The Jewish Women’s Writers Seminar is more than just an annual seminar. We now have an Educational Network, with ongoing workshops and courses to help you master different aspects of writing and increase your knowledge of many types of lucrative writing opportunities.
The not-so-secret ingredient
What launched the JWWS Educational Network? In addition to the instructors, the attendees, the participants, and the organizer- the foundation and success of JWWS Educational Network is the sponsorship of an organization called Temech.
Temech’s mission is to empower chareidi women to prosper in the workforce.
The mission of JWWS is help budding writers find their voices, strengthen their writing, meet others in the field and find ways to use their writing the best way they can.
Seeing this joint mission – that of helping chareidi women further their goals – JWWS and Temech joined together in our new JWWS Educational Network for women writers.
The power of women writers- YOU!
Last year at the JWWS 2015 Seminar, Temech sent us a representative to meet with our attendees, together with all the other many publishers, magazines and businesses that have been attending JWWS for many years.
When Temech saw the many passionate and excited women at the conference, and the effect of empowering female writers to suceed, they requested a follow up meeting.
At that meeting, the idea for the JWWS Educational Network for women writers was born, with Temech as an eager sponsor to see this new venture to reality.
Way beyond writing
Temech’s focus is that women in all types of professions be able to receive and afford the training and know-how they need to turn their skills into profit for themselves and their families.
Want to know more?
Here’s an article, originally published in Hamodia, about Temech. How and why it got started, why, and about their monumental reach getting chareidi women both professional training and employment:
Frum Women in the Work Force – A Success Story in Israel
By: Tamar Ansh
I enter the main lobby of the Shaarei HaIr building, off the busy corner of Jerusalem’s downtown area. Ascending to the ninth floor, I enter The Jerusalem Hub, a one-of-a-kind bustling business center created exclusively for religious women. The attractive layout in this office hub is very inviting: the cozy little inside meeting area, the kitchenette, and the thoughtful design of the patio overlooking Jerusalem’s skyline.
As I walk in, the quiet hum of women working at the computer stations greets me. Mrs. Shaindy Babad, the director of Temech, comes over to say hello and to share with me an inside look at the many initiatives that Temech is involved in, far more than just those of the Jerusalem Hub – most significantly, a program to help frum women with the job crisis in Israel.
Israel and the Job Crisis
Poverty among the hard-working chareidi sector of Israel has been an ongoing challenge for years. Girls are encouraged to live a kollel life after they marry and they take programs post high school to train in various fields so they can earn a living. But when the girls go out to find jobs they face enormous hurdles. There is a serious dearth of available jobs in the frum sector and salaries are low. Often, women are forced to compromise and take a lower paying job or a job completely not in their field because they are unable to find work in their areas of expertise.
Turning to the secular market is frowned upon since the atmosphere in many places is not conducive to a frum lifestyle and as frum women, everyone wants to work in jobs that are in a setting that will meet our Torah criteria.
To exacerbate the issue, by the time a married woman has two or three children, it becomes increasingly unfeasible for her to continue working due to the combined costs of travel, babysitters and other expenses which leave her with little profit at the end of the month. Add to that her physical exhaustion and the tension of not being able to earn enough to supply her growing family’s basic needs – no matter how hard she works – and the picture becomes quite abysmal.
Chaya: I Got the Job!
My name is Chaya* and I learned computer programming in seminary. When I was finished, I looked for work but didn’t find anything at all. I was feeling rather down about the whole situation when I noticed an advertisement for a course given through a place called Temech.
It promised a course for young frum women in programming that would train us to get a specific job and that 75% of those who took their courses would be hired, so I joined. Baruch Hashem, I was already accepted to an interview while I was still completing the course and I was nervous about how I would pass the interview. Temech offered us a short training period in how to go for an interview and it worked! I got the job!
They opened up a place in this business that was specifically for us. We were a group of frum women that had our own workspace in this company; today I work for Chevrat Pat of Chevrat One. In fact, it wasn’t just the job itself that Temech arranged: they even worked out many of the details that go into the ordinary work day such as our own kosher microwave, filtered internet, and much more. I am now married and B”H my husband is still in learning.
