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The fourth OU Job Fair in Israel took place at the Jerusalem Gardens Hotel on Tuesday May 13. This year’s event attracted 60 potential employers and an estimated 1,000 job seekers.

“The OU Job Board is committed to making sure people who make aliyah have opportunities that will allow them to stay in Israel,” says Michael Rosner, Executive Director of the OU Job Board based in New York. “The OU Job Board gives both olim and native Israelis the tools to enable them to find meaningful employment.” he says.

“The job seekers are a mixed bag of people,” Rosner says. “We are pushing English speaking jobs so we assume that most participants are olim.” This includes both those who have lived in Israel for a number of years as well as those who have just arrived.

Do “Sabras” Come to the Job Fair?

Rosner estimates that about one-third of the participants are native-born Israelis. Not all the participants – both job seekers and employers – come from Jerusalem, Rosner says. He estimates that a majority live with an hour’s commute of the capital.

Among the employers this year were publishers, investment firms, cellular phone companies, jewelry stores, real estate firms, accountants, as well as a variety of consulting firms and outsourcing companies. There were also several volunteer organizations that help olim find work. They include Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Jerusalem municipality, Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) and the South African Zionist Federation.

In addition to job placement the Job Board also offers online classes to help job seekers learn new skills. Three recent courses include intermediate HTML and Javascript, Microsoft Office Access for beginners, and Microsoft Word and Excel at the intermediate level.

“What’s interesting about these online courses is that they are offered for all time zones – in both the US and in Israel,” Rosner says.

Who Came to the Job Fair?

Toward the end of the afternoon, MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (HaBayit HaYehudi/Jewish Home) stopped by to learn more about the Job Fair. She spoke to both those looking for work as well as potential employers.

Yehudah Freilich (right), CEO of Outsourcing to Israel explains the unique concept that is the basis of his company. Rather than send work abroad, he matches the skills of Americans living in Israel with American companies that need these skills. This enables American olim to work from home in English.

Joel Pearlman from Hull, UK has been in Israel for four months. He has a degree in building construction but also has IT experience. “There are definitely more opportunities in IT,” he says.

Ariel Novick has been in Israel since 2007. He studied law at a special program in Israel from the University of Manchester and then passed the Israel Bar exam. “This is a good chance to see what’s out there,” he says. “Today I’m looking for clients. My partner and I hope to be hiring in the near future.”

Yisrael Ben-Avraham has been in Israel for two years but just made aliyah recently. “I studied psychology,” he says, “but I also have experience working at a call center.”

Adir Puterman, originally from Durban, South Africa, has been in Israel for 5 ½ years. “I currently have a job but I’m here looking for the next step. I’ve seen a few interesting possibilities,” he says.

Aryeh Schwartz, from New York, has been in Israel for a week. He was a project manager in IT. “So far I haven’t found anyone looking for a project manager,” he admits. He did a lot of job hunting online before he arrived. “Now I understand what people meant when they told me to contact them once I get here.”