Readers’ Matzav: It’s Time to Put Kiruv On Ice


kiruvDear Editor,

I think that one of the things that has to change in “The New Normal” (and a recent post alluded to this) are our priorities in giving tzedakah. One of the sad consequences of the economic crisis is the sharp increase in families needing financial help. In addition, let’s not forget that many middle-class families are drowning under the tremendous cost of living that raising a frum family entails.There are certain tzedakah programs that, to be frank, are less critical and vital than others. In my mind, in an age when families are starving and yeshivos are closing, the “kiruv rechokim” movement is a luxury we cannot afford at this time.

Let’s be honest: the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable, and the success rate of kiruv is questionable as well.

One thing that’s not questionable is the support of families who are struggling to put bread on the table. One thing that’s not questionable is the support of yeshivos that can’t afford to pay their rabbeim or to keep their doors open in order to raise the next generation of frum Yidden.

This may sound callous, but I propose that we put kiruv on ice for a few years. Perhaps we can find other positions (in chinuch or elsewhere) for the talented people who have dedicated their lives for a wonderful cause. However, at this juncture of the economic crisis, I find it very difficult to justify programs for adults and children, many of whom will never become frum, at a time when families and yeshivos in our communities are struggling so much.

In my humble opinion, we have to look past the flashy ads and signs in our neighborhoods and go back to the Shulchan Aruch to determine where our tzedakah money should go.

Concerned for Our Future


  1. Right on! Where are the organizations to help struggling frum families and mosdos? who is there for us, the average joe? Where is the kiruv and chizuk of kerovim?

  2. “Let’s be honest: the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable, and the success rate of kiruv is questionable as well.”

    Can you expound on that? What are the halachic problems with having kiruv outreach?

  3. The shulchan Aruch doesn’t talk anbout supporting kollel’s either. Is the author also suggesting we cut our support of kollels?

  4. I agree in theory, but in practice you are missing one point.
    People say cut retaurants & gift stores, again I agree in theory, but let us face it, you are going to have to fill the gap to the restaurant owner or the BT org executive director, & some get way over 6 figures.
    People can’t find jobs we don’t want to make more unemployed.
    Imagine how many jobs are lost if Oorah shuts.
    You have a point , but not the picture.
    I still agre that Tzedokah should go according to the list in shulchan Aruch & appeals calling their tzedokoh Pidyon Shevuyim to jump the list, may need a sheeilas Chochom if they really are.

  5. I don’t have money to put food on the table. So I must agree with this letter. Anyone who disagrees has to explain to me why being mekarev some guy in Yehupetz is more important than supporting a regular frum family.

  6. All gedolim in E”y and some in America wrote that Kiruv is also a Mitzva of Tzdaka, and that when someone is lost to Yiddishkeit it’s of course worse than us not being able to afford our life-style. Besides the fact that sometimes a Kiruv donation is really also contributing to someone’s salary, whom without the Kiruv osgenization would be unemployed…

    Of course it’s now the time to be very carefule who and what we give to. Let’s make sure the money is well spent all around. Even when you hire someone or buy a product these days it’s worth making sure the money will help the most people it could.

  7. I don’t want to be accusatory of the writer, but I want to argue the other side, who is to say that our children are more deserving of our focus then other yidden?

    Furthermore what about at risk teens are they more deserving than kiruv rechokim simply by virtue of being born frum?

    I think you are trying to play G-D and that is a very dangerous proposition.

  8. I fully agree. We ask Poskim about all other halachos, lets get a psak on this issue as well. While Kiruv is a tremendous zechus,so is many other tzedaka needs in the frum community. Of course, there might be different shitos and psokim on this shailo, and each person should follow his Rov.

  9. I would assume you are unaware of the scope of kiruv work today. There are hundreds of kiruv workers who have built empires in the secular world. There have been individuals who have single handedly been mekarev hundreds of people. The entire city of Atlanta was built by one such individual.
    To say that we should give hundreds of kiruv workers jobs in chinuch shows your complete ignorance on the subject of kiruv, chinuch etc. What kind of chinuch job would you give them that isn’t already filled? New classes opening? That would maybe fill a position for 5% of the kiruv workers out in the world. And the rest? Should they have no food to put on their table?

  10. There is a prioritization in Tzeddoko giving.
    Ask your local competent orthodox Rabbi.

    This said, ask your Rabbi also if you fulfilled your obligation this past year.
    Rabbis can guide you through this too!

  11. Mr. “Concerned For Our Future” would have us think that Kiruv is 1)bogus (“questionable halachic status and questionable rate of success”); 2)draining Tzedaka dollars away from more important causes; and 3) a luxury.

    As our Gedolei Yisroel have been telling us repeatedly, Kiruv is the call of our time. Never before have so many people responded to outreach. Just look at the astounding successes of Lev L’Achim in Eretz Yisroel. Can anyone say that these hundreds of thousands of baalei teshuva were a mistake? Indeed, these newcomers to Torah yiddishkeit are contributing tzedaka today to our causes and are a source of new funding, not a drain on existing funds.

    It is a chutzpa for Mr. Concerned to intimate that he knows of some dark secret in halacha which would preclude giving money to Kiruv organizations. Our Gedolim know a bit more about what is halachically advisable and they have been quite clear in their support of Kiruv.

    The fact is that even in these hard economic times, Klal Yisroel is blessed with major gvirim. There are frum people who have amassed fortunes numbering in the tens of millions. Each of them can step forward and save multiple mosdos and countless individual situations without affecting their great-great-great grandchildrens future prosperity. There is no lack of money; only a lack of generosity.

    It is ludicrous to imply that there are limited funds and that one tzedaka is taking something away from another. Such pettiness is behind the lashon hara people often throw around pertaining to organizations or mosdos other than their own. Its not enough that MY chasidus, charity, yeshiva… has to be the best. We have come to a point where HIS chasidus, charity, Yeshiva… must be robbing the community. How small-minded. How sad.

    In closing, it should be noted that the majority of funding for Kiruv goes to pay the salaries of the wonderful people who have devoted their lives to this noble task. I spoke to Rabbi Sorotzkin at Lev L’Achim and he told me that he is now 6 months behind in paying his 1100 salaried employees. Almost all of those people are in Kollel half a day and subsist on a meager few hundred dollars a month from their Kiruv work. Are these heroes less deserving of our support? Are they to be denied our help in putting foood on their table just because they receive it as a “salary” instead of as a handout?

    If there is to be concern for the future it is because of people who will write in a diatribe such as the one which prompted this response. This inability to “fargin” might just be why those who have the wherwithal are holding back. They certainly cannot think they will take their money with them to the Next World. It must be that they do not trust those the rest of know to be selfless and deserving.

    Hashem yerachem.

  12. and we should also freeze unneccessary tzedakos like the [deleted by moderator] and oh how about all the money that is being raised for [deleted by moderator]?

  13. First of all, Hashem will repay us for bringing His children back to him. Secondly, some of the biggest financial supporters are Mikuravim.

  14. It’s not callous at all. You are right and also the way we would it.
    Without sounding selfish, I am one of those struggling. It is VERY bad. Can anyone help me please!

  15. Check out Lev L’achim, Nechomas Yisroel, Yad L’achim, Shalom Torah centers, etc………..all struggling. And yet oorah is so successful! It is their amazing ability to convince people that they are getting something grand in return for their $5 donation – a chance to win a $5,000 gift!!!!!

    There is alot of jealousy towards Oorah on the part of many in the fundraising community. Many Mosdos try so hard to raise funds, struggling to convince people to part with their money for their very worthy cause, and they don’t understand why it is so easy for Oorah to get people to just swipe $100, $250, $500, and even $1,300 on their credit cards in return for a chance to win their $20,000 cash giveaway!

    This jealousy tends to cause some Mosdos to complain about people’s priorities. Hence this new drive against Kiruv.

    However right you may be, know that you are missing the point. People don’t give to Oorah because of Kiruv. They give because they were convinced that it is worth their while to give…… these chances of winning.

    Instead of complaining, Mosdos should learn from Oorah. You need to market a product. You need to learn from Oorah’s business model. If you do, you will be very successful.

  16. so if chulila your children go off you don’t want anyone to bring them back till we are more stable financially? there are bubbys and zaidas in himmel crying for their children. and believe me the rebono shel oilom has enough if we give he gives

  17. This feeling comes from a lack of Emunah and Bitachon ( and not having an Ayin Tov). Each and every individual gets what Hashem has destined for him / her. No one is taking away from anyone. However, the person giving Tzedaka needs to use his / her brains, as to what is more or less important

  18. Number 1 – “In closing”? Are you serious? That looks like you’re writing a school essay not a comment. Perhaps a persuasive report? This is the very reason why the article may be correct. If we put money into supporting frum families and by extension, frum education, perhaps you will write like a human being and not a robotic student. Where’s your heading? B- for that.

    Seriously though…

    It happens to be that your mention of Lev Lachmi is a valid point. However, it is not always the case that kiruv organizations double as a tzedakah organization.

    Sent from my iDevice.

