Since 1995, Keren Even Habochen Ner Moshe has motivated thousands of bnei Torah to take their learning to greater levels. The founders could never have predicted the enormous growth of the organization. What began with approximately 200 yungeleit has grown to over 1,000 participants.
Each participating chaburah learns at its own pace. At the end of each month, the roshei chaburah compose tests. Upon completion of the tests, and based on their scores, the participants of the program receive a stipend from Keren Even Habochen. The roshei chaburah work hard to create tests within a framework that allow the participants to excel.
These bechinos, which are given on a broad range of limudim, promote more intense hasmadah and clarity. They also increase retention, creating a sense of tangible accomplishments for the participants. The stipends that the yungeleit receive afterward are very helpful.
At a parlor meeting for Keren Even Habochen, Rabbi Aaron Kotler stressed the importance of this organization. “As we know, yeshivos at the bais medrash level do not give tests. Keren Even Habochen fills an important role in giving yungeleit a means of accountability in their learning.”
Rabbi Chaim Moses, founder of Keren Even Habochen, witnesses the extent of how the tests enrich a yungerman‘s learning. “Yungeleit constantly approach me to thank me for the opportunity to be part of this program,” he says.
“Keren Even Habochen is not just providing the singular goal for a talmid to excel on a test,” adds Rabbi Yosef Semah, a rosh chaburah at Bais Medrash Govoah. “Rather, it creates structure, meaning, organization and focus to a talmid’s everyday learning experience.”
From his experience, Rabbi Semah has witnessed how the participants’ learning has changed since joining the program. “The participants of Keren Even Habochen realize that they need to have an accountability for their learning. They have to file the limudim in their brains and walk away with it in their pockets. The participants acquire ownership of their learning to internalize, incorporate, and bring back at different points in their lives.”
A Shared Effort
A yungerman in Rabbi Semah’s chaburah was facing a deadline to complete his bechinah, but was unable to finish because he was driving to a wedding. Recognizing the significance of these tests, his wife was determined to help him finish and offered to write the answers he dictated to her. “It was a shared effort,” says Rabbi Semah.
In another case, a family of a participant had a custom to hang the children’s tests on the refrigerator door. Upon joining Keren Even Habochen, his children were insistent that the father hang up his tests as well. The father had an additional motivation to work hard on his bechinos and share the pride with his family. In other cases, chassanim opt out of taking the test because they are preoccupied with their wedding preparation. Rabbi Semah often encourages them to put in the additional effort of studying and taking the tests because this is something that brings joy and nachas to their kallahs.
“Unfortunately, there are many applicants who are being turned down due to lack of funding,” says Rabbi Menachem Berkovicz. “Our goal is to raise funds that will help us expand the program to include even more yungeleit and spread the program to an even greater reach.”
Aside from expanding the enrollment, the Keren has recently added additional incentives to the current participants. During trying and hectic times of their lives, participants of Keren Even Habochen often pass up on bechinos throughout the zeman. In order to encourage the yungeleit to partake in each test, a bonus is giving at the end of the zeman to those who have completed all the bechinos that zeman.
The community recognizes and appreciates the power of Keren Even Habochen’s bechinos. The incredible sippuk and satisfaction that the participants gain, along with the retention of the material, are truly amazing.
Keren Even Habochen’s donors enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that their donations are directly supporting choshuve bnei Torah. . Moreover, they are raising the level of their learning.
In one case, someone sponsored a chaburah for an entire year l’illui nishmas a family member who had recently passed away. “What greater zechus can there be? This is learning Torah on a very high level,” says Rabbi Berkovicz.
“Supporting Keren Even Habochen is a tremendous zechus on many levels,” says Rabbi Chaim Gulkowitz, a rosh chaburah. “Keren Even Habochen is the highest madreigah of tzedakah and an unusual hiddur mitzvah. Not only are you being machzik Torah at the highest levels, but your money is also generally going to support talmidei chachomim who are being moser nefesh in their learning and who are also among the greatest talmidei chachomim in the bais medrash.”
Keren Even Habochen’s 21st Annual Dinner will take place on Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, January 7, at Ateres Chana Hall. The dinner’s theme is “Raising the B.A.R.” (Bechinos Attaining Retention). Keren Even Habochen will honor devoted and dedicated roshei chaburah, Rabbi and Mrs. Chaim Gulkowitz and Rabbi and Mrs. Yosef Semah, as well as Rabbi Avrumie Wilhem.
Keren Even Habochen features:
~Incentive for thorough chazarah
~Promotes more intense hasmadah and clear understanding
~Increases retention and a sense of tangible accomplishment
~Bechinos provided on a broad range of limudim
~Nominal stipends add additional incentive and help support bnei Torah
A Sense of Accomplishment
Participants share their personal experiences:
~”I began taking the tests given by Keren Even Habochen as a challenge to myself. It has since become part and parcel of my learning. I can’t imagine learning without it. The difference in my learning is like day and night.”
– M. S., participant
~“My husband’s sedorim are completely different since he joined Keren Even Habochen. It is such an amazing system. I can sense the great sippuk he has.”
– N.G., wife of a participant
~“I can attest to the effectiveness of Keren Even Habochen’s unique chazarah program, which has enhanced the quality of learning amongst all its participants. I have witnessed this difference firsthand by observing the yungeleit in my chaburah who have internalized the limud on a deeper level. By signing up for the program, a yungerman raises his own standards of learning, surpassing even his original expectations of himself. With the preparation for the various tests, his clarity and retention of the sugyos develop along with his satisfaction in learning. The success he feels and the excitement he generates spills over into his home, thus bringing his passion and joy for limud haTorah full circle.”
– Rabbi Michoel Yardley, rosh chaburah
“Despite all of the tirdos [that the members of my chaburah face], Keren Even Habochen keeps them focused.”
– R.G., rosh chaburah
“Since joining this program, I have experienced newfound clarity and retention of the Gemara. The chazarah resulting from this program has greatly enhanced my limud haTorah. No doubt, the modest stipend rewarded contingent upon the test scores, goes a long way in supporting all lomdei Torah who value every extra penny to support their families while learning.”