The More You Care – The Less We Pay

Social workers demonstration

The Social Services are striking today in order to obtain higher salaries from the Government.

In general, the ‘caring’ services are much lower paying than careers in high tech, finance, business, etc.

Social workers, nurses, teachers, even rabbis, are paid at salaries which frankly, are inadequate and insulting.

According to reports, social workers take-home pay in Israel is typically between 4,500 to 6,500 NIS/month. Whereas a software engineer, with similar academic and career credentials, will take home 15-25,000 NIS/month.

Social workers pay in Israel was fixed in an agreement which is apparently now 17 years old.

It is shameful that many of the ‘impoverished’ families who are cared for by social workers, make higher salaries than their social workers! The poor leading the poor…

In addition, state-employed social workers work under almost impossible working conditions, typically tasked with assisting 250 to 300 families each social worker. Many of these families are in chronic or acute states of crisis. Dropping a ball can literally cost lives. And the social workers carry that responsibility.

I am therefore strongly in favour of the carers, such as social workers, receiving salaries which are commensurate with the value of the services they provide, the responsibility they shoulder, and the level of qualification & experience they bring.

Poverty wages are shameful.

P.S – I mentioned 'rabbis'. I have recently become aware of the ‘salaries’ of some community rabbis. It can actually cost the rabbi more to perform his duties, in out-of-pocket expenses, than the “salary” (more accurately ‘stipend’ or honorarium) paid out by their community. Furthermore, having the status of a community rabbi, it is particularly awkward to ask for and to obtain help, or pursue supplementary gainful employment (how would you feel seeing your rabbi working at the supermarket check-out?).   
If you sit on a shul committee – please favourably review the salary paid to your rav.


  1. with the social workers striking, will the city of Bet Shemesh now refer those in need to Lemaan Achai's social workers and still refuse to fund LA even with a minimal amount for their service?

  2. Probably Rafi just as the rabbis who won't support Lema'an Achai still send people in need to them!

  3. I will not name names but I know one Rav in one of the premier anglo communities oF Beit Shemesh earning 10,000 NIS per month (and he has other regular work as well). That is not a bad salary considering it is a PT position. Yes, he receives calls during the week from the community but not every day and not for 8 hours a day. Basically, his 10,000 NIS job is supported by certain machers in the community whom he treats well and invites over and socializes with. Unlike social workers who work long hours every day this Rav earns 10,000 a month for working 1 day a week (and even then making a speech is not an 8 hour job). The salary is paid for by continuous fund raising activity from the shul and milking the members - dues, annual dinner, $2000 USD building fund and other activities. I do not know if this is common but certainly there are Ravs who make a lot more than social workers.

  4. Hi Issac

    You are correct that some community rabbis receive plentiful salaries from their communities for part time positions.

    However, some receive effectively symbolic amounts - eg 1000-2000 NIS/month.

    You will appreciate that this doesn't go far - and sometimes doesn't even cover their rabbinical expenses (phone, entertaining community members for shabbat, petrol, etc).

    When they can't pay their bills, it is particularly awkward for community rabbonim to ask the "usual addresses" for charitable assistance - and/or even to find menial work to generate more revenue.


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