From: Ron Yitzchok Eisenman []
Sent: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 1:50 PM

May 4, 2021


1.      When I received the question this morning about the reliability of the “international Jewish chesed foundation,”- I immediately googled the name, and the first result was “The International Fellowship of Christian and Jews.” This was very disturbing to me.

2.      Also, if you notice, both organizations contain the four letters: IJCF (IFCJ). Once again, this raised concerns

3.      There was no Rabbinic endorsement on the appeal.

4.      The address for the organization was in Lewes, Delaware- Seemingly a strange place for a Tzedoka organization

5.      I must also admit that I did not really see (and still don’t) the need for raising money for a Sefer Torah when people are sitting Shiva.

For all of these reasons and upon consultation with another Rabbinic colleague, I felt confident sending out the email about the scam.

As a Rav whom people rely on and as Rav who has multiple collectors daily in the Shul, unfortunately, I have sometimes discovered that not all are honest. Therefore, my radar is always up for scams.


1.      I just received a call from the director of the Chesed Fund, who assured me that this fundraiser –whose name is Shimon Lichtenstein is legitimate. He has worked with him in the past, and his partner in Israel has spoken to the recipients of his Tzedoka, and indeed, he is honest and a man of integrity.  This was certainly wonderful to hear.

2.      The fact that the first “hit” on Google was the “The International Fellowship of Christian and Jews” is apparently only due to an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that IFCJ uses to direct people looking up the IJCF to their website and is not indicative of any connection between the two. Indeed, there is no connection between the two organizations.

3.      The Chesed Fund put me in touch with Shimon Lichtenstein who is the fundraiser for the Sefer Torah project. He certainly sounded to be an honest man. I asked him why no Rabbinic endorsement, and he said that I was correct in asking that. He said that since he wanted the campaign to begin immediately as he has already hired a Sofer, he did not have time to get an endorsement.

4.      What’s with Delaware? It seems that it’s not unusual for an organization or non-profit to have an address in Delaware as that is where many companies and organizations are located for tax purposes, and they are not physical locations - they are just a lockbox or a registered office that serves many corporations registered in Delaware. I would never have thought this, and why would I?

5.      As far as writing a Sefer Torah, Shimon Lichtenstein is an (apparently) honest man who makes a living by fundraising for people/projects and taking a percentage for himself. He explained that he felt the Sefer Torah project would “sell” well, and he also felt it was a fitting memorial to those who perished.

Therefore, I retract my former statement that this is a scam.

As far as I can see, Shimon Lichtenstein is an honest man, and the men that run the Chesed Fund are honest people. (I am attaching Shimon’s 501c3)

This should also not be perceived as endorsing the campaign, (everyone should make that decision themselves) however, it is intended to remove any stain of dishonesty on the part of Shimon Lichtenstein or the Chesed Fund.

I have found the men at the Chesed Fund to be wonderful, honest men of integrity who are helping Klal Yisroel.

I will state emphatically that Shimon Lichtenstein and his “international Jewish chesed foundation” have absolutely no connection with “The International Fellowship of Christian and Jews.”

I also realized that his Delaware address is nothing out of the ordinary.

 After personally speaking to Shimon Lichtenstein, I did insist he receives Rabbinic endorsement before sending the campaign which he agrees.

In summation, given the fact available to me at the time, I felt I owed it to the Tzibbur to act when I did.

However, given what I know now, I can honestly say there is no scam here as Shimon Lichtenstein has commissioned a Sofer to write a Torah, and there is no connection to any Christian group.

I am clarifying that there was no intent to defraud or trick anyone, not by Shimon Lichtenstein and certainly not by the wonderful people at the Chesed Fund.

I apologize for any distress I caused people; I intended to help and not Chas V’Shalom to hurt.

May Hashem guide us in the correct path.


Ron Yitzchok Eisenman

Rabbi, Congregation Ahavas Israel, Passaic, NJ