Mar 24, 2014
Zaki Tamir Apologizes, Explains
Crown Heights Vaad Hakohol Chairman Zaki Tamir apologizes for those having to receive Pesach charity vouchers in broad daylight.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Please allow me to express my utmost gratitude to Hashem for giving me the Zechus to unite all of us with participation in the great Mitztva of Maos Chitim, and special thanks to the Rebbe for giving me the strength to do my job in the Rebbe’s Shechuna.
Thankfully, I am not alone in this task, in fact, 182 people, so far, have contributed money towards Maos Chitim to buy Matzos and other essentials to benefit families in Crown Heights, and that number is growing. Every person that I have spoken to has pledged with an open hand and with a smile, and many thanked me for giving them the opportunity to contribute. Many of the donors are not from Crown Heights and some are not even from New York State.
Special thanks to my family and close friends that, not only contributed money but helped me collect from others. Additionally, several people that came to collect tickets for the distribution, donated significantly towards the cause and I thank them for that. It is this type of unity that humbles me and makes me feel thankful to Hashem that I am part of such a great community, a community that I continue to serve with pride.
The list of donors will be brought to the Rebbe’s Ohel before Pesach, b’n, to request a special blessing for all the participants of this very special mitzvah. By participating in this Mitzva, we ask the Rebbe, our father, to recognize and distinguish the sons and daughters that reach into themselves to share bread with their siblings before Pesach, and as Chassidim we know that the Rebbe would not allow for our prayers to remain unanswered, especially when we are working hand-in-hand to help one-another in this manner.
The ticket distribution to register for food and Matza was yesterday, Sunday 3/23, between 130pm and 330pm. The registration was located at the CHJCC on Kingston Avenue. Since then, several people have expressed their dismay about the public display of consumers waiting on line outside the CHJCC for an extended period of time and that this may have caused members of our community to experience embarrassment.
Under different circumstances I might not have responded to the complaints publicly, and in fact I expressed my apologies to the consumers personally during the waiting time, but in this case, and dealing with this holy community, I feel compelled to respond publicly because I am certain that the complaints are not mindless ones but rather the complaints are an expression of legitimate concern of each person among us to care and feel the burden of our brothers and sisters. I therefore take all the complaints very seriously, I take it to heart as constructive criticism and I work to steadily correct and improve my performance each year.
Firstly, and without reservation I extend my personal apology to anyone that may have been offended or embarrassed by the manner in which the registration took place, and I ask you to please forgive my oversight regarding this particular matter.
In addition, please accept the following explanation, not as an excuse for the way the matter was handled but rather simply to inform the consumers, the donors and the public of the considerations made before reaching this result.
Every year for the past three years I have worked to provide food for families before Pesach. Pesach is a very expensive holiday and families that would generally not need financial assistance, do need the extra help on Pesach.
My objective is to get the highest available quality to the greatest number of needy families in Crown Heights. Every decision is measured by whether or not it furthers the stated objective.
In past years, the ticket distribution and the food distribution was more discrete, the food distribution was conveniently located in Crown Heights, but that discreteness and the convenience of local food distribution came at a heavy price.
The two greatest complaints in past years were, 1) that members of the community were not informed about the ticket distribution, because many don’t have access to the internet, and therefore missed the date, and 2) the quality and selection of food was inferior to other similar and related distributions.
This year the ticket distribution was advertised more than ever before, not only online but also in every shul. Additionally, while the ticket distribution was scheduled for 1:30pm-3:30pm, it extended until 7pm. This year, more than 300 families received tickets, compared to last year's 200 families. More than 60 families signed in after 4:00pm, not because they were late, but because they did not know about the distribution until they saw the line on Kingston Ave.
Dear friend, please recognize that 60 families benefited nearly $500 worth of assistance because of seeing the line outside. Also consider that this was not the intended benefit of having a line on Kingston Avenue, but it is a benefit nonetheless, and there are an additional 60 families in our community that will have the help they direly need for this holiday, as a result.
I am certainly not qualified to measure the benefit to these additional families against even one moment of embarrassment to a yid standing on line for a minute longer than comfortable, but in a very specific way the objective has been furthered to benefit a greater number of people for Pesach.
In past years, thousands of dollars were set aside to pay for transport of the food to be delivered from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Crown Heights, and the distribution of the food in Crown Heights was scheduled only after every other distribution was complete. It was this task of transport that realistically caused for our community to lack the benefit of the valuable and scarce items, such as chicken, fish, eggs, and grape juice, items that were gone by the time the transport set out to Crown Heights.
With the intention of addressing this problem, I met with Oneg Shabbos, the food source, and asked to have my community served with priority, that is to say that I was making a special request that we get first. In order to further the goal for quality and in order for my request to be granted there were conditions that had to be met, including conditions that required the director of Oneg Shabbos in Boro Park to personally handle the distribution of tickets in Crown Heights in order to cross-reference the registration against two separate lists. Additionally, for the request to be granted, and for practical reasons (that include assignment of funds to food and matza as opposed to labor and transport) the food distribution would have to take place in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which would allow for easy automobile access and larger quantities of food to be distributed, as opposed to a location in Crown Heights.
This past Sunday at 130pm-330pm, was the time available for the ticket distribution and I thank Ms. Deutsch, of Oneg Shabbos, for taking difficult steps to change the scheduling of other obligations to extend the time of her service accepting registration until 7pm.
It seems that this year we may have improved with parts while other considerations still need improvement, please join me in my effort to make this community reach the potential the Rebbe saw in every one of us, I am ready and able to partner with you in this effort. Please call the CHJCC if you want to contribute money, volunteer, or offer rides to people that don’t have cars. Many people have taken me up on this offer and they can attest that there is a lot of work to do and there is no one better to do it than you and me.
The work is not easy, and the results are not perfect, but the success is measured by improvement as opposed to perfection, there is only ONE Perfect, and may He, Hashem, bless each and every one of us, our families and friends, for a Kosher and Freilichen Pesach.
Very truly yours,
Devoted public servant,
Zaki Isaac B. Tamir