Most of us are familiar with the adage "Without sustenance there can be no Torah" and its corollary "Without Torah there can be no sustenance." Taking that concept and turning it into practical experience, the Kemach Foundation was established to train haredi men and women to earn a living - and put bread on their tables without compromising their scholarly lifestyle. Founded in 2007 with the support of a group of private benefactors, headed by British philanthropist Leo Noé, Kemach provides a wide range of services, from study and training scholarships and support for new employment initiatives to testing, counseling and partnering with government and other agencies. The name "Kemach" is an acronym of the Hebrew words "kidum miktzo'i haredi," which mean "promoting haredi employment." The word kemah itself means "flour" - in this case a reference to bread, or sustenance. The genesis of Kemach began in 2005 when Jack Schuldenfrei, a former educator in England and PR director at Bar-Ilan University, became involved with Project 120 at the Open University. They registered 120 haredi men from yeshivas to study at the Open University to improve their opportunities to earn a living. Seeing the success of the project and recognizing the potential for a much broader horizon, Schuldenfrei approached a wealthy former student of his in England, who generously lent his support to the new initiative, which became the nonprofit organization Kemach. "We're like a dream factory," says Schuldenfrei. "We turn financial fantasy into achievement." Headquartered in Jerusalem and operating throughout the country, Kemach provides a service that enables haredi men and women to become economically productive in as short a time as their abilities allow. To that end, the initial testing and counseling procedure is designed to ensure that students are guided into professions and vocations that meet their individual capabilities and their aspirations. As such, a key element is that the chosen study program has a high probability of leading to gainful employment, such as teaching, computer technology and clinical psychology. In 2008, more than 2,525 inquiries were made, of which some 2,000 met the basic Kemach criteria and were invited for an interview. In that year, 1,280 students were placed in study programs in 72 different colleges and institutions across the country. According to the administration, of those who completed their studies, more than 70 percent have found jobs. Run entirely by haredim (except Schuldenfrei) for all streams of the haredi community, the immense popularity of the Kemach Foundation has been achieved strictly by word of mouth. The clientele appreciate the fact that Kemach is sensitive to both their spiritual and economic needs. As Schuldenfrei puts it, "We don't want to change their lifestyle, we want to enhance it."

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