Tell us how you or a member of your family has been touched as a client, volunteer, staff or past leader of Jewish Employment Montreal (JVS/JEM), Jewish Family Services (BDHI/JFS), Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS), and Ometz.
Submitted by: Erin Friend
Ometz helped me get hired for two jobs in the last 5 years. I was able to get advice from my counselor about my resume and she gave me the opportunity to participate in the Cocktails and Conversa... read more
Ometz helped me get hired for two jobs in the last 5 years. I was able to get advice from my counselor about my resume and she gave me the opportunity to participate in the Cocktails and Conversation recruiting event which was a phenomenal experience. It had been a long time since I had spoken in public so it was a little nerve-racking, but I was given good practice and great feedback to help improve and refine my speech. It's also incredibly helpful to be thrust into a room full of potential employers that I can at the very least network through.
At the Cocktails and Conversation, where I was attending as a featured candidate, I remember waiting while the person before me gave his speech and thinking "Oh boy, I'm next" and then walking to the podium thinking "whatever you do, don't fall on your face". But then getting up in front of everyone, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I thought I would be and going through my speech was almost effortless because I had already practiced it in front of our group so many times before. Then, not two minutes after the speeches had concluded, I was approached by one of the guest entrepreneurs and asked to come in for an interview the following week. I was hired by that company and I am still happily employed by them today.
I would certainly use Ometz services again and although I have not used any of the other services offered, I do know people who have (classes, etc.), and I know those are a huge resource. hide
Submitted by: Anonymous .
I felt compelled to share this note of appreciation, as it seems that so often we only reach out in times of need. Through terrible circumstances, both my wife and I ended up on Ometz’s doorste... read more
I felt compelled to share this note of appreciation, as it seems that so often we only reach out in times of need. Through terrible circumstances, both my wife and I ended up on Ometz’s doorstep, unemployed and desperately in need of help. The Ometz team surrounded us with the compassion and attention with which that most difficult time required. Quickly our despair turned to from doom to hope and Ometz managed to refocus our attention to the task at hand, finding the right situation for both of us.
The amount of attention, and the professional manner in which it was accorded to us, went well beyond our expectations. The phone calls of support and leads from the counsellors, and the many programs at Ometz that we took advantage of were invaluable in helping us to re-enter a job market whose landscape had changed so dramatically since our previous experiences. Without the encouragement, education, and expertise in what Ometz does, I do believe that our successful conclusion to this journey which we have reached, would never have happened.
We thank Ometz and the counselors, for all that they did for us. hide
Submitted by: Agence Ometz
Bill Kirsch is personable, outgoing, funny - and fond of the sorts of puns that make people groan. He occasionally plays the piano during holiday celebrations at an Agence Ometz program in which... read more
Bill Kirsch is personable, outgoing, funny - and fond of the sorts of puns that make people groan. He occasionally plays the piano during holiday celebrations at an Agence Ometz program in which he participates. "But I have to be keyed up to play the piano," he said, smiling broadly as he delivered the line. His musicality extends to whistling: He's a great whistler.
Kirsch, 57, has lived with serious mental illness for most of his life. He is followed by a team in the psychiatry department of the Jewish General Hospital and he lives in a group home. He is also a client of the mental-health support services team at Agence Ometz - a team working to promote the social integration of people with mental ilnesses.Through the team, Kirsch participates in adult education classes, community programs and outings - activities he says have taught him skills, helped him to make friends and stay busy, and generally enriched his life.
"It is a burden all your life to have to cope with mental illness," he said during an interview in the office of Marcie Klein, manager of the mental-health support services team. "Ometz has helped me to learn important skills." Members of the multi-disciplinary team, who include social workers, special-care counsellors and an adult education teacher/drama therapist, work with about 130 clients, and their work is wide-ranging. As Klein explained, they do everything from organize activities with clients and help those able to live on their own to find apartments - some clients are homeless when they are referred to the service - to assist clients in accessing benefits such as welfare, counselling and employment services. Referrals come from Montreal's network of local health and community service centres, or CLSCs, from hospitals, and internally from within Agence Ometz, a social-service agency. Some of the activities in which Kirsch participates are in collaboration with other organizations, including the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the YM-YWHA. Each week, for instance, he visits the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where he works with facilitators. The museum is "a priceless gem," he said.
