Oct. 25, 2009
The great 12th century philosopher Maimonides taught that the highest level of tzedakah is to establish a person in business or help him or her secure employment. Why? Because then that person can make a living and provide sustenance for his or her family.
With the national unemployment rate near 10 percent, many in our own PTS family have lost jobs and are looking for work. Some of our congregants saw lengthy careers come to an end in this most recent recession, and others saw their positions terminated or their companies fail.
Lack of employment can put tremendous financial and emotional strains on individuals and families.
Sometimes those going through hard times don't know where to turn.
I want them to turn to PTS. This Yom Kippur I announced the creation of our PTS Employment Network, which is designed to foster greater connections so that we can help each other. Through our network, those seeking employment opportunities can get connected with other temple members who can provide employment assistance.
Our PTS community is a microcosm of the greater world. And here at PTS we have amazing human resources on which we can draw. That is why our Employment Network is so exciting.
Led by Jen and Reid Liebhaber, in partnership with our Executive Director, Amy Mallor, the PTS Employment Network will create opportunities for the under- or unemployed to get connected with appropriate temple members who can help them get back to work.
If you are a Job Seeker, we are asking you to send in your resume.
We would like to get a sense of how many people are looking for work and identify the kinds of positions that are being sought. All submissions are confidential.
Secondly, we need volunteers, or Networking Partners. If you are connected in professional circles or enjoy helping people in the employment arena, please let us know.
Primarily, a Networking Partner will assist Job Seekers through personal introductions in related fields, but we would also like to utilize those who have professional skills that could help -- e.g., resume writing, interview techniques.
And, needless-to-say, please direct any job leads our way! I would bet that many of us have gotten one or more of our past jobs because someone helped make a connection for us. Something as simple as a phone call can make a world of difference. I know that when someone I respect and trust makes a referral, I take it very seriously.
Sharing your connections could make the difference for one of our congregants. When I mentioned this to a longtime congregant, he immediately volunteered to scour his voluminous list of contacts to connect job seekers with people he knows in the community.
It is a Jewish value that people help one another and, in fact, this is how the Jewish people have survived through the ages. Employment is a matter of survival, and we seldom have such a wonderful opportunity to put our Jewish values into action.
For more details about this effort, please visit the PTS Employment Network link on our temple's website (www.sholom.org). We welcome your participation as a giver or as a receiver of help.
I know that many of you, like me, were touched by the sense of community we all felt this High Holy Day season. Your generosity of spirit toward this congregation was felt in your tremendous pledges of financial support and, also, in your hugs, smiles and willingness to share your stories with each other.
I am proud to serve a congregation that represents the best of our Jewish values, and I am proud that we are building a PTS Employment Network that has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of our members.
(Special thanks to Joan Tabb Waisbein, founder and chair of the Peninsula Temple Beth El Employment Network, for her guidance in setting up our program.)