By Shimon Roberts, COLlive.com
U.S. Shares are at a 5 year low, Europe today officially is in recession, tens of thousands are losing their jobs in vast cost-cutting exercises, and analysts say this is only the start of what the BBC term “the Global Financial Crisis.”
Orthodox Jews are accustomed to giving 10% of their earnings as ‘Maaser’ money to charitable organisations, but when more people are facing unemployment and disposable income is at the lowest it has been for 12 years – many people find it necessary to hold off on giving to mosdos, such as local Chabad Houses.
How, despite all this, why we not read headline after headline about closures of Chabad Houses around the world?
The answer is patience and emunah, according to fundraising guru Shimon Pepper of Monsey who spoke at a workshop at the international Kinus Hashluchim in Crown Heights.
Pepper yesterday was able to secure a donation of $400,000 – his largest to date, he told COLlive – surely proof that there is hope in an otherwise tough situation.
Rabbi Yosef Zaltzman, Director of the Russian Jewish Center in Toronto, Canada, says he has not experienced the difficulties voiced by other Shluchim. He refers to this year as the most successful fundraising year so far, but wants to ensure that these good times do not abruptly begin to follow the patterns of the wider community.
Could it be, that in this climate of financial meltdown, recession is passing over the Chabad Houses around the world?
Earlier this year, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan highlighted the importance of economic flexibility to prevent feeling the punch of recession. He referred to companies maintaining several channels of income, and encouraging closer relationships and cooperation.
This methodology was voiced by Rabbi Shabsi Alpern, Chabad’s Head Shliach to Brazil, who says he’s not felt the pinch of recession, as he maintains the closest of relationships with his donors and community.
Could it indeed be, that recession worldwide, will lead to new highs of emunah, and people understanding that the world situation is not in our (or indeed our politicians) hands, but in the hands of Hashem? It turns out, that recession could in fact be good for the Jews.