Kirsch enjoys not just viewing artwork but also creating it. He paints, enjoying mediums including oil, acrylic and pastel, and he's part of an art group organized through Klein's team. He has high praise for the volunteer art teacher who runs the group, Cristina Boiles, for how she puts on soft music as they work and provides coffee and cookies. "She tries to bring out our creativity," he said. He takes adult-education classes, given by Dimitra Barnard, a teacher contracted to the service through the EMSB, in topics including stress, anger management, wellness and recovery. Friday mornings, he participates in a cooking class in a community kitchen at a Côte des Neiges Rd. community centre run by Ometz.. "We make dishes like salad and chicken stir-fry with vegetables," Kirsch said. "We also learn budgeting. Then we eat together and take the leftovers home." He has made friends through these programs and, for him, that's huge. "I don't like to feel lonely," he said. "I have to be busy. It is not good for me not to be busy: To stay home and go into my shell makes me isolated. "Going to the programs Ometz organizes has helped me very much - has enriched me so much."
Kirsch has a family connection to Ometz: His late father, Martin Kirsch, was president of Jewish Vocational Services during the 1980s; JVS was the forerunner of Jewish Employment Montreal, which merged with Jewish Family Services and Jewish Immigrant Aid Services in 2009 to form Agence Ometz. "My father did a lot of community work," said Kirsch. "He was an an inspiration for my life. "He said, 'Bill, it is important to have interests in life, bcause then you can talk about anything.'" Seems that Bill Kirsch, musician, student, lover of art, good friend and more, heeded his father's advice. hide
Prepping for the professional world
Submitted by: Jason Druker
I first came to Ometz as a recent graduate of University, in 2011. I had heard of Ometz through word of mouth, from friends who had used their services. As a recent University graduate several ye... read more
I first came to Ometz as a recent graduate of University, in 2011. I had heard of Ometz through word of mouth, from friends who had used their services. As a recent University graduate several years after the economic crisis, finding work was a daunting task. The competition in my field of finance and accounting was pretty fierce, and I needed help to appear marketable and professional to employers.
The employment specialist I saw at Ometz, Cathy Grundman, was extremely helpful. She took the time to really get to know me, and assess my qualities, experience, strengths and difficulties in matching me with employers. She coached me on how to organize my CV, helped prepare me for an interview, and set me up with employers that were hiring in my field.
Several weeks after our meeting, I had a job interview at an accounting firm - Perreault, Wolman, Gryzwacz & Co., and I landed the job. 2 years later I am still working at the firm, as a senior auditor. Ometz is a vital part of the Montreal Community. I want to share my story and thank Ometz for their support in helping young adults like myself find work. The professional world can be an intimidating place for recent grads, and without your support, I don’t know where I would be today. hide
Submitted by: Eva Ohnouna
Bonjour, mon nom est Eva Ohnouna, et je suis immigrante. Ma famille et moi -même avons immigré à Montréal en août 2010. Notre cheminement pour s’installer au Canada n’aurait pu se faire ... read more
Bonjour, mon nom est Eva Ohnouna, et je suis immigrante. Ma famille et moi -même avons immigré à Montréal en août 2010. Notre cheminement pour s’installer au Canada n’aurait pu se faire sans l’aide précieuse de L’Agence Ometz qui nous a suivi tout au long de ce processus, et qui jusqu'à aujourd’hui nous accompagne.
Lors de notre démarche pour s’installer au Canada, nous avons contacté L’Agence Ometz qui nous a mis en relation avec un de leur conseillère en pré-migration. Après avoir reçu nos papiers de résidents permanents et lorsque nous avons préparé concrètement notre départ, c’est encore L’Agence Ometz qui nous a mis en contact avec la personne qui nous a aidé à nous établir. Quand est arrivé le moment pour chercher du travail, nous nous sommes tournés vers L’Agence Ometz, et par le biais de leurs services d’emplois, mon époux a trouve un travail. Pour ma part, j’ai démarré ma vie professionnelle au Québec, dans l’enseignement, et petit a petit je me suis fait une place au sein de la communauté juive de Montréal.
Aujourd’hui, je suis coordinatrice du département des services académiques et orthopédagogique à l’école Herzliah. Je suis également consultante bénévole à l’AJDS depuis le début de cette année scolaire. Je travaille ponctuellement avec BJEC. A titre de bénévole, je fais également partie du comité pédagogique de l'école Maimonide, qui est l'école de mes enfants. La place que j’ai aujourd’hui au sein de la communauté juive de Montréal, et dans le milieu de l'éducation s’est faite en partie grâce au support de l’Agence Ometz, et notamment de Ruth Najman, qui a toujours cru en moi et que je remercie du fond du coeur pour tout son soutien.
