Due to the growing financial problems within Keren Kiruv Yaldei Yisrael, which are now threatening the future education of 30,000 children across Israel, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman recently gathered Gedolei Yisrael in his home to brief them on the mushrooming crisis.
The meeting was attended by Rav Chaim Kanievsky; Rosh Yeshivas Ponovezh Rav Gershon Edelstein; and Rosh Yeshivas Slabodka Rav Dov Landau. The directors of the fund presented the Rabbanim with the deepening financial hole that the fund is currently facing. If the financial hole is not plugged in the immediate future, tens of thousands of Israeli children could end up going to state secular schools, instead of Tamludei Torah and Bais Yaakov schools due to a lack of funds to transport the youngsters to the religious educational institutions.
The chairman of Kerev Kiruv, Rabbi Mordechai Karelitz, related that the cost of transportation for these students this year alone is more than $17 million dollars. “Today we have debts of millions of shekels to drivers,” he revealed. “If we don’t have money to give them, no one will bring these tens of thousands of children to Talmudei Torah and Bais Yaakov schools, and if these children don’t attend, all the 115 Kiruv schools may collapse, chalilah.”
The Mashgiach, Rav Chizkyahu Mishkovsky, one of the Rabbanim of Keren Kiruv, spoke in very emotional terms. He said, “We are facing a situation where more than 30,000 children may be lost! Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l told me that this is not a matter of taking a secular child and making him religious. He is already with us and this means throwing him out of our schools!”
The severity of the situation made an impression on the Gedolim, where they issued a call under the heading of “A Time of Distress for Yaakov.” In their letter, they used unusually strong wording… “and it is an absolute obligation for each and every person to try to do no less than adopt one child…”
Despite the grim report at the meeting, the Gedolim expressed optimism that their message will resonate within the Torah world and that the community will become vital partners, in making sure these children will be able to grow in Torah and Yiras Shamayim.
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David Steger – Matzav.com Israel News Bureau