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DISCUSSING ALIYAH, BRAIN GAIN, AND WHERE TO FIND THE BEST CROISSANTS IN ISRAEL

Once a week for the past five years, Etty Magar has stepped into the Gvahim office located near Tel Aviv University. She walks in and goes straight to work. Etty, an alumni relations volunteer, is the glue that reconnects alumni

Once a week for the past five years, Etty Magar has stepped into the Gvahim office located near Tel Aviv University.

She walks in and goes straight to work. Etty, an alumni relations volunteer, is the glue that reconnects alumni with Gvahim. She contacts every one of them to find out how they are doing, if they’ve found a job and how they’re getting along with their mentors.

Some people don’t understand that Gvahim is here for them, she said. If they are looking for a new job — even a few years after completing the Career Program — they can reconnect with Gvahim and use its placement department. She urges olim to take the initiative and use whatever Gvahim has to offer, from connections to professional advice.

Etty, a native of Belgium, was an only child. “Israel was always in my heart. Even as a little girl when I went to Jewish school and learned Hebrew,” she said proudly. “I have Zionism in my blood.” In 1966 she left her mother and made aliyah when Israel was still a relatively young country.

Etty eventually met and married an Israeli Army officer. She worked for IBM Israel for 29 years, had three children and lived through four wars.

One of Etty’s first jobs at IBM was in the personal computer department, where she acquired the nickname “Etty PC.” However for 17 years she worked as an executive secretary for IBM Israel General Manager. After she left IBM in 2011, a friend who knew she had a strong connection to Israel suggested she contact Gvahim. Ever since then, she’s been volunteering with the organization.

Etty says a few things about current Israeli policies disappoint her, yet she remains the most Zionist member of her family.

Her oldest grandchild is enlisting in the army this November. Her wish is that the new year will bring tranquility and peace between Palestinians and Israelis. She hopes her grandson “will enjoy a quieter period of military service.”

At the Rosh Hashana holiday table, Etty — a true Israeli — has managed to combine her own Polish family’s traditions with that of her husband, who has Egyptian roots. The result: gefilte fish, harime — (a spicy North African dish consisting of fish, tomatoes and hot pepper) and welcoming guests to her home.

by Limor D. Schwartz, Community Manager at Gvahim and GV MAG Editor

RETURN TO:
GV MAG – Issue n. 1 – Rosh Ha-Shanah 5778 / September 2017

One sunny afternoon three years ago, while hanging out at Tel Baruch — a beach just north of Tel Aviv — Michael Azoulay and his friend, Mickael Bensadoun, noticed an attractive woman jogging past them. “She ran smoothly across the sand,

One sunny afternoon three years ago, while hanging out at Tel Baruch — a beach just north of Tel Aviv — Michael Azoulay and his friend, Mickael Bensadoun, noticed an attractive woman jogging past them.

“She ran smoothly across the sand, elegantly fitted in top-of-the-line sneakers and active wear, sun-streaked hair gathered up in a bandanna, a cellphone strapped to her arm, earphones plugged in — a typical healthy portrait of today’s woman,” Azoulay recalled in a recent blog post. “But something was wrong. Her all-together look was ruined by the thick while sunscreen she was wearing. As her face was sweating, the cream was turning into a damp, oily, uneven layer that was running into her eyes, making her blink and squint in the bright sunshine.”

That got the two Mikes thinking about a new and ultimately profitable business opportunity: a line of skincare products especially designed for women who sweat.
The company that materialized, Fré Skincare, is only the latest venture for Azoulay, who made aliya in 2000 after studying economics and finance in his native France, at Université Paris-Dauphine.

The 39-year-old, whose parents hail from Algeria, arrived in Israel not speaking a word of Hebrew, but he quickly fell in love with the Jewish state, eventually returning to work for an investment bank and learning the new language on the job.
Four years later, he joined the team at Arcaffe, helping expand the fledgling Israeli espresso retail chain from eight outlets to 45.
“It was a successful operation in the local business landscape, and I learned a lot,” Azoulay told us. “I was always attracted by the retail and consumer goods industry. I also managed to open franchises on my own (he still owns an Arcaffe outlet in Ra’anana).”
But that wasn’t enough for the aspiring entrepreneur.

In 2012, Azoulay went back to school and earned an MBA through a program between Northwestern University and Tel Aviv University. He and his friend Bensadoun — co-founder of Gvahim — eventually decided it was time to make serious money, and targeted the skincare industry for potential business opportunities.
Azoulay said his sighting of that sweaty girl running along the sand at Tel Baruch was a “Eureka moment” for him and Bensadoun. “Nobody in the world was tackling this problem,” he said. “These creams on the market do not at all fit the needs of people who are sweating.”

Fré’s products revolve around the argania tree — mainly the water extract of its leaf, the organic oil and its stem cells. Azoulay’s company imports the raw material from Morocco through a French intermediary, and works with a manufacturer in Yeruham — a town in Israel’s Negev — to turn the argania extract into various facial skin-care products.

