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Hundreds turn out for Jerusalem job fair

February 11, 2010. Jerusalem Post: Abe Selig

Hundreds of Anglo olim packed the halls of Beit Ar-El in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood Wednesday night for a job fair sponsored by Hadassah’s Merkaz Hamagshimim.

The four-hour affair included 40 different potential employers, speakers offering tips on navigating the country’s job market, and even resumé help for those entering the Israeli workforce for the first time.

While the roughly 600 English-speaking immigrants had some trouble making their way in and out of the building’s rooms and hallways, Shira Barzily, who helped organize the fair, told The Jerusalem Post that it was a success on a number of levels.

“People said they had the opportunity to meet with a lot of different companies and gain lots of new leads and contacts,” she said. “While the ultimate test of success is how many people end up getting jobs, the fair can also be of help in that new contacts people make often lead to other jobs down the line and not just from the fair itself.”

Barzily added that the speakers, in offering networking tips and job-search advice, were an added plus for job-seekers.

“These tips transfer to any field,” Barzily said. “So people were able to come away with tools that will end up helping them in any job search. There was also a Powerpoint presentation with potential jobs that weren’t being represented by the companies themselves.”

Barzily, who works for Merkaz Hamagshimim as a counselor for new olim, added that the job fair served to assist the immigrants in a sphere that could potentially “make or break” their aliya.

“Employment is not just a nice thing to have, it’s a necessity,” she said. “And it’s something that ultimately can be the deciding factor as far as [whether] someone stays in Israel or not.”

Idit Codish, a returning immigrant who spent a number of years in the United States, told the Post that while she hadn’t found a definite job at the fair, she felt more hopeful after seeing the different potential employers.

“I’ve been looking for a job for a month now, and I’ve been sending my resumé out twice a day,” Codish said. “I’m not super-optimistic that a job will come out of this, but it’s good to know that there are companies looking for employees. I’d say I’m inspired, if not optimistic.”

Others told the Post that while they were a bit bewildered by the crowds, they were thankful for the opportunity to look at so many potential jobs in one sitting.

And not all of those present at the job fair were new immigrants. David Grossman, who made aliya from London 25 years ago, said he had seized the opportunity just to have a look at what was being offered.

“It’s useful,” Grossman said of the job fair. “While I don’t believe that everyone is going to find a job, overall, it’s a great thing.” 

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