Behind The Scenes Of Crown Heights: Interview With Shmuly Brashevitzky

As part of the “Behind The Scenes Of Crown Heights” Interview series, spoke with Shmuly Brashevitzky, who works with Devorah Benjamin at Keren Simchas Chosson V’Kallah (KSCVK).

Q. Thank you so much for giving us your time. Can you give our readers a quick overview of what Keren Simchas Chosson V’Kallah does, and what its mission is?

A. KSCVK is an Hachnosas Kallah organization that helps orphans to make their wedding. People that are in chinuch, on Shlichus or people that are just struggling to make a wedding.

To simply make it easier for people to make their wedding possible.

Q. Nearly everyone knows the famous Devorah Benjamin, founder of KSCVK, but can you fill everyone in on how she came to found the organization?

A. After she got married and saw the struggle of what it takes when someone doesn’t have the funds to make a wedding, she was approached by one friend [who was] getting married, asking Devorah if she knows anyone that can help her. Devorah asked a few people for some help for that Kallah, and then another one and another and on and on.

Q. How many people are employed by KSCVK, and how does the enormous amount of work get done?

A. To your first question, one person and few volunteers. To your second question, by simply working day and night and having a big heart and wanting to help others.

Q. Does KSCVK help only with Chabad or Crown Heights weddings, or also weddings outside of Chabad or Crown Heights?

A. KSCVK helps everybody. A YOSEM is not a choice. When the Torah speaks about a yosem, it doesn’t explain the different kind of yesomin. It simply says a yosem, and yes we help people from everywhere.

Q. Financially, how much money does KSCVK give out in an average year? And how much does the organization have to fundraise?

A. In the last few years, about $1,400,000 a year, and we have to fundraise all of it.

Q. Looking narrower, how much does KSCVK give to an average new couple for their wedding?

A. There is no such a thing “average”. Every person that reaches out to KSCVK for help, it’s like they are the first person we are helping. We never compare anyone or put them in a category.

Q How does KSCVK fundraise, besides for the annual KSCVK Auction?

A. We have a matching campaign, and Devorah sits in the street, in the winter in the cold, in the summer in the heat, purim, etc.

Q. The Auction was perhaps one of the most anticipated events in Crown Heights for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to that. Will we see the auction coming back as years previously? Or have we seen the new form of the future KSCVK Auction?

A. As of now unfortunately no, it will not be coming back. For now, this is the new way of the KSCVK auction on the auctioneer bus.

Q. As you are obviously in a unique position in such a widely utilized Chabad organization, can you give the readers some insight on the wedding trends in Lubavitch? Are people spending more or less on average on weddings?

A. People spend what they like or can afford. Yes, some people are spending less, and some are going back to the pre-COVID last two years.

Q. In your opinion, are we going in the right or wrong way, in the way we do our weddings? If you could change something, what would that be?

A. What does it mean the right or wrong way? When someone is B”H making a simcha who decides what they should or shouldn’t do? My advice, when you make a Simcha, make it in your budget not what you think other people will say.

Q. Could you give us a few “tips from the top” on how to better manage our weddings?

A. Two things come to mind.

1. Shop around for what fits your family’s, needs not someone else’s.

2. Spend in your budget.

Q. If you could give one piece of advice to the young Chassanim and Kallahs, what would that be?

A. Don’t look on the wedding your friend had. Look what your parents can afford. You will enjoy your wedding a million times better, appreciate it more, and remember it forever.

To donate to KSCVK, and help out the work of this great chesed organization: Click Here

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