Last year, my daughter’s birthday fell out on Shabbos. Being that her class is small (6 girls all together) and they live far enough from each other that play dates don’t happen often, I suggested (agreed?) to host a Shabbaton in our house. It worked out really nicely and all the girls had a wonderful time.
Why am I telling you this?
There was something that I noticed during Shabbos that drew my attention. A few of the girls spent much of Shabbos reading books. Whatever books they were able to find around the house (there were quite a few, my daughter being an avid reader and all) they read. By the end of Shabbos, I had seen enough to know that there was a specific need to fill for these children – the availability of Jewish books.
These girls are all children of Shluchim who live in their place of Shlichus without the luxury of a Jewish library nearby. Fortunately, we do have the luxury of sending them to a Cheder – that is Cheder Menachem in South Brunswick, NJ – that offers them a Chassidishe chinuch. So why not offer them a library as part of the Cheder, where they can immerse their impressionable minds in content that has Jewish and Chassidishe values? And so the Cheder Menachem Library was born.
The library is dedicated to the loving memory of my grandparents, Yisroel Meir Ben Alexander Sender and Rivka Bas Chaim Yehoshua Munitz, and I have the z’chus of being the librarian. This z’chus comes with the challenge of keeping the library fresh and exciting and keep the children coming back for more.
The library started with approximately 75 books, with generous donations from my family members who wished to partake in something so special. During the year I received random donations of money as well as books. In addition, there is an incentive raffle for the children to encourage them to bring in books from their homes to donate to the library. Baruch Hashem by now there are over 200 books! But the challenge to keep things fresh continues as the children get older and more children become eligible members.
Here’s a question for you: how many books do you have lying around the house that your children have read, reread, outgrown and are now taking up shelf space? Or maybe it’s not you but you know of other families that I’ve just described. We would benefit greatly from these books and you would participate in the zchus of the children’s chinuch (and maybe even create more space for newer books.) That’s a win-win!
I will gratefully accept Jewish books, geared for grades 2-8, that are in good condition. Of course, new books are also very welcome. (If you don’t know which books to get you can always give a donation or a gift certificate and I would be happy to purchase new books.)
If you wish to participate, simply drop off your books or donations at 1414 President Street – Lubavitcher Yeshiva. Clearly mark the bag/envelope “Cheder Menachem Library” and leave it in the office located in the lobby of the Yeshiva. It’s that easy.
With Brachos for lots of Nachas from our children,
Dina Goldenberg (email@example.com)
Co-director of Chabad of Lawrenceville, NJ