Monday, 4 January 2010

Working In Israel

The topic of work is actually part of my profession as an Occupational Therapist. In amongst working to set up a Pre-vocational Rehabilitation Program at a leading Teaching Hospital, I have completed a Junior Management course and two courses for Small Business Basics. Yet, nothing I learned prepared me for life in Israel.

I did everything correctly. The Pilot Trip, planning, preparing, knowing how to convert my degree to be recognized in Israel, learning Hebrew, residency .... I had it all worked out, then I came to Israel and everything changed.

I never expected to work in a paid job and not get paid. I never expected to be elligible for Sal Klita (the absorption basket - a regular stipend to assist an Olah while doing their ulpan) and not receive it, or to receive NIS 64 for a month and have a surprised counselor wonder why that is not enough to cover a months expenses.

I just got off the telephone from a colleague in the health profession who affirmed it is normal to have to wait a few months to be paid ones salary if you work for any of the health companies. My question was, "how is anyone to live while waiting for their salary?"

Her answer was: "I don't know!" Many are forced to take out loans and loans and loans. I am told this is Israel.

No, that attitude is not Israel, it is very very foreign to the life of a Jew. The Torah provides us with laws of business including paying ones workers on time. Once again, I am reminded that the name Israel is the same name given to Yaakov Avinu (our Father) after he successfully won a battle with the angel of Eisav. Yaakov is a man of truth and honesty means paying ones workers what is required on time.

I am told it takes time to process ones information in order to receive a salary. If it is so difficult, why is it that other countries manage? Why is it that when I worked as a locum therapist in UK, one of hundreds of therapists around the UK who worked as such, I got paid every week, on time, in full and a good pay. Why is it when I worked in USA as a contract therapist, again one of many who worked for the company who headhunted me, once again I was paid in full from the first month. No problems, directly into my bank account.

The answer is because it IS possible. It takes a person fulfilling the correct process of entering the information into a computer, pressing the enter key and there is a file with all the data.

Why do I put this up? Not to scare you. Not to say give up your profession and just clean houses or pack shelves as I was told. No, come, with your morals and values and western standards and help to build Israel into the country it is supposed to be. A country of truth. A country of morals and values and caring. A country where we can all go to sleep with peace of mind that everyone was paid on time.

How do we do that? I dont have the answer, but I do know one thing, there is power in unity and numbers, so why not start by joining our Tehillim group. We have a campaign on the go at the moment to have 1000 Jewish women reciting Tehillim every Shabbat during daylight hours. Join our group. Let the power of the Tehillim and the group help to open doors.

If you have any ideas, we would love to hear them. Israel IS where Jews belong. Israel can have top quality health care in a manner that every health professional is paid on time a decent living wage. It is up to us to make that happen. If we have nothing else to do and no ideas, then our next option is really our first option, daven. Lots of it. And resolve to take jobs that do pay correctly and, whenever you are in a position to employ a Jew, make sure to pay them on time.

The words of a song come to mind: "Make this world a better place, its yours and its mine, so now is the time...."

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