'Providing support so students can continue to learn Torah'

Promotional. Echad l’Echad Director tells how a student's life was changed by project encouraging learning in religious Zionist sector..

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Yoni Kempinski, | updated: 07:04

Learning Torah
Learning Torah
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In conjunction with the yearly “Chariday” of the Echad l’Echad Foundation, Arutz Sheva spoke with the foundation's director, Chen Guterman, about one of the most touching stories that the foundation was a part of during this past year.

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“The foundation has been working for the past decade to provide financial assistance to married students learning Torah full time as well as to institutions within the religious Zionist community throughout Israel. After much thought, this year we began with a new project - the essence of the foundation - supporting outstanding students,” Guterman explains. “In this project, 32 heads of Yeshivot from within our community were given the opportunity to pick the top student from their yeshiva, and each student chosen receives a monthly grant of 3,000 shekel. In addition to the monthly stipend they each receive from their own yeshiva, this amounts to a respectable amount. This idea was modeled after the stipends that top university students receive allowing them to further their studies without financial worries.”

“A few months ago I called up a well known rosh yeshiva and told him about the project. After expressing his deep gratitude, his first reaction was - “How can I pick only one student when I have over 100 students and so many of them are outstanding?” I apologized and explained that for right now this is what our budget allows for.

"The next phone call I received was a week later from the director of that same yeshiva with the following story - “After your discussion with our rosh yeshiva we put together a committee of rabbis from within the yeshiva in order to pick our top student. Out of 100 students we narrowed it down to 10 and then to 5 and then to 3. Of the 3 we requested from the rosh yeshiva to pick one. The rosh yeshiva chose one from the three remaining and then we immediately called in the student to tell him that he was chosen to receive the monthly stipend from Echad l’Echad. After hearing this, the student acted a bit strangely. He didn’t say anything. He simply sat quietly. The next day, however, I understood the meaning to his strange behavior when he walked into the office requesting to tell me the following story.

"The night before receiving this good news I sat with my wife and we came to the conclusion that our monthly expenses are outweighing our monthly income. With much disappointment, we decided that I need to stop learning in yeshiva on a full time basis and instead start working. Surprisingly, the very next day you called me into your office and announced the good news that I was chosen to receive a monthly grant from Echad l’Echad. Because of this, my wife and I decided to change our decision and I will continue learning in yeshiva on a full time basis! I even enrolled in a course to learn dayanut (Jewish law)!”

“This student already had one foot out the door,” concludes Guterman “And it’s very likely to say that this student, who is the most outstanding within his yeshiva, will become a great rabbi for Am Yisrael and then we will all hear about him. From our perspective, this story is the goal of Echad l’Echad - To give these types of students the financial backing during these difficult years, and with G-d’s help, to create a generation of religious Zionist Torah giants.”

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