This past Thursday afternoon Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita, visited the Chazaq Headquarters upon the request of the community Rabbonim. At the meeting, the Rabbonim and askanim discussed with the Rosh Hayeshiva and manhig hador, the challenges facing the Bucharian community. The foremost concern that was discussed was the 10,000 traditional Bucharian children attending public school. While the parents are not anti-religious and keep many Jewish customs, they fail to realize the threat that the American public school poses to Yiddishkeit. Besides the violence and substance abuse that they become involved in, it has also led to widespread intermarriage r"l.
Harav Ilan Meirov. Rav of Bet Gavriel and co-founded of Chazaq described to the Rosh Hayeshiva the many programs that Chazaq offers to strengthen the community. They include Sunday and after schools programs, teen sessions for boys and girls, a complete Yeshiva cultivating community Rabbonim, a Kollel to bring the spirit of Torah to the community, the famous lectures for adults numerous times a week, and the PSTY (Public School To Yeshiva) program. The PSTY is their most crucial program and the main topic of the meeting.
Ephraim Rubinov, who was originally a successful computer technician and dropped his career to dedicate himself to tzarchei haklal, runs this program. He presented to the Rabbonim all the work that has been done, and can be done with the proper resources. He is currently running a task force of 10 recruiters that contact parents, discuss the physical and spiritual dangers of public school, help identify the appropriate religious school, and help them transition into them. He has designed a computer program that stores the data base of thousands of children, the status of each active case, every interaction of his team and the prospective yeshiva student, and the follow up of all children that has already made the transition. Ephraim himself is responsible for gathering all the documents needed to verify the lineage of each child. This can include birth certificates, marriage licences, and kesubos. With Hashem's help they have already transferred over 548 children to yeshivos. Just a few of the issues that they are facing are the reluctance of many parents to send their young children to the appropriate mosdos that require extended traveling time and the limited amounts of slots available. There are over 300 children entering elementary school next year that can easily be placed in a yeshivos but those yeshivos don't currently exist.
The obvious conclusion was to establish new local mosdos for the community. However this task cannot be accomplished by the community itself, and will require the help of Klal Yisroel. The Rosh Hayeshiva, who has traveled numerous time to Russia to strengthen the Yidishkeit of those remaining there will do all that he can to urge Klal Yisroel to help our Russian brothers and sisters residing in our back yard.
Below is a copy of the plea from the Bucharian Rabbonim to the Gedolei Yisroel to help save the young generation.