  19. Lmaysa, tons on kesef goes into many different kiruv org….
    the question is more a matter of can that kesef be better spent servicing others
    but who is to say what is more worthit. I think that in the Tzedakah book by Artscroll Rav Pam is quoted as saying that nowaday the chiyuv is to give where your heart desires and it is counted as tzedakah

  20. I want to see the numbers! Not hype but numbers!

    How many famillys that are shomer torah and mitzvos and taharas mishpacha today are coming forward and saying that they are, because of this or that specific organazation that arranges weekends for non religious boys and girls so that they can hang out together the whole weekend.

    I want ten famillies to come forward right now!

  21. Whle the writer may have a point about prioritizing our tzedaka dollars, to write that “the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable” is at best am aratzus but is bordering on apikorses.

    The poskim (Magn Avraham, Shela, Minchas Chinuch , Chofetz Chaim point outa few pesukaim which are mechayiv us to be mekarev fellow yidden. And yes, it is a halacha.

    For many mar’ea mekomos relating to this mitzva, please see:

  22. Spiritually starving or physically starving, it makes no difference. Both are tzedaka, and both are a chiyuvey d’Oraisa.

    Don’t tell me how to prioritize my tzedaka.

  23. Chazal tell us that — replicating the original redemption from Mitzrayim — only 20% of Diaspora Jews will merit to participate in the final geula. It is self-evident that assimilated, reform and conservative Jews will make up the vast majority of the 80% who will disappear into golus.

    Now, there are many who believe (as I ardently do) that we are presently living in the times of Ikvesa d’Meshichah (the Footsteps of Mashiach) — the last period before the final geula. So the question is: are we facing the law of diminishing returns when it comes to kiruv? This possibility is strongly supported by the words of HaRav HaGaon Simcha Wasserman, zt”l (in “Reb Simcha Speaks,” Artscroll, 1994):

    “Those who have returned are those whom Eliyahu [HaNavi] has selected to lead the Jewish people to the redemption of Mashiach. There is a selection going on now. Some people are being brought back, and some people, due to the high intermarriage and assimilation rate, are being thrown out. There are prophecies concerning this unfortunate fact.” [pp. 33-34]

    If we are, indeed, on the verge of the final geula, then time is running out. We can legitimately speculate that Eliyahu HaNavi has mostly finished selecting all those who will merit the geula (through the sh’lichus of Kiruv workers). Now we must face the reality (as Reb Simcha did) that the vast majority of Diaspora Jews are beyond saving, and are not prophetically destined to be saved. Incredible words these, but they come from a gadol b’Yisrael. One cannot easily choose to ignore them or their implication for marking the end of the kiruv movement.

    And so it is that the author of this post has an extremely valid point (despite all the naysayers). If Kiruv was “the call of our time,” it is highly possible that that “time” has come to an end.

  24. How about a pshara. They should still raise tuition money to send kids to school.However,a percent of what they raise must go to frum causes.Lets face it, a bulk of the donors are frum people, and many of these donors have own family members that are struggling. They for sure would want that at least a percent of their tzedaka dollars should pay for frum schools as well.

  25. Disagree completely. Why cut out one of the greatest and most important movements when people are spending money unnecessarily? Figure out a way to cut out $200,000 weddings. Figure out a way to stop Pesach hotels. Don’t try to stop something as vital as this.

    As an aside, think of how many people earn a solid parnassah from Kiruv. Cutting it out will just make the situation worse.

  26. I can’t believe this. First, why can’t the writer just state that one should prioritize tzedakah giving without writing off an entire mitzvah on its own?
    I shuddered when I read one poster differentiate between “Our frum children” and “other” Jewish children/teens.
    Did you skip Parshas Lech Lecha, where Avraham Avinu was “mekarev rechokim” constantly?
    How about Yisrael areivin zeh la’zeh? As it is, we’re losing more Jews to intermarriage than to the Holocaust. Does the Jewish future not factor in here?
    The problem here is that the bias against those to whome we reach out, is not Jewish in nature!

  27. kiruv is important,but the claim of being mekarev over 100000 people is false
    it is at most a couple of 100 people
    kiruv is important,the truth more so

  28. I can’t believe the timing! in a few days this guy is gonna stand on the day of judgment and not ask for anything, not even for his bread on the table, all he will do for hours is ask for “Meloich Al Kol Haoilam Kulo”…

    …right after writing this…

  29. 6. Comment from chaim
    Time August 31, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    kIRUV is very important and I think its disgusting to sugest that it should be cut back.

    Chaim – Its not that it should be cut back. Think of it this way – if you had 2 options:

    1) Support an organization that assists people suffering from an illness


    2) Support an organization that reaches out to our non-religious brethren

    The sad truth is that there is only enough money to correctly support one of them . . .

    Hashem Yishmor

    I’ll let you be the judge

  30. In stead of everyone giving a “dayya” with out understanding the Halacha, Why don’t you ask your Rav or Posk. “If have 100 dollars to give to Tzedaka and I am faced with either giving it to a org that will help out families make ends meet or to a Kiruv org, how should I distribute the money”?

  31. Do you really think that by not taking care of the spiritual well-being of your lost brothers and sisters our common Father will reward us with our missing parnossa? Perhaps you should speak to the kiruv experts that you are maligning and they will explain to you that there is a G-d who runs the show regardless of what it may look like to you.

    It’s beautiful that you are concerned about those members of Klal Yisroel who are hurting financially. Please build on that and encourage those who can, to do more for these people. However the place to get these dollars is not from those organizations that are bringing back countless Neshomos but from the unecessary extras that people have become accustomed to. I’m sure that those are not hard to identify.

    There is no finite amount of money that needs to be divided. Hakodosh Boruch Hu has plenty for all but if we become stingy about those things that He loves he certainly won’t be magnanimous when we ask him for our own desires.

  32. those that need kiruv are simply lost from yidishkeit. yet they are still bonim l’Hashem.

    by doing kiruv u are saving one of Hashem’s children!!!

    imagine u save someone’s child who is all but lost from yidishkeit. if he had unlimited means u would be taken care of for the rest of your life.

    doesn’t Hashem have unlimited means? saving one of Hashem’s precious neshamos would reap u hatzlacha in all areas of life. maybe we should focus more on kiruv and may Hashem pay us back big time. maybe kiruv the key to hatzlacha rather than a deterent.

    today we r trying to hold on to our children.

    the zohar in parshas terumah says that if u r mekarev just one neshama, u will b zoche to c your children’s children learning and being osek in torah and mitzvos.

    how much is that brocho worth?

  33. I personally think that it is just another example of people thinking about themselves over others and forgetting about why we are here in the first place. The concept of Kiruv is essential to the growth of the Jewish people at this time and given the current state of the FFB population, BTs and the people who are MeKarev them may be the only one’s left.

  34. I am amazed at the low standards required of the writer to “prove” his point. Where is the proof that the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable? Where are the data that show its “questionable” success rate? We should ask more of these writers so that a discussion can be had with the facts in view.

  35. Alteh Bucher,

    I am one and so is my family. Mother, Father, Sister, Brothers, kids, grandkids. you make one Frum you make many more 🙂 If it wasn’t for “those weekends” that I attended so many years ago, I never would have met my wife, had my kids, and raise them L’Halacha, send them to Bais Yaakov and Yeshivos, have Shabbos meals and all the other beautiful things that being an Orthodox Jew brings to life.
    Just another comment: In today’s day and age the only Jews who seem to be “in to it” are those that have made the choice to do so. Whether they are FFB or BT, if they don’t consciously make the choice, they just don’t get it. May we see Moshiach real soon, stop fighting and thinking only of ourselves.

  36. A few follow-up points:

    – As far as the gedolim encouraging kiruv – granted they support kiruv, but what is the context of their haskama? Do they support donating to kiruv above all other causes? What would they say with respect to priority in tzedaka? How does the financial crisis play into this?

    We all know how important it is to follow the words and guidance of our gedolim, but we need to know the context and content of that guidance as well. And sometimes we need to ask follow-up questions to ensure that we’re following their guidance correctly.

    – As far as the suggestion re: chinuch, that was just one possible idea to re-deploy the individuals currently involved in kiruv. I’m sure there are numerous ways these talented individuals can add value to the community and beyond.

    And as for the argument that people’s parnassa is tied to kiruv — one can make the same argument about anyone – if we tell people not to go to hotels for Pesach or to significantly tone down their weddings and simchas, many yidden who receive parnassah from these programs and events will suffer as a result. As a result, I’m not sure this is a strong argument. And yes, I believe that kiruv is much more important to our community than hotels for Pesach. The question is how much clout this particular argument carries.

    – As far as emunah and bitachon, let’s be realistic: Chazal instruct us not to spend more than 20% of our income on tzedakah. And this is a bit of a zero-sum game we’re talking about, especially with many people (including big donors) suffering financially. Money that is earmarked for one cause very like will not be substituted with other funds going to another, possibly more critical cause. Did Chazal and our Poskim ch”v lack emunah and bitachon when they told us to prioritize our causes? Why didn’t they tell us to give as much as you’d like, give to whichever cause you want to give and that G-d will provide?