Nava: I Make a Far Higher Salary
My name is Naava* and we live in Yerushalayim. After high school I went to a program called Siur Mochot to learn web design. While I was in the program they brought in additional programs that could give us a higher level of education. I was very interested in the next level up – I knew I could do it and that the pay is far better than an entry level job.
Taking the higher courses gives a person the financial advantages like a higher level of college does; a person gets paid better after they’ve completed them. However, it was quite expensive and I didn’t have a way to pay for it. Siur Mochot told us that those of us who were serious about the coursework could get financial help through Temech.
I applied and got accepted by Temech; with their help I was able to complete the higher program. Today I am married, working both in freelance and for companies in web design and UX (user experience) and I make a far higher salary because of the help I’ve received. We have five children now, ka’h and my husband learns and is a maishiv in his yeshiva. B’H we are able to support ourselves on my paycheck.
What is Temech?
Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel, was contacted by Mrs. Libby Affen of Matrix and Mr. Itche/ Jacob Rosenbaum of Citybook, who wanted to create a hiring model by bringing their overseas companies to Israel and training frum women to work for them.
Mr. Rosenbaum and Mrs. Affen both felt their model could be expanded by persuading other American companies to open up branches in Israel, instead of outsourcing to places like India. After all, frum women are consistent and do a far better job than strangers off in India! Mr. Rosenbaum and Mrs. Affen realized this small project had the potential to really become a game changer, but they also realized that they couldn’t do it themselves.
They needed to set up an organization with a board, and a budget and many other things. In his capacity as one of the heads of Agudah, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom was able to assist them, and he created Temech for this purpose.
“Baruch Hashem”, Rabbi Bloom told us, “We established Temech but it was moving slowly. We needed someone really dynamic to be in charge, to be out there meeting with employers, helping it to grow. When we were fortunate enough to hire Mrs. Babad – that’s when things really took off. She created our “EBT Program” and through this, we have been zoche to help many thousands of frum women.”
The Force of ‘Market’ and EBT
“Everything, from businesses, executives, decision making, all the way down to the customers and clients are driven by this force called ‘the market’,” Mrs. Babad explains. “Therefore,” she continues, “it only made sense to us to run training programs if and when the business market actually has a need at present for people trained in that specific field.
With EBT, Employee Based Training, there’s such beauty to this whole model – because in addition to knowing in advance that there is a market need for a specific job, we also have a commitment from the company itself that the jobs will be available for our women upon completion of the training period.”
Mrs. Babad knows what she is saying; she’s been out there helping women for many years. “Frum women are dedicated, bright and motivated,” she insists, “All they lack are the means and the funding to be able to acquire the exact training necessary to land good jobs. If we provide those tools, with knowing in advance that those jobs are open and ready for them, then we are able to help them reach the goal of a landing a good job.”
The EBT program – Employer Based Training – is training developed with and for a specific job opportunity at a specific company, i.e. what ‘the market’ needs are. Because no matter how you dice it, ‘market’ is the strongest financial force that exists in the world.
“As part of my work for Temech I reach out to a wide range of successful companies – and at this point we have over 150 companies. We meet with the actual employers to get them on board and assure us of the job spaces. We are able to show them how chareidi women make excellent employees, are dedicated, honest, and hard-working – something employers want and need – and that it makes financial sense for them to invest in our programs.”
If a boss realizes, financially, that this move is good for him – he will listen. A company with a high employee turnover that is always looking for new workers realizes it’s a huge financial loss; it’s costly to continuously retrain new employees. They want stability.
Helping Kollel Families
All this definitely impacts positively on the entire family. “I can give you a concrete example,” Mrs. Babad clarifies. “The Israel Electric Company opened a branch in Beersheva. This is about a 20 minutes’ drive from Arad, with a large frum/chassidish community.
Creating communities in far off places solves part of the housing crisis – but how will the community fund itself if there are hardly any jobs available nearby? We set up this EBT training model with the Electric Company in Beersheva and were able to find employment for a whole group of women from Arad; so of course their husbands were then able to stay in kollel far longer!”
Difficulties Encountered in a Secular Work Environment
As frum Yidden, we want our women to work in a setting that will not be detrimental to Yiddishkeit. Mrs. Babad works with the companies to arrange the necessary details for this to happen.
