Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chalukos, Bushos

(Cars - Late Model Japanese Imports, Mostly... - lined up to receive "Chalukah" from United Jewish Care in Williamsburg, where thousands received whatever they needed for Pesach, with no questions asked. According to my sources they had to stop giving out because the 200 tons of food simply wasn't enough.)

Pesach is here. If you have a family you know what kind of financial burden it is to feed and clothe even a small family. When Pesach comes around the responsibilities are tenfold. Not only is there the immediate YomTov to worry about, but Pesach is also when you need to concern yourself with all of the needs of the next few months. Anyway, recently many in frum communities have taken upon themselves the noble task of supplying families with many of the Tzorchei haChag, namely food and wine. In Eretz Yisroel it's quite common, but in America it seemed like it was beneath most people to accept handouts, even for Pesach. In Eretz Yisroel we're used to the Tzedokoh organizations showing pictures of Yesomim r"l who lack the necessities for YomTov. In America they seem to think that all have enough, no matter what. A current ad/announcement by Boro Park Tomchei Shabbos made mention of them providing food to 1200 families, and that for Pesach they've instituted a voucher system instead of delivering packages to peoples' homes. 1200 out of some 20,000 families doesn't seem like much, and I doubt it covers a fraction of those who need.

We can talk about the fact that although years ago there were handfuls of people who couldn't afford basic necessities for YomTov, now there are hundreds and thousands. What happened? How did the American dream skip our communities? Draw your own conclusion. A friend of mine told me that had the above-mentioned Chalukah taken place in Boro Park nobody would come. That in Williamsburg az m'git nemt men, and nobody's embarrassed to take. In Boro Park the same Satmarer Yidden wouldn't take, even if they needed it desperately, es past zei nisht. This friend was very happy that they had the food distribution yesterday in Williamsburg; it was his partei that was doing it, not the other one. People today have needs that a generation ago was considered totally superfluous,and families today are much larger than they used to be. The cost of living is much higher than 30 years ago, and a much greater percentage of earnings goes to food and housing. So we have a paradox of greater prosperity coupled with greater need. Yet, people seem to be able to afford it, at least judging from the new cars and summers in the bungalow colonies. Maybe it's the fact that people today have credit cards that pay for everything, so there's no need to borrow, hence people don't know when you're in need.

So to summarize we have the following: we have more people needing but not taking. We have organizations beginning to realize that even in America there are many who haven't the capacity to provide for themselves over YomTov, and even throughout the year. Yet the ones that take show up in brand new vehicles, not thinking that maybe it's a little weird. I'm not sure of the point here, it's mostly observations without a final opinion on the matter. Zol der eibishetr gebben that none of us should ever know need, and may he bless us מידו המלאה הפתוחה הקדושה הגדושה והרחבה. Until then may he bless those that make sure that no Jewish family lacks Tzorchei HaChag.


Anonymous said...

The most practical family car is a minivan and with the advent of leasing and with deals of 0 down 279 a mon for a new japanese minivan in which you r basicly garranteed 2 have no maintnence costs it does not mean u hav money if ur driving one. On the contrary 4 many its easier 2 lease then 2 come up with 8000 dollars 2 buy a used van

Mir said...

The late model cars you mentioned can be had for a couple of hundred$ a month.A mini van for a large family is almost a neccesity, so it does not mean that the people don't need the extra help.
However, I'm a Litvack and I have to say that I'm a wee bit puzzled at such a huge response to the handing out of free food.A little self respect would be commendable.I know that many families need a helping hand but it's difficult to believe that it's this many.
This is probably an off shoot of this minhag tov of giving out food provisions to thousands but a yid called Laufer in Willy

AV said...

Is there also, perhaps, a problem of frum Jews not receiving enough tools (i.e., education) to get a proper job and support themselves and their families?

Anonymous said...

those balabatisha cars are doing the transportation service for those that cant afford to have cars or are ashamed to pick it up for themselves

schneur said...

When I was a student at Columbia University in Morningside Heights , I was zeyche to be close to the shamash , then retired of the orthodox shul on 110th St and Bdwy. called Ramat Orah. Rabbi Rosenberg was a Holocaust survivor a Radziner hasid in der Alter heym and one who travelled east to inbibe of the Tore and Yerash o the Chofetz Chaim in Radin.
I recall an appeal by a Brooklyn hassidic jew in our small congregation who needed to buy Shmura matzo, Rabbi Rosenberg who was a well to do Jew gave liberally but to me he questioned the need , if you can't afford it he said you eat regular Matzo , but to go about "bettling" its wrong.
I once asked Rabbi Rosenberg why a Jew like him with a beard etc does not wear a gartel, he said he met another "bettler" one day who also needed a gartel , so he gave him his and he rabbi Rosenberg has other precious spiritual items like his rebbeyim, the Chofetz Chaim etc , so he never bothered to buy a new prayer cord.The entitlement psychology has indeed infiltrated the Charedi community BIG TIME.
I recall living on the Upper West Side and not having an AC , I met a Bobover young lady who was taking a summer course at Columbia , in the Summer program, she could not believe that I could live without an AC. Things that are luxeries to many sectors of the general US population are requirements in the new more spiritually responsive Charedi world.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is a lot of extravagance and excess amongst frum people. I know that in my case, I drive a newer mini-van. It is a necessity where I live -no school buses, subpar public transportation etc...I am sure many of these people like me, live from check to check paying tuition etc. When Pesach comes, it can be very difficult. Even if you manage to pay your monthly bills, there is not always an extra couple thousand dollars to shell out for Pesach.

schneur said...

