TOMCHE SHABBOS OF ROCKLAND – RED FLAG!!! – Part II (updated)

A Worthy Cause and its Finances

In Memory of R’ Chaim Munzer

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The life story, goals and accomplishments of R’ Chaim Munzer ע”ה , personify what Tomche Shabbos is all about. He grew up in difficult economic circumstances in pre-war Galicia, lost his entire family in the war and was on the run for six years in Russia experiencing starvation first hand. He never lost faith and was always מדקדק במצוות in the most difficult of circumstances. With the help of his life partner Sara Munzer שתחי’, he rebuilt a life in New York and raised a family based on תורה, חסדות, ומעשים טובים. He conducted his life in a quiet and unassuming manner, always cheerful and שמח בחלקו, while never forgetting those in dire need. He leaves a legacy to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of אהבת תורה ואהבת ישראל. He would be immensely proud to see how his offspring are engrossed in לימוד תורה and חסד.
The family takes great pride in the fact that Tomche Shabbos has been named in his memory. May his זכותים and מעשים טובים reverberate and multiply through the work of Tomche Shabbos and that of the דורות that he nurtured and sustained.

TOMCHE SHABBOS OF ROCKLAND – RESPONSE TO COMMENTS

June 1, 2016

(***Additional updates below 5:45pm EST)

Yesterday we posted an article written by a volunteer for the Tomchei organization, someone who holds the organization in high esteem. The article came with an introduction regarding a fundraiser which is happening today, June 1, 2016 with a link to the fundraiser. The author focused on a specific concern: the finances of the Tomche Shabbos of Rockland and the inordinate payments made to executives of the organization.

In fairness, the author repeatedly reiterated that he did not want to malign the work done by the Tomchei organization as a whole, or for that matter the dedication of Rockland’s Tomche Shabbos branch. He could not discount, however,  the financial discrepancies of Rockland’s Tomche Shabbos.

As a result of that article we received numerous comments, as did other social media sites that shared our article. We have decided to address one of the comments in particular:

“They do work on this org for more then 40+ hours a week, and I am curious in singly out this Tomche Shabbos, if you checked if they are distributing to the same amount of people, or have the same programs, or get the same calls about kids who need to be placed out of their families, or families who need housing because they are living in their cars. Are all the Touché Shabbos orgs, doing the same work? Do they all have job placement, and job training programs? If you look at the chart you put up, the orgs that have the most money are the ones that pay the salaries, so clearly it helps that they are paying people.

I know for a fact that the people in Monsey who run Tomche Shabbos and get paid eat, breathe and sleep (very little sleep, btw) this organization. You took raw numbers, you should have called them. This just comes across as a hit piece”

There are several possible responses to the comments above. The first, as pointed out by one of our commenters, is that we cannot assume that the dedication of any other Tomchei Shabbos organization is any less than that of Rockland. It is likely that in each organization there are people who “eat, breathe and sleep…this organization.”

The author of yesterday’s article focused on the raw numbers. And, contrary to the comments above, the numbers tell a slightly more nefarious story than the author’s piece described. Had the author wanted this to be a “hit piece”, the author would have also brought up the history of Rabbi Moskowitz, which would have detracted from the purpose of his story, finances. We received the following by email. It may be irrelevant in telling the story of this organization in terms of numbers, it is relevant insofar as its exclusion was intentional. The author did not want to write “hit piece”. We are not being so generous.

Perhaps the same ’employee’ Rabbi Moskowitz quoted in a  2007 story in which his sympathy for a sexual abusing Rabbi knew no bounds?
“Rabbi Jacob Moskowitz of Monsey said Weingarten was a “very nice person” who was well regarded as a Judaic scholar in Antwerp, Belgium, where he taught for years.

“He sits at home and doesn’t hurt a fly,” Moskowitz said, adding the allegations were the product of a “dirty matrimonial case.”

