This edition of Working Jew has been sent from JL, a supporter in London. We thank him for his contribution.
Although I have been working in London for over four years, I only recently spread my wings and started working outside of a Jewish environment. I am a trainee accountant in a firm with a great colleagues and receive fantastic support as I take on the daunting challenge of becoming chartered.
Why do I mention my colleagues? Why do I mention the support?
After working for so long in an environment that I knew so well and with people who I shared so much in common, it was always going to be a great culture shock when moving into the so called ‘real world’. There was a good chance the firm where I was joining would be snooty, unhelpful and an overall cold environment. However, I was welcomed with open arms and from day one I was one of them. Additionally, from partners down I had many people coming over to me introducing themselves and offering help. Apart from the fact it helped me to settle far quicker, it made me realise how easy it is to bring someone in or to isolate them. I feel this is so relevant to the growing number of frum guys coming back from yeshiva to work. In my firm as I am sure with many firms, we have almost every creed, race and religion imaginable working in one office. Yet, we are all in it together and there is a quality working environment. Differences forgotten and friendships made.
We can easily apply this to back home when either attempting to integrate ourselves or others in social circles. I was only in yeshiva for one year and when I came back to London I think there were only five guys that I can think of who were back working. We had no choice but to be mates. However, now many have returned and London is bustling and buzzing with young frum guys who have the ability to create learning programmes or social events to get to know each other and have a good time. Of course, not everyone gets on with everyone, however, if no attempts are made then we can never know what could have been. The key is putting our shtoltz or ego to the side and saying I am going to go out there and get to know people or I am going to try and integrate this new guy on the block. It is a simple act which can have amazing results.
When it comes down to it, achdus in general is core to the existence of the Jewish people and we can do our little bit by integrating ourselves and helping others to do the same. If at an accountancy firm where the only commonality is the job at hand and yet there is a positive and supportive environment, all the more so amongst young frum guys who have so much in common and are striving to maintain and grow in the level of yiddishkeit attained in yeshiva. I know that with work or studying, free time is very limited, however, lets do our best at least once a week to try and integrate more people wherever we may be living.
We have always been stronger when united and even more so when we are being meyached to grow in Torah and yiddishkeit!
The Working Jew