Who We Are
The Kemach Foundation is a non-profit grant making body which serves all Haredim in Israel by providing scholarships and job placement that enable them to join the workforce so as to better provide for their families and contribute to the economy of Israel.
Kemach works in partnership with government and other agencies to advance the provision of generous study and training scholarships, support for new employment initiatives, in-depth aptitude career testing and personal counseling. Its unique blend of professionalism and specializing in the nuances and sensitivities of the Haredi community has made Kemach the focal point for every Haredi individual looking for the support and training required to joining the Israeli workforce. As a result, poverty is considerably reduced, welfare dependency is eliminated and cultural relationships are significantly improved.
How It All Began
For years, the Haredi community faced great obstacles in attempting to join the job market and earn a dignified means of income. Lack of formal training and education, lower-than-average wages, disproportionate and often inaccurate perception of equal rights for Haredim in the work places, difficulty finding suitable jobs, lack of resources to invest in academic or vocational studies, and other obstacles created a situation in which many Haredim who would have otherwise wished to join Israel’s workforce, were simply unable to do so.
In 2006, the Floersheimer Institute published a position paper analyzing the challenges and submitted recommendations to create an information center and a financial aid system for Haredim who wish to work. Inspired by the findings, the initial group of activists approached Mr. Leo Noé, a real estate magnate in London, seeking to obtain funding to establish the Foundation. The Foundation was to offer financial assistance to acquire skills and qualifications to enter the Israeli workforce and become self-sustainable, responsible citizens of the country. Mr. Noé enthusiastically took up the challenge, and in time was joined by two other global philanthropists who have today provided the Foundation with over $60m in private funding.
From the start, it was evident that implementing a unique, complex program such as this will require the initiative to be based in the Haredi community. This approach was in response to national programs that were designed for Haredi work recruitment and were met with limited success. The unilateral support of the Haredi communal leaders was required and the methodology was designed to be follow a pathway indigenous to this sector, commensurate with the sensitivities and needs of the Haredi community. The founders employed Haredi professionals, experienced in the field of policy, management, government, leadership and programmatic expertise to run the Foundation.
In 2007, the Foundation opened its doors in the Shaarei Ha’Ir building in Jerusalem, close to Jerusalem’s Haredi neighborhoods and accessible to applicants travelling from all parts of the country. The name “Kemach” was chosen based on the Rabbinical teaching that “if there is no kemach (flour), there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no kemach,” with “kemach” serving as an acronym for the words “Kidum Miktzo’i Charedi” (Professional Haredi Employment).
The Foundation’s Service Charter prominently promotes its priority objective “to enable every Haredi person who is interested to receive guidance, consultation services, funding for his studies, and job placement assistance, with the goal of easing his entrance into the workforce and enabling him to provide for his family with dignity.”
- To offer a comprehensive, systemic solution in a supportive, attractive, and professional environment so as to encourage economic growth in the sector;
- To develop new initiatives and projects that will lead to new opportunities for respectable employment appropriate for the Haredi community;
- To cooperate with government offices, institutions, and professional organizations so as to reach maximal productivity.
Kemach receives thousands of applications every year and has seen over 24,000 individuals. Students are guided through the process, from in-depth aptitude career testing to choosing a field of study and an educational institution, as well as continued mentoring throughout the entire duration of their studies. Each individual is provided with full support to ensure his/her success. Toward graduation, every student receives career and job counselling to prepare him for successful entry and integration to the workforce. Kemach is associated with many relevant institutions in both the private and public sectors that can offer promising career paths and a welcoming work environment for our Haredi graduates.
Since 2008, Kemach has awarded more than 12,500 scholarships in educational and vocational programs throughout the country. Currently there are close to 7,000 students enrolled in an academic or vocational institution, with a projected intake of 3,000 applicants and students who have met the criteria for the scholarship program beginning in September 2016 or are waiting funding. More than 90% of our graduates are in gainful employment with 83% on track for career advancement and increased pay.