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Men for All Seasons

Azriela Jaffe

There was a time when most young Jewish men embarking on careers would gravitate to the fields of medicine, law, and accounting. But today’s Jewish working men are entertaining careers in blue-collar industries, may even sport a black belt, or spend their working hours outdoors.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Steve Josefovitz, fifty-two, of Edison, New Jersey, owes his thriving twenty-five-year-old appliance repair business, in part, to George Herman, a generous frum Jew who is now in his eighties and retired in Florida. It’s George who “showed him the ropes.”

It started when Steve’s wife Tova told Steve in 1982, their first year of marriage, that if he was miserable as an accountant and wanted to find a parnassah he’d truly enjoy, he should quit his job and go find out what he really wanted to do. Steve took her up on it. And that’s how Steve ended up riding around with George for six months, and learning that what he really wanted to do is become an appliance repairman. Steve recalls the career paths he almost followed, and how he landed in a profession that he still loves after all these years:

“My father owned a sweatshop in Brooklyn. He was retiring and wanted me to leave Israel to take over the shop. I refused, since the business held no interest to me. The only thing my European parents asked of me was to get an education, and a profession — be it lawyer, accountant, or doctor. I dutifully graduated from Queens College with a BA in accounting, studied for my CPA, and worked in the field.

“I hated it, and when Tova encouraged me to look for a trade, I read the book What Color Is Your Parachute and sent away for a pamphlet on every possible job. A family friend, George, offered to show me the appliance repair business. Anyway, I’d been tinkering since I was a kid, so it sounded cool to me. I drove around with him for months. He asked me one day, ‘So, is this what you want to do?’ I said yes, and he told me to go back to school.”

 

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