The Echad l’Echad Foundation has made as its mission to support those dedicated to Torah learning within the religious Zionist community. Echad l’Echad, which began back in 2009, supports the learning of thousands of students from across the spectrum in religious Zionist yeshivas. The fund, which needs to distribute approximately two million shekels, is in a period of setback and needs our help.
Until recently, Echad l’Echad was funded by four main donors, two of whom reside in the United States, each of whom donated approximately $100,000 annually. Two of these donors significantly lowered their donations. One who was expected to give half a million shekels ($125,00) gave around $20,000 instead. The second, unfortunately is not able to donate this year at all.
We asked Rabbi Yitzchak Neriya, founder and chairman of the organization, how he views the situation. His answer was very eye-opening. He claims that they anticipated this happening. Rav Neriya explains that anyone who knows American Jews understands that donations to Israel are decreasing due to the astronomical tuition costs affecting all of the communities throughout North America. This obligates philanthropists to give increasing amounts to their own communities and less to Israeli organizations. "This is why we are not surprised," he said. "The tuition crisis in North America is indeed very difficult and I don’t know how it will be solved."
"Another thing," Rav Neriya adds, "is that I think the financial situation in Israel is, baruch Hashem, good. The Israeli population has the means to help but isn’t always aware of the importance as they are not taught to give as the Jewish community outside of Israel is. An additional problem which makes it difficult for potential donors in Israel to give is that many Israelis with means feel that the government is responsible for supporting organizations and they are not used to being partners with causes and giving of their own means.?
"We did not expect the crisis in the United States to affect us so quickly, but we are hopeful that instead of four large donors we will have thousands of small donors who will help us continue the operations of the Echad l’Echad Foundation. By being forced to reach out and expand our donor pool we can view this ‘crisis’ as an opportunity to allow many more individuals to partner with us in strengthening Torah within the religious Zionist community."
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