In response to numerous requests, Mesila is introducing its unique approach in Europe.
The Zurich community invited Mesila to enlighten, educate and promote Mesila. On a recent visit, Mesila director Shmuli Margulies and branch coordinator R. Lazer Carmel met with a group of community leaders to discuss establishing a branch of Mesila in Zurich, training family counselors and translating educational material into German. In a separate meeting, Zurich’s educational leadership responded enthusiastically to Mesila’s youth education program and will be launching it in their schools. The community got a taste of Mesila’s purpose and tachlis-oriented strategies as R. Carmel led a workshop for 25 post-seminary women about managing the income from their employment and thinking about the financial facets of their future weddings.
In Antwerp, R. Carmel reached different segments of the community as he conducted a training program for a new group of Mesila family counselors, as well as carrying out training for the wives of counselors he had previously trained in Yiddish via Skype. R. Carmel also led a workshop there on financial management for 50 Belzer yeshiva students.
MESILA IN LAKEWOOD
Three hundred recently-married couples from the Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG) of Lakewood participated in a financial stability seminar run by Mesila in partnership with BMG’s Bonayich/Shalva division (the Center for Jewish Family Life). R. Gedalia Litke, director of Mesila Monsey, kept the students and their wives enthralled with a presentation on tools for starting married life on the right foot. The participants were also addressed by Harav Uren Reich, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Woodlake and Rabbi Meyer Gruenbaum, menahel of the Bonayich program.
Following the event, a number of participants expressed interest in a more detailed budgeting workshop. BMG is currently working on a format and venue for this much-needed class. Meanwhile, R. Asher Engel, Mesila’s family counseling coordinator at BMG, is completing the training process for three new counselors. Another training course for family counselors will begin after Chanukah.
HELPING PEOPLE MIND THEIR BUSINESSES
Thanks to Mesila, one good thing has led to another for small business owners and entrepreneurs in two Israeli cities. In Arad, 45 out of 60 businesspeople who attended a conference co-sponsored by Mesila and the Ministry of Economy’s Maof Agency for small and mid-sized enterprises, have begun participating in a 14-session Mesila business course developed and tailored for the Haredi population by Moshe Elias, director of Mesila’s Business Division.
Mesila has continued its business outreach in Modi’in Illit, earning strong praise and gratitude from some 100 businessmen who benefited from a seminar on “The Key to the Customer’s Heart,” carried out by Mesila in partnership with JDC-Mafteach, Maof and the Modi’in Illit Municipality. Following a lecture by Moshe Elias, participants converged on a table manned by Mesila business counselor Dr. Sam Deutsch, who was providing free consultations. “Due to demand, it went on until 11 p.m.,” reported Sam. “And it could have continued hours longer.” Impressed with Mesila’s expertise and advice, some 34 participants have registered for a Mesila business course that will soon open in the city.
UPDATES FROM ALL OVER
Modi’in Illit – As soon as one of Mesila’s financial empowerment workshop series ends in Modi’in Illit, another one begins. Most new participants find out about the workshops via word of mouth from satisfied course “graduates” – and are happy to pass on the information to others.
Elad – Thirty families are participating in the city’s first course of “Noshmim L’rvacha,” which combines financial empowerment workshops with personal counseling for families in difficult financial straits. As in other locations, the program is a partnership of Mesila and the local welfare department.
MESILA – ADVISING THE EXPERTS
With its years of experience in counseling and advising members of Israel’s haredi population, Mesila has become the go-to source of expertise for local and national government bodies reaching out to the Haredi community. Mesila professionals recently met with 10 municipal welfare authorities for northern Jerusalem and introduced them to our approach, laying the groundwork for future cooperative initiatives. And Moshe Elias, director of Mesila’s business counseling division, addressed directors of all Maof (the Ministry of Economy’s small business division) branches across Israel, providing a wealth of information about negotiating issues and sensitivities related to working with Haredi businesspeople.
A MESILA RECORD
Mesila is growing – and so is the demand for our services! More than 70 families in Israel turned to Mesila in November 2015 to request financial counseling. Thanks to a recently-completed training course for new counselors, Mesila is ready to help them!
MESILA ON THE AIR
When the general Israeli press reported that the average Tel Aviv family has a hard time making ends meet on an income of NIS 21,000 per month, the Kol Hai radio station interviewed R’ Yisrael Gutman, director of our Family Division, to find out how Haredi families can manage on significantly less than that. As he described the expenses of a typical Haredi family, Gutman illustrated Mesila’s approach of careful budgeting and smart consumerism.