April 22, 2024
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April 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Chesed Goes Beyond Our Community

In his letter to the editor published in your January 4 edition (“The True Meaning of Chesed,” January 2, 2024), Mr. Eli Friedman expressed shock that our yeshiva, MTA, had sent a group of students to volunteer in Louisiana for a non-Jewish organization. Instead, he suggests, we should have had our high school volunteers go to help Masbia, a Jewish organization in New York that provides food for needy Jews.

First, let us note that MTA has had a very warm working relationship with Masbia going back many years, and we have sent, and will continue to send, many of our students to help them with their wonderful work. This is in addition to the numerous other worthy Jewish organizations with whom we partner for various chesed activities; the endeavors are not mutually exclusive.

Second, it must be pointed out that the mission in New Orleans was arranged and organized by the Orthodox Union, who invited the students from our yeshiva, among others, to join them in their efforts to assist people in need from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Mr. Friedman might not consider that to be a worthwhile project, but at least some notable Jewish leaders do.

Many decades ago, a major rally was held at the United Nations to press for international aid on behalf of an African country suffering through a devastating famine. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, zt”l, later the rosh yeshiva at Yeshivat Har Etzion, but then a rebbe at Yeshiva University, decided to reschedule his regular shiur to enable the boys to attend. One student in his shiur reported that when some voiced surprise at this decision, as that particular crisis did not impact any Jews, he replied that a humanitarian concern is a concern of ours as well.

We are happy to have our students learn that lesson.

Sincerely,
Rabbi Michael Taubes
Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva University High School for Boys

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