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October 11, 1985 - Image 37

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.




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Friday, October 11, 1985 37


From Nothing

How do Israelis make ends meet?

ara an' a r ac s an scns.

Photos by Debbie Cooper


Special to The Jewish News

"The most exasperating
part of it," agrees Avraham,
another professional, who al-
so works as a civil servant, is
the time and concentration
spent on money.
"The whole situation is cor-
rupting. People have to gam-
ble — whether to buy meat,
for example, in advance be-
cause the price may jump up
at any time. I believe that
people should buy things
Young Israeli professionals
when they need them, and .
talking. The kind of men and
not because inflation dic-
women whom one's folks
tates it.
would be proud of — Zionist,
Sara and Yair Sachs, both
parents of beautiful families,
Israeli-born, live in a well-
hard-working, motivated. In
kept three bedroom flat in the
Israel today, they are the
Katamonim. They have a
ones who are in financial . small son, who is just star-
ting in a day-care centre, and
"We're not miskenim," (to
two primary school age boys.
be pitied), they say.
Yair 's salary for his work in
"We have jobs. We earn
the computer department of
what was once a decent sal-
the Hebrew University com-
ary. We're not thinking of
bined with Sara's salary at
leaving. But we can't make
the Health Ministry, brings
ends meet."
in a net IS1 million (about
"The worst part of it, the
very bad part of what's hap-
Almost half of that goes in
pening to us economically, is
food, despite Sara's efforts to
the constant preoccupation
keep the bills down. "I'm a
with money," says Sara
bargain hunter," she says.
Sachs, mother of three and an
"I'm 'crazy' consumer con-
administrator in the Health
scious. I spend a lot of time
on it — after work, I take the
"Thinking about money all
car and look for food bar-
the time, wondering how to
gains. I go to Mahane Ye-
pay for things we need, is
huda market for vegetables,
awful. It depresses me and
fruit and cleaning materials.
involves my mind in stupid
We don't eat much meat or
things instead of important
chicken any more. And the
things. I sometimes can't
children don't get many ice
concentrate when I'm read-
ing a book or the newspaper
Sara buys the children's
for wondering about how
clothing in the Old City ("not
we're going to manage."
shoes, I won't compromise on
shoes") and in the Carmel
market in Tel Aviv. She picks
This article is reprinted with
permission from The Jerusalem
through second-hand clothes
shops. "I found a beautiful

"I never throw away any food.
The children have to finish
what's on their plate,"
"We don't eat red meat any
"We don't go out in the even-
ings any more, except to friends
for coffee."
"We barter — I make some-
one a wardrobe and he cuts
something off our medical bill."

The Schnitder and Konigsberg families.

dressing gown, American
made, for myself recently. It
cost IS3,000."
Yair does all the home re-
pairs himself: "It hurts me to
call in an 'expert' to fix
something like a leaking tap
and pay him IS15,000 just
for his call."
Yair comes from a yekke
family and is careful with his
money: "Just because you
have money you don't neces-
sarily have to spend it," he
says. This approach is paying
off now, when a bank over-
draft can cripple a family's
"We were always notorious
for not having an overdraft.
Even when times were easier,
when friends round us seemed
to be leading very similar
lives with similar expenses
and yet complained of con-
stant overdrafts, we had
"When our money runs
out, we simply stop spending.
"But," he added despair-
ingly, "the money is running
out earlier and earlier each
Most hurtful to the Sachs

family is the question of
music lessons for the child-
ren. Yair comes from a musi-
cal family — his father was a
professional musician. "To
me, music is a way of life. Yet
the day I went to pay for the
children's extra music les-
sons, I must say I tame home
with a black face. The most
basic musical education
today is a Iwhich we
almost cannOlc :gird. This to
me is terrible."•
When. Sara and Yair sat
down and actually calculated
their outgoing expenses, they
totalled some hundred thou-
sand shekels more than their
income. How do they manage?
We do live off our salaries
-- we have no help from out-
side, from parents or extra
work," says Yair. "We're
lucky in that we're not pay-
ing off a mortgage. What we
do depend upon is surprise
cost-of-living increases or
savings which mature —
money which appears and
literally saves us.
"We put off things like the
dentist or mending the fridge
until we get a sudden windfall


;i1 , 7;2F- !.15111t1A7aa

of money like that.
"When I sit down and work
it out," says Yair, "our ac-
counts — what we earn and
what we spend — just don't
balance. Somewhere, some-
thing's wrong. It must be
If Sara and Yair are mysti-
fied about how they make it
to the end of the month, then
Avraham and Zehava (not
their real names) know ex-
actly how they manage.
They are Orthodox, have
six children and recently
moved into a flat with garden
in one of Jerusalem's new
American-born - Miraham is
a civil servant and brings
home about IS700,000 ($470)
a month. Zehava, a sabre,
works at home. They have no
"Cushion" of savings or
parents who help them fman-
daily. "But then, neither do
we have the burden of any
debts. We have no mortgage
— we paid for our flat in full
out of savings," says Avra-
ham. "Instead, we don't have
a car."


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