By COLlive reporter
The Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn was famously described by the Rebbe as the place where blessings reside. But with the high costs of living, many are finding it difficult to make ends meet and are opting to settle elsewhere.
That challenge is especially true with regards to teachers and educators. Working long and tedious hours and coming home to face New York’s high tax bracket and sky rocketing home prices, the field of Chinuch is viewed as a last resort for employment.
A group of caring people are working to change that, based on conversations with COLlive.com.
In recent months, private discussions were held between activists, businessmen, school administrators and married kollel members who are considering their future about elevating the status of Chinuch.
“Kollel yungeleit first think of Shlichus. Chinuch isn’t the first choice and it shouldn’t be so,” one person involved in the initiative said. “And even if they are looking into chinuch, it’s not in the shechuna but elsewhere.”
Advancing a new initiative are the Board of Directors of Oholei Torah, along with educator Rabbi Mendy Wolf and Zaki Tamir, an attorney and the Chairman of Vaad Hakohol of Crown Heights.
The board of directors of Educational Institute Oholei Torah, the all-inclusive center of Jewish education for over 1,850 students of all ages, has been working towards this initiative after meeting with a prominent local property owner.
The groundbreaking initiative will offer teachers with at least a 3 year proven success record, and who commit to a 15 year contract, a one-time gift for them to put a downpayment on a house in the neighborhood.
The property owner offered $500,000 and Oholei Torah matched it with another $500,000 for this to be offered to 10 members of their educational staff who will “raise the bar for Chinuch in the neighborhood,” a source said.
The qualifications, still being finalized, are that select teachers who has have taught in Oholei Torah for at least 3 years, and are committing to a 15-year contract, will receive $150,000 in cash to purchase a house, condo or apartment in the area.
“This would be a game changer and keep them here,” one source said. “We need to raise more and already have another philanthropist who offered $50,000. So either we reach a million and a half or the downpayment will be $100,000. Either way, there is a lot of excitement about this changing the perception of working in Chinuch and in Crown Heights,” the source said.
The person said that they hope that following Oholei Torah, additional Crown Heights schools will be joining as well to attract and retain high caliber teachers.
“Our message to teachers is that we want you to stay and if you can’t afford it, we will help you.”