Haredi women are the biggest feminists of all

Interview with Tal graduate Elisheva Epstein, Head of the Development Team at CrediFI

I am a Haredi woman and I can tell you, Haredi women are the biggest feminists of all.”

Elisheva Epstein (33) is Head of the Development Department at CrediFI ● Monthly salary range: 30-35,000 NIS

Translated from an article in Hebrew https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001264012 

By Shiri Dover Dec. 12, 2018

Where am I catching you and what does your job entail?

“I get to work between 6:30 and 7:00 AM, so that I can get back to my three children in time to be with them while they’re still awake.  I am usually the first to arrive but I’m not the only one; there are also fathers who like to get home at a sane hour.  But I’m flexible about the time I leave, it depends on my workload.  The vision of CrediFI is to bring transparency into the world of real estate in the US.  After the market collapsed in 2008, investors came up with the idea to make the market less opaque and more transparent.  We collect data from all over the world and analyze it.  Our customers are regulators such as large banks in the US.  I manage the development team which is comprised of 10 people, including three developers and three customer service agents.  We are now in the process of recruiting and expanding our team of staff.”

How long have you been in the company and what did you do before?

“I previously worked at Kramer Electronics and have been here for two years.  I decided that I wanted to combine professionalism with my passion and be part of a company that has an impact in the world.  There is a certain thrill that comes along with the pressure and challenge of working for a new unestablished start-up.  I believe that to have a successful career, you have to have the experience of working for a big company and also for a start-up”.

How did you get into the field?

“I studied computer science at a Beit Yaakov seminary and then went on to complete an undergraduate degree at the Tal Institute of the Lev Academic Center.  During that time I also worked as a counsellor for American students who were spending a year learning in Israel.  After that I worked for a company that creates software solutions and I got into project management with customers.  From there I moved on to working for a start-up.”

Did you always know that this was what you wanted to do?

 “Yes.  Already from the ninth grade I started studying computers and loved it.  I then went on to study at a Torah-based college.”

Are you religious or Haredi (ultra-Orthodox)?

I’m Haredi.  But in the professional world, I look at people as professionals.  Whether they are a man, a woman, an Arab, a Jew, religious or secular is irrelevant.”  I do my best to uphold this standard even when I’m interviewing people.  People often judge and categorize others based on stereotypes and what they know from their own social background, but it’s not right to do that.” 

Do you feel like people try to categorize you?

“When I’m interviewing people a man might come in and say, ‘Oh, so you’re from Human Resources?'” Of course he is assuming this because I’m a woman.  It’s a malady that I think everyone has, and it has nothing to do with which sector of society.  In fact, this scenario happens more often with some of the most liberal people.  Even when I was interviewed, my employers tried to guess the age of my children and assumed that the next one was already on its way.  Women in tech-tech need to be pushier.”

Can you be Haredi and feminist?

“Sure, why not? Haredi women are the biggest feminists of all, after all they are the breadwinners. Compare a Haredi woman to any non-religious woman and you will see that the Haredi woman carries a much heavier load. I also believe that women put themselves under a glass ceiling”.

Where do you think you’ll be in five years from now?

“I want to start my own start-up company with a few of my good friends, or be an R & D Manager at a start-up.”