Sep 4, 2017

chain of kollels bailed out - maybe

The chain of kollels in Israel led by Rabbi Weissbord has been in big trouble for a long time. They have not paid their avreichim for 10 months. Some kollels have closed, some avreichim have started to leave their kollels for other places.

I have no idea how [most] avriechim can manage to live without getting their meager salaries for so long. I don't think I could survive with my salary not being paid for ten months.

A week or so ago it was announced that Rav Shteinman helped bail Weissbord out and helped find a donor to cover all his debt and pay the avreichim what he owes. it was hailed in the Haredi media as a tremendous salvation and a miracle. There is even one story about how the donor pledged a million shekels but Rav Shteinman had them refuse it because someone on his level should be donating much more, so he upped his donation to 18 million.

My friend who is involved with this chain of kollels tells me that they were all expecting their money as they were told it was on the way. A day or two later they were told the money has been held up in the USA on suspicion of money laundering. This guy wired all the money (about $4,500,000) in one shot and it was stopped. With the US and money laundering, one never knows when, or if, it will ever be released. I have not seen this in the news anywhere - only praise for finding the donor.

Sure enough, it is only the avreichim who suffer over this.

My friend also tells me that the kollel is still in trouble because while this, even if the money ever gets released and comes through, will cover the debts from the past, they have no idea how he will pay their stipends in the coming months. He might go another ten months without paying and then have Rav Shteinman bail him out again, or maybe nobody will bail him out next time.

I don't have the answer as to what should be done. Maybe he should not be operating a chain of kollels if he cannot pay his avreichim. Maybe he should because the avreichim know the difficulty and are accepting that reality upon themselves. I am just bringing to light more of the story and giving the struggles of the avreichim some publicity.

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  1. There's something missing here. I can't imagine there's anyone with $4.5 million dollars to donate that isn't aware of money laundering regulations. When I go to a currency exchange, I'm reminded of reporting rules for transfers greater than $10K.

  2. To go along with my earlier comment, this sounds like someone is spreading a rumor of a bailout, but with a twist to explain why the money will never show up.

  3. As far as whether or not he should run a chain of Kollels, I know that Rav Chaim Kanievsky holds that the stipend paid to avreichim does not have the halachic status of a salary, so there is no actual issur in not paying on time. And, of course, no one is forcing the avreichim to stay there.

  4. Unless he brought green cash into the bank, there's no problem of money laundering.
    Unless the bank suspects the . . . source of the funds . . .

    2. Not paying teachers, etc is a lifelong practice in many american yeshivot.
    But don't worry, the administrator / owner of the mossad gets his money on time.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. ...and Hashem says in the Braisa:
    הרבה עשו כרבי שמעון בן יוחאי ולא עלה בידם.
    הרבה עשו כרבי ישמעאל ועלה בידם.


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