July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What Is Tehillim Kollel?

(Courtesy of Tehillim Kollel) Tehillim Kollel, located in Kiryas Joel, Monroe, New York, was founded in 2009 by Rabbi Mordechai Friedman, a great talmid chacham who recognized a spiritual need and sought to fulfill it. The Tehillim Kollel headquarters is the main hub for the entire organization, with full-time employees and staff coordinating the gashmi aspects, from fundraising and banking to bookkeeping and payroll, as well as all the ruchni aspects involved, from signing up new members, creating lists of names, and ensuring minyanim at proper locations. Today, Tehillim Kollel is an internationally recognized organization, with an ever-expanding member base that includes callers from around the world. This age-old segulah never ceases to inspire, with a steady influx of members sharing their stories of salvation, prominently publicizing the power of Tehillim.

Tehillim Kollel serves as a lifeline to thousands of Jews worldwide, who witness indescribable yeshuos each day. It started out as a voluntary service of just a few men and has now expanded to 15 established locations in prominent Jewish neighborhoods. It operates with the greatest amount of professionalism and confidentiality, maintaining an open door policy with outstanding compassion and sensitivity. The organization is committed to helping others in need and continues to seek ways to make these vital services both affordable and accessible to all.

Joel Krausz is the energetic administrator of the Tehillim Kollel headquarters and has been working at Tehillim Kollel for six years. It’s really like a family for everyone here, from the staff members to the callers. We train our staff to offer an extremely high level of customer service. Each incoming call has to be answered immediately, as many times, people contact us in the midst of extreme sorrow, agony and pain, and need a very sensitive person on the other end to listen and offer support.

Krausz, 27, answers some questions about Tehillim Kollel.

How was Tehillim Kollel formed?

Since the age of 17, Rabbi Mordechai Friedman, the founder of Tehillim Kollel, has recited the entire Sefer Tehillim each and every day. Over the years, people noticed his devotion and the intensity of his prayers and began asking him to have them in mind. R’ Mordechai saw the spiritual demand, and in response, founded the first Tehillim Kollel in Monroe. His goal is to establish a Tehillim minyan in every major Jewish town, all over the world, so that whenever someone has a need, he can simply join and reap the benefits of the power of Tehillim said with a minyan.

Davening for others is certainly an age-old segulah. But many people are uncomfortable with the idea of paying someone else to daven for them. Where does this idea originate from? Gathering a minyan to say Tehillim together to bring about special zechusim is not a new concept at all. The idea to found a Tehillim Kollel is mentioned clearly in the words of the Chidah in his sefer, Ruach Chaim (Derush 3), where he begs the people in his community to finance such a kollel. The Chidah stresses the great shmirah, Divine protection, that a Tehillim group creates for a whole city. Even if the individual himself does not say the Tehillim but just has a part in it, such as through his financial donations, it is something special, in addition to the zechus the talmidei chachamim who are praying on behalf of the city receive. The Chidah ends his words with a strong point, that one cannot compare an individual who says Tehillim to a full minyan of people who say Tehillim together. It is a very choshuve experience.

Who are your typical callers and why are they contacting you?

We have a wide variety of callers from very diverse backgrounds, but they all possess the special knowledge that Tehillim is the place to turn to in time of great need. We receive so many calls regarding discreet, private matters. Sometimes, people call to thank Hashem for blessings, to use the Tehillim to safeguard against future problems, or to ask for success in parnasah and business.

How do you protect your callers’ privacy and ensure confidentiality?

We have a sophisticated computerized program with a top-notch security system protecting our members’ information. Our kollel members only receive the first name of each individual and no additional identifying details. Even our administrative staff is only given the minimum access that they need in order to perform their job properly. We continue to update our system, using advanced technology, as privacy and confidentiality is a top priority.

Who answers the calls?

We have a full team of expertly trained staff handling calls in our support center to answer each call, whether from a new member or our monthly and yearly members, who contact us all the time to make changes to their requests. We even have one employee who contacts baalei simcha to offer our congratulations and give them the opportunity to thank Hashem by utilizing the power of Tehillim.

