Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Not the Usual 9 to 5

Yehudit Garmaise

Good at writing? Why not be an editor? Like to draw? Ever considered architecture? Jobs in the creative professions are becoming more common these days. Could you pursue your passion for a living?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 Mishpacha image

BIGGER PICTURE More than just a job, Art Director Ann Koffsky says she’s proud that her work results in products that have a positive effect in the world, a sentiment often shared by other creative professionals in their respective fields. “I think putting out Jewish books that people have in their homes encourages Jewish engagement,” Koffsky says. “So, I feel great that I get to help wholesome Jewish books make their way out there and into people’s homes.”

R ivka Korf had taken an interest in graphic design since high school, but after she got married she figured she’d get an easy, part-time job just to pay the bills.

She was miserable.

“Creative people are just not going to be happy in a typical office job,” says Korf, 25, who lives in Florida. “We must try to figure out how to use our skills and talents to make parnassah. You have to do something you love. If you’re creative, you should try to find a job in a creative field.”

Anne Koffsky, an editor and art director at Behrman House Publishers in Springfield, New Jersey, heard a similar lament — from her children.

“I have two creative boys, and one of them recently said to me, ‘I have a choice of six jobs: I can be a rabbi, a caterer, a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, or a teacher,’ ” says Koffsky. “This is the world in which he grows up. When he goes to shul, he doesn’t necessarily see anyone who does anything other than those six professions for a living.”

More and more, Americans are seeing that there are opportunities beyond the traditional professions, and they’re not necessarily suffering an income shortfall as a result. Jobs that require creative thinking and artistic talents are more in demand today than ever before. Better yet, people can make it in these fields with typical undergraduate and graduate degrees, and the help of the many online resources available.

A Business Insider survey recently found that positions that place high importance on “thinking creatively” pay an average annual salary of over $50,000. Copy writers, for instance, who write advertising copy for the promotion of products in publications and broadcast media, earn an average annual salary of $69,130. Music directors, who conduct and direct instrumental or vocal music performances, earn an average annual salary of $59,040. The list goes on: Post-secondary art, music, and drama teachers; landscape architects; fine artists; set and exhibit designers; and graphic designers. All these and more pay salaries exceeding $50,000.

Meet some people who have taken the leap to non-traditional jobs. It’s not always the easiest route, but it can be the most fulfilling, especially when your nine-to-five is also your passion.

Rivka Korf


Growing up in Kharkov, Ukraine, Rivka Korf doodled a lot. Once home from school, she used online programs, such as, to teach herself Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

When she was old enough to hang a shingle, Korf, 25, started designing fliers for events and camps. After seminary, marriage, and an unhappy detour in a “just pay the bills” administrative job, she knew she had to pursue her passion.

Through contacts and listings in Facebook groups for professional artists, such as Job Hunt for Heimishe, J-Artist, and Jewish Designers Lounge, Korf found her current job at AdoramaPix in Brooklyn. Even though she and her husband now live in Florida, she continues to design for AdoramaPix in a rented office near her home. In fact, she directs two other designers and takes on additional freelance clients on the side.

Korf advises people who want to get into the business to look beyond merely a skill for design and sketching. Computer skills are also vitally important today. Once a person possesses a core competency, Korf stresses that every professional commercial artist should develop his or her specific niche — for instance, three-dimensional design, logos, sketches, or graphic design using photography.

“You always have to learn new skills to keep up with the competition,” Korf says. “You have to cultivate something that stands out.”

Korf says she appreciates her life as a freelancer, but it comes with challenges.

“Some artists may want to work freelance to avoid having a boss,” Korf says, “but the truth is, every client you have is another boss, and hopefully, you have lots of clients. I decided I wanted to work mostly for one company and get a steady paycheck, which I eventually found when I started at AdoramaPix.”

Korf loves her life as a mother of a two-year-old daughter, graphic artist, fine artist, and rebbetzin. (She and her husband Rabbi Moishe Korf are youth directors at Chabad of Golden Beach, Florida.) Her parents would have preferred she pursue teaching, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My mother is naturally an artist, but she never used her talents,” Korf says. “She always told us that she does better things by teaching, which also is a very creative and worthwhile profession.”


Korf advises that it’s healthy to forge one’s own path in life. In her case it meant using her artistic skills for parnassah.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working in creative fields,” Korf says. “Hashem wants us to use whatever talents we have for the good and to complete our missions in this world. I love that I can use my creativity in my job.”

Eve Emanuel


After trying on too many skirts that were too tight, too loose, or too short, Eve Emanuel decided to design one herself.

“I strove to make finely crafted, high-quality clothing that fits women well and looks put-together,” says Emanuel, 49, who lives in Brooklyn.

Emanuel says she was always attracted to clothing and the creative process. “I love to make clothing that is elegant and made for women,” she says. Emanuel adds that she finds inspiration for her designs from the shapes and colors in the world around her. She also might see an article of clothing in a store and go home and make a tzanuah version of it.

Emanuel, who sells her clothes online and at community events, doesn’t have a degree in fashion design, but she did learn the basics of sewing while in high school in London and furthered her education with online courses.

“I love to provide women with clothing in which they feel great and relaxed,” she says. “To that end, I use light, fun, and ‘humble’ fabrics, such as cotton and spandex velvet. I like fabrics that are easy to care for, so that women can wear them often.”

Emanuel encourages people who are interested in fashion design to study art and design and then use what they learn to create original styles. And most important: “Always have trust in your talent.”

Related Stories

Permission to Pamper

Sarah Glazer

How is it that some women can give and give and still feel full while others are on the verge of col...

Changing Fortunes

Barbara Bensoussan

Money comes and money goes. It can be used for good — giving tzedakah, becoming an askan — or for se...

Breathe Easy

Malkie Schulman

You do it all day long — but are you doing it correctly? Study after study has proven the benefits o...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"