Tisha b’Av was formally the last day of Tzivos Hashem Crafts Workshops at the office. Call it Divine Providence, Hashgocho Protis.
On Tisha b’Av this year, Tzivos Hashem’s Crafts Workshops organization lost the premises at 332 Kingston Avenue, after over 30 years of active programs.
With Hashem’s help, the Tzivos Hashem Crafts Workshops organization has been providing hands-on education to children of all backgrounds in the New York area, bringing them the Traditional Crafts of the Jewish People for over 3 decades. The innovative Traveling Workshops include hands-on demonstrations where kids press Olive Oil for Menorah lighting, produce candles, leichters, challah, and other items for an authentic and usable Shabbat & Havdallah kit; they learn to assemble their own Lulav & Esrog sets, scrape, stretch and buff Klaf for Sifrei Torah & Tefillin and Mezuzos, bake shmurah matzah at the Model Matzah Bakery, and assemble their own kosher Rambam Menorahs.
Over the years, literally hundreds of thousands of children have taken home their own kosher Shofars, Shmura Matzah, Shabbat leichters, and Menorah’s, Tzitzis, Havdallah candle and kit, and Torah parchment, all that they have made themselves at these on-location workshops. For many children, these programs are the first authentic Jewish connection they have ever had.
Throughout the year, fully equipped and talented crews of craftsmen travel to hundreds of schools to bring these programs to Jewish centers, temples and special events, sometimes driving for hundreds of miles each way, and sometimes all over the world. Schools appreciate the tremendous excitement and educational value of these innovative and impactful programs. Schools and shuls of all denominations and backgrounds are constantly calling to request these services and praising the work of Chabad.
In addition, some of these workshop resources are offered to the public online at no cost, such as the free download of the beautiful cardboard model of the Beis HaMikdosh that anyone can build with their children (for a free download visit JewishChildren.com).
Also, besides being the original home of the crafts workshops, the organization hosts the JewishChildren.com website as a clearing house of Tips-and-Tricks, new innovations, and hard-to-find items to enable Shluchim to conduct and improve their own traditional Traditional Jewish crafts workshops. Today, dozens of Shluchim, many of them former craftsmen of Tzivos Hashem Crafts workshops, conduct these workshops themselves all over the world.
For the past 13 years, this organization has been running programs on a shoestring, working quietly and independently to always cover the budget and pay all bills thanks to not having to cover rent. All of the dynamic bochrim, talented yungerlite and dedicated workshop staff have worked as volunteers, or nearly so. In all these years, the Tzivos Hashem Crafts Workshops has not done fundraising, or conducted any appeals, but instead has managed to operate with the modest proceeds from the schools they work with. All this, without ever reaching out to the public for help. Now however, without even a workplace from which to operate, this work is in jeopardy. With a very tight budget, they cannot afford to pay for the necessary space and work area needed to continue.
By the time of this publication, all of the essential Crafts Workshops offices and work areas have been dismantled and put into storage, much of it has been lost due to lack of space. There is currently no office or work area. Perhaps you once made a shofar of your own, maybe your child made a Rambam Chanukah Menorah? Now, the organization is appealing to everyone, especially those who have seen their work in action or benefited from these programs over the years, to help.
What is needed urgently is an appropriate office and workspace (ideally with a parking or loading area), in Crown Heights that could become the new Tzivos Hashem Crafts Workshops headquarters, even temporarily.
In an additional turn of Hashgocho Protis, the office keys were technically turned over on 12 of Av, the same day that in 5700/1940, the official “closing” on the building of 770 took place.
Tisha b’Av this year can be an end or a beginning for these vital educational outreach programs, with your help this will IY’H, lead to a brighter future, providing more programs for all Jewish children, the young and the young at heart.
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