Take the plunge!

Leah Weisz, founder of Jeru-sitters which provides a babysitting service to locals and tourists, discovered an untapped market.

Travelling family 521 (photo credit: MCT)
Travelling family 521
(photo credit: MCT)
Until recently, most Anglo vacationers in Jerusalem with small children spent their evenings stuck in their hotel rooms or apartment rentals flipping through channels on TV as they kept watch over their sleeping children.
But now, thanks to a new service launched by a young and energetic Jerusalem entrepreneur, adults can explore Jerusalem’s restaurants, theaters and other places of attraction while their children are looked after by mature and reliable English-speaking baby-sitters.
Just a few months ago, and in time for the Succot holiday, 29-year-old Jerusalem resident Leah Weisz founded Jeru-Sitters (www.jerusitters.com), a one-stop shop baby-sitting service geared toward Anglo tourists in Jerusalem looking for someone to watch their kids so they can go out with just the grown-ups.
Weisz, who moved to Israel from New York this past July, saw a need for the service while having discussions with visiting family and friends who complained that they were missing out on the total Jerusalem experience since their evenings were limited due to having young children.
Weisz, who had already proven her entrepreneurial prowess operating a successful clothing business in Manhattan with a line of funky modest women’s apparel that she herself designed, decided to seize the opportunity and fill the baby-sitter void in her new city. As tourists began arriving for Succot, Weisz, along with several of her sitters dressed in Jeru-Sitters T-shirts, distributed flyers outside Jerusalem hotels and in other high-density tourist areas in town, promoting the new service. Within hours, they had gotten their first calls requesting baby-sitters.
THE PROCESS is simple. Families visiting Israel can pre-arrange via the company’s website for one of Jeru-Sitters female baby-sitters to supervise their children on a specific date at a specific time. Payment is made on the website via PayPal following service, depending on the length of time a sitter is needed. The standard rate is $15 an hour but there are special rates if a sitter is needed for longer periods.
Weisz says that one of the most important features of Jeru-Sitters is that families can rest assured knowing their children are in good hands. “All of our baby-sitters must be at least 18 years old and have at least two positive references from previous families before I will accept them as reliable sitters,” she says. In addition, Weisz personally interviews each potential employee for her approval before allowing them to work. All baby-sitters must be fluent in English to be able to converse with any children who are still awake or to reach and effectively communicate with parents in the case of an emergency or simply report on a crying baby.
Weisz says that in addition to prearranged baby-sitting services for tourists, she has now started getting calls from local English speakers who need to find a baby-sitter at the last minute. She has also recently launched a marketing campaign aimed at reaching local party planners to offer baby-sitters for families who come to Israel for weddings and other celebrations and might need their children supervised.
Weisz says that running Jeru-Sitters is a full-time job. She spends most of her time marketing the company’s services in addition to coordinating the daily baby-sitting schedules or interviewing new potential sitters.
She hopes that her success as a new arrival in Israel will inspire other entrepreneurs to take the plunge and launch other services that might be lacking in Israel.
“When people commend me for starting my own business in Israel, I tell them that Israel is such an amazing country and there are so many opportunities to tap into the Israeli market. Also, Israel is such a new country and young professionals just need to take a good look around and see where there is a need,” she says.