Day of prayer for philanthropists


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Leaders of Israel’s largest religious seminaries have designated a day of prayer for the financial health of Jewish philanthropists.

Thursday will be a day of prayer and learning in all kollels in Israel, and is being called "a united effort to storm the gates of Heaven and plead for the financial health of Jewish philanthropists, so that they can continue to support Torah institutions in Israel," according to a news release.

Rabbis Shmuel Elyashiv of Shaarei Zion and Aharon Leib Shteinman of Bnei Brak organized the day of prayer after several fund-raisers returned recently from appeals in the United States practically empty-handed.

If a yeshiva cannot pay its Torah scholars, it affects entire families, according to the release. More than 6,000 families depend on the income of a Torah scholar.

Eleven of the leading kollels in Israel are establishing a new fund in a joint effort. The funds raised will be distributed directly to kollel students. No paid staff will manage the emergency fund, whose goal is $14 million.

"A philanthropist who gives money can be blessed and earn more," said Yaakov Segal, the assistant national director of a chain of nursery schools in Israel who has volunteered to help manage the emergency fund. "But a family that has been torn apart takes a lot more than a little money to put back together."

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