A severely damaging Israeli High Court decision combined with malicious political interference from non-religious special interest groups is threatening the spiritual welfare of thousands of children in the Chinuch Atmazi network of Torah schools throughout Israel. The situation is so dire that Gedolei Yisroel on both sides of the ocean are spearheading an emergency “Transportation Fund” campaign to raise funds to plug a growing financial gap to shuttle the children to their schools.
Nearly 10 years ago, the Israeli Reform movement convinced Israel’s High Court to order a drastic cut to Chinuch Atzmai’s transportation budget. Literally overnight, Chinuch Atzmai was confronted with a multi-million dollar deficit in its budget for transportation!
Gedolei Yisroel recognized the government’s decree as a malicious attempt to thwart the successes of the burgeoning network of Torah Schools, jeopardizing the education of tens of thousands of children. An emergency meeting was held in 2006, where the gedolim launched a new initiative known as “Keren Hasa’ot – The Transportation Fund.”
During the past ten years, the fund has grown to some $17 million annually. The fund has been able to provide over 1,000 regular bus lines, transporting more than 20,000 children every single day from 215 locations across the country to more than 100 Chinuch Atzmai Torah schools.
Up until now, this enormous achievement has been funded through the determination and commitment of the fund’s presidium, namely, Harav Mordechai Karelitz, and Harav Yaakov Verzabinsky. However, with the opening of the current school year, the fund has reached a breaking point. The exponential growth of the budget and the accumulated deficit from previous years has resulted in a real and immediate threat of the bus companies terminating their contracts. Thus, it has become apparent that this staggering budget can no longer be sustained through its regular fundraising operations.
With the fate of thousands of Jewish children at stake, the gedolim in Eretz Yisroel have issued an urgent Krias Kodesh, declaring it a chov kodosh – an absolute obligation – for each and every individual in Eretz Yisroel and around the world to “adopt” at least one child. The clarion call has been followed by a corresponding appeal from the gedolim in America for each and every member of the American Torah community to commit to contributing $30 per month for twelve months, to cover the transportation costs of one child.
Upon the advice of the gedolim, a new American office has been opened in Lakewood, New Jersey under the name Keren Kiruv Yaldei Yisroel. For further information or to contribute, please contact the Keren’s offices at 732-955-3700 or email- Lakewood@chinuchatzmai.org.