Carmiel mom starts high tech firm for haredi women
Ultra-Orthodox mothers join software development company established especially for wives of yeshiva students who need to make living
Goel Beno • Ynet
What is a woman to do when her husband attends yeshiva school and there is no one making a living for the family? Ask a group of haredi mothers who took the matter into their own hands – and started working for a high tech company established especially for women in their situation.
This special venture was initiated by Hanita Friedman, a 47-year old haredi mother-of-five from Carmiel, who dreamt of establishing and managing a high tech firm for haredi women only, in order to help their families make ends meet.
Six months ago, Friedman, a trained mechanic engineer, launched Karmisoft – a software development company servicing the business sector. The investor is a haredi man recruited with the help of Carmiel's Rabbi.
The company's offices are unpretentious and ascetic. The walls are almost completely barren, and a handful of holy books and professional science literature sit on top of simple cabinets. No magazines or newspapers.
The employees are dressed modestly, and married women don wigs on their heads. The place transmits an atmosphere of no-nonsense; no chit chat, gossip, or aimless surfing on the internet for non-work-related purposes.
None of the women know if the World Cup has already ended, and none of them care to know who won. The television and radio are completely out of the question. The only "entertainment" they enjoy is the faint sound of haredi music playing in the background.
Finding the golden path
The company employs 10 women, two of which are secular. Most of the women are young and married to yeshiva students. Some relocated from the center of the country to Carmiel especially to work for the company, after being trained as software engineers at the seminars in Beit Yaakov.
Karmisoft demands of its employees a high work ethic, but also takes into account that their employees have families and another life outside of the office. Work hours span between 8 am and 4 pm, so that the women have enough time to spend at home and with their kids.
At times, the employees have to find a golden path between what is desirable and what is possible.
For example, after Tisha B'Av, when yeshiva students go on their three-week summer break, some of the women wanted to take time off to be with their husbands and kids. However, their work ethic prevailed, and they made due with a three day vacation given by the company.
In the meantime, the women bring their own food from home, until their manager Friedman finds a suitable kosher catering company. Friedman, who is currently busy soliciting business from different companies, seems happy as long as she can provide a living for as many haredi families in the unemployment-stricken north.
"The female environment brings good energies; there is no competition or jealousy – only cooperation," says one of the employees who used to work for a secular factory.
As far as profits go, the company hopes to start seeing them after about a year and a half of doing business.