African-Israeli Youth Hungry for Financial Mentoring

Last week, the staff of CBN Israel were invited to give financial counseling to a group of African-Israeli young adults. The students were high-school graduates who recently completed their mandatory service in the Israeli army. These young men and women are intelligent from their studies and matured by military disciplines, but they had never been taught the very practical wisdom of financial management.

This particular group of young adults are children of Jewish families who have immigrated to Israel from Africa and have formed a tight-knit community in central Israel. On this occasion, as is often their custom, the families prepared a meal to be eaten together. The ladies prepare the salads and the men cook the meat on the fire. The leader of the community, Pastor *Teru and his wife, join in the work and feel empathetic for the families of their community. Teru shared with the staff how opportunities have come to him and his wife to live a good, rich life here in Israel through hand-outs of sympathetic, well-meaning Christians that they have met along the way. But Pastor Teru politely declines, replying to these offers, “The Lord has brought me here to be a pastor. I am a shepherd who is to live among the sheep.”

During the meeting, the staff of CBN Israel shared practical tools for money management, one of which was the introduction of the Envelope System. This system is a means to help individuals gain understanding as to where money is being spent and how much they have to work with. “I want people to feel the money for themselves”, said staff member Arik Peled. “When people work with the money itself instead of always swiping a plastic credit card that appears to have no limit, they get a sense of reality and they tend to make better decisions”.

The staff further discussed with the group the ins and outs of the economic systems in Israel. In this “family-like” atmosphere, the students felt the freedom to ask questions and receive answers that pertained to their specific situations. When the meeting came to an end, this group of hungry youth begged the staff to stay and teach them some more. These, along with many others in the younger generation, are longing for the wisdom of a mentor who can help them avoid major financial pitfalls. “We need to be able to connect the spiritual things with the practical things”, said one of the students. “As believers, we hear so many spiritual things. But we are human beings in a physical world, and we need to be taught the practical things as well”, said staff member Arik. 

Arrangements are being made for the staff to return to host an additional seminar.

*Name altered for privacy.

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