    – As far as marketing goes, let’s not forget that marketing costs money – whether it’s flyers, glossy inserts, DVDs, etc. – again, tzedaka is a bit of a zero-sum game. I understand that every organization has expenses, but for a family to go hungry while large sums of money are going to glossy ads and DVDs is something I find disturbing. As a result, I’d be careful before encouraging our organizations to spend significant funds in marketing their respective causes.

    – And my goal was not to rip kiruv. I said it’s a wonderful cause, and I do believe that. But there are other, perhaps more compelling causes out there. And in these difficult times, my goal was just to raise awareness and have people think about the families and mosdos who have been suffering so much due to the financial crisis.

    I don’t claim to be an expert in this area, but just using my seichel I have a hard time believing that kiruv would take kedima over aniyim and yeshivos in a time when so many families and institutions are suffering so terribly. Let’s remember that charity begins at home.

    And if in fact I am incorrect and it has been paskined that in 2010, our tzedakah money should go to kiruv organizations prior to going to aniyim and struggling yeshivos, then I apologize and ask mechila of any organizations who may have been adversely affected by my letter, and would also request that the moderator remove this post.

  37. There’s a difference between places that have most of their budget going to part-time employees who also need the money to live and grandiose kiruv enterprises.
    A weekend getaway in a fancy hotel for the unaffiliated is not the same as paying people a small salary and slight expenses to go around and sign up kids to school.

    from the whole fancy seminar, how many ppl actually become frum or frummer, and how many of them wouldn’t have from a more modest event? I don’t know but it’s something for the ppl who do know to think about…

    Just my 0.02~

  38. I can personally feel for your pain as I also have experienced it. In this economy as a new family expecting my first child I find myself without a job or source of income. While I feel for your pain I think that your call to care only about the religious could not be more off.

    What you fail to realize is that kiruv is not just an obligation of every Jew (your halachic uncertainty is very unfounded), it is very successful, and is the only way to ensure a brighter future for the Jewish people.

    Each Jew that becomes mikarved joins the cause in helping all of klal Yirsoel. The money you put into making that person care about other Jews comes back ten fold when they begin to give tzedaka to help other Jews. And that does not even include all of the money that will come in when they bring others close to Torah.

    Not only is it our obligation to care for our spiritually lost brothers and sisters, it just makes good business sense to spend our resources on increasing the number of Jews that care about each other.

  39. chas visholom, never stop kiruv richokim that will bring moshiach if we are mikariv, hashem will be us mikariv.the only way the wrighter of these words will have a tikun will be if he or she is mikarev full force

  40. “There are frum people who have amassed fortunes numbering in the tens of millions. Each of them can step forward and save multiple mosdos and countless individual situations without affecting their great-great-great grandchildrens future prosperity. There is no lack of money; only a lack of generosity.”

    While I disagree with the letter-writer, I am appalled by statements like this comment. I am not personally aware of any “g’vir” who is giving less than maaser, and cannot believe he is slandering good, upstanding baaelei tzedoka this way. Seems no matter how much these people give, it is never enough.

  41. I dont know how to break it to you, geniuii, but if donr correctly the new baalei tshuva bring much more $$ into the community then is originally spent recruiting them in the first place..

    Since the vast majority of secular Jews interested in learning about Judiasm are college educated professionals with high paying jobs

  42. number 8
    Because that guy in Yehupetz is as Jewish as you are and hakadosh Barouch Hu loves him as much as he loves you.
    Im not saying its more important that supporting you but i dont see how its any less.

  43. number 32
    If you were one of the supporters you can ask to see numbers and if you were a supporter you probably did see numbers but let me try to understand
    You want to see an institutions numbers to decide if ANOTHER person should be giving them their money????
    I hope its me that’s just missing something here

  44. I was shocked to read the article and comments criticizing the “kiruv movement.” If I am not mistaken, kiruv rechokim is comparable to pidyon shevuyim about which the Rambam writes (Hilchos Matnot Aniyim 8:12)

    “The redeeming of captives takes precedence over the feeding and clothing of the poor. Indeed there is no religious duty more meritorious than the redeeming of captives, for not only is the captive included in the generality of the hungry, the thirsty, and the naked, but his very life is in jeopardy. He who turns his eyes away from redeeming him, transgresses the commandments: You shalt not harden your heart, nor shut your hand (Deut. 15:7), Neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor (Lev. 19:16), and He shall not rule with rigor over him in your sight (Lev. 25:53). Moreover, he nullifies the commandments: You shall surely open your hand unto him (Deut. 15:8), That your brother may live with you (Lev. 25:36), You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18), Deliver them that are drawn unto death (Prov. 24:11), and many similar admonitions. To sum up, there is no religious duty greater (Mitzvah Rabba) than the redeeming of captives.”

    In this case, the “captives” are those people with little or no Jewish background who are intermarrying at roughly a 60% rate.

    I personally know hundreds of “regular” frum bnai torah who started out as baalei teshuvah and went on to learn in yeshivos and kollelim and who have children who have done the same. In fact, I can think of school rabbeim, rabbonim, poskim, roshei yeshiva and roshei kollel who are both baalei teshuvah and wonderful role models in communities across the world. This is without mentioning their their spouses, (many of whom are also baalos teshuva), the nashim tzidkaniyos who support their efforts, raise their children and contribute greatly to klal yisroel. Where would we be without this vital contribution to klal yisroel?

    As we embark on a new year, I also want to remind the author of this letter the gemara in Berachos (34b) that states “b’makom sh’baalei teshuvah omdim …” (In the place where baalei teshuva stand, even the perfectly righteous cannot stand).

    In just a week we will all stand before Hashem and plead our case. On Rosh Hashanah, all of klal yisroel will read the story of the Akeidah, blow the shofar, and ask Hashem to have mercy on us in the merit of Avraham Avinu who was willing to sacrifice his son for kavod shomayim.

    May I remind you that Avraham Avinu was a baal teshuvah?

    I agree that it is vitally important to prioritize our tzedaka. Thus, instead of decreasing our support for kiruv rechokim, we should actually increase our support for kiruv rechokim as we share in the zechus of every mitzvah performed by someone we influence.

    Best wishes for a kesivah, v’chasimah tovah and I hope that you will retract your letter and rethink your position.

  45. Most of the money donated to KIRUV organizations particularly would never touch the pockets of other Tzedekah organizations.
    EX: If Birthright closes, that huge sum of $$$$$ is not going to support poor families, mosdos which are failing or shul programs. Perhaps it would go to Jewish hospitals or Jewish studies programs..

  46. I’m not sure whether you’re right or not, but this is certainly a very new and interesting poing to think about.

    I’m not comfortable with the idea of Mosdos and Tzedakahs acting like a business.

  47. 11,16,33-thank u for the mare mekomos beutiful
    just wanted to add kiruv rechokim a) the altimate “ahavas chinum” a person can show for another yid b)hashovas eveida of alost yiddeshe neshoma to hashem yisborech c)ayid is responsibble to feed another hungry gif kal vchomer how much more it has to feed a hungry neshoma

  48. Perhaps not supporting the kerovim is causing people to go off the derech. It’s very simple: Families that have huge financial burdens often have major shalom bayis problems, which lead to dysfunctional homes. As a result, the children have issues and leave the derech.

    And to the commenter who said that the writer has a lack of Emuna and Bitachon – get a clue! Hashem specifically gives some people more money and some people less money so that the rich can help the poor! So you won’t give them the money because hey, Hashem will give them what they deserve anyway?

    Show me one place where it says that money should go out of town before your own hometown. When the economy was booming a few years ago, fine. But plenty of people in New York and New Jersey need money, so show me where it says you support Baltimore first.

  49. Not sure if this all relevant because at the end of the day people donate money to where their hearts desire, but in reality if we dont but back on our kiruv tsuduku even for a short period of time, we will end up having many more closed down schools chas vishulom so its worth considering.

  50. I love all these silly ideas. Close all kiruv organizations and poof al those wealthy people will give out money to struggling families. Ha! Just like don’t allow out of town to collect in the five towns and poof all the wealthy individuals will give their money instead to local school.s Someone called for curbing trips to Uman, that will solve the tuition crisis. Close all hotels! Close all restaraunts! Wait, let’s close the gyms as well. Cut out sushi! If all the money spent on sushi was given to poor families, everything would be okay. Why not cut out cholov yisrael? Give all the money we save to poor families. In essence, a writer said before, these things even if true are only in theory.

  51. I have news for the author:
    Many of those brought closer by Kiruv are supporting our mosdos and Kollels. Don’t cut off the hand that feeds you! Many Mekuravim are well to do business men.

  52. Hey Alteh Bucher Time, I am practicing Toras Mishpacha as a direct result of Kiruv professionals in Toronto. I know DOZENS of people in my neigbourhood… stay tuned.

  53. I coudn’t agree more with the writer. Talmud Torah always comes first. There are specific Halachos regarding who to give tzedaka to, first. Who to give Maaser money to, first. We don’t give Tzedaka just because they have a good PR firm doing their advertizing (Are you listening Oorah?), or aggressive telemarketers. There are many good sefarim on this inyan. There is a great sefer, written by Rabbi Moshe Golberger Shlita entitled: Priorities in Tzedaka. Nu, halivuy we should be able to support all of these wonderful Organizations.