For instance, in some cases, a wide section of the floor was designated for frum women; these women were hired as a group so they work near each other. They get different break times than the rest of the company so there is no mingling. When hot lunches are provided the company was even willing to bring in special packaged food with a hechsher! They also agreed to give better shifts that are compatible with a frum mother’s schedule.
After working with so many companies, Mrs. Babad asserts that the overall feedback is positive. This is due in large measure to the women themselves. When women work with integrity, it creates not only a Kiddush Hashem but also a positive and successful workforce, speaking volumes to the employers.
With a wide smile, Mrs. Babad exclaims, “This business model makes such great financial sense. It’s beautiful! Any company around the world can copy our model. It benefits everyone – our ultimate goal.”
My name is S. and I’ve been working as a manager for Maalam Team for over 25 years, far before Temech was established. When Temech began their EBT program, Mrs. Babad turned to me. Temech helps these young women find jobs but once they are working, they need guidance from within. I started off as a volunteer in a mentoring capacity; the younger women are able to ask me anything they need to know; how to work as part of a team, how to work together when not everyone is daati, and more. I do not take the place of a Rav.
However because I am right here and have vast experience in this company working as a chareidi woman myself there are many things I can help the younger newcomers with that no one else can do.
Temech has assisted numerous women find employment. At the time that I first started over 25 years ago there were almost no chareidi women at these kinds of jobs – now there are so many. I myself am in charge of a large group of chareidi women and they are a wonderful group to work with. Their work is outstanding; they are smart and honest. Our customers are very pleased with them. And even more importantly, our bosses are very satisfied with them.
Temech only partners with companies who have a vested interest in them. The company itself finds an instructor they deem suitable, who will teach the material the way they need it and at market standards. Funding for this has several components. The company has to pay in themselves. This way they are committed and won’t pull back just for nothing.
Furthermore, the women participating do pay a subsidized fee. The rest is covered by Temech with philanthropic donations. It would be wonderful if the government participated, but as of now, Mrs. Babad says they are not supporting these programs. Mrs. Babad and Temech are continuing to work on this as they believe that the value add to the Israeli economy is so great that the government should be taking a part in supporting these programs.
Leah: 99% of Our Graduates Find Jobs
My name is Leah and I live in Bnei Brak. Before I opened my own business, I worked for others in insurance for a long time. I wanted to create a business of my own to run courses that would train frum girls and women in the computer skills necessary for work in insurance companies. I also had direction and guidance from Elyavitz Bituchim, the company I used to work for.
By developing and running this course, I felt it could help a lot of people because insurance work is a good job for a frum woman. I was in touch with Temech to see if they could help me get my business started. Together we now run these courses called Tzad Bituach by Burstein. I recruit the women, and Temech assists with screening the applicants and co-funding the course for them. In this way Temech not only helped me personally to establish my new business; they have also helped me to help others land jobs with good insurance companies.
When the students finish the course I also help them find work. Baruch Hashem 99% percent of our graduates all find jobs. At this point companies are calling us directly to ask for our graduates because the coursework really puts these women ahead of others in the field.
The Intake Process
Large companies have a very tough intake process during their interviewing and Temech soon realized that, as well-trained as the women were, they were not making it through this part. To counter this, Temech runs pre-intake workshops before the women go for interviews. Once this happened, the frum women’s acceptance rate rose significantly: 8 out of 10 women got in on average, instead of the company’s statistic of only 1 out of every 10 applicants.
It was easy to see the pride in Mrs. Babad’s eyes. “Our women did so well with the Electric Company that they came back to us to hire more of our women. In fact one of those initial first 15 women hired won the worker of the year award! Other companies saw that the frum workers were good and stable and they also turned to us. We then had branches in both Tel Aviv and Haifa open up.”
Shoshana: The Company is so Pleased with Their Work
Shoshana adds: A few years ago Maalam opened a branch in Beitar and a good portion of our employees were chareidi women from Beitar or nearby areas. For business reasons the bosses wanted to close that branch – and almost did. At the meeting to discuss this, I told them: “If you move to Yerushalayim these women won’t move with you; it will be too hard for them to be back on time for all their young children and you will lose them.” The company chose to stay in Beitar just because such a large portion of their staff were these chareidi women – and they were so pleased with their work.
Shaindy and the staff at Temech have really created a huge revolution – something unique in Israel for the chareidi public, a movement that is truly helping thousands of families. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.