After five months without work, their unemployment benefits are running out.
So what to do? What could be their new career path?
They are in their fifties.
Luckily, there is a Jewish social welfare agency in New York to help them get back on their feet.
Robert calls me Tuesday morning. “Two weeks ago, my wife and I went to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. We were supposed to see a career counselor, Sandy Horowitz. We had an appointment to see him. We introduced ourselves. They told us to wait. Then they wanted us to fill out some paperwork. We told them that we had already filled out the paperwork.
“They then ushered us into his supervisor’s office and told us that they did not want to service us. They sent us home.
“My lawyer sent Sandy Horowitz an email. He never responded to my lawyers emails for two weeks already.”
Luke: “Do you think this was related to your controversy?”
Robert: “Absolutely. I told Sandy Horowitz about the lawsuits when he career counseled us. We tried to get jobs that weren’t related to being mashgiachs. You have to tell a career counselor that you can’t be a mashgiach anymore so that you can try to find a job in another location. You’ve got to be straight with them, am I right?”
Robert: “I had told him that we had an issue with the OU but the lawsuit hadn’t been filed yet. When we went to see him two weeks, the lawsuit had just been filed. As soon as he heard this, he didn’t want to deal with us. They just told us to go somewhere else for help. They didn’t tell us where to go.”
“I called our social worker (Daphne Griffel) there, my lawyer sent her a letter, and we still haven’t gotten a response. They can’t explain why they can’t help us.
“According to their web address, they are supposed to do career counseling to help people get jobs.
“The only thing the Met Council ever did for us was that they gave us somebody to help us fix our resume up. We’ve got nice resumes now. But they don’t want to help us find jobs. They don’t want to look. They don’t want to help us do nothing. They tell us to go to the state for help.
“This is a Jewish agency that is supposed to help indigent Jewish people.”
Luke: “And the Orthodox Union isn’t trying to settle?”
Robert: “The Orthodox Union isn’t trying to settle. The rabbis in our community are trying to talk us out of our lawsuit. Both rabbis in our synagogue are trying to talk us out of our lawsuit.
“People have told me that I should fire my attorney. I should go away quietly and then they might help me.”
“These people [at Met Council] are trying to force us into getting Social Security disability. I was already turned down by Social Security. It says that I should work. That I should work a different job.
“They tried to force us into forging documents to declare ourselves crazy to get Social Security disability.
“They feel that cheating the government is good.
“It was suggested to us that we can go to doctors, to psychiatrists, and tell them that we are depressed and want to do all sorts of crazy stuff, and they’ll give us meds and we’ll be eligible for Social Security. For us to apply for this would be an absolute fraud, which is what these people are trying to perpetrate.
“These people like to get people on government programs. That’s their thing. Perpetrating a fraud seems to them perfectly OK. I don’t want to get involved in that.
“My wife and I can work. We just need a different type of job. My wife has carpal tunnel syndrome so she can’t type. There’s no reason that she can’t do something else.”
On March 2, Robert sent the following note to Rebbitzen Jungreis. He did not get a response.
Rebbetzen Jungreis, I would like to ask for your assistance ,
to make an appeal for help. My brother Howard Frank, whom due to
no fault of his own, became homeless 4 years ago.He has taken
his homeless plight to several prominent Rabbi ‘s and Jewish
community leaders as well as Jewish social service
organizations, who have been unable to solve his homeless
situation and find him a observant Jewish family to take him in.
A kind hearted Christian man of faith Mr Frank Pohole took pity
on him and brought him into his home, so my brother would not be
forced to live on the streets, when all doors in the Jewish
world were closed to him. I know from reading your column in the
Jewish press that you are a true and caring Jewish soul who