By Chanee Grossbaum
It’s not every day that a child gets to serve as a colonel in the army. Then again, not every child is entrusted with any kind of mission. But for Chaya Mushka Lowenthal, along with hundreds of Yaldei Hashluchim and many thousands of Lubavitch children around the world, all this talk of missions and ranks is more than just child’s play.
Chaya Mushka Lowenthal, an 11-year-old girl from Denmark, achieved the high ranking of colonel this Teves with Chayolei Tzivos Hashem (CTH). “Chaya Mushka is the one who motivates the whole family,” says her mother, shlucha to Copenhagen. “Each week, she prepares the missions for all of us, and before each yom tov, she prints out the sheets for each child in the family.” She continues, “The great thing about the Chayolei program is that it allows each child to progress at their own level and to choose the tasks they think they can handle.”
Directed by Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, the exciting and empowering CTH programs are executed in Lubavitch schools across the globe, with the schools themselves serving as the CTH army bases. The children of shluchim, however, most of whom do not belong to a traditional Lubavitch school, did not have a base out of which to run CTH initiatives. Now, since 2009, Merkos Suite 302’s MyShliach is running its own CTH program. In addition to many other services for children of shluchim, MyShliach serves as the CTH base for these young shluchim, allowing Chaya Mushka and other yaldei hashluchim to move up in rank along with the best of them.
“Our goal is to reach every child of all shluchim worldwide, that every shliach’s children should be attaining such achievements,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the umbrella organization over Merkos 302’s MyShliach. “We are grateful to our supporters who are helping to turn this goal into a reality, and we are extremely proud of Chaya Mushka and the hundreds of hours she has put towards this outstanding accomplishment.”
However, for as much effort as Chaya Mushka has put into CTH, it’s far from her first taste of hard work; Chaya Mushka is quite familiar with the concept of striving towards a goal. “At the age of 10,” her mother explains, “she started a birthday club in Denmark, which her younger sister Chava now runs. Each month, she would send out a letter with a little candy and some birthday missions to the children with birthdays that month.” Chaya Mushka also goes on mivtzoyim, and she helps out in the Hebrew school, as well, even teaching her own class, upon the students’ request, on davening, parsha, and Hebrew reading.
In her spare time, the dynamic 11-year-old is passionate about computer design and photography and has even photographed weddings and many Chabad events. “And if that’s not enough,” adds Mrs. Lowenthal, “as there is no kosher bakery in town, Mushkie has started a little business [baking] cakes and cookies to sell, then using the money to help her online school friends buy tickets to come to the Kinus Hashluchim.”
Mrs. Lowenthal thanks MyShliach in part for giving Mushky the incentive to go swiftly from strength to strength at such a young age. “We are so grateful for this incredible program where the motivation to be a stronger Chossid comes from the children themselves,” says Mrs. Lowenthal. “All the details that are put into the program bring out the excitement to do each mission.”
Exciting incentives keep the daily momentum levels high. Each child has a private web page to track individual progress, and squad group meetings, virtual farbrengens held monthly with a dedicated mashpia, strengthen the Jewish and Chassidishe pride, as well as a sense of community, in even those children in remote locations.
“When a young shlucha in Copenhagen becomes a colonel, it sends a message that this goal is attainable for all kids,” says Rabbi Mendy Schanowitz, Director of MyShliach, the organization serving as the CTH base for Yaldei Hashluchim. “She is leading the other kids from around the world.”