs in areas like business management, real estate, construction or mortgages  — industries that are facing deep cuts. So the prospects for gainful re-employment are that much slimmer.”

Just recently, Rabbi Tolwinsky relates, he got a call from a woman begging him to find her husband a job. “She told me he’s so depressed, he has a hard time just getting through the day.

“I’d like to say that a situation like that is unusual—but unfortunately, these days it isn’t.”

While his office has placed many people in well-paying positions, says Mr. Tyberg, there are countless more who are desperately seeking employment.  “The bottom line is that growing numbers of reliable, qualified heads of household who are out-of-work through no fault of their own are turning to PCS for help – and we don’t have even close to enough jobs to go around. That’s why it’s imperative that the community get involved by letting us know about available positions.”

To further that objective,  a number of Agudath Israel of America activists have launched an emergency campaign aimed at raising awareness regarding the current unemployment situation and urging members of the community to take a proactive stance in identifying job openings and contacting PCS with the pertinent information.  Yet another aspect of the campaign calls for volunteers to act as mentors who can assist job-seekers with resume writing and job interview preparation.

To help jumpstart the campaign, which has been timed to coincide with the Yomim Noraiim, the committee has asked shul rabbonim from throughout the tri-state area to speak about this critical issue at some point during the Yomim Tovim and is actively recruiting gabbaim to act as liaisons between shul members with job information and PCS.

“The Rambam tells us that the greatest mitzvah is to provide another man with the means to earn a livelihood,’ says a spokesman for the committee. “ In the z’chus of our joining together in this undertaking, may Hakodosh Boruch Hu bless every member of Klal Yisroel with parnassa b’ravchus in the coming year.”

PCS’s contact info:
NY office 718-436-1900
[email protected]
Lakewood office 732-905-9700
[email protected]

(YWN Desk – NYC)

24 Responses

  1. Once again, the wonderful and important orginazation Agudas Yisroel is coming to the rescue. Hashem should bless all of the dedicated workers at Agudas Yisroel with happiness and health in the coming year. Special thanks to Avi Schuman of Passaic, a wonderful young man who is working tirelessly on this specific campaign.

  2. Now would be a great time for people (who do not desperately need immediate income) to seek some form of secondary or higher education to beef up their resumes for when the economy is picks up. There are few jobs available right now anyway, even for those with sterling qualifications, so why not “work” to position yourself better for future opportunities when they arise (hopefully soon, iy”h). This too falls into the category of “hishtadlus,” I believe.

  3. I second the sentiments of the comment in post #1. PCS has shown consistent growth in bringing about career opportunities to the community with intelligently chosen preparation and career paths with class schedules that offer expeditious completion of goals.

  4. My heartfelt prayers to all those suffering in these difficult times. May HaShem hear our cries and give us a Shana Tova. Incidentally, I heard in the name of the Belzer Rebbe, that this entire financial disaster may have happened because the “klal” (ie. no finger pointing intended) were not giving sufficient maaser and tzedakeh.

  5. I had wanted to send this comment in as a seperate letter, but this item presents the perfect opportunity.

    As a part of this campaign, I think that the Rabbonim should stress the importance of keeping our money within the community. I am even talking about situations that will cost you a little bit more for the purchase in a jewish owned store. You should speak to your Rav, but you very may well be allowed to take that extra amount from Maaser money, anyway.

    This is a very simple, but powerful way to instantly add revenue to the entire community, as additional jobs will be needed, additional tuitions and donations will be able to be payed by store owners etc.

    I am not saying that this should be a license for frum store owners to hike up their prices, knowing that we’ll be buy there anyway, as there are Hilchos Ona’ah to deal with. In such situations, Rabbonim should be be made aware to end such practices.

    In short, except in specific cases of a distinct difference in price or quality, we should try to put as much back into the community as possible. I believe that this can make a huge dent in the current crisis on many fronts.

  6. May HaShem have mercy on all of those wonderful Yidden who are now in pain, and may they find their ParNassAh, BeHarChaVa, quickly, without delay.

    We need to understand that America is undergoing a decline as a world power. It is deeply in debt to Chaina, Japan, an Russia. They can bankrupt the U.S. today by simply calling-in their debts.

    The axis of power is shifting to those countries, and as it does, so is business and ParNossah.

    We need to get into import/export fields that deal with those countries and with the services that support those kinds of businesses.

  7. Kol Hakavod to Agudas Yisrael.
    They also run Cope Institute which gives yungerleit opportunities for employment etc.
    Keep up the great work

  8. I had recently contacted moshe tyberg in regards to a job but with no luck for now.

    Its getting harder n harder to find a good job

  9. kol hakovod for this great initiative.
    in response to ‘Talmudic’ (#4 above), i think we must be more careful in giving this type of ‘advice’. daas torah has been very clear that college is no place for a ben-torah, and just because times are tough right now does not give one a heter to go.
    if you can help someone find a job, great. but don’t give him advice (b’toras lifnei iver) to do something or to go somewhere where he does not belong and where daas torah has said is assur.