  54. “Let’s be honest: the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable”
    Do you mean that rav shach zt’l who supported lev lachim did not know halocha?
    does rav shteinamn who spoke in lakewood for lev lachim not know halocha?
    does rav chaim kanivesky who was twice video linked to lakewood for lev lachim not know halocha?
    Did arv Moshe feinstein , rav Yaakov kaminetsky< rav shimon shwab, Rav pam, rav neuschloss zatzals who endorsed oorah not know halocha?
    did the rosh yeshiva zatzal rav ahron kotler who started peylim not know halocha?
    from this quote that i started the comment with it is obvious that this writer never respected kiruv, and is using the current economic crisis as opurtnity to promote his agenda.

  55. The writer raises an important issue.

    What is gained if we get a few baalei teshuvah, but at the same time, frum people are turned off and lost because they are not assisted, since they are not as glamorous as baalei teshuvah?

    Let’s get our priorities straight.

  56. Obviously setting your child’s education at the highest priority is obvious.

    Kiruv i a win/win. You get someone who is committed (at worst marginally), and you have someone who becomes a philanthropist who supports Jewish causes by virtue of his abilities that he/she brings with them.

    Seems to me that KIRUV wins by a landslide with a net gain in numbers and contributors.



  58. I guess some of these writers never did kiruv and never met any baali teshuva. I’ve never heard of anything so narrow-minded.

  59. Why are you picking on kiruv??
    This is not a discussion for a layman.

    Who is to decide which neshama is more worth saving? That of a nonfrum Yid, or of a frum one?
    I don’t most of us are qualified to answer it

  60. The lack of concern for Klal Yisroel expressed by this article and the sanctimonious tone of many of the comments makes me think of what Rashi says on the words “Achein noda hadavar” – now I know why we’re in golus.

    “How can Talmidei Chachomim in America sit calmly and watch the spiritual holocaust that’s happening?! It means they don’t know what a Talmid Chochom is!” – R’ Shlomo Wolbe Zt”l

  61. Will the Yid who wrote the letter agree that he is not zerah Avraham Avinu? Achzarius !!! Is it jealousy? Gaivah? As for the Yidden lacking parnassah, they should fundraise and start a bingo or 50/50 lottery at their shul. Let them make money and not complain. Let them fundraise like the other worthy cuases. There is no lack of money out there. We are not poor. We just spend our cash for extravagant items in our kehillah. That is the problem.

  62. Maybe on diamond rings we could cut back on a little? Insted of a $5000 ring get a ring for $2000. Every 1000 kallahs would add an extra $500,000 to tzeduka!! And also maybe make smaller chassunas, can have 300 or 350 people and not 600 or 1000 people invited.

  63. I heard from an odom godol that kiruv rechokim is not hochacha and is actually like a form of techiyas hamaisim. If accomplished, it is certainly a great mitzva.

    Rav Avigdor Miller z”l said that it ia a bigger mitzva to induce a ben yeshivo to learn more on Chol Hamoed than to put tefilin on people.

    I have also heard that the highest form of tzedaka is supporting Kollelim and Yeshivos and it comes ahead of any other tzedoko.

    Kiruv rechokim probably gets a much larger share of tzedaka than other organization due the glamor and novelty and affirmation of our beliefs. It probably should be at the lower end of our priorities. However, I would be interested in hearing daas gedolei Yisroel in terms of kedimos.

  64. I leave such questions to Hashem. He has it all worked out. He wants us to do our best and leave it ALL up to HIM. We should all at the very least feel bad that our brothers & sisters are not frum. At least that.

    And what if the guy that becomes frum donates millions of dollars to a big yeshiva?

    What if Hashem has a plan on how to make sure Klal Yisroel does continue to have Yeshivas for our children?

    I don’t think you should try to play G-d.

  65. Lexus is a fancy Toyota, Acura a fancy Honda, Infinity a fancy Nissan if you get a fully loaded Avalon or Camry you will get a car just as good as a Lexus and still save hundreds a month on lease and insurance. It is fair to assume that a Baal Tzedaka has the means to get the lexus if we convince even a hundred Baalie Tzedka to drop the luxury nameplate but get the comparable fully loaded Toyota/Honda/Nissan instead, there will be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year more potentially available to Tzedaka. P.S. The European luxury brands such as Mercedes and land rover have for the past decade been repair prone and have very high maintenance costs. P.S.S. There was a story this past week on this very topic on the 880 business report how the rich are opting for the same car to save themselves a ton of money I.e. a fully loaded Toyota as opposed to a Lexus

  66. You clearly know nothing about Kiruv. Besides Lubavitch all other people involved in Kiruv dont go around putting Tefillin on people. They teach the pnemius of Yiddishkiet and eventually they become full fledged Torah Jews.

  67. This letter is written by someone who has no sense of what Klal Yisroel is supposed to be or look like, has no understanding of the responsibilities we Jews have for each other, has not been listening to Gedolai Poskim for centuries, has little knowledge of Talmud, Reshonim and Acharonim and I hope it is not reflective of any great number of Jews. In truth, Kiruv is not just Chovas haDor, it is encumbent on all of us, as per the Rambam in his definition of Ahavas HaShem and Tochacha, it is the reason that the Tzadikim were killed first during the Churban Bais HaMikdash and if we think that we erliche Yidden will survive due to our mitzvos, we may be, Rachmana Litzlan, in for a shock. Oye lanu meYom haDin. After 120 years, when we are asked “why didn’t you get involved with Kiruv? Why didn’t you support it?” if we answer that, “I was spending my money on direct need charities” I don’t think it will fly. HaShem wants His Children back. We have created a frum society that is not sustainable. We need to look again at the Mishna in Kidushin and figure out how to support ourselves. But to give up the support of Kiruv would be a big kitrug in Shomayim and don’t think HaShem will bless us with shefa while we ignore the majority of His children.

  68. i dont believe that the author of this article is serious, its just put out to get heavy responses,
    the fact is that hashem gives parnusah, and can’t control who has money and who doesn’t, are we going to investigate which tzedaka is worthy and which isn’t, if you dont want to give to a certain cause dont give.
    the outreach professionals should work in the heimishe crowd, there are a lot of confused jews.

  69. The highest form of Tzedaka is helping a person to become self sufficient so that they will not need tsedaka. We are talking about teaching skills, giving a person a job. This is from an Adam Gadol by the name of the RAMBAM.

  70. Berry Weber has a song Ki Ancnu Bnai Avruhum Yitchok Ve yakov. You should listen to it a few time. Maybe it will penetrate past your misguided thoughts. The word “KIRUV” Is like the letter “Hey” That Hashem used to create this world. Hashem gave the torah on one condition at Har Sini “Ke Ish Echod Belev Echod”. How dare you deepen the laseration between the “Frum and Fry”. My dear brother Moshiach aint coming for such a small crowd.God sees 11 million jewish souls floating around America. A measly million are Shomer Shaboss. Its your choice bring these back or wait till the frum duplicate to add up to more. As long as the amount of Shomer Shabbos jews fit into Israel Moshiach cant come. The Torah Tells us the Israel will have to stretch out to accommodate the amount of yidden at the Geula. I hope you have the zechusem to see much Nachas from your kids.

  71. I’m not one to post huge numbers nor to boast about them. What I can say is that there are three Jews who today are all married and raising frum families who would probably be married to goyim, and would definitely have nothing to do with Ha-shem and his torah if not for my having the zechus to be in kiruv.

    Two of them are earning very substantial livings, and will each be contributing tens of thousands of dollars a year in ma’aser, and one is now a Rebbe, teaching frum students, with the enthusiasm and joyful appreciation of Torah more often found by ba’ale teshuva then by regular FFBs, many of whom are only frum by default (I’m sure you’ve all heard of Rabbi Mechanics research!)

    Kiruv gives back so much more than it takes, that it’s laughable that anyone even wrote this!

    In addition, if the writer had any emunah whatsoever, he would realize that Ha-shem has more than enough in His coffers to sustain whoever He wants, however He wants.

    And like it was mentioned in another excellent comment, why don’t we just put Pesach hotels, and six-figure weddings on ice. For that matter why don’t we just say that anyone in kollel can’t drive a car less than six years old, can’t wear any designer clothes, can’t dress his kids in matching Shabbos Burberry outfits etc…

    As is clear not only from the writer, but also from the many comments in support of his ludicrous idea, we’re not suffering from a lack of money, we’re suffering from too many small minds…

  72. As a mekarev for 10 years, the ignorance of this post and some of the comments is astounding. First off I’m one small organization and we’ve sent more than 35 students to Yeshiva/Seminary from our “weekends of boys and girls hanging out.” 40 are now frum, including a few boys in the Mir EY.
    1)Half of all kiruv funding in the world comes from one or two families who are dedicated to kiruv. They aren’t giving the money to other places, so it isn’t a matter of either we give to kiruv or…
    2) Everyone would admit that chinuch is more important than kiruv, just as you’d admit that chinuch is more important than bikur Cholim. But you still give to Bikur Cholim. Kiruv should continue to get what it gets, a small slice of the tzedakah in the frum world’s pie. 80% of my organization’s money comes from modern Orthodox or secular people. We’re not taking much away from chinuch, aniyim, etc.

