(July 29, 2020, Jerusalem, JNS Wire) Jewish Brain in Hitech (JBH, formerly Avratech), a unique training/apprenticeship model that has been successfully integrating Haredi men into hi-tech since 2013, recently opened its eighth cohort in Jerusalem. This, in spite of the challenging economic post-coronavirus outlook. Thirty-five of the brightest ultra-Orthodox minds, selected from hundreds of applications, will train as software developers and are expected to join the hi-tech workforce in late 2021.
JBH, with branches in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, is a unique one-stop-shop facility where married Talmudic students combine an 18-month software development training and internship program with daily Torah study, while receiving a monthly stipend. All JBH graduates are guaranteed a minimum of two years employment at Ravtech, working on outsourced software development projects for companies such as Check Point, Intel, Amdocs, Elbit and Toga Networks (a Huawei company).
French-Israeli philanthropist and educator Rabbi David Leybel, in consultation with leading hi-tech figures, launched the Ravtech initiative in 2012 in response to the financial distress of Kollel students, in particular those less-suited to full-time Torah study. Nearly 150 Ravtech graduates are now working in hi-tech, some of whom are supporting their families with monthly salaries of over NIS 30,000 while maintaining their religious lifestyle.
JBH director Aharon Safrai: “We refuse to let the coronavirus economic crisis slow the positive momentum we have achieved at Ravtech. During lockdown, we even provided internet connection and computers to Ravtech graduates working from home. The recent opening of this new cohort is as great a leap of faith as was the Ravtech launch in 2013. We feel confident that these 35 students, like the hundred-plus Ravtech graduates before them, will gain the skills and the experience needed to support their families and contribute to Israel’s workforce and economy.”
Ravtech CEO Miki Segal: “It is an accepted fact that successfully integrating Haredi men into the workforce is a national economic interest, but this needs to be achieved with sensitivity and determination. We respect their lifestyle and bring them up to speed on everything a junior developer needs to know in a short time. When they finish the Ravtech combined training/apprenticeship program, they can work on complex technological projects and bring real value to our customers. However, to truly succeed, we need Israeli organizations from the private and public sectors to show faith in this initiative, hire our developers and become partners in this remarkable journey.”
Yechiel Rosenberg, 23, married with one child from Bnei Brak and one of the 35 new students at JBH, was attracted by the mix of vocational training, continued Torah study, a monthly stipend and guaranteed employment: “I want to have a skill to support my family and remain committed to Torah.”