En 2012 je me suis retrouvée au chômage, avec l’angoisse de ne pas trouver un poste correspondant à mes habiletés, j’ai donc envoyé mon CV à Ruth Najman et il a été acheminé à l’école Herzliah, où je travaille actuellement.
Je me suis réorientée car en travaillant en tant qu'enseignante, j’ai réalisé les enjeux des enfants qui sont en difficulté d’apprentissage au sein de notre communauté. J’ai donc décidé de me dédier à cette cause et j’ai entamé un doctorat en Psychopédagogie à l'Université de Montréal. Ma recherche porte essentiellement sur la conception d’un outil d'évaluation qui permettrait d'élaborer des plans d’intervention de façon plus optimal. Grâce à l’obtention de la bourse d'étude pour immigrant de l’Agence Ometz, je peux payer une partie de mes frais de scolarité et cela m’aide considérablement. hide
Monsieur La JIAS
Submitted by: Agence Ometz
Kathy Assayag était une enfant en bas âge lorsqu’elle est arrivée en 1968, de Casablanca au Maroc, à Montréal, avec ses parents dans la vingtaine, ainsi que deux frères et sœurs, avec un... read more
Kathy Assayag était une enfant en bas âge lorsqu’elle est arrivée en 1968, de Casablanca au Maroc, à Montréal, avec ses parents dans la vingtaine, ainsi que deux frères et sœurs, avec un quatrième enfant en route. La famille ne connaissait personne au Canada. Ils sont arrivés avec à peine plus d'une valise et une appréhension compréhensible. « Vous pouvez imaginer le sentiment de vulnérabilité de mes parents », dit-elle.
Rapidement, cependant, les choses ont commencé à se mettre en place, car les Services d'aide aux immigrants juifs (JIAS) ont joué un rôle capital dans l'intégration de sa famille. «J'étais trop jeune pour comprendre, mais il y avait toute une communauté organisée pour nous aider à nous établir ici », a déclaré Kathy Assayag. « JIAS était l’organisme de coordination, son rôle était de vous aider avec le processus d'immigration et de faire en sorte que vous tiriez le meilleur parti des organismes qui vous seraient utiles. »
La famille est arrivée la veille de Roch Hachana. Cette première année, se rappelle-t-elle, nous avons eu de l’aide pour les vêtements d'hiver et les premiers jouets des enfants. « Vous vous souvenez de ces choses lorsque vous commencez avec très peu. Ce qui était vraiment incroyable pour moi, c'est que durant ces premières années avant que mes parents obtiennent un emploi stable, je pensais que JIAS était un homme », dit-elle dans une entrevue. « Je pensais qu'il était, une personne incroyablement aimante et généreuse. »
« Quand mon père disait : « Je vais rencontrer la JIAS», et revenait à la maison avec des manteaux d'hiver pour nous tous, de nouveaux vêtements, des poupées Barbie pour moi et ma sœur, et des camions Tonka pour mes frères, nous étions ravis », a déclaré Kathy Assayag lors d'un discours émouvant quand elle a reçu les honneurs comme une femme d'action au cours d'un événement de la Fondation Israélienne de recherche sur le cancer en 2012. « Et je me souviens m’être dit : qui est ce Monsieur La JIAS? Quand va-t-il à venir pour un dîner de Shabbat? Je l'imaginais grand, imposant, et ce que nous appellerions débonnaire. » Avec le soutien de JIAS, ses parents ont pu s’établir. «Ils ont travaillé dur, économisé assez d'argent pour acheter notre première maison, et nous avons vite été indépendants, n’ayant plus besoin d'aucune aide. » Et à sa manière, Kathy Assayag a passé sa vie à redonner à la Communauté qui l'a aidée. Et elle n'hésite pas à dire que redonner est plus que rembourser une dette. Pour elle, c'est un privilège. Elle a passé des années à travailler pour le compte de la communauté juive de Montréal, occupé des postes de haut niveau dans la société et d’innombrables rôles de bénévoles, et elle a recueilli toutes sortes de distinctions et récompenses. De 2000 à 2005, elle a été Directrice générale de la campagne de l'Appel juif unifié de la Fédération CJA. Elle a passé les six années suivantes à l'Université Concordia, où elle a occupé la double position de Présidente de la Fondation de l'Université et Vice-présidente de la promotion et des relations avec les diplômés.