  73. Besides all the valid points raised here: one major one is missing, one that completely undermines the writer’s premise: Kiruv BRINGS IN TONS OF MONEY TO KLAL YISRAEL!!

    Do you know how much money those formerly secular Jews contribute to the FRUM community??

    These people have cumulatively given over a BILLION dollars to frum causes.

    Yet this TIPISH can’t stand kiruv……..

  74. ????? ?? ?? ?? ?? is not a Jewish concept that I’ve heard of.

    A false dichotomy is a circumstance where only two alternatives are considered, yet other options exist, but are ignored. This article is just that. Why is the question: Help hungry religious families OR support kiruv?

    Physical survival and spiritual survival are BOTH important causes. The callousness of entirely precluding one option for the other I think is abundantly apparent. The world has proven amply that it needs help with both of these problems.

    Before we accidentally polarize on this issue we have to ask ourselves a real question:
    Are we truly giving enough?

    Only then will we have a right for debates such as these.

  75. #32
    You asked us to comment so here we are!

    Most of my friends were not born religious and are now shomer Torah and Mitzvos because people took their time to see a bigger picture. Most of my siblings and cousins are frum now because of a kiruv organization.
    I think the luxury here is that the writer was born into a religious family. It is not my fault that Hashem put me into my situation, but it is your fault if you had the opportunity to change that for me and didn’t.
    Avraham Avinu gave his whole life to spreading the message of Torah and Mitzvos. So much so that when the melachim came to him in his tent, he stopped his nevuah with Hashem to feed them and mekarev them.
    There are countless mashels I could write here. I think we’re all missing the point on what being a Torah Jew is about. We should all be helping each other – NO MATTER IF YOU’RE FRUM OR NOT! You are not better than any of Hashem’s children because you were privileged enough to have a relationship with Hashem earlier than I did.

  76. A Public Call to All the Jewish People
    by The Gedolim of America and Eretz Yisroel
    The Gedolim of America and Eretz Yisroel Call Out in Unison

    “Hear the word of Hashem, you who tremble at His word:”
    (Yeshayahu 66:5)

    The situation of our brethren in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora is rapidly deteriorating. Inciters from both within and without are doing everything possible to uproot the Holy Torah and pure faith from our fellow Jews, leading them astray through seductive and false ideas. A devastating spiritual holocaust is claiming the souls of millions of Jews, who are assimilating among the gentiles (may Hashem protect us).

    We must not be silent at this hour. Rather, we must fortify ourselves, and learn and teach others how to draw hearts closer to Torah. As the Chafetz Chaim wrote: When one sees people drowning and doesn’t know how to save them, he must either hire people who do know how, or learn how himself!

    We therefore proclaim that a holy obligation rests upon each and every Jew to devote his energies and money to kiruv rechokim, through learning, teaching and financially supporting those already involved in this holy work. Except for full-time students of Torah, who strengthen the Jewish people and prevent them from falling (G-d forbid), absolutely no one is exempt. We have personally witnessed the tremendous success of those active in this field who have saved tens of thousands of Jews from spiritual destruction. Most of the Jewish people are still wandering in the darkness, however, and it rests upon us to bring them into the light.

    In the merit of this mitzvah, may Hashem hasten our redemption and our salvation, and send us speedily Eliyahu HaNovi. May we see the fulfillment of the verse: “He shall return the heart of parents to children and the heart of children to their parents.” And may we merit to see the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu speedily in our days, Amen.

    Signed for the honor of the Holy One Blessed Be He and His Torah,
    HaRav HaGaon Shmuel Birenbaum
    HaRav HaGaon Matisiyahu Chaim Solomon
    HaRav HaGaon Yaakov Perlow
    HaRav HaGaon Aaron Moshe Shechter
    I add my voice, HaRav HaGaon Yosef Shalom Elyashiv
    HaRav HaGaon Aharon Leib Shteinman

    Erev Rosh Ha’Shana, 5765 (September, 2004)

  77. Preparing for the Days of Awe
    by Rabbi Yisachar Dov Rokeach, Shlit a (The Belzer Rebbe)
    We all have a lot to do before the holidays begin. The Belzer Rebbe, Shlit”a, gives a few good reasons to make sure that kiruv rechokim is on your list.

    Motzei Shemini Atzeres, 5757 (October 5, 1996)

    “… In the month of Tishrei, we pray constantly for G-d to reveal His glorious malchus (sovereignty). In the musaf services of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we include this familiar prayer (from Aleinu): ‘Therefore we put our hope in You, Hashem our G-d, that we may soon see Your mighty splendor… to perfect the universe through the Almighty’s sovereignty. Then all humanity will call upon Your name, to turn all the wicked people of the earth toward You. All the world’s inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend… And they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship.’ Think about what this prayer implies.

    We know that the mitzvos and good deeds that the Jewish people perform create a crown for the Almighty. This is particularly true with respect to those deeds that we perform during the holy month of Tishrei. When fashioning a crown for a king, the objective is to produce something magnificent and extraordinary. Therefore it is customary to seek out precious stones and rare gems that are buried deep in the earth in far away places. It is necessary to mine the depths of the earth in order to extract these jewels, which need to be cleansed and polished from the mud. Finally, these treasures are inlaid in the king’s crown. If the craftsmen would use common stones that are easy to acquire, the result would be ordinary. It would be a dishonor to the king.

    It works the same way with the Supreme King, with G-d’s crown. We must seek out precious stones in far away places, distant and despondent souls, and bring them closer. The royal crown needs to be built with them. This is the meaning of the prayer that we say on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, ‘And the distant ones will hear, and they will come, and they will present You with a royal crown.’ G-d’s crown will only be complete when the distant ones declare His sovereignty.

    Sparks of holiness are all around us. These holy souls have drifted so far away from their source that they have become opaque, dark, and filthy. But ultimately, they are holy souls, precious souls, souls that derive from Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yakov. How can we remain indifferent to them? How can we withhold any of our personal resources from those people who are involved inkiruv rechokim? They need our financial assistance and they need our direct participation, which is far more valuable than money. Even though it is obvious that a person should not put his own spiritual wellbeing in danger in order to strengthen others, how can we possibly remain passive when thousands of unaffiliated Jews are yearning, thirsting, and starving to hear the word of G-d?

    We are still standing in the days of teshuva. Dovid Ha’melech wrote in his own song of repentance (Tehillim, 51:15), ‘Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall repent to You.’ Guiding others is one of the most important corrective exercises in our own teshuva processes (See Sharei Teshuva, 1:50).

    Imagine if an individual missed the proper time for kriyas shema one day, G-d forbid, or neglected to study Torah or put on his tefilin for an entire day. The Gemara (Brachos, 26a) considers these transgressions to be irreparable. There is no way to replace what is missing because each of these obligations reoccurs daily. There is a new and different commandment to perform these duties tomorrow… However, when we return unaffiliated Jews to G-d-‘I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall repent to You,’ and we enable them to recite kriyas shema, study Torah, and wear tefilin, we can compensate for what we are missing.

    In addition to this, throughout the entire month of Tishrei our holy teachers would discuss the various ways to repair the transgression of chillul Hashem. This practice is rooted in the Zohar (Volume 3, 231a), which says that the judgment of Rosh Hashanah focuses primarily on the transgression of chillul Hashem. So let’s ask ourselves: Is there anything in the world that brings greater honor to the Almighty and causes greater kiddush Hashem than kiruv rechokim?

    I do not want to speak at length right now. Most of you are already aware of the Rambam’s entry in the Sefer Ha’mitzvos (mitzvas aseh 3) regarding the obligation to love G-d. (The Rambam explains that a person who loves G-d will naturally strive to bring other people closer to Him.) You know what is written in Ohr Ha’yashar (amud ha’Torah, Chapter 8): ‘People of Torah who fear the word of G-d have an obligation to look after sinners and redirect them toward the proper path. This concept is elucidated by the Zohar (Volume 2, 129a): The reward that a person receives for bringing people back to the Almighty’s service is completely immeasurable… It is an even greater mitzvah than providing charity for the poor… And with his efforts, he elevates G-d’s throne, fortunate is he and fortunate is his lot.’

    You also know the words of the Chovos Ha’levavos (Sha’ar Ahavas Hashem, Chapter 6): ‘My brothers, it behooves you to know that the merits of a person, even a person who purified himself to the greatest degree possible, a person who is nearly as perfect as the angels in character, manners, devotion, and love of G-d, are not comparable to the merits of a person who brings wicked people back to the service of the Creator. This is because the second person is constantly accruing additional merit for the deeds of the people that he assisted…’

    It says in the Torah: ‘On the eighth day, it will be an atzeres for you.’ Onkelos translates the verse to mean that it will be a time of gathering. Is it referring to a shul gathering or a family gathering? Clearly it is referring to a time when all the sparks of holiness will be united together. This is the task on Shemini Atzeres-‘Draw our scattered ones near from among the nations, and bring in our dispersions from the ends of the earth.’ If we will collect those distant souls that are in front of our eyes and return them to the Almighty, then in heaven they will gather all the dispersed holy sparks and return them to their source.”

