9th March, 2020
At its annual distribution event, the North-West London “Chomesh L’Chinuch” Community Initiative distributed a record £340,000 to 33 local Jewish schools representing 7,068 pupils at an event on Sunday 8th March 2020. The well attended event was held at the Soro Felsenstein Hall and was hosted by Beis Shmuel Beis Hamedrash. In attendance at the event were the Rabbonim and representatives of the Kehillos which have so far adopted Chomesh L’Chinuch:- Golders Green Beth Hamedrash, Hendon Adass, Beis Yisroel (Dayan Ehrentreu), Beis Shmuel, Edgware Adath and Beis Yissochor Dov (Hager’s). Also present were over 50 governors and delegates of the local Jewish schools, as well as the Chomesh L’Chinuch committees from each of the Kehillohs.
This event brings the total distributed by the Chomesh L’Chinuch campaign to £850,000 since its inception at the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash in 2015, under the guidance of Rav YM Greenberg. The initiative has seen significant year on year annual growth since then.
It is a sad reality that our local Moisdos HaChinuch continuously struggle to cover their significant annual budgets. 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. This is based on the Halachic guidance that the community must support its essential infrastructure including local schools and the importance of correctly prioritising one’s Tzedokah donations. Members are not expected to increase their already generous Tzedokah distributions, rather it is simply a system of allocating an appropriate percentage (20% – a ‘Chomesh’) to local chinuch.
Rabbi Moshe Halpern, Rov of Beis Shmuel, opened the event by emphasizing the importance of supporting our schools. Recalling the mesiras nefesh of his late father, the revered HoRav Elchonon Halpern zt”l, the Rov recounted how he would go out collecting funds in the rain, cold and heat to ensure that the Rebbe’im of his Moisdos were paid on time. He went on to opine that in a Kehillah with a diverse range of schools, the success of all institutions is interdependent and mutually beneficial, and that a cross-community initiative such as CLC is instrumental in achieving this objective.
He thanked the members of his Shul together with the other participating CLC Shuls for their generosity and sense of communal responsibility. He encouraged more members to sign up and more Shuls to join. This will ensure the communal Chinuch deficits are fully addressed. He added, “I would like to commend with admiration the Chomesh L’Chinuch committee and of course all the School Governors, Rebbes & Teachers in general. We need to support our schools even more so than previously due to the significant challenges which our schools are facing from the external world. When external forces threaten the basis of Chinuch al Taharas HaKodesh, we need to come together to support the institutions of Chinuch which underpin our Kehillah”.
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 continued by thanking Delapage, BEST – Benzi Dunner Schools Trust and Achisomoch – for their support of the Chomesh L’Chinuch sponsorship sign-up program.
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.
He concluded by thanking the Chomesh L’Chinuch team including Jono Milner, Simcha Cohen, Yehudah Neuberger and Yehuda Wittenberg; as well as each of the Chomesh L’Chinuch shul committee members. “The success of the initiative is only due to the hard work and effort from all the committee members. They should be proud of their achievements – lehagdil Torah ulehadiroh.“
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 event concluded with a excellent presentation by Dr David Landau, Chairman of Chinuch UK, who presented a brief synopsis of CUK’s aims and objectives, and how these were being achieved by means of persistent and targeted shtadlonus through engagement at multiple levels of Government and Ofsted.
Mr Allan Becker, Chairman, Menorah Grammar School added, “I am delighted that there are now 6 local Shuls participating in the CLC initiative. On behalf of MGS, I am incredibly grateful to those who have contributed to this absolutely wonderful initiative: it really demonstrates just how much the community values the importance of building a strong Jewish future.”
Mr Motti Strom, Governor, Pardes Grammar, “CLC is an initiative that the NW London Kehilla can be proud of. Pardes Grammar is hugely grateful to the generous participants in CLC.“
Mr Moshe Reifer, Governor, Torah Vodaas Primary School: “We are proud to belong to a Kehilla that recognises its communal responsibility to its schools. The founders of Chomesh L’Chinuch deserve the highest praise for their vision in establishing an initiative which has significantly benefited Torah Vodaas, amongst other schools. We are extremely grateful to all the donors in the respective Chomesh L’Chinuch shuls, and wish the project much Hatzlocho and growth in future years.”
Mr Uri Kaplan, Chair of Governors, Avigdor Hirsch Torah Temimah School added, “We at Torah Temimah commend the many members of the Chomesh L’Chinuch kehillohs for their generous support of local Moisdos HaChinuch, and specifically our school. As a significant beneficiary, we encourage other donors and kehillohs to join the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative as a priority and truly demonstrate how the community should support the chinuch of our children. This is especially relevant at a time of squeezed budgets and resources”.
Mr David Rosenthal, Chairman of Governors, Menorah Primary School: “Menorah Primary School is hugely grateful to CLC and all its supporters. These funds are making a tremendous difference and have enabled us to take on extra, much-needed staff, notwithstanding the financial pressures we, like other schools, are facing. Yasher Koach to all involved.”
Mr Aryeh Cohen, governor of Beis Chinuch: “On behalf of Beis Chinuch I would like to commend Chomesh l’Chinuch for galvanising the NW London & Edgware communities to prioritise supporting their schools. As a school governor, it is heartening to know that the wider Kehilla understands the importance of ensuring that Mosdos HaChinuch can survive in challenging financial circumstances.”
Chomesh L’Chinuch are keen to rollout this initiative across more Shuls in the area and given the initial success, many other local Shuls and School Treasurers are eagerly awaiting the expansion of the project to their communities. CLC are aiming for £1m distributions per year
Many of the School Governors in attendance at the event commented that nearly every Jewish school in NW London and beyond, with its substantial Kodesh programme, has a significant financial shortfall. In order 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.
Any local Kehilloh looking to launch the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative are encouraged to contact CLC on [email protected].