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Chabad Rabbi’s Seminars Help Unemployed Find Authentic Life Passion

By , Denver, CO

( Usually, when the pink slip blues get former financial services whiz, Fran Gerrish of Aurora, CO, down, she phones a buddy from work, another former VP flung off the corporate ladder by the dismal economy.

“The buddy system’s been helpful,” said Gerrish, but it only got her so far.

Earlier this month, Gerrish drove 40 minutes, through the snow, to hear what a Chabad rabbi had to say about the Jewish way to survive – and thrive – through job loss.

“Transition Seminars,” a three-hour course offered by Rabbi Levi Brackman, co-executive director of Judaism in the Foothills, a branch of Chabad of North West Metro Denver, have been drawing participants looking for the Chasidic approach to finding a new job, a new love, a better life.

“There is an unbelievable amount of practical wisdom in Chasidic teachings. All you need to do is apply it,” said Rabbi Brackman.

For career advice, Rabbi Brackman looked to the writings of the Lubavitcher leaders, especially those of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Ber Schneerson. 

One concept job seekers need to know about is, said the rabbi, “ratzon muchlat,” the deep desire that sparked the Creator’s creative drive.  Using this and other biblical paradigms
Rabbi Brackman formulated a process to help people “find their innate, primary calling, their authentic passion in life.”

“His presentation was not the flowery words you’d expect,” said Gerrish, “but a really down to earth approach to overcoming a sense of failure.”

Successful job hunting is more than combing through links on “You need to find a job that will fulfill the reason why you were put on this planet. If you find the job that G-d created you to do, you will find success in it.”

Rebecca Pasquariello, from Highland Ranch, CO, saw the rabbi being interviewed about the seminar on the local news.  Newly separated from her husband, and struggling to build up business for Colorado Cuts, her natural meat company, the ideas piqued her interest. Then Pasquariello lost her part-time job with the National Bison Association, when their budget got slaughtered by the slump. With her calendar cleared, she decided to attend seminar.

“The seminar confirmed for me that I need to take this transition time and step back and focus on what my next step should be versus jumping in because I am panicking,” said Pasquariello.

To reinforce what she discovered at the seminar, Pasquariello bought the rabbi’s book on the subject.

Rabbi Brackman and co-author Sam Jaffe offer a comprehensive version of this approach in their book Jewish Wisdom for Business Success: Lessons from the Torah and Other Ancient Texts, published by AMACOM in September. Quickly finding its niche, the book is in its second printing, and being translated into Russian. Its Japanese version is now up for auction.

Publisher’s weekly described Jewish Wisdom for Business Success as "relevant and timely.” 

“The proposed practices contain pearls of wisdom such as a weekly 'audit of the soul' where strengths and weaknesses are assessed in terms of recent actions and are examined for mistakes, correctable by a four-step process. The authors outline sound principles and provide ample strong examples in this solid business primer."

Now Rabbi Brackman is working on ways to bring the seminar to other communities – possibly training other Chabad rabbis to deliver the seminars.  In this lemon of an economy, Rabbi Brackman is eager to share his recipe for kosher lemonade.


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