Et quand elle est partie pour Concordia, la Fédération CJA l’a contacté pour devenir bénévole. Le premier conseil d'administration qu’elle a rejoint était, vous l'aurez deviné, le conseil de JIAS, en 2005. «Participer à ce Conseil était une façon de redonner, une façon d'essayer de rembourser ce qu'ils avaient fait pour ma famille», dit-elle. JIAS a fusionné avec les Services à la famille juive et Emploi Juif Montréal en 2009 pour former un nouvel organisme, l'Agence Ometz. Kathy Assayag a été invitée à siéger sur son premier conseil d'administration. Elle a démissionné l'automne dernier, mais a continué à faire du bénévolat pour le gala annuel de collecte de fonds de l'organisme, Dessine-moi une étoile, qui aura lieu le 8 avril à la Place des Arts. Parmi ses responsabilités bénévoles, elle est membre du conseil du Centre Segal des arts de la scène ainsi que du conseil du Collège Vanier, où elle est l'un des deux parents élus. Sa fille cadette est à Vanier, la plus âgée étudie la médecine à l'Université de Sherbrooke. Kathy Assayag fait un travail de consultation pour les organismes sans but lucratif et le gouvernement, et elle travaille à temps partiel à la Fondation communautaire juive de Montréal, où elle deviendra Directrice générale en septembre. «J'ai bouclé la boucle», dit-elle, "C’est comme si je revenais à la maison." hide
My Montreal Job Hunt
Submitted by: Joshua Salzberg
I can safely say that finding a job would have been nearly impossible without the help of Ometz, as well as my counselor, Stephanie Steinman. For five months, I went through the highs and lows of... read more
I can safely say that finding a job would have been nearly impossible without the help of Ometz, as well as my counselor, Stephanie Steinman. For five months, I went through the highs and lows of the job hunt, getting so close, yet so far. During this time, it was hard to maintain a positive attitude with the constant interviewing, waiting, and rejection. I found out about Ometz because some friends of mine mentioned it to me a few years ago while I was still in school. In the end, it was the people at this very organization, specifically Stephanie, who helped keep my spirits up and assisted me in moving on to the next application or interview.
A lot of employers were hesitant or even turned off by my education, a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Despite my valuable work experience in a number of fields, and reference letters to back up my performance, I was turned down many times. Stephanie was able to get to know my strengths and interests through my resume and a handful of meetings. I believe this was an important benefit for me, as she was able to get to know me as more than just a resume.
Perhaps the most important aspect is the fact that Ometz helps keep young people in Montreal. Everybody that I know over the age of 30 insisted I move to Calgary or Toronto or Ottawa, to which I replied with a chuckle. It seems that according to everyone in Montreal, there is no future here; the future is everywhere else in Canada, but Montreal is where I want to be and leaving was never an option for me. Thanks to Ometz, many local job seekers have found or will find jobs in Montreal, which helps develop and support the local community.
For that reason, Ometz does a lot more than simply find jobs for people. They help develop relationships and assure that the community remains intact and strong. I can go on for hours recounting stories about cousins, friends or various other individuals from the Jewish community, as well as Montreal community, who had to take their families elsewhere because they were too frustrated with the job market in Montreal. I truly believe that the organization’s hide
Tommy Schnurmacher's Story
Submitted by: Agence Ometz
Many Montrealers know Tommy Schnurmacher as a journalist, a radio talk-show host and a political commentator. Since 1996, he has been host of The Tommy Schnurmacher Show, a talk show airing week... read more
Many Montrealers know Tommy Schnurmacher as a journalist, a radio talk-show host and a political commentator. Since 1996, he has been host of The Tommy Schnurmacher Show, a talk show airing weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon on CJAD 800. He is smart and well-informed and opinionated: The tagline on the station’s website describing his show calls it controversial and compelling – and it’s decidedly both.
What many do not know about Tommy, though, is that he was born in Budapest, Hungary – and that when he arrived in Montreal with his parents in 1957, following the revolution in that country, they were helped by Jewish Immigrant Aid Services. “We left in 1956 after the confusion of the revolution,” Tommy recalled. “We left in the middle of the night, drove to the countryside and were taken across the border into Austria,” he recounted.
The family had left with few possessions. “We figured there was no point in bringing gold or silver because the streets were paved with them,” he recalled, tongue in cheek. Tommy, a small boy at the time, said he was was given the choice of two toys: his little toy mandolin or his wooden streetcar. “I chose the mandolin – and started to play it when we were crossing the border,” he recounted. “So they broke the mandolin over my head – and I had a headache and no toys.” The family traveled to Montreal from Vienna, arriving in 1957. “And JIAS was nice enough to provide us with blankets,” he said.
