Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ParnasaFest is Global!

This economy is in trouble. No one is doubting that. No one had a "good year" (other than bankruptcy lawyers). Heck, even my mom's plastic surgeon is offering discounts (true story). No one is safe. A bunch of my friends started getting laid off. First the guys in finance lost their jobs. The recent financial scandal then rocked the Jewish nonprofit world. I interviewed about 5 years ago for a communications job at Hadassah. Had I got it, I probably would have been let go last month. I was killing for this one job in YU for many years. If I got that, I might have been fired last week. Who's next?

Who's next? That's the question that inspired my friends Dave Weinberg, Dani Klein and myself to stand up and do something. Two things that I care about are the Jewish community and the social media world. You might not think so but they have a common bond. Members in each of these communities care deeply for one another. Jews give tzedakah (charity) and aid to others in need. Social networkers happily offer free advice and support to strangers whenever it is asked for. We asked, why not bring the two communities together? The Jewish community is in need. Jews from all industries (business, non-profits, lawyers, even doctors!) are unemployed or are searching for new, better jobs at a time when it seems like there aren't any. Perhaps we can do our part by showing our Jewish friends and neighbors how to network and most importantly, help themselves.

I'm a strong believer in histadlus (basically, an effort). Everyone must make an effort if they want to see results. I often compare finding a job to dating. Think about it. To find a job, you need to put yourself out there in every way possible. Talk to people. Let your friends know what it is you are looking for. This is 2009, UTILIZE THE WEB (I met my husband online, why not my next job?). Most importantly, learn how to brand yourself. Make your next employer seek YOU out, not just vice versa.

ParnasaFest is Jewish networking during bad economic times. What we started over lunch during Jeff Pulver's SocComm has become an international grassroots effort to provide networking and job assistance opportunities for the Jewish people and the greater community at large. This is not only an event for the unemployed. So many of my friends have replied to me, "Thank you so much for thinking of me, but thank God, I am still gainfully employed". Even if you are in a job that you love, I encourage you to come to a ParnasaFest event in your city. Perhaps you might be the link between one of the attendees and their next job. Maybe you are a lawyer, but your sister works in an office that is hiring an accountant and you can refer someone their way. All that we ask is that you come ready to schmooze and eager to help a brother out. As the New York Lottery says, "You Never Know".

You can follow our most recent updates on Twitter and you can visit our new website, ParnasaFest.org. We are updating constantly with new ParnasaFest events throughout the world. What started 11 days ago with a small event at my synagogue in upper Manhattan is now a global initiative. We are now planning events in Jerusalem, London, Toronto and throughout the United States! (For a full list visit ParnasaFest.org)

Finally, we could use your support. We don't ask for much. If you are a believer in our cause, donate $5. Local, national, and even international sponsorships are still available. Contact us at parnasafest@gmail.com if you have any personal questions, comments, suggestions or want tips on how to organize an event in your hometown. Remember, you are our partner in this effort. All it takes is the will to help your friends.

Make a donation today!