After signing a lease on a new place to permanently house their congregation last February, Chevra Ahavas Yisroel was given until May 14 to finalize the purchase – and come up with the $150,000 down payment. But when that day rolled around, the Shul leaders found themselves with only $30,000 in the bank.
Determined not to miss this golden opportunity to own a home of its own, the Shul requested an extension from the seller. They were given two weeks.
Rabbi Chezzy Denebeim immediately sent out an urgent appeal to all the Shul’s friends and congregants – 472 in total – saying if each and every one committed to a mere $255 donation, the building would be theirs. He had no idea what was in store.
The response was swift and overwhelming. Within 3 hours $12,000 had been pledged. By the next morning, the number rose to $23,000. Today – two days later – they reached $60,000, leaving them with $90,000 in total. Donations flooded in by phone and e-mail, as well as through the Shul’s blog.
“This reinforces the commonly held notion that our Shul is an absolute necessity in this community,” said Rabbi Denebeim in an exclusive interview with Crownheights.info. “Our shul serves as a home to hundreds of local and non-local yidden, and we are so proud to be an integral part of the broader and very beautiful crown heights community.
He added with much excitement: “Our Shul is truly a grassroots movement; It’s ‘the people’s Shul!’ We managed to fundraise an incredible amount of money in such a short time, and not from a few wealthy donors – it’s from the regular folk in this community. We’ve decided to put the building dedication in the name of every person who donated to this initial fund. Everybody’s name will be on the wall! Could you imagine!? It’s because of the real strength that lies with the people.”
The Shul’s leaders feel confident that they will be able to finalize the purchase of the property, located at 306 Albany Ave. near Eastern Parkway, before the looming deadline, but they will have to maintain the current momentum in order to bring the Shul’s finances over the top.