He said he did not remember details of the blankets, such as the colour. He was, after all, a small child. “But I am sure my mother still has them since she throws nothing out,” he quipped. In 2008, JIAS, Jewish Family Services and Jewish Employment Montreal merged to become a single agency known as Ometz. But the agencies brought to the merger their own stories and histories: The forerunner of JFS was established in Montreal by community leaders 150 years ago, for instance. And JIAS, established in 1922, has helped hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants to establish new lives in Canada – Tommy and his parents were among them.
Tommy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a journalism degree from Carleton University. For more than 15 years, he wrote a daily entertainment column for the The Montreal Gazette and, for a time, was the paper’s society editor. He has written a book on Quebec politics, Canada is not a Real Country, published in 1996. He got his start in radio at CHOM-FM, doing reviews of movies and plays. Tommy has several other notches in his professional belt: As his bio at cjad.com states, he hosted a cross-country radio show with former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, for instance, and played the part of an orchestra conductor in a 2000 sci-fi comedy starring Leslie Nielsen. Tommy was master of ceremonies at a JFS/JIAS fundraiser in 2005 – the screening of a film called Gloomy Sunday, a romantic melodrama set in Budapest before and during the Holocaust. The event raised $100,000. That evening, he described to the more than 750 people in attendance his family’s journey from Hungary – and talked about how JIAS and the Jewish community had helped his family when they arrived in Montreal. hide
Thank you very much for being such a good friend!
Submitted by: S. N.
Dear Agence Ometz, Thank you very much for being such a good friend! Particularly many thanks to Galina - for all her help and care! I remember the first day I met with Galina very well. S... read more
Dear Agence Ometz, Thank you very much for being such a good friend! Particularly many thanks to Galina - for all her help and care! I remember the first day I met with Galina very well. She embraced me as though she was my mother. She listened to me very attentively and provided me with her advice and support. Being new to Canada, I had plenty of questions: - How to integrate better into Quebec and Canadian society? - What is required in order to find a first workplace in Canada? - Where to go to improve my language skills (both French and English)? - Where to study to pursue my dreams in career and professional development?
Galina personally took care of my CV. I attended Galina's Resume Preparation Courses at Agence Ometz, which were the unique courses on the subject I have ever taken in my life. Galina provided me with the detailed Resume Preparation booklets. She corrected my resume and supporting letters and explained in detail which points are better to emphasize in order to be selected for a job interview.
From my experience I am convinced that a thoroughly prepared resume and supporting letters play the most important role in finding a workplace of our dream. After sending a CV to my first workplace in Canada - to the position of a production manager in the medium-size high-tech company, the HR representative called me in half an hour. And later, when I was looking for even higher position in the industry, the owner of the firm invited me to the interview the next day, saying: "After reading your resume, I decided to call you right away ".
I attended a lot of interesting courses, lectures, and workshops with great lecturers at Agence Ometz. Particularly, I enjoyed the following courses and workshops: CV Writing & Interview Skills, Accessing the Hidden Job Market, French Conversation Club, Women's Club, Quebec Tax System Information Session, Buying Your First House in Canada, Investing In Your Family's Future, Smart Shopping Montreal (with Sandra Phillips)
All the services and programs offered by Agence Ometz are absolutely vital and interesting for everyone. And those services are created by the most precious asset that Agence Ometz has - the people, the family that we are looking for here in Canada, our home. hide
Submitted by: Max K
I was first seen at Jewish Vocational Services at the end of 2002. For somebody who was used to wake up every morning and go to work unemployment was not an easy pill to swallow. It was hard not ... read more
I was first seen at Jewish Vocational Services at the end of 2002. For somebody who was used to wake up every morning and go to work unemployment was not an easy pill to swallow. It was hard not only financially but also mentally. I am sure most new immigrants are going through the same experience. After 6 months without employment I was about to give up. I don’t remember exactly how I learnt about JVS but it was a turning point of my career. I was fortunate to have Galina as my Employment Counsellor. She helped me tremendously to get my lost self confidence back. Galina taught me job search skills that have been helping me in my career in Canada. She became my Mentor. Then on top of everything I was offered a job at JVS. My first job in Canada! It was 6 months contract. From day one I felt like I’ve known all these wonderful people at JVS for years. It felt like a family to me. Though I don’t live in Montreal Galina and I have been in touch for 10 years. Congratulations to OMETZ! hide
Helping My Children Succeed
Submitted by: C. F.
Let me take you back a couple of years to explain how Ometz came into my life. I have three beautiful children, Baruch Hashem. They have struggled with various needs since they began daycare. I h... read more
Let me take you back a couple of years to explain how Ometz came into my life. I have three beautiful children, Baruch Hashem. They have struggled with various needs since they began daycare. I have had shadows, psychoeducators, speech and occupational therapist and, of course, social workers working with them to overcome their many hurdles. Ometz has been there for me from the start.
