At Young Israel Of Queens Valley For Chesed L’Avraham,
is a singular watchword of Klal Yisrael that implies
going the extra mile for someone—usually someone
that we hear about from others and we try to help.
But what if the person is alone and has no neighbors
or friends to care, or even to give a thought? Unfortunately,
in Eretz Yisrael there are hundreds of Yiddishe
kinderlach who are orphaned, abandoned, or abused.
These children are often left on the doorstep of
one of the four chesed homes in Bnei Brak, Miron,
and Kadimah that are run by Chesed L’Avraham.
Chesed they can find love, care, and a warm welcoming
Yiddishe heart. They will get some new clothes,
shoes without holes, and a clean bed to call their
own. Their personal trauma will be evaluated by
professionals while they are enrolled in a school
program that will give their little shattered lives
meaning and hope. Each child will get tutoring and
help, with the madrich as his big brother and the
av and eim ha’bayit will be their parents.
even though these homes are a legacy of the Skulene
Rebbe, established by his late father, zy”o,
the children are not urged to become Skulene chassidim.
The Skulene Rebbes never saw these kids as potential
followers, rather as precious Yiddishe neshamalach,
each from a specific mesorah, and they are encouraged
to learn and observe that mesorah. The Skulene Rebbes
each stepped into the breach and acted on Klal Yisrael’s
behalf, to extend chesed to kids who just do not
have a chance—a chesed shel emes for the living.
chesed starts rolling, more and more comes in its
wake. The Skulene Rebbe, zt”l, began this
as an afternoon group for school kids whose parents
were not at home and who were just getting into
mischief. More chesed groups (moadonim) opened up
across Eretz Yisrael—the 70th just recently.
Devoted teachers, adults, and youngsters spend hours
with these ‘latchkey kids.’ In the moadonim,
sometimes housed in shul buildings, they get their
grounding in being a Yid. It is simply amazing to
witness hundreds of youngsters from totally irreligious
homes, many of them pulling their yarmulkes out
of their pockets as they come to the door of Chesed
L’Avraham. There’s a bren, an excitement,
in the air as they learn Chumash and halachah. They
jump up and down with excitement during the Torah
quizzes and focus and recite Tehillim. And as their
excitement and commitment grows, the parents rush
to bring their children to the moadonim—carpool,
chesed-style. They have witnessed the happiness
and change in their children, and the resentment
that often accompanies a child becoming a ba’al
teshuvah is absent,
Kiryat Ata in the north to Netivot in the south,
more than 50,000 boys and girls have gone through
Chesed L’Avraham. 40,000 have become full
shomrei Torah u’mitzvos. (60% of those attending
elementary school age programs enroll in mesivtas.)
Some of the chesed graduates have gone on to become
magidei shiurim in yeshivas and Chesed L’Avraham
programs, write and publish Torah articles, and
even publish sefarim!
month a three-day chesed Shabbaton is held in Bnei
Brak and Yerushalayim. Youngsters are bused in to
experience the joy of Shabbos and the opportunity
to meet Torah leaders, as well as to spend time
in the homes of ‘ordinary’ frum families
and to see, firsthand, what a Torah lifestyle is
all about. The results have exceeded all expectations.
Not only have many of the children been inspired
to become observant and committed to Yiddishkeit,
but the Shabbatonim have been an eye-opener for
parents who come along as chaperons when they experience
the beauty of our mesorah. Some, too, have been
inspired to learn and become shomrei Torah u’mitzvos.
is a very long-term project. It is not as if a person
“finds religion” and then just goes
forward. The task facing Chesed L’Avraham,
especially because it deals with youngsters, is
to enable them to become lifelong frum Yidden with
Torah knowledge and solid hashkafah so that they
will, in turn, be able to pass it on to their future
generations. Thus, Chesed L’Avraham must help
the youngsters play catch up in their learning and
religious culture. They are given extra tutoring
and the madrichim have extensive sessions and discussions
that include a wide array of topics and that help
the youngsters feel comfortable with the way of
life that they have chosen.
Yotzei Chesed program makes sure that they can acclimate
to yeshiva life and receive the needed tutoring
to cope in an often competitive milieu. There are
always staff and volunteers on standby to help them
or to be a listening ear and a shoulder to lean
on. This is a support service that a large number
of chesed graduates rely on throughout their high
school years, and many of them beyond that into
adulthood and marriage. The Chesed vocational center
in Holon teaches the young men skills such as sofrus,
shechitah, etc, so that they will be able to earn
a parnasah within a Jewish framework.
Weddings, especially for girls, have been an ongoing
project launched by the late Skulene Rebetzin, ob’m,
and close to 400 weddings have been fully sponsored,
including the setting up of a home—furniture,
linens, and kitchen utensils. After all, Chesed
L’Avraham has been both a tatte and mama to
Wednesday, April 1 a reception for this international
network of chesed and outreach will take place at
Israel of Queens Valley on 77th Avenue (corner
of Main Street) in Kew Gardens Hills with the presence
of the Skulene Rebbe, shlita. The guest speaker
will be the world renowned Rabbi Paysach Krohn,
noted mohel, author, and speaker.
chesed functions are always an uplifting experience
and play a significant role in helping the youngsters
who need and participate in the programs that make
Chesed L’Avraham the leading and most extensive
Torah and chesed network of its kind in Eretz Yisrael.
For more information, please call 718-972-6390 ext.
11 or 347-423-7902.