Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Iyar 5761 - April 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Observations: Hebrew University Schnorrs $600 Million
by P. Moses

During the Haskalah, propaganda against the Torah world centered around what was known then as "leaving golus." Leading maskilim waged a tough campaign to persuade youth to abandon the Torah halls which they defined as "golus culture" and to join "progressive, modern" culture. The most provocative term appended to Torah scholars was "schnorrers." The maskilim presented higher learning at the universities as an alternative to "the schnorring culture" and the Chaluka (in Eretz Yisroel), and an opportunity to achieve financial independence rather than relying on outside contributions.

Based on this brief historical recap, a report released by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem last week--according to which the university has managed to raise record donations totaling $600 million over the past three years--was a great source of encouragement. That's right: six hundred million U.S. dollars. Although it is still far behind the fundraising efforts of the larger American universities who raise billions of dollars, it is quite respectable as raising money goes.

According to the chairman of the University Board of Trustees, Attorney Yigal Arnon, University President Professor Menachem Megidor and Fundraising Campaign Chairperson Barbara Mandel of the U.S., this achievement is even greater since, according to the original plan, $600 million was the five-year goal, and the fundraisers managed to reach that amount within only three years.

The extraordinary speed with which the funds were raised could have allowed the university to take a two-year break from the schnorring, i.e. the fundraising, but no break is in the works. In light of the success of the fundraising efforts, a new drive to raise a billion dollars has been planned!

Once upon a time, in the era of the golus culture, all of the Torah halls throughout the Diaspora were maintained through schnorring. Today, after the establishment of progressive, modern culture, no vestige remains of the schnorrer, having been replaced by the Fundraising Campaign Chairperson.


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