Unless a person has experienced what I have, one could not imagine the fear or the pain that a parent has to deal with throughout. It is thanks to your team of specialists that I can deal with these negative feelings and transform them into positive ones. The help my children received from Ometz came in various forms: from support that was crucial for giving them the opportunity to attend Tell-It Dire Speech Camp, to the vital visits from the Occupational and Speech Therapists who have come to know my children well.
Moreover and in particular, I want to take the time to mention Ms. Deborah Groper who has helped me tremendously by taking the time and effort to talk to me when I needed to be heard. The Ometz team has allowed my three kids to appreciate what it means to learn: to love it and to seek it. What more could a parent ask for? Yes, it is true that they have had to struggle in school and socially, and that they continue to do so. However, I like to look into the future, not the past, and not even the present. As I look ahead towards the long and winding road, stretching far behind me, every turn means discovery, old hope, new laughter and shared happy tears.
With Hashem’s help I feel confident that my children will always be healthy and successful, and will grow into accomplished adults. I will have Ometz to thank for helping to get them there. Ometz has become part of my family and Hashem has blessed us with the opportunity to be associated with such an amazing organization. The depth of words can never really capture the emotions that are ingrained within them. I hope that my message rings loud and clear in support of Ometz and its dedicated staff. hide
I never imagined myself on the receiving end
Submitted by: Lisa Caplan
My parents - even my grandparents, held leadership roles all through my childhood into young aunthood in the community, particularly at JFS when it was still BdH. My mom is even a past president ... read more
My parents - even my grandparents, held leadership roles all through my childhood into young aunthood in the community, particularly at JFS when it was still BdH. My mom is even a past president and on summer breaks and between schools I did temp work in the offices so I knew how our community went about raising funds and knew we provided tons of care to our community.
Over the years I have turned to JEM for help finding employment (successfully) but I really didn't anticipate that I would become a client at Ometz. The crystal ball I had growing up in Hampstead had neither disability nor financial distress in it's reflections. But I left Montreal as a young teen for boarding school and didn't return permanently until I got injured in 2001. After a series of failed spinal surgeries I found myself disabled. Shortly thereafter I married a Gentile and had a child. Not long after that, I became unable to work out of the home. And finally the last of my family migrated to the US. So at around 36 years of age I found myself extremely isolated from the Montreal Jewish Community and turned to Ometz for help giving my son a Jewish upbringing, to provide social work services for us both as we strived to integrate our peculiar circumstances into the norm, and for social support in general. Our worker has always made herself available providing me with emotional support and us with everything from holiday baskets with the items needed to properly follow holiday traditions to synagogue-based play groups for my son and most recently by subsidizing his summers at Camp YCC.
My case worker, knowing that driving to the city (from the West Island) and parking are hard for me, and also knowing that I am often very isolated once met us outside Cummings House, helped us park, and then spent a VERY significant amount of time just hanging out in the park giving my son the activity and attention he craved and me the human contact I needed. That day it didn't feel like we had a social worker, it felt like I had a friend. The biggest gift, however, has been the YCC subsidy. Because of the camp's and Ometz's largesse my son has spent two summers in a Jewish environment having a wonderful time and learning about the community of which he is very much a member.
We still need help and can't give back in traditional ways, but I make sure my son knows that the quality of life we have - quite high for people in our circumstances - comes in large measure from the generosity of the Jewish Community directly and indirectly. Growing up the child of two disabled parents my son is an unusually empathetic child and I have no doubt that he will give back and represent our family in a volunteer and later leadership capacity.
If we never got another thing beyond the camp subsidies we would be forever grateful, but I rest easy - despite not having the money or training to, say, prepare my son for his Bar Mitzvah - knowing that help will be available not only to pass the milestone but to absorb its meaning. I hope Ometz continues to help me teach my son how to be a helpful and active participant in the Montreal Jewish community. As an almost-typical Jewish mother, but one with almost any real community or extended family of her own, I can't begin to express how much being included in this greater whole means. hide
une merveilleuse découverte
Submitted by: ELIE BENCHETRIT
Lors de mon travail en tant que directeur des relations publiques de la CSUQ et de Directeur de la publication de la Voix Sépharade, j'ai plusieurs fois l'occasion de fréquenter des professionn... read more
Lors de mon travail en tant que directeur des relations publiques de la CSUQ et de Directeur de la publication de la Voix Sépharade, j'ai plusieurs fois l'occasion de fréquenter des professionnels des agences JEM, JFS et JIAS et puis à la suite de leur fusion, Ometz.
