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2014-08-29 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

August 29, 2014  RSS feed
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Letter to the Editor

The Jewish Press welcomes Letters to the Editor. Letters are published on a space available basis with the Jewish Press reserving the right to edit or reject letters for clarity, brevity, legalities or taste. Letters must be signed and bear the writer’s address and telephone number (which will not be published). The writer’s name will be withheld on request.

Help wanted: Jewish community’s networking aid

Dear Editor:

We are failing. They are hard words. They’re hard to hear; they’re even harder to say.

I say them with a very heavy heart, but I have no choice but to say them because I am experiencing the failure. So what are we, as a community, failing at? The Rambam says that the highest form of tzedakah (charity) is to help someone find a job. It is the highest form because it is the only form that truly allows a person to maintain their dignity, keep their wholeness, and not feel like they are receiving charity. This takes me to my story.

A little over a month ago my wife and I suddenly moved back to Tampa to help take care of my parents who are in their 80s and required help. Needing work, my first thought was to reach out to the Jewish community here in Tampa for help. After all, they are my family, and family always helps family, and all I needed was some networking names. I had read stories of a time when if a Jew needed a job there was someone in the community who would help them find work, or at the least, the right person to talk to.

I met with many kind and caring rabbis that wanted to help but weren’t sure they knew anyone. I met with a JCC/Jewish Federation that said they did not know anyone who could help me network. I contacted Jewish Family Services, who’s slogan is “we’re here to help,” only to be told they could not help. If I needed food, counseling, or possibly money they could help me. I told them if I had a job, I would not need their food, counseling, or money. I know these are caring people who are providing a vital service, but, I need help in finding a job, a name of someone to talk to. I received no response.

I did get one universal response: have you gone to Tampa Bay Joblinks. Yes, in fact I spoke to them even before we moved. These are dedicated and caring people. They helped me craft my resume, cover letters, prepare for interviews, etc. However, the one thing they don’t provide are jobs. They’re not, and don’t claim to be, a job service. They help you prepare, but they don’t actually help you find a job. I have to find the job, which is why I reached out to the rest of the Jewish community.

So here I am, a 53-year-old, highly skilled business manager and administrator, 25 years as a graphic designer, and I even was a behavioral counselor this past year teaching social skills to inner city high school kids. I send out resume after resume into the black hole that is job search. It is discouraging to say the least, but that is not what makes me profoundly sad and broken hearted. It is the lack of help from my family, the Jewish community. It’s not that I believe they don’t care – quite the opposite.

Maybe this letter will foster a Jewish Job Network for networking purposes. This has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through.

We have to do a better job, the stakes are too high. We just simply can’t afford to fail anymore.

Laiv Levy
Tampa


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