Take that, New York Times: A parlor meeting in a Crown Heights home raised $250,000 to fund the transfer of Jewish children from public schools to Chabad’s Chassidic Yeshiva education system.
Over a hundred supporters of the Menachem Education Foundation’s Our Heritage program gathered at the home of R’ Mendel Pinson in Crown Heights on Sunday evening, for a parlor meeting and matching campaign, to raise funds for the program’s third year launch.
Dedicated in memory of its founding sponsor, R’ Shneur Zalman Hirsch OBM, the Our Heritage program provides scholarship funds to enroll new Jewish public school students at Chabad day schools.
At Sunday’s event, MEF announced the new international partnership with Chabad day schools in honor of Shnas Hakhel, to provide a Torah education to Jewish public school students around the world.
The evening began with words from Mr. Alex Swieca, Sponsor and Member of the Our Heritage Committee, where he shared a firsthand account of the impact of a Jewish education on his life. Rabbi Zalman Shneur, MEF Founder and Executive Director, welcomed attendees and explained the Our Heritage program.
“The Chinuch of our children cannot be pushed off until tomorrow. We need to be moser nefesh to make this happen,” Rabbi Chaim Ber Kaminker, Associate Director of the Our Heritage program, stated to the crowd.
Rabbi Avremel Okonuv, Director of Mazel Day School in Brooklyn, NY, shared how Our Heritage has helped grow the school’s student body by providing grants to enroll children from families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a Chabad day school education.
A moving video presentation featured clips from students, supporters and a parent from participating Chabad day schools, including Jessica Abaian, whose children are able to attend Desert Torah Academy in Las Vegas, NV, with the help of the Our Heritage program.
She shared, “Since joining DTA we have been able to grow socially…we’ve been able to grow religiously. We belong somewhere now.”
Mendel, another young student enrolled at Chabad day school with the help of Our Heritage, said, “I just came to California with my family from Ukraine. I was going to go to public school but I’m so happy I was able to come to Sacramento Jewish Academy.
Live music by Yossi Cohen and the Kapelye Choir, brought attendees back to three years prior, to a celebration in honor of Shneur Hirsch’s birthday. This past Sunday they gathered to celebrate his legacy, and grow the impact of what Hirsch began as the founding sponsor of Our Heritage.
The event was produced by Sara Varon, MEF’s Director of Programs and Events.
The Menachem Education Foundation on behalf of the Our Heritage committee thanks the generous partners of the Our Heritage program who have so far enabled over 385 Jewish public school students to enroll across 19 Chabad day schools. Special thanks to the generous matchers of the current campaign: Mr. Alan Zekelman, The Swieca Children’s Foundation and Mendel and Reut Pinson.