Many Haredim find it difficult to find work in high-tech fields.
Now, an innovative partnership between a Haredi entrepreneur and two established leaders in the field is helping to bring the gap between the world of yeshiva and well-paying high-tech work.
The idea is the brainchild of Moshe Friedman, who after spending nearly all of this 30 years in Talmud study, decided he wanted to do something else.
“I realized I wanted to explore a little bit, to know new fields and meet new people and go on new adventures,” Moshe said in a recent interview with Israel 21c.
Like many from the ultra-Orthodox world, however, he found it difficult to turn his years devoted to Talmud study into a high-paying job, especially since he had no training in science, math, and English.
Friedman, though, was not easily discouraged and decided to give it a go anyhow.
“I found out that Israel is the startup nation, and I said, ‘Why shouldn’t I do that too?’” he recalled.
Despite his best efforts, however, he simply could not get entrepreneurs interested in his ideas. That is until he met Yossi Vardi, a legend in Israel’s start-up world, at a startup competition.
After Vardi listened to Friedman he decided to help him out.
“We secular people are very upset with Haredim because they don’t go to the army and work, but if they want to start a business we don’t help,” he told him. “I’d like to help you do something about this.”
Making good on his promise, he connected him to another leader in the field, Cisco executive Zika Abzuk.
With Vardi and Abzuk’s support, Friedman founded Kamatech help match Haredim to high-tech employment.
While the Haredi workers still face an uphill battle finding employment, Kamatech is providing much-needed access for the willing recruits by partnering with companies like Abzuk’s Cisco, to encourage hiring of well-qualified workers.
“The industry is looking for workers who are creative, curious, proactive in the way they learn, and able to work collaboratively, and this is exactly how the ultra-Orthodox study. We show that they are very good candidates,” Abzuk said of the program to match Haredim to high-tech.
She also said a more diverse workforce can only make Israel stronger.
“When everyone belongs, we’ll be much more powerful as a society,” Azbuk pointed out.