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  KD MAGAZINE!         ב"ה              
 
 
     
 

What the Rabbi Won't Tell You

By Rabbi Shea Hecht

RABBI SHEA HECHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

It's been nearly twelve months that's we've been greeted with headline after headline of failed banks, layoffs and government bailouts. By now most of us have learned to be grateful for having a place to come home to.

The economic storm has taken its toll on charitable giving, particularly on hard-hit Jewish institutions. Among them Chabad and its thousands of schools, camps and synagogues has weathered more than its fair share of the damage.

The life's blood of Chabad is the shluchim, the thousands of emissary families who have moved out to every city on the globe to revitalize Jewish communities. It's their energy, commitment and ingenuity that has made Chabad the biggest and the best.

A myth that needs to be dispelled is that there is some measure of funding already set aside of each of the thousands of Chabad centers throughout the globe. If Chabad is such a huge entity, surely there must be hundreds of millions of dollars raised to support their activities, right? Wrong.

While some more exotic locations may merit a few years worth of startup funding, the overwhelming majority of these emissary families raise 100% of their revenues on their own. Consider what a daunting task this is, and then think about their responsibilities to their community and their families. Even in a good economy, the workload is enormous.

So with all of the pressure now redoubled on these shluchim families, why are we not hearing them cry out for help?

They can't.

At least, in their own estimation they can’t. There is a great deal of pressure on a shliach to make sure that the Chabad house must always be open and inviting, the Shabbos meal must always be satisfying. The appearance of the Rabbi, his wife and children has to always honor his role as a community leader.

How can he make that heartfelt appeal for help, when his job is to present Judaism from a position of confidence? How can he cry out for help, when it's his job to help others? This dilemma is unknown to the general public.

In his younger years, my late father, Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, went to visit a very wealthy man. He made his pitch, telling him of the desperate situation he was in. Without the benefactor’s immediate assistance, he said, the organization would be on the verge of shutting down. This man gave him a very serious look and said, "Rabbi, I'll give you the money. But don't come to me again."

My father took the following lesson from this experience: No one wants to write a check out to a desperate man, or a failing institution.

So while in the public mind, the monolithic, enormous Chabad must surely have abundant funding for each shliach. The reality is that the average shliach is expected to hit home run after home run on a budget built on $36 donations.

There's a secret that the Rabbi is not telling us. There’s a heartfelt appeal that’s not being made. What you're not hearing a cry for help. It's time that we listen out for that cry.

Know that the next time you ask your local Chabad rabbi how things are going and says “Great”, and open our ears and our wallets in greater measure than before, to the men and women who give so much of themselves to care of our communities.


 
 
Rabbi Shea Hecht is the Chairman of the National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education . His web site is: www.sheahecht.com

 
   
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