Dear Matzav.com Editor,
I think that one of the things that has to change in “The New Normal” (and a recent Matzav.com post alluded to this) are our priorities in giving tzedakah. One of the sad consequences of the economic crisis is the sharp increase in families needing financial help. In addition, let’s not forget that many middle-class families are drowning under the tremendous cost of living that raising a frum family entails.There are certain tzedakah programs that, to be frank, are less critical and vital than others. In my mind, in an age when families are starving and yeshivos are closing, the “kiruv rechokim” movement is a luxury we cannot afford at this time.
Let’s be honest: the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable, and the success rate of kiruv is questionable as well.
One thing that’s not questionable is the support of families who are struggling to put bread on the table. One thing that’s not questionable is the support of yeshivos that can’t afford to pay their rabbeim or to keep their doors open in order to raise the next generation of frum Yidden.
This may sound callous, but I propose that we put kiruv on ice for a few years. Perhaps we can find other positions (in chinuch or elsewhere) for the talented people who have dedicated their lives for a wonderful cause. However, at this juncture of the economic crisis, I find it very difficult to justify programs for adults and children, many of whom will never become frum, at a time when families and yeshivos in our communities are struggling so much.
In my humble opinion, we have to look past the flashy ads and signs in our neighborhoods and go back to the Shulchan Aruch to determine where our tzedakah money should go.
Concerned for Our Future