9th July 2017
Hendon Adass Yisroel Congregation has joined the successful NW London Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative which aims to raise desperately needed finance for our local schools.
Chomesh L’Chinuch is a shul-based project whereby shul members are encouraged to prioritise and allocate one-fifth (a ‘chomesh’) of their tzedokoh distributions to local schools attended by the children and grandchildren of their shul.
In a powerful drosho, Rabbi Shloime Yitzchok Bixenspanner shlitoh, Rov of Hendon Adass Yisroel Congregation, explained the halachic background to the responsibility of each member to support the kehilloh’s local schools. 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. In principle, this takes precedence over Mitzvas tzedokoh and applies to everyone in the community whether they have children in schools or not.
He reiterated that members are not required to increase the generous amount of annual tzedokoh which they already give. Rather, it is to make a conscious decision how to calculate their tzedokoh allocations according to Halachic guidance. This will ensure that local schools should receive at least 20% of their annual tzedokoh amounts. He also clarified that although Hilchos tzedokoh is a Yoreh De’oh based halocho, supporting the local essential infrastructure is a Choshen Mishpot halocho, which is enforceable in Beis Din. In order to deliver a first class and successful Kodesh curriculum for the chinuch of all our children – the future of our Kehilloh – we need to ensure the schools are fully supported by the Kehilloh. The Rov further noted, that the previous Rov of Hendon Adass, Rabbi P Roberts shlitoh was one of the founding Rabbonim of the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative.
Mr Oshy Guttentag, President of Hendon Adass Yisroel Congregation has written to all members encouraging them to sign up to this initiative. He noted ‘Hendon Adass is proud to join Chomesh L’Chinuch – to help support the most vital of our communal institutions – our schools. As one of the largest kehillohs in NW London, our Rov has highlighted that we have an important responsibility to help our local schools. Many of our members are already generous supporters of our local schools and we hope the entire kehilloh will sign-up to the HAYC Chomesh L’Chinuch”.
Two senior HAYC members, Mr David Goldberg and Mr Ossie Mocton, are spearheading the campaign in the kehilloh to explain and encourage members to sign up. They added, “A key factor in the allocation of the Chomesh L’Chinuch funds, is that is it given pro-rata to the local schools based on how many children and grandchildren of the shul members’ attend each school. This concept creates a stronger motivation for the members to support their own schools”.
Mr Eli Katz, joint founder of Chomesh L’Chinuch commented that ‘”Already burdened with a £7,000,000 annual shortfall, our schools’ financial situation is worsening due to a combination of slashed government real-terms funding and running beyond maximum capacity. Furthermore, there are increased costs of Ofsted compliance and additional indirect payroll costs. These factors risk staff redundancies and reductions in the quality of Chinuch which our children will receive. “
Hendon Adass joins the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash, where the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative was first implemented 2 years ago. Mr Emanuel Meyer, joint founder of Chomesh L’Chinuch noted that “GGBH has donated over £110,000 to local schools over the last 12 months. Hendon Adass joining the initiative is an important milestone in the initial goal of Chomesh L’Chinuch of raising £1 Million per year for our local schools.”
A number of School Governors have praised the Chomesh L’Chinuch campaign for delivering significant extra funds to their schools.
Mrs J Rashbass, Chair, Finance Committee at Hasmonean High School and member of Hendon Adass, remarked; “As government funding is being cut for the fifth consecutive year, we need to raise the money elsewhere to retain and incentivise our staff or we will be forced to make redundancies. The NW London Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative provides a tremendous boost to our schools and assist our struggles to provide the best Chinuch we can for our children”
Another Hendon Adass member, Mr Allan Becker, Chairman, Menorah Grammar School, added, “The extra funds from Chomesh L’Chinuch make a real difference to our student’s lives. Chomesh L’Chinuch is something incredible”.”
Mr J Wolinsky, Chair of Governors, Menorah Primary School noted, “Schools are facing unprecedented financial challenges that are having a real impact on the education that can be provided. I wholeheartedly support the adoption of this exciting and important initiative”.
In response to the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative, Achisomoch – a leading charity voucher organisation – has launched a new feature – “percentage standing order”. Clients can authorise the automatic transfer of a fixed percentage, for example 20% – a chomesh, of whatever funds are deposited to their Achisomoch accounts. This percentage amount can be automatically transferred to the shul’s Chomesh L’Chinuch account. Mr Yitzchok Katz, a Trustee of Achisomoch commented “as a major contributor to NW London’s schools already, we are delighted to support the Chomesh L’Chinuch initiative. This new account feature will make it even easier for any client to transfer a percentage of their overall tzedokoh contributions to Chomesh L’Chinuch”.
Talks have been held with senior members of a number of other local shuls and it is anticipated that the launch at both Hendon Adass and GGBH, 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. Any shul interested in launching Chomesh L’Chinuch should contact [email protected] .