It’s 6:00 on a Tuesday evening in a small town in Texas. Nine year old Shmuly waits eagerly by the phone, as he has every week for the past year. Thousands of miles away, Yossi finds a quiet spot in his yeshiva and dials. The phone rings. Shmuly opens a sicha.
MyShliach hour has begun.
Shmuly is one of 1,200 yaldei hashluchim throughout the world who are members of MyShliach. Each week, a few hundred learn and shmooze with a bochur who becomes like an older brother. These simple sessions may begin shyly but soon develop into meaningful friendships.
The powerful impact of this program was on display this past Motzei Shabbos, when the Jewish Children’s Museum was home to the 4th Annual MyShliach Appreciation Evening. Bochurim packed the hall as MyShliach thanked them for a job well done and inspired them for the work ahead.
Avremy Zippel of Salt Lake City, Utah, himself a bochur in the MyShliach program, attested to the influence of the project. “The phone calls are a direct Chassidishe lifeline for the children.”
Having grown up on Shlichus, Zippel feels a kinship with the participants as well as a sense of responsibility to “give back.” “If I had been lucky enough to be a part of this as a child,” he says, “I would be a different person today.”
“Hundreds of shluchim’s children are growing up with a greater sense of belonging and pride because of this program,” exclaimed Shmuly’s father. “A businessman once told me, ‘I must commend the system that created you. For you to come here and do what you do, they must be doing something right.’ I say the same to you, the bochurim of MyShliach. For you to be doing what you are, the system must be working.”
Rabbi Mendy Shanowitz, Director of MyShliach, presented each volunteer with a monogrammed garment bag and thanked each bochur for his time. “Your consistent devotion by calling each week is vitally important to the kids,” he said. Shanowitz further expressed his gratitude to Rabbis Beryl Frankel and Mendy Kotlarsky. “Housed in Suite 302 of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinich, MyShliach is a result of their commitment to the ideals of this project.”
The bochurim were then privy to a ‘pirsum rishon’ video of the Rebbe from Yud Shevat, 5726. In support of the program, Rabbi Mendel Gourarie and Rabbi Elkana Shmotkin, of Jewish Educational Media, provided the video which showed the Rebbe visiting the Ohel on that special day.
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, inspired the young adults with stories and anecdotes of personal moments with the Rebbe. Despite being part of a multitude of significant projects, it is clear MyShliach has a special place in his heart. “There’s no doubt you are all bringing tremendous Nachas to the Rebbe,” he exclaimed.
As the Bochurim filed out of the hall, the energy and excitement was palpable. Clearly, the warmth and friendship of the weekly calls will long be continued.