I was speaking to a very prominent MO pulpit rabbi from New Jersey yesterday.
He spoke to me about the tuition crisis in the Jewish day schools. Parents complain about the inability to pay the steep tuitions. Yet this rabbi noted that these same parents pack up their 4 kids and go on an expensive Mid Winter vacation (costing ten thousand dollars) and another one for
Passover in a luxury hotel, all the while complaining about high day school tuition !
Our expectations of this life ( a prozdur to eternal life ???) are great "asher lo shearum avosaynu" and we feel we are entitled.

Hirshel Tzig said...

The same Mosdos (MO ones, namely) that charge 15-18,000 per elementary school child do it so that the principals and teachers could afford the million dollar homes and vacations! so whom are they kidding??

Guravitzer said...

" AV said...
Is there also, perhaps, a problem of frum Jews not receiving enough tools (i.e., education) to get a proper job and support themselves and their families?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008 8:22:00 AM"
Absolutely. Birchas Hashem Hi Taashir, and there is a severe lack of Yiras Shomayim and Hiddur in Torah and Mitzvos.

schneur said...

Lav davka. You are dreaming if you think teachers get paid a fortune in these schools. Certainly they get paid more than in the so called heimishe meysdes, but most of the teachers there struggle too. Furthermore they are paid on the books unlike almost every other yeshiva in Brooklyn.
If you think people are making good money in the flagship of the MO world Yeshiva University, then you can have my job tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I have a large family. They all need clothes, shoes etc. then my married kids come over, which I am very happy to see them, my bill for Pesach is at least $10,000 and probably closer to $15,000. Add in that it's tax time,and you will realize it does get hard even if you do make a decent living.
I have not gone on a vacation for as long as I remember.

friendly anonymous said...

Tuition is 25% of my take-home pay(and that's with a "discount"). Mortgage and utilities are 40%. You think it's easy to buy food/clothing/gas/insurance etc. with the 35 cents on the dollar that remains?

There is a hugh difference between living a spartan life as a Bochur and as a Yungerman.

As far as tuition goes, my kid's school tries to emulate that great ohev yisroel, Paroh. The learners and teachers get free tuition, summers off work, and qualify for government benefits, while the jewish taskmasters force the working people to subsidise these freeloaders with after-tax dollars. said...

its not too late for YOU to help the 150 families of the Sde Tzofim Baal Teshuva community in Beitar make Pesach. Matzo is baked in our beis medrash ourselves as well as subsidizing grocery purchases.

we must raise $4000 this week!
YOU can make the difference.
thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am involved in Institutions (not for a living)and I realized if parents pay these hefty sums for tuitions then there is a profit on top of the budget and some people are living nicely from it.

Anonymous said...

correction, sorry.

thank you so much for posting this. a happy and healthy pesach to you and all of klal yisroel.

SatmarTC said...

A late model Japanese $ 300 ,$400A MONTH)car does not mean that u have money,and more when Pesach comes
A summer family bungalow vacation does not mean that u have money, it is a basic need for Shalom Bais
U cannot compare these little esxpenses to the tuitions (more when u have like 15 kids)
you can say that u have some money only if u have A MINNIMUM of$1.000.000 cash reserve

Anonymous said...

Talk about money..I am outraged that the CEO of Chai Life-Line is on the receiving end of $500,000 per year

schneur said...

The Chofetz Chaim also had a million dollar cahs reserve !How about Mr. Hermann from the LES did he have$ 3,000,000 reserve, did REb Mend lowitz have 5 mil in the bank and of course they all were on the dole !
Pesach or Purim !

schneur said...

And how much does the CEO AKA rebbe of Satmar make a year ?

Anonymous said...

The ceo of chai lifeline that was referred to raises millions of dollar of which 95% comes fron non heimishe sources,and it that world it is perfectly acceptable for the ceo of an orginization to get such a salary

Anonymous said...

On the Barech Moshe ZT"L there was a Rumor in his 10th year of the Satmar Rebisteve that he has already 18 Million stashed in Swiss banks

SatmarTC said...

ceo of chai lifeline making 500K?
so what! he deserves it!this is a normal salary
if u spend 100k a year in tuitions,60K IN Mortgage and tax property, 20 K insurance .U r 180K and u did not buy food, clothing, BM, Jasenes,vacation. helping your kids, Koilel, tzedaka
Come on! 500 K is a normal salary nowadays

Mike S. said...

I am astonished to hear that anyone feels they must spend $10,000 on Pesach. I manage to provide food and new outfits for a family of 6, plus provide a seder meal for a poor family of 4, for under $1100. Which, Baruch Hashem I can afford--if I had to spend less, I could have done so easily. Throw in another $500 or so I gave to ma'ot chittim and you are still under $2K.