“Fruit of Her Future” was the slogan of our recent fundraising campaign. It took place on Tu B’Shvat, an obvious connection to trees and growth, but the link goes far deeper.
At Temech, we sometimes feel like farmers, sowing seeds of potential, watering them, then watching them burst out of the ground. They begin as delicate saplings, and slowly become towering trees, branches laden with the sweet fruit of success.
We never know what will emerge — and often, the women we work with are themselves surprised to discover what they can create, produce, become.
What do you actually do? is a question that arose over the course of our campaign. Here in Israel, we’re well-known; many women have a friend, a neighbor, a sister-in-law who has been helped by Temech. But further afield we’re less recognized, and people struggled to peg us: What sort of organization are you? How do you help people?
In one line: we give charedi women the tools to flourish professionally while never compromising their values. We have a variety of programs, each another petal emerging from that stem. We work with freelancers, with business-owners, and with employees. We work with seminary graduates struggling to get their first job and with middle-aged women trying to break the glass ceiling in their workplace.
Many of our initiatives were born from another initiative: we’ll start working with one group, then identify another group that’s under-serviced or has unique challenges, and open a program geared specifically to them.
When I sit with my team to create a new program, the question we always ask ourselves is: “What’s the promise?” If someone joins this program, planting the seed by investing time and energy, what can we promise her will grow from that seed?
There’s the Return on Investment (ROI) — the increase she’ll eventually see in her bottom line — and there are also intangible benefits: connections formed, soft skills obtained, the support that comes from a community of like-minded women. But every program makes a promise, and our goal throughout is to keep that promise.
We don’t give out chicken before Shabbos, or shoes before Yom Tov. We don’t write checks or slip cash under doors. Our goal is to be the organization that enables women to no longer need such help.
Just this week, one of our long-time participants emailed and shared the professional success she’s been enjoying. “We had a v’nahafochu this year,” she wrote. “It’s the first time my husband and I weren’t waiting for that envelope containing matanos l’evyonim.” She’s reached financial stability. And hopefully, one day in the not-too-distant future, she’ll be able to write checks for others.
I see our seeds sprouting every single day. I want you to have the opportunity to see them too.
We’re going to be sharing 100 “Seed Stories” here, showcasing the women of Temech, their struggles, their growth, and their successes. Watch the trees grow along with me.