How do you keep track of all the names and changes?

The spiritual department is in charge of updating lists and ensuring that all minyanim are operating at full capacity. Rabbi Yitzchok Shulem Friedman manages the entire hachzara list, ordering it, updating changes and deciding who receives the names and information.

How do you choose the kollel participants, those who say Tehillim on behalf of the members?

The spiritual department also handles hiring applicants to say the Tehillim. We handpick each of our Tehillim sayers, only choosing talmidei chachamim who are learning full-time and holy, special men to be klal Yisrael’s messengers.

How much does it cost to run your organization?

The Tehillim Kollel has a budget of close to 3 million dollars, with 129 employees on weekly payroll. Our budget includes the payroll for all the Tehillim reciters, as well as the principal and assistant principals who are responsible for organizing
the minyanim. It includes the baal tefillah for each branch. You must understand that we operate 365 days a year, including fast days, Yomim Tovim and Shabbosim. Our gashmi expenses are about $865,000 annually, including all administrative costs, such as full-time staff for our support center, marketing and advertisement, bookkeeper and accountant to manage our financial records, rent and utilities for our central office, and more. This is a third of our annual budget.

Does the income from members cover your costs?

Tehillim Kollel actually does not have enough funds to cover our regular monthly expenses, but we work with a vaad of baalei batim to ensure that we can pay our mispalelim and our bills, especially during Yomim Tovim, when fundraising is harder. Our expenses never cease as we are constantly in operation every day of the year.

Where are the 15 Tehillim Kollel locations?

In the United States, we have locations in the Dinev shul in Williamsburg, in Monroe at the tzion of the Satmar Rebbe, and in Monsey, at the tzion of Ribnitzer Rebbe. In Europe, there are locations at the tzion of R’ Mishatz in England and the tzion of R’ Itzikel and R’ Yankele in Belgium. In Eretz Yisrael, there are locations at the kever of Shimon Hatzadik in Yerushalayim, the kever of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Uziel in Amuka, the kever of the Shela Hakadosh and the kever of Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis in Teverya, the tzion of R’ Yehuda Bar Ilai in Ein Zeitim, the kever of the Ari Hakadosh, the tzion of R’ Leib Baal Yisurim, and the tzion of R’ Shlomo Alkabetz, all in Tzfas, the kever of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron, and the kever of Dan ben Yaakov in Beit Shemesh.

Are you planning to add additional locations?

Our most recent location, Kever Dan Ben Yaakov, was just opened seven months ago in Beit Shemesh. The goal of our Rosh Kollel is to increase, spread, and share the power of Tehillim. His goal is to have a Tehillim Kollel in every major city in the world! In this way, anyone can reach out and join a minyan whenever they need. In the past 10 years, the Tehillim Kollel has expanded from one location to 15! We continue to expand and we continue to fundraise and search for new ways to utilize our resources, as canceling a branch is just not an option. We are continuing to open more kollelim than we can afford because our goal is to assist klal Yisrael as much as we can. We depend on a vaad of baalei batim with gracious, giving hearts, who lend us money during our times of need and help us open new locations so that we can persist in sharing the power of Tehillim.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

It is such a zechus to be involved in the Tehillim Kollel organization. Each city that has a Tehillim Kollel receives an extra shemira, Divine protection, and I am grateful to serve the community in such a spiritual way. Now, people in the community can join the local minyan reciting Tehillim, and say it with them, gaining extra zechusim as well! I also believe that Tehillim Kollel has spread awareness about the importance of Tehillim, and even people who aren’t members and don’t join the kollelim now view Tehillim with more chashivus. Tehillim Kollel has certainly increased the recitation of Tehillim worldwide. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Hashem for giving me the opportunity to serve as the shaliach, to bring thousands of yeshuos to thousands of people over the years through the sacred words of Tehillim.

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