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Areivim - Unanswered Questions
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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Note to Our Readers:

The Monsey-based Areivim Program, led by Rabbi Shmuel Gluck, who is a regular contributor to this website, does extraordinary work with teens at risk and is not affiliated in any way with any of the three Areivim life insurance programs.

I warmly and proudly endorse the Monsey Arevim teen program -- as a resource for parents and as an excellent venue for your charity dollars.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz


8 Sivan 5770

May 21, 2010

Reb Yoel Bochner

Director, Areivim

Dear Reb Yoel:

I hope all is very well with you.

Ten days ago, I emailed to you a list of questions I had regarding the Areivim program and gave you several days to respond. I did so to give you every opportunity to allay my concerns and to allow me to endorse the Areivim program to my readers with menuchas hanefesh.

To my surprise and disappointment, the vast majority of the reasonable questions I presented to you were not addressed and remained unanswered – leaving me with no confidence whatsoever in the viability of your program.

I am also deeply troubled by the tepid responses of weak or non-support I received when I did due diligence on some of the rabbinic and organizational backing your website and brochures claimed to have – and since I wrote my initial letter to you, endorsements from major Jewish organizations were pulled from your website. What in the world is going on?

As of this moment, I am strongly recommending that my readers not enroll in Areivim and I am preparing a column and press release to that effect.

Before doing that, in the interest of fairness, I will resubmit to you the questions you have not answered and respectfully ask you to kindly respond to them by noon (E.D.T.) this coming Sunday, May 23rd.

1. Who was the founder of Kol Yisroel Areivim?

2. Who is your posek?

3. Who manages the day-to-day operations and how are they paid?

4. Who are the members of its Board of Directors?

5. What is the succession plan for the leadership of Areivim?

6. Who are the rabbonim who will be overseeing the funds collected?

7. Who will be investing the money?

8. Will those making the investments take a fee and/or commission for their efforts and what is that fee?

9. Is Areivim going to invest in secured bank CD’s or in uninsured investments – and who will make those decisions?

10. There are two Areivim websites and Are they the same organization?

11. Does Areivim have any mechanism for grievances – where does one go if he/she feels mistreated?

12. Is Areivim a “Project of the Va’ad HaRabbonim” as advertised?

13. How involved are Va’ad members in the Areivim program and who are the rabbonim?

14. Is Kupat Ha’ir the same as Va’ad Harabbonim?

15. Are they two organizations or one?

16. Where is the money coming from to cover the costs of your advertising campaigns?

Additionally, in your response, you mentioned that you consulted with lawyers, actuaries, and insurance professionals in formulating your program. What are their names and contact information? It is unheard of for professionals who work on a project to refuse to disclose their involvement.

Finally, I must in the strongest terms express my displeasure at the outrageously aggressive ads Areivim ran in the (very expensive) 8-page glossy brochure you distributed in major charedi papers over Shavuos.

Here is verbatim text from the brochure which demeans and ridicules those who have not signed up for Areivim:

A considerable percentage of those who haven’t signed [up with Areivim Y.H.] have not done so due to laziness, due to the little bit of effort joining requires. Laziness! Effort! What price such laziness has extracted from families who rue the fact that they haven’t joined Areivim in time! What a price this laziness has extracted from those orphans ….

It is incumbent upon each of us to make sure that everyone we know has joined Areivim. Otherwise, how can you sleep at night? How can you be calm? No one knows what the next day will bring. ….

And if you have not yet joined yourself – think of how you would feel if you were “after tests” [meaning you r’l had a deadly disease Y.H.]. How would you look your wife and children in the eye; how would you torture yourself with thoughts of what will be when …

This is absolutely outrageous. Period. Exclamation point. All the more so in light of the fact that you yourself wrote to me that Areivim is not guaranteed, and you recommend that all those who can afford life insurance should purchase it for their families.

Respectfully submitted,

Yakov Horowitz

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