    For more material in Hebrew, click here for a kuntrus written by the Belzer Rebbe.

  78. This is an issue of people not being real with the situation facing the Jewish People today. What frum home doesn’t want to know what it really means to experience shabbos, the way we will when all yidden are shomer shabbos? What frum yidden have so little faith in Hashem that they can see am yisrael as fat to cut as opposed to Hashem’s lost children???

    I am a ba’alas tshuva- and so are all my friends: they are married and frum and are raising frum children and they give tzeddakah AND they do kiruv. And there are MORE than 10 of us….a LOT more.
    The Rabbi who dedicated his life to bringing back people like us, who just didn’t know what Torah was or what it meant to lead a Jewish life, sleeps on the same sheets he had as a child, because his priority for money lies in helping the Jewish people, not spending on what many of us call basics and what he calls luxury. He receives a call every so often to let him know his salary wont be coming in again- and he charges his shabbos meals for secular Jews who would otherwise not eat a kosher meal or learn a thing or hang out with another Jew to a credit card that will eventually get paid because he knows Hashem looks after those who look after His children.

    What is the state of frum yidden where in a time where Hashem has decided to withhold money we point fingers at each other, and set a value to people?

    Kiruv workers are heroes: they are the firemen pulling our families out of a collapsing building. The question is, aside from complaining, what are the rest of us doing???

  79. 1. Our organization alone employs tens of Kollel yungerleit in various teaching positions.
    2. NONE of our funding comes from traditional frummer sources.
    3. The scribbler of this sophomoric piece should visit the Gedolim who encouraged me (i.e. Reb Matisyahu Solomon Shlita, etc.) to embark on this path as to the great importance of this mitzvah.

  80. This is in response to # 86,

    “You clearly know nothing about Kiruv. Besides Lubavitch all other people involved in Kiruv dont go around putting Tefillin on people. They teach the pnemius of Yiddishkiet and eventually they become full fledged Torah Jews.”

    I am sure that I know more about kiruv than you because I have a son who does it full time.

    Your fantasy of the pnimius transmitted to those that have tefilin put on this is laughable. How many goyim have you put tefilin on? The Jews are told nothing but are just wrapped in the tefilin and the vast majority don’t change at all. To anyone that has the slightest rayach of Torah, a talmid chochom learning more is an order of magnitude higher mitzva than a number of mechalilai shabbos putting on tefilin.

    Hashem has put the Torah first and anyone who puts anything else ahead of it is not practicing Judaism.

  81. hmmm some figures im going to throw out.
    1) Pizza
    At $15 a pie, twice a month=I just saved you $360/year
    2)Bar Mitzva.
    This can be made in a shul hall, and not in a fancy hall.(homemade food saves you thousands more)
    Saved you $1000 on hall and $300 on band.
    You can also buy Teffilin for $6-700. Very Mehudar! (Reb Elyashiv holds that most extreme hidurim are a waste of money) Saved another $500

    3) Girls clothes
    3 Juicy sweatshirts $80 each=$240/year
    Designer school bags $50/year
    Designer shoes etc $500
    $30 headbands/10=$300/year (because how can you wear last years headbands)

    4) Gifts for other’s Simchos.
    $30 arrangement for a baby. 5/year.
    or cute little $5 outfit from carters on clearance. saved you $135.
    Add in all presents for Bar Mitzvahs. There is no need to buy sefarim (that the kid is not going to learn (like Chidushei Reb Akiva Eiger-no offense to him obviously)
    Chofetz chiam Al hatorah is >$10
    Saved you hundreds more!
    Why are Boys getting watches ($100’s) Ipods (more $100’s) for a Bar Mitzvah?

    5) Turn off A.C. when you are not home. Teach the kids where the on button is so they can use it when they come home.
    Turn off lights when no one is home.
    Saved you hundred$ more!

    6) you can lease cars for $150/month.
    Way way cheaper than buying a used one for $10,000.
    Cheaper on gas and cheaper on repairs.

    (the next piece of advice is controversial and will get people really mad!)
    you probably live in an in town community. That makes your mortgage somewhere between $2500-$7/8/9/10000 a month.
    Move somewhere cheaper and save $50,000 or more per year (for a much bigger, newer, nicer house).
    Also tuition is WAY WAY WAY cheaper in smaller communities

    Mr Letter Writer!

    Between eating out, designer clothing for kids, and simchah gifts, Ive saved you THOUSANDS/year.

    Its OK! I don’t charge for my advice.

    Your issue is not Kiruv, its your high expenses.
    Get them taken care off.
    Not saying that pernossah is easy but if you are making $80,000/year with expenses of $80,000, its easier than making $80,000 and having expenses of $150,000!

  82. This is complete nonsense for teh following reason- FRUM PEOPLE ARE GIVING PEANUTS TO KIRUV ANYWAYS!!! Ask any Kiruv organization where they get their funds from, and generally the largest amount of solicited funds are from the people with whom they learn.

    Moreover, the vast amount of Kiruv in North America is sponsored by the Wolfson Family who give over $100million a year. It is their dedication to this cause that is propelling almost everything happening today in Kiruv.

    And who are you to preach to them???

    I was saying that Lubavitch are the only ones putting tefillin on unaffiliated Jews. All the real Kiruv orgs teach them Torah first and once they feel ready they move on to practical mitzvah observance.

  84. I’d like to know how much the author of this pathetic article (who refuses to even identify himself!) actually was giving to Kiruv before he was hit with this gevaldika brainstorm.

    Somehow I am not convinced that it was a tremendous amount…..

  85. In the spirit of this well thought out rant there are quite a number of additional costly initiatives that can be put on ice:
    1. Hatzolah – simply call 911
    2. Yeshivos – try homeschooling
    3. Bais Yaakovs – not necessary
    4. Seminaries – for obvious reasons
    5. Shomrim – just yell chaptzem
    6. Kupas HaIr – oops that one IS important!!!

  86. Very litle frum money goes for Kiruv at all. Most Kiruv organizations are being supported by R’ Zev Wolfson (who btw is supporting many other mosodos as well) or raise money from their alumni. The issue here is not WHERE to give our charity, its that we need ti give MORE charity!

  87. #36-Shua Cohen- perhaps you don’t understand the ramifications of bias haMoshiach…Teshuva is the single most amazing force after Creation itself (see Rabbeinu Yonah, Pachad Yitzchok).
    Look at the parshiyos right now prior to Yamim Noraim, it’s the nevuah that Klal Yisroel will do teshuva in achris hayamim, the kiruv movement is it’s evidence!
    You have it backwards my friend.
    It may be shocking news to you, but the goyim will do teshuva also, umalah haaretz daeh!

  88. might I suggest: reduce spending for lavish chasunahs & bar mitzvas, eliminate cruises & lavish Pesach vacations, drive less fancy cars, have more modest homes…this might help free up a few extra bucks for tzedaka and certainly for Pesach you’ll be supporting your local merchants & their families.

  89. 110,

    It doesn’t change the point that Rabbi Miller felt that learning was more important than kiruv.

    I’ve never seen kirus on any list of tzedaka priorities. Perhaps it belongs there but I would need to know where it fits. It certainly isn’t the top.

  90. All Torah schools and organizations are kiruv organizations. How can one person say his Yiddishkeit is better than someone else’s? We all need to be drawn closer to Hashem. You don’t know what is in someone else’s heart when it comes to Yiddishkeit. There is no accounting when it comes to who gets money based on observance: We are all in the same boat. Each Jewish person is a part of Hashem Above mamosh and we are all the same distance from Hashem.

    By the way, putting on Tefillin on non-frum Jews has caused many to return to full observance. There are many instances of that. Remember that it says mitzvah gorgers mitzvah.

  91. Throughout the many years that I have been privileged to look at Torahdike periodicals and Internet sites, I have never been so profoundly shocked as I was today when I turned on and came to this entry. For I have never seen a article — and the several comments here that agreed with it — that was so cruelly mean and outright wicked as this vile piece of venom!

    To quote you Mr. “Concerned for Our Future”:

    “Let’s be honest: the halachic basis for kiruv is questionable, and the success rate of kiruv is questionable as well.”.

    “I find it very difficult to justify programs for adults and children, many of whom will never become frum . . . ”

    ” . . . the “kiruv rechokim” movement is a luxury we cannot afford at this time.”

    Then, to really top it off, Comment #8. from Mr. “Tell Me Why This Letter Writer is Wrong, Because He is Right,” far out did you Mr. “Concerned for Our Future” in thick hatred of the Kiruv scene:

    ” . . . I must agree with this letter. Anyone who disagrees has to explain to me why being mekarev some guy in Yehupetz is more important than supporting a regular frum family.”

