By Leon Symon

When people talk about Israel, it’s normally with the intention of heading for the sun, sea and sand.

The United Synagogue decided to turn the tables by taking a job fair to Israel, with the aim of bringing potential recruits here.

The US welcomed 60 participants in Israel to the fair in Jerusalem, where participants had an opportunity to hear a range of community leaders speaking about the unique rewards of a career in the Anglo-Jewish community.

The event was aimed at those studying for Semicha (rabbinic ordination) students and gap year students or those thinking about a career change. Several organisations, including Tribe, University Jewish Chaplaincy (UJC), London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) and three secondary schools had stalls which were busy with participants eager to discuss various career options.

Guests listened as US president Stephen Pack spoke about The US’s vision. He was followed by Ari Jesner, chief executive of the Office of the Chief Rabbi and Rabbi Michael Laitner, who spoke about the day-to-day job of being a rabbi. Sophie Dunoff, UJC director of operations, discussed working on campus, with a final talk from Michael Rainsbury, formerly of Kantor King Solomon school in Redbridge, focusing on teaching in a Jewish school. US chief executive, Steven Wilson, delivered the concluding remarks.

The evening’s compere David Collins, US director of young people and young families, said: “Working for the Jewish community provides exceptional challenges and opportunities. We wanted to engage with people at a transitional time in their life and show them the many job opportunities that are available. I hope that as a result of this job fair, many excellent candidates will now see the value of these communal roles and apply for positions that they would otherwise not have previously considered. In this way we are laying the foundations for the leadership of UK Jewry.”

The job fair was followed by a special Tribe Shabbaton for those on a gap year in Israel. The relaxed environment brought together participants of many different programmes including Bnei Akiva and FZY. During the course of the Shabbaton, participants explored the issue of their responsibility to the Jewish community back home in the UK.  Guest speaker Colonel Richard Kemp spoke about the close connection between the UK and Israel and left participants with a profound sense of pride and obligation.

Stephen Pack commented: “I was delighted to attend the inaugural job fair in Jerusalem. It was an excellent opportunity to inform prospective rabbonim, youth leaders and teachers about careers in the US and our partner organisations. I hope many of those present will decide to join us.

“This event was followed by another remarkable Tribe Shabbaton which I enjoyed hugely. Congratulations to all those involved in putting these events together and a special thank you to all our partners who helped make both events such a success.”