ChabadInfo has learned that plans to launch a massive Charidy campaign is underway by Eshel – Hachnosas Orchim, the organization dedicated to serving the thousands of guests who come spend the month of Tishrei by the Rebbe.
Eshel has come to be relied upon by the thousands who come every year for all their needs, from supplying meals and fixing up basements for lodging, to medical emergency care and compelling learning programs. Eshel never fails to meet the demand, year after year, even as the number of guests keeps increasing.
Catering to thousands of guests is never a simple task, especially considering the diversity of the travelers. Thousands of Bochurim, over one thousand girls, a bucketful of newlyweds, and a sizable bunch of children. Additionally, this year a new English speaking division was opened as well.
Needless to say, separate programming, schedules, and staffing quickly transform Eshel into a sprawling enterprise charged with operating the parallel semi-independent organizations that service the different groups of guests. This is a very difficult undertaking, but a challenge Eshel proudly truncates every year, always exceeding expectation.
How do they do it? Eshel’s penchant for extreme coordination combined with its over 100 uber-dedicated and energetic staff – mostly volunteers – produce a powerhouse of competence and ability, effectively allowing the guests to spend every moment of Tishrei with the Rebbe, worry free, as they deserve.
If in an ordinary year Eshel’s servicing operation is extremely impressive, in a Hakhel year – as this year is – it surpasses even that. The Rebbe strongly encouraged chassidim to be his guests during a Hakhel year, the year after Shmitah, and congruently, the number of guests increases dramatically, often with entire families making the trek to experience Tishrei by the Rebbe.
Who covers the enormous costs of such a large operation? Every year, Eshel’s director, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hendel, fundraises the large sums on his own from individual contributors and sympathizers, however, with this year’s influx of guests – and by extension, costs – beating all expectations, Rabbi Hendel feels he won’t be able to cover the costs.
Not one to back down from a good cause or turn away guests due to lack of funds, Rabbi Hendel is instead turning to the public. “It’s already the third Hakhel that we’re doing this, giving food, drink, and a place to sleep, and we’ve never turned away anybody, and B”H we are able to continue doing this, however, we cannot do this alone”, says Rabbi Hendel.
The Hachnosas Orchim organization, which was founded by Rabbi Moshe Yeruslavsky, OB”M, in 1972, has received encouragement from the Rebbe throughout the years to serve whom the Rebbe referred to as his “personal guests.”
The Rebbe often pointed out, however, that it’s the community’s responsibility to host the guests, and it’s only due to their apparent apathy and inaction that Eshel was founded to fill the void, the responsibility, however, remains that of the community.
Rabbi Hendel: “It’s with miracles that we can do this every year. This year we are talking of sums close to a million dollars, and we turn to the community to open their hearts and their pockets to such a worthy cause.”
To help raise the funds, Eshel will declare this Thursday, September 24, 11 Tishrei, to be “Hachnosas Orchim Day” when, for a period of 24 hours, everyone is encouraged to contribute to a Charidy-style campaign. The goal: reach $770,000.
Three ‘matchers’ are soon to be announced, therefore allowing the goal to be reached by collecting only a quarter of that sum. The project is an all-or-nothing proposition, and if the goal isn’t met before the deadline, not a single dollar will have been made.
Rabbi Hendel, however, seems confident. “Everybody knows how much the Rebbe cares about his guests, so I’m sure whoever supports this will be Benched with all the Brachos and will be repaid many times over. As we know “the Rebbe does not remain a debtor!”” says Rabbi Hendel.