Je n'ai pas eu l'occasion d'avoir eu recours aux services de Ometz, mais je suis convaincu que ce serait fort possible d'avoir à solliciter des services pour des personnes qui me sont proches.
Je suis à la retraite de la CSUQ depuis 2 ans après avoir passé près de 21 ans dans le communautaire. Pour m'occuper un peu, j'ai choisi de me lancer dans la traduction de textes anglais vers le français et grâce à mes connaissances parmi les professionnels d'Ometz, j'ai pu devenir leur traducteur. Au cours des textes que j'ai traduit je me suis rendu compte du rôle central que cette agence joue au sein de la communauté juive montréalaise et ce dans plusieurs domaines. J'ai été fortement impressionné pour son action auprès des jeunes à risques, des gens avec des déficiences intellectuelles, des nouveaux immigrants, des jeunes diplômés à la recherche d'un emploi etc.. J'ai été surpris d'apprendre que cette institution fête son 150ème anniversaire et que l'esprit juif d'entraide et de tikun olam est toujours vivant auprès de notre communauté grâce à des bénévoles généreux et des professionnels dévoués. Notre communauté a une chance inouïe de pouvoir compter sur Ometz. J'ai un de mes enfants qui vient de terminer ses études universitaires de 2ème cycle. Evidemment il est à la recherche d'un premier emploi et je l'ai encouragé à prendre rendez-vous avec une conseillère d'Ometz. Il va le faire dans les jours qui suivent et j'ose espérer qu'il pourra avoir avec un peu de chance une porte d'entrée vers le marché du travail.
En m'impliquant, comme je l'ai toujours fait au sein de ma communauté et en participant à certains programmes communautaires. Ce sera un rôle crucial qui devra permettre de préserver le caractère unique et vibrant de la communauté juive montréalaise face aux nombreux défis qu'elle devra relever. hide
Those were the days my friend.....
Submitted by: Gail Krasner
I was first seen at Contact ProMontreal after graduating from Special Care Counselling. I needed a job and I needed one quickly. I remember being interviewed by Alice Ohayon, my very first contac... read more
I was first seen at Contact ProMontreal after graduating from Special Care Counselling. I needed a job and I needed one quickly. I remember being interviewed by Alice Ohayon, my very first contact in terms of an employment agency. She made me feel at ease, and promised to do all she could for me. I left that day thinking my future would be bright and successful and Contact ProMontreal would be the ones to help me.
I remember a lot of special times, and special people (staff and clients). I went on from Contact ProMontreal to Jewish Vocational Service where I worked as a job development professional and then to become a young adult employment counselor. The biggest accomplishment was helping people find work just like I was helped when I entered the agency years before.
Today I am giving back by working with the most vulnerable of our community. I have been at the JEM Workshop Inc. since 2002. I have learned many things from my employees. One of the strongest lessons has been acceptance. All 82 of our employees accept each others strengths and weaknesses and remain devoted to each other no matter what. It has taught me to listen, learn and accept individuals as well as myself without judgment. We are all productive members of society - and should be proud of what we do.
Continuing to help the vulnerable, making a difference in people's lives so that one day when they are in a position to help - they give it back. hide
Ometz: Une Main Tendue
Submitted by: Margot Spiegelman
Je suis arrivée en 1965, en provenance du Maroc, avec mon mari et mon fils. Malheureusement les choses sont devenues difficiles avec mon mari et nous avons dû nous séparer. Cela a été un gra... read more
Je suis arrivée en 1965, en provenance du Maroc, avec mon mari et mon fils. Malheureusement les choses sont devenues difficiles avec mon mari et nous avons dû nous séparer. Cela a été un grand choc pour mon jeune fils de 3 ans qui ne comprenait pas ce qui arrivait à sa famille. En 1968 j’étais seule pour assurer le quotidien, l’éducation de mon fils et je devais travailler. J’ai décidé alors de chercher de l’aide pour lui et j’ai été recommandée par une connaissance à ce qui s’appelait alors « Les services à la famille juive de l’institut Baron de Hirsch ». Un petit bureau sur Van Horne, avec deux personnes, dont celle qui s’est occupée de moi.
Ce dont je me rappelle c’est de l’accueil chaleureux, du support moral, de l’aide émotionnelle, de l’empathie de cette personne. Elle a été mon introduction dans la Communauté. Sa première action pour mon fils a été de l’inscrire gratuitement à un camp de jour. Elle nous a aussi recommandés auprès d'un psychologue à Ste Justine.
