By COLlive reporter
Photos: Shalom Burkis/COLlive
Bochurim who volunteered for the Released Time program, a project of NCFJE, during the Tishrei month were thanked Tuesday at a special lunch held at Rubashkin’s in Crown Heights.
The bochurim volunteered their time during the hectic month of holidays to visit Jewish children who learn in public schools to bring the High Holiday spirit to them.
The bochurim were thanked for their dedication to the program, visiting children on Erev Yom Kippur, Sukkos and Simchas Torah.
Many of the bochurim walked on Yom Tov to lead programs in locations throughout the city, some even walking up to 3 hours away to locations as far as Queens, NY.
At the event, Rabbi Shazak Zirkind, Director of Released Time, gave the opening words. Rabbi Yehoshua Shneur, Released Time Assistant Director and Rabbi Sadya Engel, program coordinator, welcomed the bochurim as well.
The bochurim were addressed by Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, who related how the Rebbe treasured the Released Time program, which the Rebbe held in great importance as a vital program. He told how when the Released Time program was founded it was “the pride of the Shlichus of Lubavitch,” and remains so until today. “It is the ultimate preparation for Shlichus as we know it today,” he said.
Rabbi Sholom Ber Hecht, of the Executive Committee of NCFJE which coordinates Released Time, thanked the bochurim for participating.
Rabbi Hecht spoke about the everlasting effect Released Time has on the children, and how there are many people who have related that the program they attended as children impacted them for life – helping them become proud members of the Jewish people, many saying they remember the lessons years later.
Rabbi Hecht also spoke about the great effect camps and Shabbatons have on the children, providing a unique opportunity to reach the children with a lasting effect, as well as gave practical advice and ideas on how best to run a Released Time program.
The bochurim who went above and beyond then received special gifts in appreciation.
Bochurim that walked on Simchas Torah received a special gift, a set of Sefer Hasichos of the Frierdiker Rebbe. The bochurim that went out 3 times during Tishrei – Erev Yom Kippur, Sukkos and Simchas Torah, received a dollar from the Rebbe which had been given to Rabbi Yaakov Yehuda Hecht for use for the NCFJE.
The bochurim who received the sets of seforim said that they felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment for their efforts. One bochur who received a precious dollar from the Rebbe related that it had taken much mesiras nefesh for him to leave on Simchas Torah, to pull himself away from all the revelry in 770 on Yomtov, but receiving such a priceless gift made it all worth it.
The bochurim were also informed the in the near future programs such as Shabbatons and mid-winter camps will be restarted. The programs will also be revamped to accommodate even more children, and will be led by the bochur Yanky Hecht.