The Perfect Job
By Varda Epstein
Sometimes I think you have to be a kid to make Aliyah. I was a kid back when I threw in my lot with the Holy Land. A still wet-behind-the-ears 18 year-old with stars in my eyes, I dreamed of an Aliyah filled with larger than life characters like, um, Paul Newman, and Eva Marie Saint. Of course, back then, there was no Nefesh B’Nefesh, offering grants and smoothing the way.
But I digress.
I made Aliyah before I knew what it was to lead an adult life in the United States where I was born, so though I saw difficult years, I had never known any other way of being. Today, when I watch people make Aliyah in midlife I’m in awe. They have houses, kids, jobs, and they chuck it all (except the kids) to start over again in Israel.
I don’t know how they do it.
It Just Happened
It’s not that I don’t know how to plan things. You should see me baking for a son’s bar mitzvah Kiddush two months in advance, making a double recipe of something each day to be neatly double-wrapped, clearly marked, frozen, and set into perfect order in my freezer. But my Aliyah and in fact my life, were not planned at all, but just sort of happened.
I came to Israel, got married, and had 12 children. Only then did I develop a profession, my current one, as a writer. I realize that’s kind of backwards. Most people go to school, and then they get married and have kids. Not this gal.
I started out as a content writer, researching and writing 400-word articles on everything under the sun from fertility to fibromyalgia to fungus. With a computer and Google at the ready, there wasn’t any topic I couldn’t hack. My goal was to pay the rent.
The Office Chair
I knew I was doing okay when my husband decided it was time to buy me a gen-u-wine fake leather office chair that swiveled. Writing content was okay, but it was formulaic and treated topics in only the most general way. I felt like I wasn’t really contributing anything to the world beyond my modest contribution to our household finances. And I never knew from month to month how many assignments there would be, and whether I would or would not pay the rent that month.
I yearned for fulltime work. I wanted to work for a Jewish organization. That way, my writing would do some good beyond the needs of my family. I opened some blogs, and kept taking whatever freelance assignments I could, but remained ever hopeful I would land that dream job. I worked on my resume sending it here, there, and everywhere until one day the perfect job opportunity fell into my lap.
A friend forwarded me a job oportunity she’d seen on a list somewhere about writing for Kars4Kids, a car donation program that underwrites educational initiatives for needy children in the United States. I knew about this organization in only the most general way. But I knew this was it right away. I wanted this job and I think that came through in the cover letter I sent off with my resume.
Made For Me
I heard back from fellow writer Wendy (Rivka) Kirwan almost immediately. It was clear from the start: the job and I were made for each other. I spoke to the nonprofit’s CEO later that evening and the rest is, as they say, history. I began writing for Kars4Kids not long after, working from home by virtual office system. My official title is “Communications Writer,” and my work involves researching and writing about education in mostly online venues.
The proceeds from Kars4Kids car donations fund Jewish school tuition for kids all over the United States and fund myriad other programs (including Yeshiva learning in Israel) that treat one or another aspect of Jewish life. Altogether, there are some 50 programs funded by Kars4Kids. These programs offer cradle to grave support for living a Jewish religious life.
My job is one I can feel good about, aside from enabling me to serve as an “eizer knegdo,” a “helpmeet,” to my husband. I feel like my writing now has a purpose beyond keeping a roof over the heads of my large family. That touches my soul, making me feel I’m a fuller, better human being.
There are some 20 employees working for Kars4Kids in Israel, establishing a firm relationship between the organization’s offices in Lakewood and the Holy Land. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that is willing to go the extra mile to employ people that live in Eretz Yisroel. And I feel lucky to have nabbed a meaningful job that offers parnasa (a living) to my large family, allowing us to prosper in the land we love with all our hearts, forever.