By Simcha Loiterman
Do you ever feel like you’ve missed out? Do you feel a deep regret poking at your insides after seeing a selfie, hearing about an exotic vacation or passing by someone else’ steak dinner? Smart people have given this sensation a name; Fear Of Missing Out or “FOMO”.
Now, there is physical FOMO and then there is Spiritual FOMO where long for something more profound to latch onto. Vacations, steak and all that other stuff…not so much. In our core, our souls ache to contribute; we want to be a part of something so badly that it makes us unable to bear to missing it. Chazaq, the organization dedicated to changing Jewish lives is a spiritual FOMO generating juggernaut.
Chazaq is teeming with action, a hive of happy helpers strengthening the Jewish community for over a decade. Where have you been? Why have you been missing out?The cause is worthy enough: tens of thousands of Jewish boys and girls are drifting further and further away from the light of Torah. Fear not, Chazaq is working hard to bring them back, determined to keep working until each and every Jewish soul comes back home.
This past week I found myself at Chazaq headquarters, sitting across from R’ Yaniv Meirov, founder and CEO of Chazaq. He is the hopeful dreamer and charismatic leader behind a barrage of efforts to bring Jews back to Torah and Mitzvah observance.
Our conversations often begin with in the same familiar, endearing way:
“So nu! Reb Simcha! How are we going to change the world!?!”
R’ Yaniv has a certain gusto and charisma when he talks about his life’s work of changing lives, sparking action and getting others to join his cause. He knows he is getting closer to his goal each day with Hashem’s help. He understands that he still has miles and miles to go but he is excited to keep going until Chazaq has completely changed the world.How could he not be excited? Since its inception back when R’ Yaniv and his older Brother Rabbi Ilan Meirov -himself a pillar of Chazaq and the Torah world- started, Chazaq has only been building up steam. Since 2006, Chazaq has been working with the Jewish community, primarily in the Queens area. Chazaq has swelled into a multi-faceted network of programs for every age from kindergarteners to retirees. In this time, they have garnered the approval and support of some of the leading Torah sages such as Rav Dovid Feinstein, Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky, Rav Yeruchum Olshin, Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rav Dovid Yosef and many others.
Are you still reading this? Chazaq needs your help!Rocking in his chair, eyes wide, arms extended, Rabbi Yaniv swiftly rattles off a list of programs, projects and presentations Chazaq is responsible for; the kollel, the food pantry, the new basketball league. He keeps going on and on; camps, schools, speakers, carnivals.
Events for anyone and everyone from Monsey to Plainview to the Five Towns to Lakewood and beyond. Chazaq is doing everything from A to Z in order to change lives and help build a brighter future for klal Yisroel, whoever they are wherever they are. One of the only events Chazaq hasn’t tried is skydiving but I am sure it’s been discussed.
“Did you know that we have now baruch Hashem placed well over 600 Jewish children in yeshiva in nearly 3 years?!?
There is a certain satisfaction R’ Yaniv takes in saying this. Chazaq’s accomplishments only make the organization hungrier to help even more students and impact more lives. The numbers of people impacted by Chazaq keep rising, the organization keeps growing but it was not always this way. As a yeshiva student living in Queens R’ Yaniv became distressed by the regular sight of the many Jewish kids attending public school. It pained him to know that many of these kids were missing out on the richness and beauty of being Jewish. For R’ Yaniv, Rabbi Ilan and the entire staff, it’s always been chiefly about helping the children.
Chazaq rolls out over 70 after school programs a month at nearly a dozen locations ensuring that Jewish children and teens have exposure to authentic, positive Judaism.
Chazaq runs the Shaping Lives Sunday-school and the Yaldeinu After-school programs where students learn how to read Hebrew, daven and connect with loving teachers and get exposed to Judaism in a positive way.
The J-Wave teens division is Chazaq’s afterschool program for high school students where they learn with Rebbes and teachers who act as role models and patiently guide them in Torah growth.Chazaq even created a beis medrash program and a Kollel led by Rav Ahron Walkin for students who have grown enough that they want to continue learning. The Chazaq programs are expanding in number and location and are vital in the cause of saving Jewish souls and they need your help.
Without Chazaq, these kids left to their own devices often become involved with drugs, violence and other dangerous behaviors. Chazaq has provided stability for these children and their families. R’ Yaniv rocks back in his chair with, his head tips back. He pushes his kippa down to his forehead, a broad smile bends across his face.
A tentative calendar for the coming month lays across his desk. It’s already carpet-bombed with events; A challah bake on one night, a class about finding inner peace on another, a blood-drive, a metric ton of charismatic speakers, the basketball league, a young professional’s event. It’s ambitious, it’s grueling and it’s all worth it if it spreads chizuk, awareness and ultimately leads to linking Jewish children back to Torah and Mitzvos.
R’ Yaniv concludes: “So nu reb Simcha! What’s it’s gonna be? Help me start a revolution! Help me change the world!”
R’ Yaniv is a dreamer. His dreams are coming true but there are many more dreams to be realized, namely over 10,000 local Jewish boys and girls and their families not yet warmed by the pleasant ways of the Torah. Don’t miss out. Become a part.
So nu? What’s it gonna be? Help Chazaq start a revolution! Do not miss out Help Chazaq change the world!
Chazaq will be having an urgent campaign coming up on June 4th and 5th. Chazaq is dedicated to inspiring the community from A to Z so let’s all help raise Chazaq from A to to Z. Visit GiveChazaq.com for details of this historic campaign