Almost every day we come across some fund started by Vaad Harabbanim: a little ad under a news article, a brochure in the shul or a concerned Jew who approaches you with a feeling of inspired mission, and asks for tzedakah for a family that he knows personally.
You donate, because how can you just ignore suffering Jews, and you wonder how your single donation helps if a lifesaving operation costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why do they collect money like that? A short brochure and another online campaign – does it really succeed in helping families?
Over the last year, many new funds were established by Vaad Harabbanim for specific cases of need. The brochure or campaign announcement that you saw are just a small fraction of the professional, concerned and sensitive activity to rescue families.
But this time, it’s not we who will tell about the funds, it is the people behind them.
Taking Care of Tomorrow, Too
At night, before they went to sleep, the children of the Dimm family stuck a decorated “Welcome, Tateh” on the door, and sweet expectation filled the home.
Tomorrow their father is coming back!
But in the morning, Tateh didn’t come back. Instead of him, other people came in, to set up the home for sitting shivah, and loudspeakers announced the details of the levayah.
But they said he is coming back today! The children cried their hearts out. They said that the pacemaker was properly accepted, and Tateh can leave the hospital!
The kallah is sitting in her room, staring at her beautiful white wedding dress and crying. It’s a week and a half until her wedding, and instead of Rav Yehoshua Baruch accompanying his daughter to the chuppah, with tears of joy, the children will now be escorting their beloved father to his final resting place.
“A great number of good people pitched in to help with the wedding that took place a week later,” says Harav Shmuel Greenfeld, a close friend of Rav Yehoshua Baruch Dimm z”l. “Everyone who heard about the kallah who was orphaned right before her wedding donated money or volunteered to bring something for the new couple.
But the Gabbaim of Vaad Harabbanim looked much further ahead. They worked tirelessly so that the other six orphans will also be able to receive what they need in order to grow up and get married respectably when the time comes.
Before the shiv’ah was even over we turned to Vaad Harabbanim, and the same day, the Gabbaim came to Bnei Brak, sat with the mourning family, and checked what they have and what needs to be mobilized for them. They drew out a professional and well-organized plan of action for the widow and her orphans to ensure financial stability.
They went into action to harness the community members to the project and covered all the possible means to assist the family. Meetings were organized in the Chassidic communities scattered around the country, and the Rabbonim of the Vaad came in person to speak, to open people’s hearts and to enlist everyone for his role in the fundraising program. They traveled from place to place, and stayed long hours in order to convince and motivate the public for the sake of the orphans.
They showed genuine concern as if the deceased was a close friend of theirs!”
The Gabbaim of the Vaad experience from close up how critical the money is for the widow and orphans. Besides the wedding expenses that will be incurred, b’ezras Hashem, dealing with daily life is unbelievably difficult. This is especially true, when there is no supportive, providing father, and the burden of raising the orphans is completely on the widow. Establishing a fund in such a case provides them with the possibility to live!
True, many families have a hard time coping financially. There are also “regular” children who live on the bare minimum. But to be an orphan and also be the most neglected in the class? This is a trauma that strikes deeply in the heart of a child! From the money of the fund, tuition is paid, as well as the electricity bill, and clothing for the orphans. This money also provides for medical treatments when necessary, or an urgent home repair.
“I saw Rav Gefner sitting in front of a few men from the community and speaking from the depths of his warm heart. You can’t remain apathetic when you hear him. People simply donated and made pledges, so that, with Hashem’s help, the Dimm family will be able to recover and live, despite the loss!”
Light in the Eyes and the Heart
The Konigsberg family has a healthy and functioning father and mother, Baruch Hashem, but they still need critical help from Vaad Harabbanim.
When a neighbor from the same apartment building came into the Konigsberg home he tripped over thin mattresses spread out on the floor instead of children’s beds. “All the neighbors expanded their apartments and only we live in this prison cell,” the children complained.
“The children were embarrassed to invite friends to their home, which looked like a rumble-down shack, with its peeling walls and dilapidated kitchen,” the neighbor reports. “The poverty had direct repercussions on the level of happiness in the home. The children would shrink when Mame was frustrated because the washing machine didn’t clean anything, and kept quiet when they were waiting in hunger until the meal would cook on the old stovetop that hardly worked at half strength.”
How can the parents smile to the child, when for the thousandth time, the bathroom door became detached, and every regular shower spreads water and sewage everywhere?
The Gabbaim of Vaad Harabbanim took care of the family with tremendous dedication. They immediately set up a broad campaign in the community and online, and worked to rehabilitate the home with sensitive and considerate cooperation with the parents.
“The truth is, I didn’t believe they would be able to recruit such sums,” says the neighbor earnestly. “They went ahead and built an additional room, purchased beds and new electrical appliances and now they are in the middle of renovating the kitchen. The community joined in very nicely. The Gabbaim of Vaad Harabbanim put in hours of selfless dedication with their know-how and experience. Baruch Hashem, today the home shines with a new light of happiness. It turned into a normal place to live, and the children are content knowing how happy and relaxed their parents are.”