  10. Zalmy,

    I do not know who you quote, but it is not unanimous “Daas Torah” that college is assur. As a matter of fact many yeshivas are allowing their talmidim to go to colleges at night and even Touro and Landers. You may have had your Rov say its assur, but there are yeshivas like Ner Israel and the like that allow the bachurim to go to college. I woould even go so far to say that you will see over the next 10 years the perception of “college being assur” and many people going to college because its the way to make a parnassa. Yes, the Teva which Hashem has created and works in to help us, requires us to go to college to make a living unless we are going into Klei Kodesh. SO STOP SAYING ITS ASSUR!!! Oh and have a meaningful and easy fast.

  11. Re: comment #4

    You bring up a very controversial topic which I would like to address.

    Getting “secondary or higher education” will for sure give a person a better chance at a job but… even people who don’t need immediate parnassah there is alot to consider.

    Firstly depending on what type of education, it is not easy to get student loans at good rates right now especially if the person is not a full time student. Secondly some of the people we are talking about have large families and going into debt even student loans is not easy to get out of. Thirdly when is a person who has a job and a family suppose to find time, even a couple of hours a week can be difficult. Also i’ve seen “many” employers who only want applicants with 2-3 years experience in the field (another topic for another time).

    On the other hand you do bring up a valid point that it could position a person for better opportunities in the future.

    I would like to hear from people who went through with the idea of higher education, how did it turn out.

  12. Moving away from New York City might help. Most of the good jobs (agt least for Jews with some secular education or training) that were lost were in financial services or related areas, and that industry has suffered a severe blow. Those skills are often transferable in other industries, but New York’s economy will be in shambles.

    In any event, unemployment insurance kicks in for at least the next zman, so people should settle down and get used to a more modest income and make up for all the learning time they lost while trying to be middle class.

  13. In response to Zalmy:

    As with all important decisions, one should consult with a Rav who knows him/her for halachic and hashkafic advise about their decision. I certainly hope that my comment on Yeshiva World was not construed as a halachic opinion on the matter of college.

    The fact is that many people who read this blog (men and women) pursue higher education of different types (college, Touro, Cleps, Rebbitzen Bulka, and Lakewood accounting courses, to name a few). In addition, some of the people who may be out of work right now have already gone to college and/or been in the workforce for many years. My comment was a “suggestion,” not “advice,” directed primarily at these groups.

    Instead of “carefully” reading my very general comment in this way (b’toras dan l’chaf zchus), you instead narrowly interpreted my comment as an endorsement/heter for “b’nai torah” going to college. But if that’s the way you choose to read it, great.

  14. Re 15: you are assuming that these people still have corners they can cut. There are many people, B”H with jobs, but who are living very, very, simply (and not necessarily making it). The loss of a job on top of that is beyond disastrous.

  15. and besides rabbonim speaking in shul, and appointing gabbaim (wont happen) i urge EVERY mincha minyan located in business throughout the tri state area to appoint a “gabbai” to be in charge of job searches and coordination. and networking.

    mitpalelim are in a job mindset when coming to these minyanim (perhaps they shouldnt, but thats another story) and someone should know about jobs in the area of the particular mincha minyan. not necessarily in the particular business the minyan is housed in, but in neighboring businesses, etc.

    and the gabbai should be prominently announced (or located) at each minyan. mitpalelim should be instructed to bring him job offers, and of the record job offers (most jobs are filled before a real job description / ad is written up; some people are “in the know” about these!)

  16. merubim tzarchei amcha – i myself know a few people affected – 1 of them his wife left him bec she couldnt deal with it – hopefully hashem will take pity on all of us

  17. Its interesting that now, of all times, College is getting endorsed. After all, it is the people who went to college that are now getting hit the hardest. I am an advocate of College, but if anything, the crisis that we face only proves that everything is up to Hashem.

  18. In response to #12 for many jobs a college degree is an explicit requirement, or at least an implicit one. If you don’t have a degree you will never be considered for those.

    That being said if you don’t want to go to college there are many other jobs you can train for that might be more up your ally. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, machinists etc all need vocational training and with a few years on the job can make very good money. My step brother is a plumber in NJ and he does quite well

    Me I program computers, but I have a BA from Brandeis.


    Even in the communist days of the Soviet Union, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters were allowed to make as much money as they wanted.

    The commisars couldn’t afford to jail them.

  20. FYI

    Job Fair Open to the PUBLIC

    Ft. Monmouth Gibbs Hall (O-Club)

    Tinton Avenue Ft. Monmouth NJ

    10:00 AM to 3:00PM 9-15-09 ONLY

    A goy, Gerry Mullen B’vah’chah’shah, also

    study more Torah. Toddah Rabbah

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts