| Encore |

Encore: Chapter 16

If the refi didn’t go through, or if his partners didn’t approve it — Avi felt a stab of frustration



t precisely the same moment on Wednesday evening, just after supper, both Faigy and Avi Korman were worrying about the yeshivah in Modena, though for very different reasons.

Faigy had just hung up with Dovi and she thought he didn’t sound great. He insisted he was fine, he still liked the yeshivah, he had enough to eat, the chavrusos were good — she couldn’t put her finger on what was wrong, but a mother knows these things. It was like when Shira had that problem with her iron levels: even before she’d taken a test or gone to a doctor, Faigy heard it in her voice.

Avi’s issues were of a different sort. Shuey Portman had made it a point to speak with every single parent, trying to work out some sort of tuition agreement so that they could figure out how much would come in to the account every month. The results had been disheartening.

“Look,” Shuey had told Avi, “I’ve never really done this, could be people just don’t like paying tuition. Personally, I always tried to push it off as long as possible, so why should these parents be any different? No one said no,” he clarified. “They all just found different ways to say how hard it is, how the yeshivah just started, they don’t even know if their sons will be happy… what can we really expect this early? You know….”

Avi knew, but he had expected something different. He’d imagined the parents would see the yeshivah the way that he did, as something different, something fresh and new. They would be eager to show the yeshivah that they realized this, and that of course they wanted to pay their share.

“Our luck,” Portman had laughed, “we don’t really have any guys from wealthy homes. They all seemed nice and they’ll do what they can. One of them, Tischler, sells cleaning supplies, and offered us a case of Clorox. Maybe next zeman we’ll do better....”

Avi Korman remembered to graciously thank Portman for making the calls so quickly and efficiently, then hung up and lifted a paper from next to his computer. If the refinancing went through on Circle City, he could keep going; the yeshivah wasn’t costing that much yet, just the salaries and food. He could do it for a few more months, give Portman a chance to create a structure, between tuition and fundraising, to make it work.

If the refi didn’t go through, or if his partners didn’t approve it — and here, Avi felt a stab of frustration, because it had been his idea four years earlier to take Lindkraut in, and all the guy ever did was resist, worry, postpone, and ruin opportunities like this. Money, Avi’s father had always said, isn’t made by sitting, but by moving. Lindkraut’s father must have taught him differently, and he always wanted to wait, let’s see how the market evolves, the forecast is good. Avi sighed.

It had to happen for the yeshivah in Modena to continue operating. It was as simple as that.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 799)

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