    “Some guy in Yehupetz,” “some guy in Yehupetz,” “some guy in Yehupetz” — Mr. “Tell Me Why This Letter Writer is Wrong, Because He is Right,” THIS IS HOW YOU REFER TO A FELLOW BROTHER JEW – A FELLOW DESCENDANT OF AVROHAM, YITZCHAK, V’YAAKOV?????

    I was though, extremely gladly heartened to see the very many excellent comments posted here that wonderfully related the truth about the Kiruv world.

    Specifically, I was heartened at Comments #s 100. & 101. from Mr. “Anonymous,” which presented the actual texts of statements from contemporary Gedolay Torah — including the Halachic, I repeat, yes, the HALACHIC Poseik HaDor, HaRav HaGaon Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Sh’lita — that explained at great length the extremely crucial obligations that we have of Kiruv.

    I was further heartened by Comments #108. from Mr. “WHAT FRUM MONEY IS GOING TO KIRUV??” and #113. from Mr. “Ummmm,” and by Comments #82. from Mr. “Shmeel,” #85. from Mr. “anon/even worse then pesach hotels,” #107. from Mr. “wow,” and #115 from Mr. “kulanu chachamim.” For they reveal the TOTAL LIES of the arguments of Mr. “Concerned for Our Future” and Mr. “Tell Me Why This Letter Writer is Wrong, Because He is Right.”

    The question is NOT should we frum Jews give a charity dollar to a rabbi who is teaching Torah to a non-frum Jew, or, should we give the dollar to the rabbi who is teaching Torah to a frum Jew?

    Furthermore, the reason why you Mr. “Tell Me Why This Letter Writer is Wrong, Because He is Right” “don’t have money to put food on the table,” and the reason why “(frum) families are starving and yeshivos are closing,” is NOT because all of the frum communities’ charity funds are being “embezzled” to pay for “worthless” kiruv projects!

    The reason why “(frum) families are starving and yeshivos are closing,” and there are almost no charity funds available to help them,


  92. Most of the money supporting kiruv here comes from donors that would not otherwise be giving their money to the frum community. So the kiruv organizations are giving those yidden a huge opportunity to do a huge mitzvah- possibly acquiring their olam haba! Secondly when I look at the day schools today- across the board from the modern to the chedarim- I see SO many kids from BT homes. Where would our communities be now without these families contributing so much in so many ways both financial and otherwise. B”H for those organizations that identify with Hashem as a Father whose children have strayed. Anyone with a child that has strayed can understand the depth of His suffering and would not question the need to do something, anything to bring them back.

  93. All of you who agree with this article who are supposedly “frum” couldn’t possibly be!
    If you were actually frum, you would have a relationship with Hashem and know that Torah is life!!! If you have these two things you would want everyone else in the world to have them and would do your best to help that happen! You would know the pain of the distance between Hashem and his children and you would only want the neshamas in this world to know Torah and their creator.

    Shame on you for being so selfish but we all know that Hashem is the true judge and only He knows what your relationships with Him are like.

  94. Dear Mr Feldman,

    Although I agree with you regarding your feelings about funding kiruv mosdos; your final comment regarding how people of means should or should not spend their hard earned money is not your concern. Thank G-d we live in a democracy; a place where free people in a free market are able to invest and earn and or possibly lose.
    People can decide which tsedakot they want to support and which they don’t. They even have the right to spend it on themselves any way they want. It is not their responsability to fund every tsedaka you think they should.

  95. Let’s make sure everyone that can afford to is giving the requisite 20% of their income as maaser and all our community financial problems will go away. People are way too lavish with their money on themselves and way too spartan when spending on mitzvos where they see no immediate personal benefit.

  96. To dkahana,

    What communist country do you live in?
    You must be a democrat who voted for Obama.
    All people need to make high quality decisions as it relates to their finances and their families. People need to be fiscally prudent. You can’t just pin everything on people who are successful and expect them to bail everyone else out.

  97. Kiruv makes money for the Jewish People. Each new family can bring in easy 10000$ to 20000$ in benifits to community…
    What we need is a VAT Tax, tax every new house sold. let someone who gains spends money , spend an extra 10% . 10% on every new car, make a list of things and pay taxes to your local Rav and let him use the money for whatever he wants!!! that is real emunas hachamim…

  98. Hey Mandy, I’ll take Alter Bachur’s challenge. If I can count you, 9 more to go…8,7,6…
    Yup. I know at least 10 couples with at least one being a product. And I live in a town whose community pillars are products of that organization or similar ones, and now that their children are in the parasha, I would run to make a shidduch with them if I had children of age who would be good matches.

  99. this is a very small minded and shortsighted perspective on kiruv. Aside from the lishma aspect and showing true care for our brothers and sisters in spiritual need (is there not a spiritual holocaust going on???), take a look at cities where there are successful kiruv initiatives going on. The city that I grew up in, has just that and millions of dollars annually which once upon a time weren’t “frum” $$ are being channeled into schools, yeshivos, chesed organizations, kosher establishments, etc. thus adding to the overall finances of the community.

  100. I would like to invite Mr. Concerned to my house for shabbos.
    He clearly is not aware of the importance of kiruv and I would like to show him.
    Come visit my small out-of-town community where almost none of the members of our shul were frum 15 years ago.
    Let him visit our day school where 85 yidishe neshamos learn torah every day.
    Let him visit our yeshiva where both our local boys (children of baalei teshuva) and many kids who were not accepted in larger comunities are able to thrive and become bnai torah.
    Let him visit our girls high school where once again, we have girls from some of the larges, frummest communities who need kiruv and don’t get it in their communities.
    Let him come to our bais medrash on Shabbos afternoon and see close to 50 people sitting and learning. Let him walk around the bais medrahs and ask the people how long they have been frum for and if they would be here without the work of kiruv organizations.
    Let him accompany one of our kiruv rabbis to public school to have breakfast with 30 unaffiliated Jewish kids who have 1 hour of Torah in their week.
    Let him meet with families who have given up their huge homes in suburban communities to move into town houses on crouwded lots in order to walk to shul on shabbos.
    Let him then get up in shul and read this letter to the faces of all these people whom he would rather not have in a shul.
    I mean it, respond to this post and I will have you for shabbos as soon as you can.

  101. Dear Mr. Sheldon:

    Thank you for your good observation in your comment to me in #122 and your comment to Mr. dkahana in #124.

    The main intent of my closing remark about people of financial means wasting their money on unnecessary luxaries was not to try to boss them about what they should do with their money. Rather, my main intent was to expose the outright VICIOUS LIE that this wicked article (and a few comments that agreed with it) had implied that money spent on Kiruv was taking away the money that was needed to support yeshivos and starving frum families.

    At the same time, it is very well known how HaShem, in His Torah HaKdosha, very strongly requires everyone to give Tzedaka. He clearly tells us that He demands that the person whom He blessed with wealth, must use some of that wealth to assist those other people whom He (in His infinite wisdom) did not give wealth but rather afliction of destitute poverty. This principle is well recognized in the outside world too. A rich person who “hogs” all the money for himself and refuses to help anyone else is greatly despised. He is called “selfish,” a “cheapscape,” a “tightwad,” and a “miser”!

    What you, Sheldon, did correctly point out though, is that in the Halachos of Teruma, Ma’asros, and Tzedaka, there is the rule called “Tovas Hana’a.” This rule is that when the owner of the farm is giving the Teruma part of his produce to a Kohein and the Ma’aser part of his produce to a Levi, and when the rich man is giving charity to a poor man, they have the full option TO CHOOSE — WHICH Kohein and WHICH Levi and WHICH poor man they want to give to.

  102. (continuation of previous comment)

    HaShem in His Torah HaKdosha further teaches us that of everything He gives us, we must not waste anything!

    So after we have properly given all the Terumos, and the Ma’asros and the charity, even with those parts of the produce and the wealth that HaShem permits us to use for our own needs, He instructs us that we must USE THEM WISELY AND NOT WASTE ANYTHING. If we feel that we have some “extra” money, if we feel that we have “so much money that we do not know what to do with it,” if we feel that we have “money to burn,” then NO!! Do NOT do what the super rich were famous for doing of “wrapping their cigars in $100 bills” or “using dollar bills for matches”!!

    Instead, if we have extra money that we are ready to use for something useless, then intead of using it useless, (even though we already gave our Tzedaka-Ma’aser requirements), use that money TOO for Tzedaka!

  103. (continuation of previous comment)

    This point, about giving extra money to Tzedaka instead of throwing it away, was mentioned right here in many of the comments. Furthermore, for many decades, our Gedolay Torah have vehemently condemned this phenomenon of wasting many tens of thousands and even many hundreds of thousands of dollars on needless super extravigant weddings. To the Ba’al Simchos who feel that they have such large amounts of money that they can thus throw out, the Gedolim sharply respond: “Let them (instead) give the money to Tzedaka!”

    One year, I am pretty sure it was 1986, I was privileged to attend the annual convention of Agudas Yisroel. On Shabbos evening, between Kabales Shabbos and Ma’ariv, the Noveminsker Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Perlow, Shl’ita, gave a sermon. He spoke about the problem of extravigant weddings AND HE WAS FURIOUS!! I can never forget how he angrily exclaimed that if people would only take the money they are throwing out on the weddings and instead give it to Tzedaka, then we could do so much to reach out to our non-observant Jewish bretheren “and we could make yeshivas for them!!”

