Jerusalem, Israel - Jan. 10, 2023 - Living Financially Smarter in Israel ( LFSII) is a Facebook group launched by Rifka Lebowitz thirteen years ago for English speakers. Today the private Facebook group has over 36,000 members with additional moderators Binyamin Radomsky and Danny Newman. On Sunday, January 8, 2023, LFSII partnered with Nefesh B'Nefesh at the NBN Aliyah Campus in Jerusalem, Israel to host its first conference.

The full-day program had three tracks, Investment, Israel, and Holistic. However, participants, aged 22 -84, were urged to go to sessions of their interest and not stay in one room. The goal of the organizers was to make income level irrelevant and enable everyone to gain and learn and get tips to move forward to a more financially successful aliyah. The attendance fee of 59 shekels was kept low to make the conference available to all interested. However, the enrollment cap of 350 people was soon reached and many who wanted to attend were disappointed. 

"I think the most amazing part is that a conference about money was FUN! There was a vibe of a big social event and an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. Plus, the speakers knew how to inject humor, and tell interesting stories," remarked one participant. She as well as many others traveled from outside of Jerusalem to attend LFSII Conference 2023.

Participating sponsors Aboulafia, Avital and Shrensky & Company, Meitav Investment House, Fjord Technologies, and BeTheBank offered practical suggestions in sessions during the well-organized day. The rooms were filled to capacity as other financial and motivational speakers covered topics such as "Help! What's going on with my pension fund?" and "Thinking bigger about money."

"Since  2009 when I opened my business, I have seen the need for more accessible financial advice. To fill the void, I started the Living Financially Smarter in Israel Facebook group. There is such a thirst for good financial knowledge, people want the full financial picture of how things work financially in general and specifically in Israel. Beyond sharing practical advice, and answering thousands of questions a month, I wanted to give the financially smarter community more and with this, the idea for a full-day conference was born," explained Lebowitz.

Further, she added, "Working together with Nefesh B’Nefesh, I see this conference as just the beginning.  This is our opportunity to help people further their financial literacy and empower them to make better, more informed decisions about their money.  This is a community full of people who want to live their best quality of life here, who want to save for retirement and events, and to reach their financial goals in the smartest way. Financial planning is a piece of Aliyah retention that has not been available in English on this scale before."

Lebowitz, a Certified Financial Planner with more than 20 years of experience in the Israeli financial space, has guided over 2,500 private clients and businesses in creating their roadmap for financial success in Israel and is the author of the best-selling book Smarter Israeli Banking.

Full disclosure, I was an early member of the LFSII Facebook group and have been impressed by Rifka Lebowitz's insightful knowledge through her years of experience working in Israeli banking prior to starting out as a consultant. Also, it was wonderful to see familiar faces from all over the world, after such a very long-time (some faces were not as familiar as their names after so many years). Plus, the sun was shining on a beautiful winter day in Jerusalem, and there was time to appreciate the balconies of the Nefesh B'Nefesh building for lunch and snack breaks.