I am writing on behalf of a friend who is in dire need of employment and hoping the readers of the AJT can help. To preserve her dignity, I will refer to her as “Chava” (Eve), because she could be any woman in this situation. Chava last worked for a Jewish day school in Atlanta, where we met. She held her administrative assistant position for over seven years until she lost the position last August due to budget cuts.
Chava is a smart, personable, hard-working lady, who thought she would find a job quickly. She is also 64 years old, which has been a deal-breaker – unspoken, of course – these past 10 months. In the many jobs she has interviewed for, Chava has often been on the short list. Yes, we all know ageism is alive and well. But as I have watched Chava’s fruitless and discouraging journey these past nine months, it hit home in a very personal way.
But not to worry, there are safety nets in our community, yes? Well, no. After the standard 13 weeks unemployment compensation, Chava asked for an extension.
These used to be granted for up to a year. She was told no extension because unemployment is historically low in Georgia. Chava is without health insurance and applied for Medicaid. She was told ‘no,’ because her salary LAST YEAR was too high. At my suggestion, she contacted Jewish Family & Career Services about an emergency loan. But two co-signers are needed, not an option for her.
These cruel ironies have been devastating for her. Chava is behind in her rent, and there is a frightening possibility that she could be homeless.
Maimonides’ greatest level of tzedakah is helping someone find a job. I implore anyone reading this letter who has an administrative or similar position available, or knows of someone who can help, to contact me, and I will forward the information to Chava. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org; my home phone is 678-297-1225.
The Atlanta Jewish community is generous and caring. Please help one of our own who does not know where else to turn.
Sheila Riegel, Atlanta
I am fortunate like all Atlanta Jewry and other Jewish communities in the South that I am able to read the Atlanta Jewish Times online.
Therefore, in the June 28 issue, I was quite surprised that on the page opposite the Israeli achievements is a story “Violence in the Israeli Schools.” I could not fathom the purpose of the story. The facts, I assume, are correct, but why is this important to Atlanta Jewry?
If the conclusion of the story was to “push the Atlanta Jewish Federation” to earmark funds donated and direct them to the problem of “violence in the Israeli schools,” then the story might have a purpose. Even that, I think not.
Even though I do not agree with all that the prime minister and the government does, I have to tell you that I have been very proud of what Israelis, my brothers and sisters, have achieved just in June alone in athletics, in Israel actors and films honored at Monte Carlo. I know all about the level of violence in Israeli schools, but it is a subject for Israelis, unless you out there want to make aliyah and help.
The AJT is a unique publication because it serves the ninth-largest Jewish community in the USA. I recall when Atlanta was 45th. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Evangelicals and BDS supporters read the AJT. I don’t think the paper should whitewash Israel, but I do think that critical stories about activities in Israel which “you” cannot help to change is a form of Jewish self-hatred. Geffen is exaggerating, you may think, but I love Israel as much as I love Atlanta.
Who does the AJT want to win points with? I find it difficult that so much space, when space is so tight, is devoted to this topic about Israel you chose to insert.
I am a booster of the AJT, but I also I think that I should express my honesty about a story included.
Rabbi David Geffen, Jerusalem