Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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18 Sivan 5759 - June 2, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Gedolim of Eretz Yisroel Endorse P'eylim / Lev L'Achim's Registration Campaign

by Eliezer Schwartz

Many of Eretz Yisroel's greatest Torah authorities and spiritual leaders issued a joint declaration on Sunday 15 Sivan (May 30) urging members of the Torah community to support P'eylim / Lev L'Achim's current campaign to enroll thousands of children from nonobservant background into religious schools.

Similar in scope to last year's effort -- which resulted in an influx of 6,500 children into the religious school system and the establishment of fifty Torah educational facilities -- this year's drive, named "Project Rishum: The 1999 Campaign to Enroll Children in Torah Schools in Eretz Yisroel," was launched over two months ago. (See article inside about this new campaign.) However, in light of the extremely caustic anti-religious propaganda that left-wing parties such as Meretz and Shinui disseminated in the course of the recent election campaign, Lev L'Achim organizers decided to withhold media publication of the current school enrollment campaign until the political situation would stabilize. Now that the air has cleared, the news blackout has been lifted.

Two prominent talmidei chachomim will present to the Torah community of America the message of Eretz Yisroel's Gedolim -- HaRav Yaakov Borenstein, rosh yeshivas Chevron Geula; and HaRav Boruch Shapira of Yeshivas Kol Torah, a member of Lev L'Achim's directorate. HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, in a separate letter addressed to Lakewood's Torah community, regrets lacking the physical strength to undertake the journey to America so as to deliver the message in person, as he did last year during his historic visit to America with the Gerrer Rebbe. Rav Shteinman's warm letter, which underscores the Lakewood community's crucial role in jump-starting last year's effort, will be read at a rally to be held there this Thursday.

The declaration issued by the gedolim calls the public's attention to the astounding success of Lev L'Achim's 1998 school enrollment campaign, which "surpassed all expectations." More importantly, it calls on all members of the Torah community to take part in this year's effort by assuming personal responsibility over a share of the huge costs involved in waging a massive, nationwide effort of this magnitude. In their declaration, the gedolim repeatedly stress that enrolling children from nonobservant backgrounds into Torah schools is "hatzolas nefoshos mamesh -- an act of literally saving a life," and that "ein lecho hatzola gedola mizu -- there is no greater deed of saving a life than this."

A long list of gedolim representing the entire spectrum of Eretz Yisroel's Torah community signed the document. Several of them make a point of generally declining to sign written declarations of any kind, yet they made an exception in this case for the sake of Lev L'Achim's 1999 enrollment campaign. The declaration is signed by the following gedolim (names appear here in alphabetical English order):

HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, the Belzer Rebbe, HaRav Avrohom Chaim Brim, HaRav Simcha Zissel Broide, HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, HaRav Yechiel Michel Feinstein, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Tzvi Markowitz, HaRav Zalman Rotenberg, HaRav Boruch Rosenberg, HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapira, HaRav Pinchos Scheinberg, HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, the Vishnitzer Rebbe, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav Shlomo Wolbe, and HaRav Avrohom Yaakov Zalesnick

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