“We have the opportunity to save a generation!” Rabbi Paysach Krohn, well known mohel, author, and speaker, spoke on behalf of Our Jewish Children at the Garber home on motza’ei Shabbos, December 30.
Our Jewish Children donates supplemental funding to help students who would ordinarily attend public school, attend yeshiva and stay in yeshiva. Currently the organization is committed to helping 180 children to go to yeshiva.
Rabbi Avraham Garber Founder and Director of Our Jewish Children, greeted an overflow crowd. He thanked everyone for coming to show their support on this bitterly cold snowy night.
He explained the work of Our Jewish Children and how recently due to the Chazaq initiative of bringing Jewish children out of public school to yeshiva, the number of families that need help is up to 180. He stated, “How can you say no to helping a family that wants to send their child to yeshiva and doesn’t have the financial means to do it?”
The first speaker was a parent whose children now attend Jewish Institute of Queens, formerly named Gymnasia. He shared his personal story and how much this help means to him and his family. He grew up in Russia. He explained he had no Jewish education. He is currently working as hard as he can to support his family. They have three boys and his wife is disabled so he has to stay home on Friday to cook for Shabbos. He could not send his children to yeshiva without the help of Our Jewish Children. He shared how happy and appreciative he is that his children wear tzit tzit, recite blessings before food and say al netilas yadiyim in the morning. When their friends who attend public school come to the house, he sees that they do not know any of these things. For his children, Judaism is a natural part of their lives. He is very grateful for this.
Rabbi Krohn hugged this parent and many in the audience warmly shook this parent’s hand. It took courage for him to stand in front of this large audience and share his personal story. He did this because he wanted to help other parents and children and he wanted to express his thanks. The audience admired what he did. His stepping forward generated a feeling that we are all here for one another and we care about each other.
Rabbi Krohn stated this set the tone for the evening. It wasn’t just a parlor meeting. It felt holy.
Rabbi Krohn spoke next. He shared that Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l taught that it is the obligation of this generation to save Russian Jewry. Rabbi Krohn shared a powerful anecdote. Rav Shlomo Heiman, Rosh Hayeshiva of Torah Vodaath had no children but he had thousands of talmidim who were his children. There was once a big snowstorm in Williamsburg and only four students came to Rav Heiman’s shiur. Rav Moshe Samuels who was one of the four shared this story with Rabbi Krohn. He thought Rav Heiman would not teach the regular shiur, but he was mistaken. Rav Heiman explained, “I’m not just talking to you. I am talking to your children, and your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, and your talmidim.
Rabbi Krohn imparted when we donate money to help one child, we are saving these children and their families and their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. This is the future of Klal Yisrael.
Rabbi Krohn then spoke about the chinuch of our children. He shared important ways we can give our children the best chinuch possible. First, we must create walls that separate our home from bad influences of the outside world. We must be careful what come into our homes. Next, we must make our home a happy place where children see parents demonstrate respect to one another and there is pride in being Jewish. When parents disrespect each other, children feel unsafe. When there is conflict in a home, it breaks the children. It is so harmful.
Rabbi Ephraim Rubinov, Rabbi Garber, Yaniv Meirov, Rabbi Krohn
Next, Rabbi Krohn advised not to make our home into a classroom. Children need a warm embracing environment. It should not be a place children are tested and quizzed on what they know. In addition, we must spend focused individualized time with each child. Rav Shlomo Wolbe said you should spend as much time as they need. Rabbi Krohn shared how he spent 30 minutes of focused time with each of his children doing something they enjoyed with him. He asked the audience, when was the last time you had a good conversation with your child? Do you know the names of your daughter’s three best friends and her favorite color? Do you know what mesechta your son is learning?
Also, we must be a role model for our children. They absorb what we do, and not what we say.
Lastly, one of the most important things we need to teach our children is that we are part of Klal Yisrael. They are part of something greater. Everything we ask for in Shemoneh Esreh is written in the plural. We are davening for each other. We are connected to yidden all over. In Nefesh Hachaim by Rav Chaim Volozhin the introduction written by his son Rav Yitzchak states that a person is not created for himself. G-d gave us talents to help others and money to help others.
Everyone left inspired by this beautiful shiur and eager to help bring every Jewish child out of public school and into yeshiva where they belong.