    On that Shabbos afternoon, at Shalosh Seudos, L’Havdil Bein Chaim L’Chaim, Rav Avroham Yaakov Pam, ZT’L, gave a sermon. He discussed the severe problem of the countless Jewish children who know nothing about Torah and thus desperately need special schools to teach them and the large amounts of money that are needed for such operations. Over and over again, he thus empathetically exclaimed: “How can people keep ‘Otzros’ (‘treasure houses,’ obviously a sarcastic term for ‘bank savings accounts’) when there are thousands of Jewish children who need to be brought back to Torah!!” “How can people keep ‘Otzros’ when there are thousands of Jewish children who need to be brought back to Torah!!” “How can people keep ‘Otzros’ when there are thousands of Jewish children who need to be brought back to Torah!!”

  104. I read these comments and I have to thank the TANENBAUM MISHPUCHA OF CANADA fo their contribution to my old Yeshivah. Joseph Tanenbaum ZTZL and his children are TZADIKIM for spending so much money over the decades to support Yeshivas for Baalei Teshuvah. I owe what ever Torah I learned to them for getting me a decent start in Torah learning. (Yes and to so many other unknown families for their tzadakah donations too). I am still working on Teshuvah but I am smart enough to know that I would be nowhere without their help. Thank you. Always remember what Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshiska said: I could easily perform Techias HaMeisim, but raising the living is much more difficult. RAchmana Liba Bai. HKBH wants the heart !!! Not unnecessary frumkeit and narishkeit.

  105. Dear Mr. Feldman,

    I wish to reiterate, I fully believe in the importance of kiruv and fully recognize that it should be supported. I was a member of NCSY and I have attended lectures at Aish in Jerusalem. My wife is a Baalat Tshuva.

    What I oppose is your pontification of what you think people should give. Mr. Feldman, What do you do for a living? What risks do you take in order to make your income? How many years of training did it take you to be able to make your living? What could happen if what you do goes wrong? What are your levels of responsability can you tolerate? How many hours a day do you put in? Do you think it is approriate to benchmark off of an occupation of agriculture to todays risk levels?

    People are entitled to spend their money how they want. Hopfully the person knows and appreciates their obligations of tsedaka. People can take their vacations anyway they want. Most of these people work sohard that they need to unwind.
    I will take a different approach. People of need can not sit back and rely solely on the community to take care of them. They need act just as prudently as people of means.

    BTW you don’t know what is standard for some people may be excess for someone else. It is not for you to be judge, jury, executioner and pontificator. Stop being a frumometer judging other people. Maybe you need to be focusing on your spending habits and let other people deal with their own spending.

  106. Quite frankly I think the guy who wrote this letter needs a long cold shower.

    # 1 – There are as many baalei tshuvah and balei tshuvah organzations struggling financially as there are frum. This is a simple fact of reality.

    # 2 – The basis for kiruv rechokim is not questionable – that is a ludicrous statement. It is also one I might add that shows a very cruel disposition towards other Jews.

    # 3 – In as much as this position apparently represents many other frum yidden who have responded to this letter I will only say that Hashem says – “li hakesef v’li hazahav ne’um Hashem”. Hashem has all of the money in the universe. The shortage of funds we are experiencing now is coming from Him. Why is He not giving it to us????? Maybe it has something to do with our actions, and beliefs? Maybe we are not finding favor in His eyes? Every Jew (regardless of his present matzav) is part of “banim atem l’Hashem Elokeichem”. Is there any one cruel enough to say let me put my son Moshe’s need ON ICE for a few years since after all he is wayward and doesn’t show me respect, and put all of my time and energy into my son Shlomi because after all he is respectful to me and doing what I want from him???

    If the writer of this article expects to be able to save yeshivos and families only to be able to pass his terribly cruel and ultimately warped value system on to the next generation than quite frankly I think it makes much more sense for Hashem to flush the frum world down the toilet and just put all of His resources into the kiruv movement. At least when you build a person from scratch you end up with a Jew who has correct Jewish values and appropriate compassion for other Jews which is the only way we will get out of this bitter galus anyway.

  107. Dear Mr. Sheldon:

    Thank you again for your very insightful remark to my response.


    All that I did say was the following two points, which, incidently, very many of the other comments posted here already alluded to:

    1.) There is an obligation of giving charity, and that this obligation is recognized throughout the world. I did also strongly point out though, that, just like you said, the giver of charity HAS THE FULL CHOICE of whom he wants to give to.

    2.) With the money that a person reserves for himself, he must use it wisely and not waste anything. Now, I am sure that you and every person who has worked very hard to, Boruch HaShem, make a lot of money will agree with this one 1,000%!!! And not just “agree,” for you and every person who has worked very hard to, Boruch HaShem, make a lot of money, will empathetically give everyone who needs to hear it, a sharp lecture about how you and they were always extremely careful with your/their money to never waste even a penny!!!

    Now, if something — like the example you mentioned, a vacation trip — is needed, then, of course, it is needed and is a constructive endeavor, and is not, Chas V’Shalom, wasting money at all!

    Now the problem of the super-super-super-over-extravagant weddings & Bar Mitzvas is not my words. As I mentioned, for several decades our Gedolay Torah have strongly spoken out against it. Furthermore, even in the non-Orthodox world, it is strongly condemned. Already several decades ago, they made up a famous magnificent joke about it. The title is “THE BAR MITZVA SEFARI”; I once wrote it out in a comment here at:, in Comment #10.

  108. My mother became frum through NCSY. Her brother followed her lead a couple years later.
    Myself, my siblings and my cousins are now ALL in yeshiva due to kiruv. I will iy”h be going to beis medrash after I finish mesivta, do to the selfless actions of kiruv activists about 30 years ago when the “kiruv movement” wasn’t yet so powerful.

  109. Dear Mr. Feldman,

    I wish you a Ktiva VaChatima Tova. Maybe one day we will meet and we can discuss our ideas over a cup of coffee. I hope you don’t think that this pleasure is too extravagant.

  110. Alte Bachur

    All this discussion has caused me to think of conducting an informal survey in the Bais Yakov I attended just so I can get a statistic. You really can’t know whether someone came from a BT unless you know them well. My mother is a BT and nobody has ever made any attempts to hide it, but nobody would guess. I am a typical Bais Yakov graduate, if not more frum than my peers. I have quite a number of friends who can say the same.

    My point: There are TONS of frume yidden who have been brought back to Yiddeshkeit that you don’t even know about. I would venture to say that at least a quarter of my classmates come from a BT.

    But besides for that, I can’t help but think of how this affects me personally. Imagine if I were born not frum! It hurts me to even think about it. B”H, the kiruv org made all those efforts and my mother made all the sacrifices that she did so I can lead this way of life.

  111. What your mother didn’t tell you is that one day when its time to find a shidduch the other side will find out your mother is a bt and then they won’t want you for their son.

    I can tell you that you shouldn’t let that bother you though.

    There is a sickness in klal israel. It is so deep and unfortunately wide spread and believe me you don’t want to “get it” from them. Keep Torah and Mitzvos with Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Hashem and do what is tov v’yashar in the eyes of Hashem and in a few more generations hopefully it will be healed as the BT movement continues to bring fresh life and a healthy perspective into Klal Israel and this broken venemous hashkafah spews its last poisonous flames before it goes down into the abyss where it came from.

    Hashem will not tolerate this sinas chinam forever. The FFB people with that feeling of entitlement and snobbiness can’t last. Hashem just doesn’t want anything to do with people who are snobby and arrogant. “Family Purity” is the politically correct term they have conjured up to make it sound “righteous” that they are pussiling the shidduch with the children of BT parents.

    The only question left is whether we should be putting more money into doing kiruv on the FFB’s to save them from this bitter downfall or on the Jews who don’t know what the letter alef is because they were born in “YEHUPETZ” as one earlier commentor so put it. Quite frankly I pick the unaffiliated because it is much easier and proven much more succesful. To get an unaffiliated Jew who doesn’t know anything to being a ben torah has proven to take about 5 years of work and about 75,000$. To get the FFB’s with their arrogent snobby attitude and their sinas chinam has taken Hashem thousands of years and endless expense including bloody pogroms and a holocaust and they just won’t let go. That’s what I call a failed investment.

  112. If anything, kiruv brings in people with actual educations, who hold actual jobs. Without an influx of BTs who actually have educations and jobs, this whole operation will collapse under its own weight even sooner than is now likely.

  113. sometimes kiruv is like healing a sick person or changing around someones life for the better just like helping a poor person one has to make a cheshbon where he gives his money but i dont think we should Chas Veshalom stop being mekarev yidden back to the eibishter

  114. We cannot abandon hashems childrem-not those who are spiritualy starving or physically.they must be apportioned according to your Rav’s Psak

  115. Re: “The entire city of Atlanta was built by one such individual.”
    Atlanta started to be built in 1847. Who was the kiruv worker responsible?


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