When Azoulay isn’t busy selling cosmetics, he mentors TheNest by Gvahim’ participants — a role the former Frenchman clearly relishes.
“If Gvahim had existed when I came to Israel, maybe I would have had a different career with more opportunities,” he said. “So a few years ago, I decided to do my best to take motivated people, and leverage my network and experience to try to help them face the difficulties. For me, this is very personal. When you help other people in this way, somehow you feel you’re doing something for yourself as well. It’s a big mitzva.”
He added: “Now Gvahim has the infrastructure and the network to make things happen. Ten years ago it had no visibility. Our mentor network is growing.”
Azoulay extended a heartfelt shana tova to all new immigrants — both those already in Israel and those he hopes will make aliya sometime during 5778. “What I wish is to double the number of olim who will come next year,” he told us.

by Larry Luxner, journalist and contributing editor of GV MAG

RETURN TO:
GV MAG – Issue n. 1 – Rosh Ha-Shanah 5778 / September 2017

 

There are many words that describe Yael Stephanie Schneider, but melancholy isn’t one of them. In fact, this Colorado native is the complete opposite. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed is more like it. Bubbly, too. Yael immediately grabs your attention when

Yael Schneider - ALUMNA - Career Program n.54, currently at MATRIX

There are many words that describe Yael Stephanie Schneider, but melancholy isn’t one of them.

In fact, this Colorado native is the complete opposite. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed is more like it. Bubbly, too. Yael immediately grabs your attention when she enters the room, but it’s also the wonder in her eyes that makes you notice her. She is curious, but positive about her surroundings and you can’t help but wonder what she is really thinking when she looks at what’s going on around her.
On weekends, she is active, making plans to go hiking in the nature. During the week, she accomplishes anything and everything she puts her mind to in a new corporate setting.

Still finding her place in Israel (though that’s probably only because she seems to take in EVERYTHING), Yael recently volunteered for Gvahim, which helped set her up with a great new entry-level job in a field unlike anything Yael has ever done. That field is social media.
Get to know Yael a little better with her short and sweet answers to the following questions. Let’s pick her brain, shall we?

When did you make Aliyah? What has the experience been like?
I made Aliyah almost five years ago. It’s definitely been a journey. Starting out my Aliyah was definitely – you’re going over the bumps and grinds until getting situated and find your place.

What do you love about being in Israel?
I love the community aspect, that everyone wants to help each other, and it’s very warm.

How did you get started volunteering with Gvahim?
I did the Career Program, Gvahim 54 and at the end, a volunteer opportunity arose and I love volunteering so I went for it. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve gained a lot of great friends and great community.

What kinds of things do you do for Gvahim?
I did a lot of Excel sheets and a lot of researching, phone calls – we were setting up a new software engineer program.

I heard you just recently got a job! Was it through volunteering? Was it through Gvahim?
Yes, so with Gvahim, I volunteered with them and they do the job placements. Two months after I finished my program and started volunteering, I was also offered a job at Matrix.

So obviously, you are the epitome of “New Beginnings” right now!
I have experienced a lot of “new beginnings recently.” Moving to Israel was one and starting a new career path with a new job is another.

What are your upcoming work-related and personal goals for the New Year?
This year, I want to learn as much as possible and hopefully meet the love of my life.

What do you wish for in the New Year?
To be happy.

by Simona Shemer, Gvahim Alumna, journalist and contributing editor of GV MAG

RETURN TO:
GV MAG – Issue n. 1 – Rosh Ha-Shanah 5778 / September 2017

Alex Haruni isn’t much into high-tech and corporate buzzwords, but he certainly does know his Chardonnays, Zinfandels and Petit Sirahs. The family business he runs, Dalton Winery, is today one of Israel’s top vintners — and prides itself as an

Alex Haruni - DONOR - Owner, Dalton Winery

Alex Haruni isn’t much into high-tech and corporate buzzwords, but he certainly does know his Chardonnays, Zinfandels and Petit Sirahs. The family business he runs, Dalton Winery, is today one of Israel’s top vintners — and prides itself as an industry pioneer in the Upper Galilee.

Haruni, 51, is of Persian background. He emigrated to Israel from London in 1991; four years later, his father, Matatia Haruni, founded the winery just outside Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra, near the town of Zefat.

Named after the Dalton Industrial Park in which it’s located, Haruni’s company started small and has gradually built a name for itself. The company employs 23 people directly, and many more farmers indirectly, and manages 1,200 dunams of vineyards throughout the Galilee and elsewhere.

Haruni had been a mentor at Gvahim for many years when he gradually realized that the mentoring was too focused on the high-tech corporate world.

“It wasn’t a good fit for me, because it was all about corporate placements, which was something I wasn’t familiar with, and I had a small business,” he said. “I told them I’d be happy to give more of my time, but that we should do something for people who wanted to establish small businesses in Israel but not work for a big multinational.”

So began TheNest program, and Haruni is now on its steering committee.

Today, Dalton ranks among Israel’s top 15 wineries, which together make about 90 percent of the wine consumed domestically. Dalton alone produces about one million bottles a year — up from only 30,000 in 1995, its first year of business. About 30 percent of Dalton’s total output is exported to Europe and other markets.

