Now, that is a fair question. The short of the answer is yes. Or should I say, of course there are! The real question is, what can be done about it? Is there a way to alleviate poverty? Again, the answer is yes! There are many government and not-for-profit programs that address this question, and do indeed work towards solving the problem. Some with more success that others.
The next question is, what are the people in need to do while the problem gets solved. They still need food, clothing, medicine and housing. The basics. That is where Karmey Hesed comes in. Through Karmey Hesed’s programs, those that are in need gain relief from the stresses of poverty until it goes away.
Take the Goldstien family for example. In some ways a typical Israeli family, in other ways, not. There are 5 school age kids at home. The father works at a normal Israeli job, making a normal Israeli salary. The mother works as well. Also earning a typical salary in Israel.
The problem is, its not enough. Between the 2 parents, and even if you include the now reduced government child allowance, there is just not enough to go around. Not only are there seasons where new clothes for the growing children in out of the question, but there are many days, if not weeks, where there is not enough food. Let alone medicines when needed.
Karmey Hesed does its best to help these families. That of course depends on you. Your regular donations to this critical cause are what make it happen.
So please! Open your hearts and click here to donate now, so that those in need can survive until G-d willing poverty finally ends!
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.
There are problems and there are problems… There is no question that the 1,000,000 residents under fire in Israel have what to worry about. And to be clear, we all know that the missiles have been flying, and landing, for much more than the past week. They have been flying for years. Since both after, and even before, we left the Gaza strip. And yet, what’s it like to have those missiles land, and sometimes kill, in addition to the minute by minuet struggle of financial struggle?
What is it like to not know when the cut-off-your-electric-bill-for-non-payment missile lands. Or the, there’s-no-milk-in-the-fridge missile lands. Yes, its a daily struggle that pervades the entire country, not just the south (or Tel Aviv…), but 20% to 30% of the population.
This is not to belittle the real life threats of death, or best case scenario, destruction of ones home of course. Its just help keep in mind some of our other struggles as well.
Cash flow is one of those things that not many people understand. People who are in financial dire straits are very likely a part of that group.
There are several stages into getting out of debt and getting to financial stability. Two central stages of reaching stability are the survival stage, and the stability stage.
This survival stage is about making sure that they’re able to feed the family, get to work and back, and overall to not “lose it all”.
The stability stage is about staying afloat. Where you’re not worried about going further into debt. You are getting by from day to day and there might be a little bit of money to put aside for that rainy day.
If someone does not know how to handle, or better yet manage cash flow, they may heading for disaster. The central “trick” to cash flow management is always keeping in mind that tomorrow’s expenses will very quickly become today’s. There’s no getting away from it.
People who are in financial dire straits as I said above, and do not know how to manage the cash flow, are one day going to find themselves in a very difficult predicament.
It’s all about discipline. Sometimes people without, forget that they are without, and allow themselves too many “luxuries’. Sometimes those luxuries may be little things like flavored yogurt, or a pack of cookies, but those things add up. A friend of mine buys a pack of gum a day. “It’s only three shekels” he says. But those three shekels add up to between 600 and 750 shekels a year if you buy a pack a day. It’s much like the argument against cigarette consumption. It’s “only” X amount of money but in the end its thousands a year.
So cash flow is not only about the timing of monies coming in and going out, it’s also about the discipline to control and manage the monies going out, and of course coming in.
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.
As I am sure is the case in many households, there’s a very interesting point in time that joins two periods in the annual cycle of events. The end of summer vacation and the beginning of the school year.
FOR THE KIDS its a time mixed feelings; feelings of sadness at the end of summer’s “freedom”; feeling of anticipation (and sometimes sadness…) as the new school year approaches. Will there be new kids in the class, who will be my teacher, how will my grades be this year, and so one.
FOR THE PARENT’S part, its a time of excitement at their children’s advancement to a higher grade, and perhaps even a time of relief from needing to keep the kids busy over the summer. There is however another set of feelings that many families experience. STRESS!
The stress of how to make ends meet during this time can be immense. The question becomes, how can an Israeli family with 5, 7 or more kids do it? The answer is not clear…
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…
People in serious debt have a constant struggle. They struggle to get by on a week to week, if not day to day basis. They struggle to make ends meet. To keep the electricity and water running, let alone put food on the table. In such situations it sometimes (many times?) seems like there will never be an end to the insanity. There will never be an end to the tunnel, let alone light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing over and above all the usual strategies and tactics used in such struggles is perhaps the key ingredient to finally “making it”. After all the weekly budgets, categories within the household budgets, debt counseling, debtors anonymous, and of course prayer, it just might be the glue that holds it all together. HOPE!
Yes, the belief, the faith, the hope, that it will all work out in the end. As the title of Barak Obama’s book calls it, “The Audacity of Hope!”
A faith in one’s self, in the ability of human beings to not only survive the struggle, but to succeed is perhaps THE driving force that keeps these people going. That is, the ones that choose to keep going until they finally reach their long hoped for destination, financial stability. Here’s hoping…
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