Yisrael Shwebel (41), a graduate of Ono Academic College and now a married father of four and director of philanthropic funds was profiled in the Ultra-Orthodox Magazine Hamakom’s Column “From the Yeshiva to the Workforce.” The article describes his background, including being born into a family of 10 children and making Aliya from the US at the age of three. Shwebel grew up in Rehovot and studied at Yeshiva including advanced Yeshiva studies in Hevron. He continued learning as an Avrech in the Pachad Yitzhak Kollel.

Schwebel describes how “another type of window into studies opened” for him when he discovered the ultra-Orthodox Campus of Ono Academic College.  He notes that Ono gave him significant social tools for the transition from studying in a Kollel to life outside it. He said Ono provides a good and healthy atmosphere, a high level of learning, and allowed him to find significant employment. After completing his BA at Ono in accounting he went on to receive and MA degree at the Open University.  

His employment experience after graduating Ono has been very satisfying.  Schwebel found his accountancy training to be extremely relevant to all financial professions. He interned at Ernst & Young’s Department of Hi-Tech Review where he learned to apply international standards at one of Israel’s most highly-regarded firms. He described this experience at the firm’s Tel Aviv headquarters as a radical transition from his life in the Yeshiva.  It was a cultural shock but

allowed him to understand that one must bring the concept of professionalism into the ultra-Orthodox world. He believes that the ultra-Orthodox world also requires professional experts and we have to be there for them.

Schwebel’s first management position was as a budget manager for ultra-Orthodox education in the Jerusalem Municipality. His education allowed him to succeed in managing a large city budget, working with political institutions, and maintaining a professional regulatory outlook.

He later worked as municipal treasurer in the ultra-Orthodox city of Beitar Eilit. There, he said, we accomplished things that every municipality in Israel, ultra-Orthodox or not, would be jealous of in the fields of budgetary management, savings and efficiency, appropriate investment and service provision for the residents, and more.

In describing his current work as a director of philanthropic funds, Schwebel said that it is a fascinating world. Special people are doing special things. He said, “I need to understand the needs, struggles and challenges of the organizations and non-profits in the field of education, welfare and charity.  I need to be the bridge between them and the contributors and find opportunities for beneficial investment.  I need to ensure that the contribution will advance the organization and its goals and also make certain that the funds are managed well and properly maximized.

Summing up his philosophy, Schwebel noted, “What guides me is the belief that we have a job in this world. I try to find my calling in this world and maximize it, to do significant things and influence others for good.”