Yud Alef Nissan is an important time to think about how much the Rebbe emphasized the power of Jewish education, and steps each person must take to strengthen it in their surroundings. The Menachem Education Foundation’s Our Heritage Program enables Jewish public school students to enroll in Chabad day schools across the country.
On April 18, 1978, President Jimmy Carter inaugurated Yud Alef Nissan to annually mark “Education and Sharing Day” in the United States. Although it falls out in the most hectic week of the year, with Pesach only a few days away, Yud Alef Nissan is an important time to think about how much the Rebbe emphasized the power of Jewish education, and steps each person must take to strengthen it in their surroundings.
The Menachem Education Foundation’s Our Heritage Program enables Jewish public school students to enroll in Chabad day schools across the country, and tries to answer the question of how to spread a Torah true Chinuch to Jewish children day after day. Founded just over three years ago, in response to the Rebbe’s passionate message to prioritize the goal of granting every Jewish child with a Torah education, the program has so far provided grants to enroll close to 500 students across 28 Chabad day schools in North America.
“My whole life has changed. I keep Shabbat, I go to synagogue, and I’m so happy to feel a part of my people,” shares Gabriela, a young student in Mazel Day School in South Brooklyn, through the Our Heritage program.
Rabbi Chaim Kaminker, Associate Director of Our Heritage, notes that after speaking with multiple parents, whose children attend Chabad day school with the help of Our Heritage, many shared that the desire to receive a Jewish education came from the children themselves. After attending a Gan Izzy summer camp or Chabad House Hebrew school, so many children told their parents that they just weren’t willing to go back to public school.
“This goes to show how much a Jewish child desires to be in a warm Torah environment, and involved with their heritage,” highlights Rabbi Kaminker.
A mother shares how her difficult relationship with her behavioral son shifted in a positive direction after he began attending a Chabad day school. She attributes it to the school imparting the Torah edict and value of respecting parents in a way that children could so easily relate to.
Kaminker also points to the Rebbe’s message that Chodesh Nissan commemorates the birth of the Jewish nation. Just as a child’s education begins from birth, when the Shir Hamaalos card is hung above their cradle, and they are soothed to sleep by the sweet sounds of a Yiddish lullaby, that education must continue with the child being brought up in a warm Torah atmosphere.
The Our Heritage program has now grown to provide more than grants. In the past month, Our Heritage has launched a marketing course for Chabad day school leaders with instructor Gary Wexler, an expert on marketing for nonprofits. The course gathers 12 Chabad day school leaders each week where they get to the bottom of how to break the stigma about Jewish day school education, and learn best marketing techniques to encourage new families to sign up.
Each initiative of the Our Heritage program is guided by the dream of fulfilling the Rebbe’s vision of reaching every Jewish student, and has Baruch Hashem seen tremendous success.
Today, on the Rebbe’s 121st birthday, and 45 years since “Education and Sharing Day” was established, please consider partnering with the Our Heritage program to bring alive the Rebbe’s vision of enabling every Jewish child to receive the gift of a Jewish education. https://mymef.org/sponsor/.
Our Heritage is a project of the Menachem Foundation and in loving memory of Shneur Hirsch a”h, founding supporter of OH. To learn more please visit: https://mymef.org/ourheritage/