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Shabbat Parashat Vayeshev| 5766
Unification of Kollels - From B’shaarei Beit Hadin - vol. II, pp. 297-300
Historical Background: The remnants of the classical institution of “kollels,” which played a central role in the social and economic life of Yerushalayim a century ago, have only a marginal function nowadays. (There is little connection to the modern usage of “kollel,” which is an advanced, Torah, educational institution). In order to support the impoverished Jewish community of Yerushalayim, different communities, primarily in Europe, collected and sent funds to be distributed to the poor whose roots came from the community who sent the money. Thus, a Yerushalmi family whose origin was from Rumania belonged to the Kollel of Rumania, which was administered by and supported people from that community from funds sent from the Rumanian Jewish community. While saving many Jews from starvation, it created a social structure that could be divisive and invited claims of foul politics and finances… and many dinei Torah.
Case: The Kollel of Rumania requested of beit din to merge with it the separately run Kollel of Bucharest, along with the property and funds it possessed. The claim was that since Bucharest is the capital of Rumania and there are close social ties between the people of the various regions, there is no need for separate funds. Also, the Kollel of Bucharest had for all intents and purposes (at that time) ceased supporting its poor families, who then would turn to the Kollel of Rumania for help.
Ruling: Decades old documents show that the Kollel of Bucharest was founded and operated efficiently as a separate organization from the Kollel of Rumania and, thus, has a right to remain as such, if that is the decision of its administrators. However, since it has surfaced that the Kollel of Bucharest is not operating as it should at this time, we hereby require that new administrators be incorporated into its structure to ensure that those in need from that community receive their due (and not require the funding of the Kollel of Rumania).
The present administration of the Kollel of Bucharest objects to the new administrators being people connected to the Kollel of Rumania, so that it should not look as if there is a de facto takeover of their kollel by that of Rumania. We accede to that request and hereby appoint A. and B. to the administration of the kollel of Bucharest. We also require the kollel to submit yearly reports to beit din on the running of their financial affairs during the course of the past year.
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