Thursday, 16 August 2012

Finding Occupational Therapy Work in Israel- 1

If you have made Aliyah or are considering doing so, finding suitable work is going to be one of the most important questions you will ask or consider. As an experienced Occupational Therapist, I decided to begin writing some articles of information as to what you might expect when searching for suitable work here.

This series is related to experiences Occupational Therapists might find when seeking gainful employment in a salaried job in Israel. Please note, not all of these experiences are my own, many are gleaned from networking with other OT's who are Olim.

The first scenario is taken from a recent conversation with a colleague. She had made Aliyah after having a number of working years experience in Occupational Therapy in an Anglo Speaking country. She was fortunate to have saved a little before coming and eager to begin working. After completing her ulpan and Staj', she obtained a job replacing a therapist on Maternity Leave, i.e. the position was for 3 months. During the full 3 months working in the facility she had not received one salary check or any attempt to pay her. Towards the end of her 3 months working at the facility, the secretary recommended that she talk to the manager and request her pay. 

Following this advice, the O.T. went to visit the manager and had to explain her need to be paid for her 3 months working to cover an O.T. away on maternity leave.

Is the above scenario legal?

If the therapist is employed and would receive a salary slip then the law states payment is due no later than 9 days after the month for which the employee worked – after that point, significant fines, penalties and late charges apply. An employee must receive no less than minimum, statutory wage (per hour, week or month – as applicable).  There are MANY other obligations on the employer if the relationship is one of employee-employer including the obligation to provide paystubs in statutory form, give vacation and sick pay, provide a pension in a minimum, statutory amount, pay overtime unless exempted, pay demai havraah, pay commuting expenses, etc. (This information is obtained from a Labour Lawyer who we hope to encourage to write for our blog)

As you might be able to ascertain from the information the lawyer provided, the fact someone managed to save prior to coming to Israel is not a reason for an employer to withhold your salary. What about those therapists who might not have saved prior to coming here? There should never be a situation where a salaried worker is expected to take a loan or Gemach in order to cover expenses while waiting to be paid. In fact, if you are working and turn to your bank manager for assistance through the days or months you are waiting for your salary, the bank manager is probably going to tell you it is illegal to withhold your salary and hence he will not advance you a loan. 

What has your experience been in finding suitable work in Israel? If you are struggling with the process, please book an appointment for an evaluation and services to assist you to set goals and action plans to help you to find the work that is suitable to your interest, skills, health, family circumstances etc.

If you are an Occupational Therapist and have had difficulty being paid correctly or on time, please do email us as we are looking into forming a group to look into how to improve the situation.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Professional Referral Service

After receiving many requests for referrals to all manner of therapists, we have added a new service to the work that we provide through Chessed Ve'Emet. Our new service is a Professional Referral Service. 

Our most recent professional to sign up is Lizzy Rubin who is a Registered Nurse, Certified Kallah Teacher, Clinical Sociologist and Sexologist. One of Lizzy's areas of expertise is working with Jewish women who are in an abusive marriage. Lizzy has been married for many years and is a mother and grandmother. She brings wonderful life experience to her professional work, assisting Jewish women to enjoy a healthy marriage. 

If you are a health professional working privately in Israel and would like to join our Professional Referral Network, please email us to schedule and appointment. 

If you are Jewish, living in Israel and are in need of professional services to improve any area related to the Jewish home, marriage and parenting, please be in touch for an interview so that we can refer you to the appropriate therapist or other professional. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Light-Rail Nightmare - A Tip for Moms with Babies in Strollers

Yesterday there was a light-rail disaster / nightmare (סיוט - "Siyut"). The purpose of this post is not to highlight the disaster, but to concentrate on what we - the public - need to do to take better care of ourselves in being prepared for... anything!

A mom with her 18 month old baby in stroller boarded the light-rail. Only thing is that the mother pushed the stroller with baby inside it onto the light-rail before ascending herself. The driver was "doing his job" (sic) and apparently did not have time to wait for the mother to get on, and closed the doors just a moment after the stroller (with baby inside) was "safely" on-board! Though passengers began shouting at the driver to open the doors and let the mother on, he replied that it was not his concern and that he could not wait any longer - he had a job to do and was doing it by continuing the journey of the light-rail.

One can only imagine the devastation the mother was experiencing at the moment as she wondered what would be with her child. Though the driver refused to give his name, people did photograph him and we can assume those on the rail would report the incident with photographs in hand! 

