Friday, January 28, 2011

A Word from the Director: 1/28/2011

Hope everybody with kids had a nice vacation during “Jewish kids’ vacation week” in Los Angeles. We have had a busy week here at Aish. We had a few visitors come by, one from Kesher Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and from Camp Extreme, and also Rabbi Aftzin from the RAP Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. Many of the people from yeshivot in Eretz Yisroel get in touch with us when they’re in town and come to visit. We are in constant contact with both our students from yeshivot, and those in yeshivot presently. A lot of what we do is connect many students with appropriate yeshivot when they are ready to leave home. Eretz Yisroel is an amazing opportunity for students to go and learn and experience, but for some there is too much freedom.

We want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Sack for their donation of a beautiful treadmill. Hopefully, our gym will be opening in the next few weeks. We are still looking for a few more pieces of equipment. If you have something that is being used as a hanging rack, please let us know.

I would also like to thank those that hired some of our boys this week. They appreciate the opportunity to work. If you have or know of entry-level job opportunities, please have us in mind and help our local Jewish boys. It helps with their self-esteem to work, and many of them need the money.

Have a beautiful Shabbos!

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Word from the Director: 1/21/2011

We had another busy week with our afternoon study hall group. We have been getting a lot of inquiries from boys who would like to join and accomplish the milestone of graduating high school. Every kid wants to finish high school but unfortunately, many kids do not have the self-discipline and support to follow through with it. For many kids, the importance to earn the diploma is not so much the earning power but the confidence that it gives that “I graduated high school.” Besides the actual teaching that goes on at Aish Tamid, many phone calls go out daily to remind the kids to come and to be consistent. On that note, consistency is so crucial I often tell them whether its davening, learning or whatever they commit to, the consistency is what will help them build self-confidence. Rav Chaim Shmulevitz used to give a mashal of a hot water urn. We put the water on the stove, turn it on, but we never let it boil. It starts to warm up then we turn it off. We start again, but we never get boiled water! It’s easy, as we all know, to start projects; but to follow through and be consistent is the hard part!

The Drop-In Center was busy! We had a lot of old faces come in and reconnect with us, as well as some new kids. Many boys need jobs, so if you know of a job or need somebody to work, let us know. Many stores in the community hire non-Jewish workers. Please give our boys a chance to work. It’s both tzedaka and chesed!

Rabbi Neuberger took some of the boys to see the Skelener Rebbe. They were inspired and all received brachos. Thank you, Rabbi Neuberger and Mr. Barry Weiss for the red carpet treatment.

Lastly, we are trying to open a small gym for the boys to use. If you have any gym equipment or exercise machines that are being used as clothes hangers, please consider putting them to good use for our boys. You should all have a restful and meaningful Shabbos with you and your families!

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Word from the Director: 1/14/2011

I would like to thank everyone who participated in our end of the year campaign. Baruch Hashem, we are working with so many kids and our evening Drop-In Center has doubled over the past few months. Our food bill alone has been around $500 a week for the past few months so we appreciate all those who have contributed. It is tough being a teenager and even more so a frum teen, with all the mixed messages they are bombarded with today. On one hand, we live in a heimish community with all the kosher food and Rebbeim and shuls and mikvas; but on the other hand, we have all the western messages from the billboards, the movies and the streets.

Baruch Hashem, we have been able to create a place for kids to come to and be comfortable at - a place to relax with people to talk to and a healthy and safe environment. The boys know that we are always available for them and they have a place to come to. A large part of what we do is we try to make the boys feel successful. I feel that is step one. Once he feels productive, then we can work on some of the other issues in his life. Based on that premise, we created the afternoon study hall program, hiring a teacher to work with the boys to help them graduate high school. I believe that that is crucial for every kid’s self-esteem.

Another place for them to feel success is to get them working! Work forces you to get somewhere everyday at the same time. What many of these boys lack is a sense of structure in their lives. Baruch Hashem, over the years Rabbi Leibovic and Aish Tamid have directed hundreds of boys towards a variety of jobs and we continue to do that. When that boy gets a job, it changes his whole life and attitude. Suddenly, he has purpose and a reason to get up in the morning. We feel that if a boy can get a college education that is obviously our first plan of action. But for many, they are not ready for that type of commitment. For many, an apprenticeship or internship in specific fields where they will learn a trade or skill - even without pay - can change their life.

If you have any entry-level job opportunities or have the ability to train someone, please be in touch with us. I believe there is no greater tzedaka. Hashem should bentch you and help us all through these trying times.

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff