I spent six hours running from store to store yesterday to get everything that I'll need for the holiday. 700 shekels later (as I mentioned, I'd already bought a lot of the food to minimize the "hit" during this last week, including most of the fish, meat and wine) I came home, unpacked (in itself, a half-hour exercise) and started making the next list of everything that I either didn't find or forgot.
An article in the Jerusalem Post notes that one in four families will be spending less on Rosh Hashana this year than in previous years. There are no words....one the one hand, with lowered social benefits, falling salaries, and prices that are significantly higher than last year, how can most people manage to "keep up with the Cohens" spending-wise? On the other hand, you want to have a nice holiday for your family and friends, so what do you leave out?
I'm not even speaking about new cloths and "toys for the children" -- how do families, even those who both work full-time, manage?
I make a moderate salary and don't have a lot of kids living at home and I'm already budgeting for the next 30 days and not coming up very happy. Rosh Hashanah is just the tip of the iceberg.....we still have the rest of the month's holidays, including the week-long Succot, to plan for. We eat relatively little meat and fish and I'm still stretching it....what do families DO? I'm not talking about Yair Lapid's poor family that can only take one overseas trip every few years (was he really serious?) but families who muddle by on minimum wage or slightly more.
Last week, while driving, I heard a call-in show in which the host was berating a woman who advocates for large families. He supported the government's recent move to lower child care allowances and his point was that if a family can't afford to have children, they shouldn't. He himself, as he proudly announced, only had one child because he was aware that if he lost his job he would have a reduced income and wouldn't be able to properly support his family.
I was shocked. (OK, it's true, I stick my head in the sand during reports on the state budget, politics, etc because I can't stand to listen to it). I hadn't realized the level of selfishness among certain segments of the population in this country. People marry and want to have children -- who thinks ahead to the possibility that one day, maybe, perhaps, they'll experience financial difficulties and for that reason, they limit their family size? You don't have children because you may experience unemployment? Illness? Divorce? In this guy's case, the unborn children were probably lucky that they weren't born to such a selfish father.
This radio host (Gadi Gazit) also dismissed the advocate's protestations that many of these parents do work, and work hard, but simply don't make enough to support their families. "So" he continued "if they don't make enough, they shouldn't have children."
Honestly, I almost didn't believe what I was hearing. This man lives his life on the backs of the people who work for peanuts. He shops in supermarkets where the workers make minimum wage. He buys produce that's grown and harvested by people who make minimum wage if they're lucky. He goes through his day relying on the support services of people who are truly the working poor and then calls THEM parasites? Is he kidding?
I'm embarrassed that this country has come to a point when people like that even have a platform to voice their bile. Maybe socialism wasn't the best economic policy but it certainly did something to the hearts of the people who thought about, worried about and supported their neighbors and friends. (Of course, I'm sure that Gadi doesn't have any friends who need help or support. They'd probably get booted from his living room faster than he'd walk past a beggar).