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Areivim's Response to the "Unanswered Questions"
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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5/24/10

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

AREIVIM'S RESPONSE TO THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Dear Readers:

Mr. Bochner of Kol Yisrael Areivim sent me the following response to my "Unanswered Questions" letter, where I respectfully asked Mr. Bochner to respond to the questions I posed in my original post/letter "The Areivim Life Insurance Program".

As I am the host of this website and initiated this dialogue, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to respond to Mr. Bochner’s letter until my readers have the opportunity to review his comments and digest them.

I will post my response on this website later in the week.

For your reading ease, Mr. Bochner’s comments appear in bold, italicized and in a different font – so you can hopefully follow with ease on a PC/laptop or a mobile device like a BlackBerry.

Mr. Bochner attached seven letters of endorsement from a variety of rabbonim and organizations. I will try and get them posted on this website.

I would also like to recommend that you read: "Look Before You Leap", a column written by Rabbi Yonasan Rosenblum warning of Areivim’s pitfalls. It ran in Mishpacha magazine more than two years ago, on February 17, 2007.

Respectfully,

Yakov

Dear Rabbi Horowitz,

On the first letter questions that were very welcomed was raised. Questions are very healthy. You gave an opportunity to all readers should see and understand how this program runs, and works. And B”H the respond was magnificent a lot of readers actually did understand the program and did make a move of signing up.

Last night on Motzei Shabbos I realized that you haven’t got your answers from my response. Let’s review by caption on all 11 questions that you feel weren’t answered. Any additional questions are always welcome I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.

I did see all the comments that were made as well. I learned the readers like controversy right or wrong since they have not read the response

5/21/10

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?

The lay leaders that created the American modelfelt that fifty thousand dollars per child was insufficient for this country, and changed the numbers- six dollars per child would equal one hundred thousand dollars per child. We were welcomed by the heads of virtually every single communal organization- Agudas Yisroel, Young Israel, Orthodox Union, Chabad and various other communities.

2. Who is your posek?

All policies will be reviewed by a board of rabbanim and policy acceptance is contingentupon their approval.

Attached are some of the letters

In America, the names of Rav Mechel Steinmetz and Rav Benzion Strasser on signed on tothe account, and we have hundreds of other rabbanim in communities across America.

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

The office is run by five askanim (aka Volunteers) that do the office and technical work,and each individual case is assigned one overseer from the central office. These peopleare efficient and knowledgeable and available to discuss any case or answer questions.

In America, the names of Rav Mechel Steinmetz and Rav Benzion Strasser on signed on tothe account, and we have hundreds of other rabbanim in communities across America.

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

I’m listing a few board members. There is almost in every Yiddishe community 1 or moreindividuals acting as bored members.

Dr. Irving Libowitz, Abraham Biderman, Yati Weiner, Moshe Y Laufer, Abraham Lefkowitz,Michel Schlesinger, Abraham A Leser, Berish Leser, Abe Roth, Chayim Gross, SholomoGross, Menashe Frakel, Yanky Klein, Mendy Freidman, Hary Treitel, Eliezer Shapiro,

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

??

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

The rov of the shul where the deceased was a member, of a rov closely associated withthe family, will oversee the transfer of funds and ensure that the needs of each individualchild are met.

7. Who will be investing the money?

The account is opened in the name of the surviving parents and the family rov, as well as afamily guardian to ensure that the money is used or invested wisely.

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

The account is opened in the name of the surviving parents and the family rov, as well as afamily guardian to ensure that the money is used or invested wisely.

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

The account is opened in the name of the surviving parents and the family rov, as well as afamily guardian to ensure that the money is used or invested wisely.

10. There are two Areivim websites http://www.areivim.info and http://www.kolyisraelareivim.org. Are they the same organization?

Obviously, there are others that wish to copy the success of our model, and it would serve the best interests of the klal if we could unite and join forces. For various reasons, this is not the case, however.

Our appeals are never based upon the drama of painting heartbreaking scenarios and thus using fear and guilt to convince the people. We much prefer to share the facts in an intelligent, clear fashion and respect the ability of people to make intelligent decisions.

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

The account is opened in the name of the surviving parents and the family rov, as well as a family guardian to ensure that the money is used or invested wisely.

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

Yes

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

There are over 180 Rabbanim headed by R’ Ezrial Oerbach son-in-law of R’ Eliyashev son of R’ Shlomo Zalmen Oerbach Ztz”l

And no they are not involved in the American KYA project. in America they totally rely on the American Rabbanim.

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

Obviously, there are others that wish to copy the success of our model, and it would serve the best interests of the klal if we could unite and join forces. For various reasons, this is not the case, however.

15. Are they two organizations or one?

Obviously, there are others that wish to copy the success of our model, and it would serve the best interests of the klal if we could unite and join forces. For various reasons, this is not the case, however.

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

To the Chusheve donors there is still a lot of open slots for donation of this project we could have done much more with more help.

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.

The whole involvement of these professionals is 100% free of charge and L’Shem Mitzvah only, therefore they asked us to keep their contact information undisclosed however we can arrange all questions to forward to them and their responses to disclose.

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.

We haven’t done any mass campaigning in the last year since our first group is almost coming to closure.

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

Recommended reading: "Look Before You Leap", a column written by Rabbi Yonasan Rosenblum warning of Areivim’s pitfalls. It ran in Mishpacha magazine more than two years ago, on February 17, 2007.



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