Israelis enjoy the rest here at home, about a third of it during Pesach. Another 20 percent of Dalton’s production is sold at Rosh Hashana — a holiday that for the Haruni family was always particularly special.

“Many families will have apple and honey at their Rosh Hashana table,” he told us, “but Sephardim have a whole tradition of symbolic foods that we eat — beans, leeks, fish heads, pomegranates and a new fruit for the new year.

Haruni’s wish for 5778? “That we should have a plentiful new year full of good deeds and mitzvot, that we move into a new year of peace and serenity.”

by Larry Luxner, journalist and contributing editor of GV MAG

RETURN TO:
GV MAG – Issue n. 1 – Rosh Ha-Shanah 5778 / September 2017

Twenty years ago, Tania Amar was a bright-faced olah from France ready to make an impact on her new Israeli homeland. Having come with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Finance from the University of Paris-Dauphine and work experience at the French energy

Twenty years ago, Tania Amar was a bright-faced olah from France ready to make an impact on her new Israeli homeland. Having come with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Finance from the University of Paris-Dauphine and work experience at the French energy consortium AREVA, she set about making an imprint on the Israeli job market.

When you look at her impressive resume (complete with marketing, management, and business development roles at large, recognizable hi-tech companies like Comverse, NICE, Click Software, JVP, and more,) you can understand why she was fitting as one of the first mentors for Gvahim. In truth, when she began her mentoring at Gvahim 10 years ago, there was, in fact, no actual Gvahim association yet. Her role took place under the Rashi Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting French Olims. Her involvement and good reputation helped her rise in the ranks to become a Gvahim board member, developing new programs, and working with Gvahim teams on new initiatives such as the recently launched Gvahim Community. Today, alongside her important Gvahim duties, Tania is the co-founder of an international consulting firm which works with B2B companies and early stage startups to develop marketing, go-to-market, and customer experience programs and strategies.

Gvahim is proud to call Tania Amar a Board Star and a Gvahim success story.

You’ve worked in many large corporate companies. Why the decision to start your own firm?
I love to try out new things. Aliyah was already a testament to that. I usually don’t like to be too comfortable so I am always looking for new professional challenges and fun projects to initiate.
I recently had the opportunity to join an established Israeli consultant and so I did. I felt that it was the right time for me to work closely with startups and contribute my broad experience in launching new technologies and products internationally.
To have my own destiny in my hands and the freedom to initiate my own new projects with a meaningful impact in Israel, these are key drivers for me. Now I feel that my partner and I have shaped a good model to do just that!  I live in THE country of entrepreneurship and my place is to help develop and promote this amazing eco-system abroad.

What would you tell new olim who want to follow in your footsteps or find the right job for themselves?
If you feel passionate about a specific project, go for it! Making Aliyah gives a lot of positive energy to try new things, so it’s worth giving it a try. Gvahim can certainly help with your first steps. But…make sure to  come with a strong and unique  value proposition that you strongly believe in because you will need to fight for it.

If your direction is to look for a steady job, it’s also critical to come to the market with a high level of energy and motivation. Making Aliyah says a lot about you and your ability to take risks and challenge yourself, so use it as a key differentiator when interviewing. However, finding a job is only the beginning of a long journey of your integration in Israeli.  Make sure to spend time with your colleagues, even outside your department. The interaction with your work environment will be really important for a successful integration. Personally, while trying very hard to integrate the Israeli business environment, I also always kept very strong roots into my French culture. I believe that the double-culture is a very unique asset we have and it needs to be cultivated. It’s about bringing the “best of both worlds” to the table.       

Finally, a key professional success factor in Israel is Networking. Like I am preaching in my mentoring sessions, networking doesn’t end when you found a job. Make sure to find the time to continue developing your network while working. It’s much easier to do when you are not looking for a job so enjoy it! It is also your opportunity to start helping others and perpetuate the supportive cycle.

What does the idea of “New Beginnings” mean to you?
“New beginnings” is kind of my personal motto. I am a big believer in the power of change and what it brings to people who dare to try new adventures. It obviously resonates very strongly for me, as I am, again, taking a new professional turn.

Does your family have any special traditions for Rosh Hashana?
My family has been a mixture of French and Israeli cultures since I founded a new home with my Israeli-born spouse, Alon, who is also a Gvahim mentor. During Rosh Hashana, we combine the rituals from both origins with some nice Tunisian cuisine- from my parents- to spice it all up.
Shana Tova!

By Simona Shemer, Gvahim Alumna and Contributing Editor of GV MAG

RETURN TO:
GV MAG – Issue n. 1 – Rosh Ha-Shanah 5778 / September 2017

 

Welcome to our blog

Published By Roy Peretz
July 24th, 2017

We are happy to share with you, our members and visitors of the website, insights on Gvahim’s activities and news, and informative articles on the exciting and challenging job market in Israel. We hope that our blog will be interesting

We are happy to share with you, our members and visitors of the website, insights on Gvahim’s activities and news, and informative articles on the exciting and challenging job market in Israel.
We hope that our blog will be interesting and that you will comment and contribute.

The Gvahim Team

 

 

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