My Dear Friends,
What difference can “Just One Shabbos” really make? Well, if you could have been here in Detroit three years ago to see the faces of the boys who were fortunate enough to attend the previous Pirchei Midwest Siyum HaMishnayos, you’d understand. As one honored guest from New York exclaimed on Friday morning after davening, “I was blown away! I never expected this.” (And that was less than 24 hours into the weekend.)
But sadly, there are some boys who won’t be able to attend this year. They won’t experience this “One Shabbos.” Please allow me to take a few moments of your time to explain just what I mean.
Detroit, Michigan is once again very proud to be the host city for the annual Pirchei Midwest Siyum HaMishnayos, which will, b’ezras Hashem, take place on March 3-6, 2011. In previous years, I’ve written that I was embarrassed to be soliciting tzedakah from my friends and family, and I was admonished. Not for asking for your help, but for feeling embarrassed! The outpouring of care, of genuine concern to help make this weekend as meaningful as possible for the children who attend, was nothing short of amazing. You opened your heart, and for that I am grateful beyond words.
I know it’s not easy. You have many other expenses and many other commitments. You have other tzedakos that are near and dear to you. At the risk of repeating an overused cliché, times are hard. And yet, so many of you, with no connection at all to Detroit, or Pirchei, understood three years ago just how important “One Shabbos” could be.
When too many children are losing their connection to being a part of “Am Echad”, this Shabbos may very well be the one they remember – the one where they were connected across the country, for “Just One Shabbos.”
Now, you may be thinking, what’s so special about Pirchei? What difference can “Just One Shabbos” really make? Or how could I possibly help?
In less than three weeks, hundreds of boys, ages 10 through 14, will gather in Detroit to spend, what may be for some, a once-in-a-lifetime weekend. “Once-in-a-lifetime? In Detroit?!” Yes! On both counts!
Each year in March, boys who attend weekly Pirchei groups in their respective cities, get together to celebrate the completion of learning Mishnayos, which they have undertaken to study above and beyond their school’s curriculum. For the boys attending from Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago, the three major host cities, this may sound like just another weekend with their friends, but it’s really so much more than that!
You see, there are no less than TEN other cities, many with much smaller communities, who will send their boys to spend a Shabbos with hundreds of other boys, all their own age, celebrating the fact that they, too, learned the same Mishnayos! From cities all across America, not just the Midwest, these are boys who perhaps did not grow up attending large yeshivos. They’re not from the largest communities in the country. And for them to now be a part of something so big, to stand alongside others their age, as we admire and congratulate them for their outstanding achievements, well… there really are no words to describe the feeling, though this does come to mind:
“V’yeiasu chulam agudah achas, la’asos ritzoncha b’leivav shalem – And may we all come together, as one community, to do the will of Hashem, with a complete and full heart.”
“Just One Shabbos” really CAN make a difference! Not just to the boys who come from the ‘smaller’ cities, but even to the boys from the ‘larger’ cities. They come away with an even greater appreciation for what Hashem has given them. How so? In a larger community, perhaps it’s easier for them to find someone to learn with, or they more readily have the opportunity to learn. That could easily be taken for granted, but when they spend a Shabbos with other boys their age – boys from much smaller communities who perhaps have to work much harder and sacrifice much more to learn the same Mishnayos – they see firsthand that no matter where you’re from, the love and thirst for our Torah transcends all else.
For all of these boys, this is a unique opportunity to experience a Shabbos like no other. Words cannot express how they feel spending a Shabbos davening, learning and eating with hundreds of other boys their age.
And it goes even beyond that. The boys will often form lasting friendships with their mashpi’im (mentors and advisors), which continues through their high school years. This “One Shabbos” could be the impetus that motivates them to attend a Yeshiva Gedolah.
Unfortunately, there are boys who are unable to be a part of this unique weekend. It’s not that they don’t want to be here, but financially, they cannot afford it. It saddens me to know that this “One Shabbos” will not happen for them.
Therefore, I would like to ask for your help, as we try to bring these boys together as one. Pirchei of Detroit holds a raffle only once every three years, to help fund its hosting of the Midwest Siyum HaMishnayos, and to subsidize the weekend for those who need our help. They need your help, too.
This year we’re once again raffling off some beautiful prizes. The drawing for our raffle will take place at the Grand Melava Malka and Siyum, on Motza’ai Shabbos, March 5th, 2011. (Attached to this letter is a copy of the raffle ticket and pictures of the beautiful prizes.)
With your e-mailed permission, I would appreciate if you would please buy one or more tickets. They’re $5.00 (US) each, or only $36.00(US) for a book of ten. Of course, any amount helps. In my heart, I truly believe that no one loses by giving tzedakah.
Pirchei of Detroit is truly a non-profit organization. With an unbelievably dedicated staff of volunteers, bochurim from the Yeshiva Gedolah Ateres Mordechai of Detroit, and local families who open their doors and hearts to house all of our attendees, we are able to provide this very special Shabbos for the nearly 400 boys and mashpi’im, who will be attending from:
Once again, with help from my friends, I’ve undertaken the task of cooking all of the Shabbos meals. We don’t hire a caterer. We do this because we feel Pirchei deserves our help. And while you may or may not have a Pirchei in your community, I’m nonetheless asking for your help, because, as I wrote at the top of this e-mail, “just one Shabbos” can make a world of difference.
Pirchei needs your help. If you are able to help us, Pirchei can send you an invoice for your ticket purchase, and I will PERSONALLY advance the money until yours is received. If you would like to pay via check or money, please contact me and I will give you our mailing address. If you would like to pay via PayPal, I will personally cover the fees we incur for receiving payments. Please visit www.PircheiDetroit.org for details.
Perhaps you want to make a donation in memory of a loved one, or in honor of a simcha? Any amount, for any reason, will be appreciated. If you would like to contact us, or would like to speak with us on the phone, please reply to this message as soon as possible with contact information, and one of our dedicated siyum staff members will get back to you. Time is of the essence!
Finally, if you’ve already bought (or were approached to buy) tickets by one of our boys, THANK YOU so much!!!
In the merit of this tzedakah, I fervently hope that Hashem will continue to provide favorably for you during this coming year and beyond.
Kerry M. Silver