Days after the horrific attacks in Israel, a new initiative was launched by Chabad Hebrew Schools worldwide to invite first-time Hebrew School Students to fill one more “One More Seat” for their brothers and sisters in the holy land.
There’s Always Space for Another Jewish Child
Under the banner of ‘One More Seat,’ CKids Hebrew Schools around the world are standing in solidarity with Israel by expanding their classrooms. These new pupils fill the void left by Israeli children, many of whom are huddled in bomb shelters, and deprived the opportunity to study about their heritage.
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, sees in this campaign echoes from an episode fifty years ago. “Back then, there was a suggestion to keep one chair empty at the seder table, highlighting the plight of Soviet Jewry,” Rabbi Kotlarsky recalls. “The Rebbe responded that an empty seat won’t help them. ‘Add a chair,’ he said, ‘but fill it with a Jew who otherwise wouldn’t be there!’”
More than just making waves on social media, the campaign, spearheaded by CKids International at Merkos 302, has inspired scores of Jewish children to attend Hebrew School for the first time. “When we heard of the atrocities experienced by our brethren in Israel,” shares Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, Director of CKids International, “we immediately knew we had to do something big. We launched the campaign the morning after, and the results have been outstanding.”
Having seen firsthand the effects of the ‘One More Seat’ initiative, Mrs. Shevy Klein, director of Chabad Hebrew School of Coral Way in Miami, reflects: “It’s heartwarming to see parents seeking a stronger Jewish connection for their children; it empowers and encourages us all. It’s exactly what their kids need in these times: to feel a stronger Jewish connection.”