Don’t work harder, work smarter! Established in 2008, Temech, a business organization for religious women, presents new solutions to old problems. By developing and promoting practical tools for training and employing religious women, over 4,000 women are able to bring in more income to support their families respectably. While 100 women attended the 2010 Temech conference, 500 women attended this year’s June 23 conference held in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel, Jerusalem – ample proof that Temech is changing the face of Israeli society.
“You may have a booming business or you may have just completed a business course that’ll give you the tools to launch a booming business. Either way, like the Jews in the desert who each contributed a half shekel, regardless of their personal status, every woman here has something important to contribute.” CEO of Temech, Shaindy Babad’s opening words set the tone for a day of shared learning and networking.
The Temech Conference, the organization’s flagship, has two main goals: the first is to give Torah-observant female entrepreneurs, self-employees and freelancers the practical tools, knowledge and motivation they need to increase their business income. The second is to help women meet each other and form valuable connections that can lead to new business, referrals, joint ventures and mutual assistance and support. To achieve its goals, it runs the Joint Israel Tevet’s Tzofia program in cooperation with Tamat, Israel’s government agency for the development of small and mid-sized businesses, as well as Bituach Leumi’s Shiluv Program for the Advancement and Continuity of Charedi Women in the Workforce. Leah Hass, a successful life coach with a private practice in Beitar, a suburb of Jerusalem, shares her experience from last year’s conference: “In the workshop I attended, I was given practical tips that have helped me build my practice. I was taught about the concept of an elevator pitch and was then encouraged to use it when the presenter urged us to network with fifty new people. This year, I’m here again!”
This year’s conference opened with a lecture from Rabbi Zev Leff, one of Israel’s most popular English-speaking Torah educators and rav of Moshav Matityahu. Next, attendees benefited from the marketing advice of keynote speaker Suzanne Balaban, publicity and brand developer, and PR Adviser to New York Times best-selling authors. The morning was rounded out by a presentation by Naomi Elbinger, conference coordinator, and then a session on power networking. A selection of workshops showcasing those given at The JerusalemHub, Temech’s center for religious business women, introduced the attendees to the revolutionary center and ended a successful day.
What Does Temech Do?
Temech is about providing a community – a place where religious women can learn, collaborate and refresh themselves with like-minded people. To this end it offers two kinds of programs: professional training and corporate assistance. (See side bar for more details.) At the conference, Suzanne Balaban, originally from London, shared her professional training – she began her career in the BBC’s News and Current Affairs Department, and then relocated to New York after her marriage. “At one point, when I realized that books were the last vestige of substantive thought in America, I approached HarperCollins. I became the handmaiden to major authors such as Stephen King and Gavin Menzies. Menzies’ book, 1421, was one of the first books I worked on,” says Balaban. “It received an eight-page spread in the New York Times.” Seven years ago, Balaban fulfilled her goal of coming to Israel, making her expertise available to names like Jamie Geller, Caroline Glick and others waiting in the wings to be launched. Asked if she misses the high power of Random House and Simon & Schuster, Balaban shakes her head and says, “I enjoy working in the Jewish world. Now I’m able to navigate both.”