The seriousness of this story should awaken us all to further possible measures we must take in safeguarding our children and our possessions. Perhaps it would be a good idea for all moms to stitch in to their strollers an identity tag with at least a phone number on it, should her stroller (with baby in it) go missing. Just imagine this for a moment - passengers on the light-rail had no way of tracking down the mom to get the baby back to her again. Remember for a moment, an 18 month old baby does not know his phone number, address or even names of his parents other than Abba and Imma. Advertising in the papers or the like, that the baby had been found may not work either as it is also possible that many people could claim the child as theirs. It would take identifying marks etc. to prove who the real mother is - as the baby would be unable (via ordinary speech) to let others know who it's mother is. I have no doubt that with enough time they would succeed in putting it all together, but the frustration for the mother would be unbearable. 

Moms: Consider either stitching or at least attaching an identifying label with a contact number onto the stroller and a bracelet on baby's arm with contact info, rather like a medic-alert bracelet. It may not necessarily have to include your name, address or any other personal details (which may lead to further problems!) But a contact number will at least offer a minimum aid for others to be able to return the child easily should something like this ever happen.

Remember: Public transport in Israel has its advantages! It does not mean that drivers will not be closing doors on you (often causing injury!) or refusing to let you on, or simply not stopping the bus when they should. Unfortunately it has become the responsibility of the passenger to look out for themselves in all these matters. 

Take care! When boarding a bus or other public transport, watch carefully as you board to see if the door is closing on you. Be at the bus stop a few minutes before to make sure you have the best chance of boarding without missing your bus or being caught in the doors. Be prepared to disembark when the bus stops rather than have to deal with shouting at the driver - and again possibly having the doors closed on you or separating from others you are traveling with.

The bus company and probably light rail company will usually favour the side of the driver in almost every instance! When using a bus ticket that is to be punched, check the driver as he punches it. He will often punch the wrong side (when using combination tickets) or click more than once thinking you have boarded with someone else etc. It is the passengers duty to check all these things and be responsible for himself. Don't leave your ticket in your shirt pocket before doing the laundry! Bus companies have no sympathy and even if the ticket looks only slightly marred, drivers will refuse to accept them! The bus company will not reimburse you or offer another ticket for the now-unusable ticket!

Be prepared for anything - and most of all, take care of your own health and security, and the health and security of your family - and all those around you!

נסיעה טובה - "Nesiah Tova" - Have a Great Journey - as they say!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Word for the Day - CHUTZPAH!

If you're living in Israel or even if not - if you're Jewish (and even if not!) there's one word you really do need to know. It's CHUTZPAH! In Hebrew it's written "חוצפה" but you can write it just as well in English because everyone really does know it already! It seems to have just the right sound to it and if you say it with enough energy and enthusiasm, you're sure to know what it means. You might find the purists who will translate the word as "impudence" or "insolence" - but don't let any of those words fool you. Chutzpah is so much more! It seems to have its own meaning whenever it's said. Is it really worthwhile to look for a translation for this extremely expressive almost onomatopoeic word?!

We'll let you think about it on your own. But meanwhile, we found just the right picture that exemplifies this most unique word. Hopefully it's not your pram. Hopefully they're not your bicycles. They can't be! You're too good to ever let anyone call you "Chutzpadic!" You're too caring to realise the dangers of others navigating through large items to get to their destination safely without tripping over your property! 

For those not yet familiar with the variety of taxes in Israel, you'll come across one called "Vaad Bayit" - "ועד בית". It's not really a tax as such though you'll have to pay it whether you like it or not. In fact whatever it costs - whether 50 Shekel a month or 250 Shekel a month or even more - whatever the administrator of the fund demands is a new liability for you each month! It's true, someone must take care of the building expenses, but what about when you're always doing your best to keep things clean. In that case, you'll find yourself constantly bombarded with bills of others to pay (with those in the wrong constantly let off the hook!) - those who prefer to hire real help to keep things clean, rather than do it themselves. It's the Vaad Bayit who puts up the signs you'll see plastered all over your building - notably like the one in the picture below (click image for full size) which clearly indicates, "Dear Neighbours: Please do not leave prams in the passage-way". Of course, if you do know about Chutzpah - you may want to use it - and be Davka -דוקא - another word that's just so hard to translate. It means something similar to - "just because you said no... I'm all for it!" though literally it means "exactly!"

So here it is. If you were to look up the word Chutzpah in a dictionary, you'd be sure to see this image and maybe even the one below it. For those striving to make their apartment building clean and tidy - don't be surprised when you're hit with large Vaad Bayit bills. They are really there - especially for you - so that you can pay the bills for the Davka type of neighbour who knows not much more than what real Chutzpah really means!


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