At its annual distribution event this past Sunday, the North-West London “Chomesh L’Chinuch” Community Initiative distributed its highest ever amount of £385,000 to 30 local Jewish schools representing over 7,100 pupils. This brings the total amount collected and distributed to our local schools by Chomesh L’Chinuch to over £1,150,000.
The packed event was held at the Soro Felsenstein Hall and was attended by the Rabbonim and representatives of the Kehillos which have adopted Chomesh L’Chinuch: Golders Green Beth Hamedrash, Hendon Adass, Beis Yisroel, Beis Shmuel, Edgware Adath and Beis Yissochor Dov. Also present were the governors, menahalim, and delegates of the local Jewish schools.
Unfortunately, our local Moisdos HaChinuch continuously struggle to cover their significant annual budgets, and especially now, having borne the brunt of Covid-19, they find themselves facing overwhelming challenges. Rising inflation and declining income has made it even more difficult to collect fees. Indeed, this current distribution was delayed by several months due to the pandemic. Our schools need our help more than ever.
Chomesh L’Chinuch was set up as an innovative shul-based solution to this communal problem. Shul members are encouraged to prioritise and allocate one-fifth (a ‘Chomesh’) of their Tzedokah distributions to the local schools attended by the children of their Shul. Members are not expected to increase their already generous Tzedokah distributions, rather to allocate an appropriate percentage to local chinuch.
Chomesh L’Chinuch were also the force behind this year’s Purim Shpieltime! So that Covid restrictions should not stop our schools from raising desperately needed funds from their student’s Purim shpiels, Chomesh L’Chinuch set up the Shpieltime! website, enabling 34 groups of shpielers to entertain us with a variety of 84 shpiels, drawing over 22,000 viewings and raising a whopping £105,000.
Rabbi Gershon Hager, Rov of Beis Yissochor Dov, opened the event with a clear and powerful message to the Northwest London Kehillah: “This Kehillah can, with absolute certainty, afford to donate much larger amounts to our local schools then it does currently. May the efforts of the Kehillah and Chomesh L’Chinuch help ensure the ‘Chinuch funding supply lines’ are kept open and at full capacity.”
To the school governors and mechanchim, Rabbi Hager emphasised the connection between the word Chinuch and Chanichav, the word used by the Torah in reference to Avraham Avinu’s preparation for war against the four kings in last week’s parsha. He explained that Chinuch, especially in today’s generation, is like a war and that we must do everything in our power to ensure that we win over the neshomo of each and every one of our Talmidim. Chinuch is literally a matter of life and death.
Mr Emanuel Meyer, joint founder of Chomesh L’Chinuch, explained the background of the initiative and praised the unstinting dedication of the school Chairs and Governors. He provided detailed statistics regarding the financial challenges faced by the local Jewish schools highlighting the substantial shortfalls amongst our local primary and secondary schools with a total annual shortfall of over £7m per year.
He reiterated the rallying cry to other Shuls, urging school governors and shul committee members to engage with their local Shul Rov, Gabboim and askonim to encourage their Shul to join the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative in order to help it reach the initial goal of raising £1,000,000 per annum.
Rabbi Yitzchok Weitz presented a bold and exciting Kehillah Chinuch initiative. Following the opening in Manchester of the first Torah Umesorah Teacher Centre outside of North America, and after seeing the eagerness and enthusiasm with which educators in Manchester have embraced all that a Teacher Centre has to offer, school governors were excited to learn about the launch of the Torah Umesorah London Teacher Centre.
Progress is well underway, and spacious premises have been secured in the heart of Hendon. The London Teacher Centre will include a Make-It-and-Take-It Resource room equipped with large format printers and specialised craft machines, an extensive resource library, an I.T. suite with access to thousands of worksheets and curricula, a graphics division, and most importantly a conference room where training seminars and themed networking events will be held.
During the coming weeks London schools will be approached for an opportunity to share their ideas and needs and will be kept up to date with the progress that is being made. Its formal opening in the near future is now keenly anticipated.
Mr Eli Katz, joint founder of Chomesh L’Chinuch, then oversaw the distribution of the grant cheques to each school. The Rabbonim of the CLC Shuls were honoured with presenting the cheques to the School delegates, on behalf of their Shul members who have generously donated to Chomesh L’Chinuch.
The School Governors attending the event were full of praise and gratitude for Chomesh L’Chinuch’s initiative. They also pointed out how nearly every Jewish school in NW London and beyond, with its substantial Kodesh programme, has a significant financial shortfall. To deliver a first class and successful Kodesh curriculum for the chinuch of our children, the difference has to be fund-raised from voluntary donations and the general community. In many schools these fund-raising efforts are very challenging, and gaps still remain.
Moishe Vogel, finance governor of Menorah Grammar School, commented “MGS is extremely grateful to CLC for the substantial contribution towards filling the school’s annual deficit.
In a climate of increasing costs, the funds raised by Chomesh L’Chinuch are vital in our school’s efforts to stay afloat. We encourage the shul communities of NW London who have not yet joined this important Kehilla initiative to do so in order to benefit the local Mosdos HaChinuch.”