Jerusalem Job Fair Salves Recession Wounds

Over 50 companies offered jobs to almost 1,100 people who attended the Orthodox Union’s Job Fair at the Jerusalem Ramada Hotel on Tuesday.

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Avraham Zuroff,

2008 OU Jerusalem Job Fair
2008 OU Jerusalem Job Fair
Assaf Shilo / Israel Sun Photo

Over 50 companies presented jobs to almost 1,100 people who attended the Orthodox Union’s (OU) Job Fair, held at the Jerusalem Ramada Hotel on Tuesday.

OU staffer Sruli Rosner directs a job hunter towards a prospective employer
Photo: Avraham Zuroff

“I was working until 2 weeks ago,” Oren, a new technical writer said, “Until the market crashed. Ten percent of the company was laid off. I was given two weeks’ notice.” Oren is one of the 193,000 Israelis who are currently unemployed.

“What we’re seeing is unprecedented. In fact, no one is immune. I think that it’s a real issue,” Stephen Savitsky, the Orthodox Union’s president remarked.

OU President Stephen Savitsky discusses with colleagues the impact of the current recession on the Jewish communities in Israel and the US
Photo: Avraham Zuroff

Although the OU planned the job fair a few months ago, the recession’s strike at Israel has intensified the organizers’ efforts. Just a few weeks ago, many economists wrongly thought that the U.S. recession would not affect the global market.

“We plan for the worst and hope for the best. We’re going to have to regroup and retool. It’s unfortunate what’s happening in Israel, a country so dependent on hi-tech,” Savitsky told Israel National News.

Yehoshua and Shulamit Ne'eman, volunteers at the Job Fair, stressed its importance at keeping new immigrants in Israel, and attracting more to come
Photo: Avraham Zuroff

To this end, the OU has launched Project CHESED, which provides community support services, including providing legal advice for their constituents who are facing foreclosure and lectures on how to explain to kids that Dad or Mom is out of a job. “We’re helping both emotionally and financially, but there’s not enough money to help,” Savitsky lamented.

2008 OU Jerusalem Job Fair
Assaf Shilo, Israel Sun Photo

Savitsky warned that now is not the time to look for one’s dream job or have high salary expectations. “People can’t do exactly what they wanted to do before,” he cautioned, adding that he hoped many people will win jobs from participating in the job fair, and that other organizations will take the OU’s initiative in providing career opportunities. However, he added, the very fact that someone has hope in finding a job made the project worth the OU’s efforts.

“As long as there’s hope, that’s what gives people a fighting chance,” Savitsky said.