Over the past two years, the Maayan Menachem organization has caused a revolution in the study of Chassidus among American bochurim. Co-founder Rabbi Betzalel Kleinman sat down with Anash.org to give a little glimpse into their activities and growth.
Over the past two years, the Maayan Menachem organization has caused a revolution in the study of Chassidus among American bochurim.
Anash.org had the pleasure of hearing about Maayan Menachem from Rabbi Betzalel Kleinman himself.
Anash.org: Good afternoon Rabbi Kleinman! Could you please tell us a little bit about your background on Hafotzas Hamasyanos?
Rabbi Kleinman: Sure! I’ve been living in Yerushalayim for the past 8 years. Over the past couple of years, I opened and ran a nightly Kollel Chassidus for Israeli yungeleit and organized Chassidus chavrusahs for many bochurim who reached out to me.
A: Please tell us about the life of an American bochur in Yerushalayim.
RK: There are thousands of boys who travel to Eretz Yisrael annually to learn in the local yeshivos. To many of them, the foreign atmosphere, new yeshiva and surroundings, and lack of family, community, and friends back home- can be extremely hard, and on occasion downright detrimental.
On the other hand, the new surroundings are a beginning, giving a sense of independence and an opportunity for these boys to broaden their horizons. The break from monotonous day-to-day life brings them to search for more depth in Torah and Mitzvos, and they find Chassidus to be the answer.
A: Wow! That’s a real opportunity! Was there ever an organized framework dealing with this demographic?
There have been some attempts over the years by various bochurim, with very strong results. Nevertheless, as they were smaller in scale, they didn’t last too long.
A: What brought you to enter the fray?
RK: I’ve always been deeply disturbed about this lost opportunity but never knew how to start. Baruch Hashem, two years ago a friend of mine reached out to me and told me about Maayan Menachem. They just finished their Yeshivas Kayitz, and with the Israeli border open, a group of close to 30 bochurim was looking for a framework in Yerushalayim where they could continue learning and farbrenging. I happily jumped on the bandwagon, and haven’t looked back since!
A: How did you start?
RK: We got permission from Maayanei Yisrael in Yerushalayim to use their Beis Medrash and started a weekly Kollel Chassidus. Farbrengens with different mashpi’im were arranged from time to time, and in the summer we ran a two-week camp. Baruch Hashem, we’ve seen unprecedented growth over the past two years.
A: That’s amazing! Could you explain how Maayan Menachem is different from the other organizations spreading Chassidus?
RK: First of all, it’s the unique age we deal with. bochurim are thrilled with the sense of belonging they find, and this positively impacts their entire year(s) here.
Besides, bochurim aren’t used to the Israeli culture and style, so the heimishe atmosphere of Maayan Menachem makes them feel at home.
A: What do you currently have underway?
RK: We’ve reached a solid 50 bochurim in the twice-weekly Kollel, a summer camp, monthly farbrengens, and special shiurim with mashpi’im. Every few months, we have a Shabbos Hisvaadus together. We recently joined the Maayanei Yisrael Shabbos Hisvaadus and had a very powerful farbrengen with Reb Kuti Feldman and shiur by Rabbi YY Kuperman of Kiryas Gat.
A: Impressive! What are your plans for the future?
RK: There’s a pressing need for a morning program, incorporating Chassidus, Shacharis, and Nigleh. Down the line, we plan on opening a center in the Beis Yisrael neighborhood, right near the Mir. It’ll be right there for bochurim to drop in and join a Shiur, Farbrengen, or Seder.
A: Thank you for your time Reb Betzalel! Any parting words?
RK: It’s been a pleasure! And absolutely! I’d like to share the chance of partnering with Maayan Menachem’s ongoing campaign!
Remember the difference you can make in someone’s life with every word of Chassidus they learn! Thank you for the opportunity!