By Chaim Silberstein
5760. It was registration time for the Chabad nursery school of Chadera. In
another few weeks, at the end of the summer, twenty tiny tots would finish the
year at the Chabad nursery (not obligatory by the government) and move on to
the registration drive, which involved quite a bit of effort, there was a
meeting of Chabad House activists, led by Rabbi Yochanan Butman. It was decided
to make additional efforts to register children, for the purpose of
significantly increasing enrollment for the new school year.
idea to open another class for gan chova (mandatory by the government)
was proposed. They knew the idea was a daring one, as they were struggling to
fill registration for the existing class, but perhaps they could convince
parents to send their children based on the school’s great reputation.
was some discussion as to the merit of the idea, with some questioning whether
they should put their efforts into the existing class or open an additional
class, when Rabbi Butman, director of the Chabad House, declared, "We
already have a non-mandatory class. Now we will open a mandatory class. Now let’s
see whether we can open a third class for two- and three-year-olds!"
staff looked at him as though he were off his rocker. They were all familiar
with the situation: they had no place, no staff, no money, and hardly any
children. They didn’t have much time to work with either.
Butman maintained, "We are in the fiftieth year of the Rebbe’s
leadership, and we have the kochos of the fiftieth year. We have to
undertake a massive publicity campaign, and with the Rebbe’s bracha we
will realize our dream of having three nursery classes!"
Butman went to 770 for Gimmel Tammuz in order to derive new strength and to ask
for the Rebbe’s bracha that their plans work out successfully.
knew what he would have to contend with: a building, equipment, a new staff,
registration, etc. The first thing on the list was a location, for without a
building he couldn’t register any children. By Divine providence he found a
private building with a large yard, just a few hundred yards away from the
existing class. He felt that his dream was beginning to come true.
a meeting with the landlords, Rabbi Butman spoke about the importance of a
Jewish education and asked them to be his partners in this worthy endeavor. The
owners agreed to lower the rent from $600 a month to only $350! If that weren’t
enough, they signed a monthly direct withdrawal donation to the Chabad house of
hundreds of shekel a month!
they could register children for the new class. They got lists of names and
began making house calls, home after home. They explained the importance of
giving a Jewish-Chassidic education to children, and described the personal
attention and the other wonderful features of a Chabad school. Registration
Butman began expanding and renovating his classrooms. He checked his lists and
saw that he was going to have a sizable group of children and that he needed to
make sure the classrooms were spacious enough. He realized that he would have to
enlarge the original classroom by closing the porch and breaking down the wall
between two rooms.
between running around taking care of everything that needed doing, Rabbi Butman
also approached philanthropists for donations towards his Chabad house. He met
with Mr. Chaim Yaakovi, a well known contractor in Chadera.
contractor said, "It isn’t right that an emissary of the Lubavitcher
Rebbe should have to go around asking for favors; people should approach the shliach
to offer him money! What do you need from me?"
are opening additional classes and our costs are high, especially the cost of
building and renovation," said Rabbi Butman.
Yaakovi responded, "Forget about the building. I’ll take care of
that." Mr. Yaakovi provided financial assistance and personally oversaw the
building and renovating of the school, in addition to expanding another floor of
the Chabad house.
Butman told Beis Moshiach, "With our own eyes we saw the ko’ach of
50 years of the Rebbe’s leadership. All the problems which seemed
insurmountable were solved one by one, in the best possible way."
eight o’clock in the morning on the first day of school, about a hundred
children and their parents made their way to the Chabad school. Mr. Yaakovi
summed it up, "You know how you got all this? Because the Rebbe is with you
and accompanies you along the way."