Father of 8 Disappears, Community Up in Arms

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For seven months, a dark secret has cast a shadow over the home of the Rothman family in the Shmuel HaNavi neigborhood of Jerusalem. It has been that long since Mr. Rothman, father of 8, disappeared overnight. He left the country fleeing debt, and has not been seen since.

Left behind are wife Chani Rothman and a large family of children, the youngest of which is just 3 years old. The eldest is engaged to be married. Since her husband’s departure Chani has had to face the impossibility of supporting a large family single-handedly. Unable to work enough hours to pay the bills, and exhausted by the daily race of raising a household full of children, the family has quickly fallen into desperation.

In a sobering video, Chani’s sister Henny Grishevsky explains that they do not even have “pas lechem,” the absolute essentials for survival. Timid, solemn children sit by Henny’s side on the couch, their eyes fixed on the camera.

Though neighbors and family members have done their best to hold up this family in their time of need, the modest neighborhood community lacks the funds to provide the Rothman children with proper support. For that reason, mother Chani has started a Chesed Fund campaign.

“It is with much humility and a heavy heart that I come to you, a stranger, to tell my story,” touching campaign text begins.

The family’s struggle has not gone unnoticed. Jerusalem rabbanim, including Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, have issued public statements in hopes of raising money for the chattan in the family. With no finances for clothing or food, it goes unsaid that there is no budget for a wedding. In another video [below], the chattan receives a hascama and bracha from Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

Chani’s hope is that public support from the rabbanim will bring visibility to her campaign, and consequently success in its mission to “save the Rothman kids.” A mother’s most basic instinct longs to see her children fed and clothed. Now, Mrs. Rothman must put that responsibility in the hands of strangers, and pray.