By: Shimmy Blum
It is long overdue, and an ever growing number of kehillos across the United States are joining Parnassah Network’s “Parnes Bais Knesses” initiative, which was introduced by Reb Duvi Honig, along with Rabbi Paysach Krohn, at the recent Agudath Israel of America convention.
In Shuls that participate in Parnes Bais Knesses, two gabbaim – under the auspices of the Rav and board -are appointed to take responsibility for the parnassah needs of the Shul members. These people familiarize themselves with the parnassah needs of each member with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality. They are approachable and trustworthy, and will proactively do everything they can to help. Each Shul turns into a powerful parnassah related network, where members take an interest in each others’ success and step up to the plate.
“Why hasn’t this been done before?,” was the most common response. “When someone comes into shul in a wheelchair or all bandaged up, everyone notices and offers whatever help they can,” says Reb Duvi, “but does anyone know if the man in the next seat can’t afford knapsacks for his children, or doesn’t have a job?”
We all know that there are people who are in dire need of parnassah, or at least have lots of untapped potential, but are uncomfortable or unable to reach out to the best resources. On the flipside, there are successful members in each community who have lots of business knowledge and resources to share with their neighbors, but haven’t properly utilized this potential.
The program offers these gabbaim various tools to help them carry out their duties. This includes professional training on how to identify needs, the right avenues for help, and how to maintain maximum compassion, confidentiality and respect. The program puts all the parnassah enhancement tools under the Parnassah Network umbrella in the hands of the gabbaim, and there are various venues for them to network with each other.
One key aspect of the program is that the gabbaim will identify members who can offer mentoring, job searching, or other assistance – and pair them up with others accordingly.
A fast growing number of Shuls are excited to participate in the Parnes Bais Knesses program, including several who expressed interest on the spot at the Agudah convention. Leading Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbanim, shlit”a, have enthusiastically endorsed the program and encouraged kehillos in their midst to join. “We have, baruch Hashem, seen lots of interest in Parnes Bais Knesses, and it is an achrayus for every Shul to have this infrastructure to help their members,” says Reb Duvi. “This will, b’ezras Hashem, create a proactivity and synergy across our community when it comes to parnassah.”