À cette époque je travaillais dans un contexte difficile qui ne respectait pas les employés. Ma conseillère m’a informée sur mes droits et donné les ressources pour les faire respecter. Son support a été inestimable. Nous sommes ensuite restées longtemps en contact et elle est venue à la Bar Mitsvah de mon fils. Je garde un excellent souvenir d’elle !
J’ai depuis ce temps toujours participé à des actions bénévoles au sein de la Communauté. Pendant 12 ans j’ai été représentante de la Communauté sépharade du Québec auprès du CA des Services à la famille juive, maintenant intégrés dans l’Agence Ometz. Aujourd’hui encore on m’appelle souvent pour distribuer des repas, lever des fonds, collaborer avec le Centre Cummings pour aînés, ou tout autre besoin. Je réponds toujours avec plaisir !
Mon ressenti est que la Communauté dans son ensemble est centrée sur le fait de venir en aide à des personnes durant des moments difficiles de leur vie. Chacun peut un jour en avoir besoin et continuer à tendre la main pour faire une différence dans la vie des gens est essentiel. Sans doute qu’avec le temps les besoins évolueront. Je sais qu’Ometz sera capable de développer des services en fonction de cela! hide
Submitted by: Laurie Betito
When I was a teenager my mom worked for JFS as an administrative assistant, and I remember walking the halls as a young kid. It’s possible that these experiences had an influence on my decision... read more
When I was a teenager my mom worked for JFS as an administrative assistant, and I remember walking the halls as a young kid. It’s possible that these experiences had an influence on my decision to go into social work. After I received my degree, I didn’t want to work anywhere but JFS. The environment was so comfortable which really eased me into my first job. I still have very fond memories and keep in touch with my contacts even though I only worked there for two years. I still have many good friends from when I worked there; it always felt like a family to me. I decided to go back to school to pursue Psychology, but stayed close to the organization as a member of the marketing and media relations committee. I later found myself on the Board of Directors, which I loved because it was really nice to be sitting around the table with people I knew as a kid.
Not only did they give me my first job, but they believed in me. I was a young girl right out of university and they took a chance on me, even though I had no experience, and I never forgot the support I felt working at this organization.
I worked in the department of Youth Protection, which is very difficult and heavy. I had an amazing team which made the work that much more gratifying. My best memories include having meetings with Steve Solomon and learning from him. It is because of the organization that I went into psychology: I dealt with a lot of sex abuse cases and was asked to give a talk at UQAM. Through that talk I met Ellen Moss, and I was able to do my PHD with her.
I have given back over the years by sitting on various committees’ in the Jewish community, such as Federation CJA committees. I also refer my clients to Ometz that need the extra support or have financial difficulties.
Ometz should continue to do what they’re doing, helping the impoverished. Looking forward, Ometz should also consider playing more of a role in assisting the aging population. hide
Submitted by: Katherine Korakakis
I had just finished university and was excited to start my career. I was always a good student who studied hard and achieved academically as a result. Unfortunately, I had never been taught how t... read more
I had just finished university and was excited to start my career. I was always a good student who studied hard and achieved academically as a result. Unfortunately, I had never been taught how to write a CV or how to interview. Not having these skills made it very difficult to attract potential employers. I didn’t have the proper tools to access the job market and therefore, I decided to call Contact Pro Montreal.
I was taught how to write a CV, how to behave in an interview, how to dress for an interview and how to access the hidden job market. I became a much more interesting candidate to prospective employers and found a job because of this.
Coming back as a professional later on, I am constantly thanking the woman who helped me get my first job. I wouldn’t be where I am today otherwise.
Today I work at Ometz as coordinator of entrepreneurship. I always tell the clients I help, not to forget about the community that helped them. That when they achieve what it is they set out to achieve that they should help the next person achieve, in whatever way they can. I see Ometz as an enabler; they enable people to reach their potential whatever that may be. They provide people with the tools that enable them to help themselves; and that in my opinion is the best type of help an organization can give.
I feel the need to reiterate the importance of having this organization in community. It is important because once you have reached that stability, you forget how hard it is in the beginning. We need to make sure the younger generation is supported in order for them to reach their potential and have a successful future. Ometz helps everyone across the board regardless of means. It gives us all an equal shot and paves the way for future success. The organization develops people’s skills and takes steps towards independence in numerous ways, therefore allowing people to benefit from so many more opportunities than they originally thought possible. hide
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