Chomesh L’Chinuch Raises an Additional £55,400 for NW Schools
Calls to expand initiative following further success at GGBH
30th December 2016
The “Chomesh L’Chinuch” initiative by the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash at Shovuos last year has already raised almost £50,000 for the benefit of our cash-strapped local schools.
Chomesh L’Chinuch is a kehilloh-based project whereby members are encouraged to prioritise and allocate one-fifth (a ‘Chomesh’) of their Tzedokah distributions to the local schools attended by their children.
The first distribution to the schools took place on Sunday 17th April at the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash, with a gathering of the Rav, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Greenberg, the founders of the new initiative and the Chairs and Governors representing more than 10 local schools.
The Rav inaugurated the Chomesh L’Chinuch distribution event highlighting the Halachic guidance on the community to support its local schools and importance of correctly prioritising one’s Tzedokah donations. He was followed by Mr Eli Katz, joint founder of Chomesh L’Chinuch, who praised the selfless dedication of the school Chairs, Governors and Menahalim on behalf of the Kehilloh. Mr Katz emphasised the unenviable and challenging task facing the Finance Governors. He explained the genesis of the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative and how the audience can help extend the project to cover the rest of NW London.
The Chomesh L’Chinuch launch attracted substantial support from local schools. Mr Moshe Morris, Governor, Head of Finance Committee at Menorah High School for Girls commented, “This is very generous of GGBH and its donors. Well done on successfully launching this initiative and leading the way by example.”
Mr Allan Becker, Chairman, Menorah Grammar School added, “The founders Eli and Emanuel have truly spearheaded something incredible and GGBH is a fine example for the rest of the community to follow.”
Mrs J Rashbass, Chair, Finance Committee at Hasmonean High School remarked;“I am delighted to hear this tremendous news and thank you, the organisers, and Rabbi Greenberg for creating this wonderful initiative. On behalf of everyone at Hasmonean, I say that we are extremely grateful to you. The extra funds will make a real difference to our students’ lives.”
It is anticipated that this GGBH-led campaign will be the precursor to a future North West London- wide rollout. Given the initial success, many other local Shuls and School Treasurers are eagerly awaiting the expansion of the project to their communities.
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. The total shortfall for the NW London Schools –is over £7,000,000 per annum.
In addition, many Rebbeim are not paid a ‘Jewish living wage’ for NW London and occasionally are paid late, sometimes by even 2-3 months. This causes serious hardship to them and their families and the stress can impact their performance.
The Rav is only too familiar with the serious financial crisis burdening our schools. He is the School Rav for a number of the schools around NW London as well as Elector Rav of the JSSM. He is fully supportive of the project and circulated an announcement and guidance in May 2015. The Rav, stated, “Our schools are the foundation of our community and our future. A serious financial crisis threatens our ability to provide the best Chinuch for our children. This campaign is designed to make a meaningful impact on the shortfall”.
His guidance referenced Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpot (163:3) which details the need for everyone in a community to support the essential communal infrastructure, specifically including schools. This takes precedence over Mitzvas Tzedokoh and applies to everyone in the community, whether they have children in schools or not.
Mr Eli Katz noted, “The NW London community is a very generous one with vast amounts of Tzedokah being donated to 100s of Mosdos worldwide. During research undertaken for the sefer ‘Easy Giving’ on Tzedokh, Ma’aser Kesofim and Communal Obligations, we identified, that over 90% of people, donate less than 10% of their Tzedokah amounts per year to local schools. If the NW London community would prioritise a reasonable percentage of their Tzedokah funds to the local schools, then this would solve the £7M shortfall in full without costing the community one extra penny. For a number of Halachic, financial and practical reasons, it was decided that 20% is the optimal percentage. Thus the name of the campaign, Chomesh L’Chinuch, one fifth of one’s Tzedokah distributions is prioritised for local schools. A similar approach is taken in Baltimore, USA.”
Mr Emanuel Meyer, joint founder, said, “The Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative has been well received by members and local schools. Since its launch at Shovuos 5775 / 2015, I am delighted that a significant number of members of the GGBH Kehilloh have enthusiastically joined the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative. The substantial majority have set up a regular monthly standing order (via their bank, Achisomoch or Soft) for amounts ranging from £5 to over £250. A standing order brings regularity to the donations, which helps the schools in their planning and annual budgeting. I would like to thank the Rav for his emphatic and constant support throughout this project. Thanks go also to Mr A. Scher and Mr J Lebrett of the GGBH Board, as well as Mr Jono Milner for his marketing skills and unflagging energy.“
A key factor in the allocation of the GGBH Chomesh L’Chinuch funds to the schools, is how many GGBH children attend each school. This concept creates a stronger motivation for the Shul’s members to support their schools. It is anticipated that a similar strategy would be applied in each community where the campaign is launched.
Any local Kehilloh looking to launch the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative are encouraged to contact Mr Katz or Mr Meyer.