I am sitting in a cafe near the entrance to the Jerusalem Foreign Media Center. I just overheard one of the reporters say that he has never seen such a massive buildup around the Gaza Strip as what he saw yesterday. The initial news last week reported that the army had asked for authorization to call up 30,000 reservists. “Back then” they said we would likely get 10,000, the same number called up during Operation Cast Lead four years ago. This morning’s numbers are now at 75,000!
I am not a member of any government body. Nor do I write here to question what the government, and certainly not the IDF is doing (though we are certainly allowed to and expected to question the government). I just have a small yet important observation.
If we can mobilize so many, and spend so much (I do not question either the spending nor the numbers) in so short a time. certainly we can find the wherewithal to mobilize against poverty.
Posted by admin under Child Poverty, Children, Crime, Disposable Income, Divorce, Getting By In Israel, Green Charity, Perspective, Poverty in Israel, Self Improvement, Social Justice, Solutions to Poverty, Terrorism and Poverty, Torah, Tzedakah, Uncategorized, Unemployment, What can "I" do, What can THEY do, World Poverty
A friend of mine used a great metaphor the other day. We were speaking about the differences between life in Israel vs that of living in North America. He used a very thought provoking comparison. He said that here in Israel when there is no food at home it means, that’s the way it is. Not much to do but to wait until the beginning of the next month, and payday. Whereas in the US one would say, hmmm, no food at home, lets go out to eat!
No, not everyone in Israel has the “Israeli Experience” of not having food at home. In fact, the vast majority do have, and sometimes even plenty of it.
There are however many many homes where that is very much not the case. As we have discussed before, a disposable income is something that even for the majority of Israeli families is a foriegn concept, pardon the pun.
The question of course still remains, ok, we know that, but what can we do about it?
Posted by admin under Child Poverty, Children, Disposable Income, Getting By In Israel, Perspective, Poverty in Israel, Self Improvement, Social Justice, Solutions to Poverty, Tzedakah, What can "I" do, What can THEY do
The Brookings Institution came out out with a study a while back that suggests that its “easy” to get out of, or at least, avoid, poverty. Their suggestions might make sense in the USA, or other developed coutries where the concept of a “Disposable Income” exists. However, in a place like Israel, that is just not the case. Here is their article:
We’re a nation of bootstraps. Pull hard enough and you can pull yourself from rags to riches.
Or so we like to think. New research suggests we’re not as strapping as we might think when it comes to economic mobility.
New research from the Brookings Institution shows that economic mobility – the chance a child born into a poor family has to escape poverty – isn’t as robust as we might think.
If you’re born into a middle-class family, there’s a 76 percent chance you’ll end up middle class or even wealthier. Born into a poor family? Only a 35 percent chance. More here.
If we appreciate what we have, we may just want to lend that helping hand to those who have-not:
On Sukkot, we are instructed to “live in booths seven days…in order that future generations may know that [G-D] brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 23:42-43). The Sukkah reminds us of the Israelites’ temporary dwellings during their forty years wandering in the desert. The Sukkah is a symbol of the protection G-D granted us during that transient period when we were instructed to “thrive and increase and be able to possess the land that the Eternal promised on oath to [our] fathers” (Deuteronomy 8:1). Sukkot is also known as Chag Ha’asif (the Holiday of Gathering). The Torah recognizes this time of year as one during which food was bountiful and the earth full of blessings (Deuteronomy 16:13, 15 and Leviticus 23:39).
G-D’s directions to thrive and increase must not have been easy for a people wandering through the desert. Even with our more sedentary lifestyle, they remain challenging for us. Especially in a time of economic crisis, how do we ensure that food, if not bountiful for all, is at least accessible to all? How do we best fulfill G-D’s commandments to care for our children so they may grow into healthy and productive adults?
From our days wandering in the desert through present times, the Jewish people have acted on G-D’s wisdom and commands, prioritizing the protection of the most vulnerable. On this Sukkot let us be inspired by our rich tradition as a people who place great value on the sanctity and welfare of children. And let us remember that our responsibility lies beyond the mitzvah of welcoming into our Sukkah those who are hungry or in need of shelter. Let us also work to ensure that in our children’s generation, no one knows the ravages of hunger or the sting of poverty.
Adapted from here.
I had the pleasure of attending a very beautiful wedding this evening. The guests were dressed in the finest. Both the bride’s ad the groom’s families were at their fines The smorgasbord was great, and the dinner even better.
THE ONLY THING that bothered me was that the father of the b=groom is someone who literally has to work 3 hours per meal served there to pay for the wedding. And that’s just for the c What about the clothes, the band, the photographer? To be honest, I do not know if this was one of those “the-bride’s-side-pays-for-the-wedding weddings, or if was a 50/50 deal. Whatever the case, I think there is something truly wrong when one side of the wedding is expected to foot such a large amount of money because the other wants a “fancy” affair.
In this particular case I personally know the family and know that he father of the groom worked untold extra hours to pay for his part. I TRULY BELIEVE that there has to be a new movement started on which weddings and other simcha expenses are kept to a realistic and more modest expenditure.. There are some chasidic groups who have started this and this is the way!
From the Rambam’s (Maimonides’) eight ways to give, From the “least-best” way to the highest level of giving, below is a list of how we give Tzedakah
Needless to say, the recipient of tzedakah must be spared from shame or humiliation. As it is written in the Talmud, when R, Yannai observed somebody giving money to a poor man in public, he said: “Better not to have given him anything than to have given and caused humiliation.”
- Giving but do so in sadness
- Giving less than is fitting, but in good spirit,
- Giving only after having been asked,
- Giving before being asked,
- Giving so that the donor doesn’t know who the recipient is,
- Giving so that the recipient doesn’t know who the donor is,
- Giving so that neither knows the identity of the other, and
- Giving in a manner so that the recipient becomes self-sufficient, thus avoiding the loss of self-respect that may result from receiving the lower degrees of charity.
As we can see, all are forms of giving, some of course are (much) better than others.
A good friend of mine, who happens to be in a lot of debt… also has a debt to Bituach Leumi (National Insurance. The debt “cropped up” as a result of his trying to come clean with all the tax authorities. Even though he hadn’t been “making a living” in the years that the debt was incurred, he was still assessed for several thousands of shekels owing.
As part of his “survival strategy”, he basically ignored this ticking time bomb so that he could pay for the basic necessities, milk, diapers, bread, and the like. The problem is of course, that as with (almost) all debt, it eventually catches up. and that it did.
In due course the child allowance payments stopped coming in. At 1800 shekels a month, for someone not-getting-by on his 10,000 pre-tax salary, that’s a lot of cash. Especially when there are 7 children, a wife, and himself to feed.
In case you were wondering, this is NOT an article complaining about the Israeli government and its policies.
Its simply an article that tries to demonstrate the close to impossible situation many Israelis live in.
Well, there are people who really do have more serious problems, health, Shalom Bayit et-al. As they say, it’s only money…
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