| All I Ask |

All I Ask: Chapter 23

“Now, with this investigation going on, my image is even more tarnished. All these noble-minded people think I’m a crook”


"Did I sound terrible?” Shaye Langerman asked, sitting down on a gray kitchen chair and putting away his cell phone.

“No, mah pitom?” said Tova Langerman.

“Lately I get the feeling that Yanky Kleiner looks down on me, like he thinks all I care about is money.”

“But the money isn’t going into your pocket!” Tova was bristling with loyalty. “You get a very small percentage of the donations, much less than most administrators!”

“True,” said Shaye. “But it’s also true that most of my day revolves around money.”

“It’s heilige money!” said his wife, ready to pounce like a lioness on anyone who accused her husband of greed. In her private thoughts, she didn’t always approve of his fundraising methods. But who were these holy people, who never had to carry such financial burdens on their shoulders, to think badly of him? “A hundred avreichim get stipends every month from the money you raise! Those funds support a yeshivah gedolah, a yeshivah ketanah, and a beis medrash, not to mention the families of about 20 staff members.”

“And not to mention the cheider. We help them, too.”

“With all due respect to Reb Yanky Kleiner, is he forgetting that most of the stipend he gets for morning kollel comes from the funds you raise? And so does his salary as meishiv in the afternoon.”

“That’s right,” said Shaye, looking a bit forlorn. “And it’s not only the salaries. People have no idea how much it costs to keep up a yeshivah for one month. Just this morning, Menachem Levron paid 3,000 shekels to Tnuva, another few thousand to the vegetable wholesaler, and 12,000 to the electric company. Tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh, and we’ll be paying the stipends. Next week is the end of the secular month — time to budget the salaries. Government funding, together with tuition payments, covers less than half our expenses.”

“So what do all the mosdos do, if they don’t have someone like you to run after big donors?” asked Tova.

“They close, sooner or later,” Shaye chuckled grimly. “Or else they’re late paying everyone, and they order bread from a different bakery every month, because the others won’t sell them any more until they pay up.”

“Tough job,” sighed Tova.

“Yes, it is. I give my blood to keep the mosdos above water, and then people think I’m a con artist. What does Yanky Kleiner want me to do? I should let Sandy Eliav’s fortune slip out of our hands? That’s what could happen, if we don’t treat Yonatan with respect. Making him wait in line for an hour… unbelievable!”

“How old is Sandy?” Tova asked. “Oof, I feel terrible talking that way.”

“He’s 62,” said Shaye. “Sheyichyeh l’orech yamim v’shanim tovos. And he plans to put all his business affairs in Yonatan’s hands, sooner or later.”

Shaye started pacing back and forth in the kitchen. “Now, with this investigation going on, my image is even more tarnished. All these noble-minded people think I’m a crook.”

Tova made no reply.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 779)

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