He said Weingarten’s students were so devoted to him that some had taken out mortgages to help him financially over the years as he faced allegations.

“He has a lot of supporters. People have a lot of sympathy for him,” Moskowitz said.”

Monsey-based Rabbi Charged with Sexually Abusing Girl for Nearly a Decade, Steve Lieberman and Jonathan Bandler, The Journal News, October 7, 2007

Regarding the raw numbers, the following photos are taken from the summary page of the form 990 for the 2014 tax year (which also includes the previous year) for each of 8 Tomchei organizations in addition to Rockland. We have posted them in alphabetical order.

We are in receipt of the returns, available upon request, along with the 2013 returns for each organization which summarizes 2012.

On the basis of numbers alone, the Rockland Tomche organization declares far more in expenses in proportion to its gross receipts/contributions than most, if not all, of the other organizations. In comparison it pays salaries disproportionate to its gross receipts and an argument that paying higher salaries yields greater returns is simply not a conclusion which can be raised by comparing the returns.

On raw numbers alone, the author’s concerns regarding voting members is also legitimate if not questionable. We thank the author of yesterday’s article and also those who wanted us to dig deeper. We do believe that Tomche Shabbos of Rockland’s tax returns tell a story that is not financially consistent with the other organizations and warrant further investigation.

***After reading some more comments today, it encouraged us to do some more research on this subject and we found something amazing. To end the argument once and for all, we discovered that for sure one of the employees cannot possibly “eat, breathe and sleep…” Tomche Shabbos Rockland, nor can he “do work on this organization for more than 40+ hours per week” because he also ‘happens to be’ dean of a girls school. We wonder how he can be paid a large full-time salary from Tomchei Shabbos of Rockland with public tzedaka money while is is also dean of a girls’ school.

We have included at the very bottom of the page two YouTube videos for the purposes of an introduction to the organization and its mission for those unfamiliar. While we question Rockland’s numbers, we would be remiss in not mentioning that the organization has dedicated volunteers who perform a well-needed service for the community. We hope that the good is not overshadowed by what looks to us to be cloudy business practices. 

We leave it to you.

BALTIMORE:

Tomchei Baltimore

BERGEN COUNTY:

Tomchei Bergen County

CHICAGO:

Tomchei Chicago

FAR ROCKAWAY:

tomchei far rockaway

FLATBUSH:

Tomchei Flatbush

LAKEWOOD:

tomchei lakewood

LOS ANGELES:

tomchei LA

QUEENS:

tomchei queens

ROCKLAND:

Tomche Rockland.2

 

4 thoughts on “TOMCHE SHABBOS OF ROCKLAND – RED FLAG!!! – Part II (updated)

  1. It always surprises me how people can know other people so absolutely they can swear to their honesty etc. You are lucky if you totally know yourself let alone others. Rabbonim have sworn about other people in the past that they could never be a sexual predator and have been totally wrong. You can’t know a person. And being totally dedicated to an organization and doing so much good doesn’t exclude you from also not being totally honest. Nothing is black and white.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think anyone has any problem with Mr. Rosenstock’s salary. Every good organization needs a leader, and if he works full time on it, which he clearly does, then he should get paid, he really deserves it. And I agree, he’s getting paid a proper amount. The whole premise of this post seems to be with the other salary. Why every other Tomchai manages to get it done without paying so many people full salaries at the management level? Some are even bigger organizations than Rockland. That is the only issue being raised.

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  3. I am so disturbed by this piece, that although I generally prefer not to comment on blogs, I cannot remain silent while a tzaddik is maligned. I am a freelancer who works periodically for Mr. Rosenstock, and I have had the privilege of watching him in action. I can confirm the quoted above that he eats, breathes and sleeps (too little) with the people of Rockland County on his mind. (And even Rabbi M., the “dean of a school,” puts in considerable hours for Tomche Shabbos each week, as all the volunteers at the warehouse can attest.)
    Mr. Rosenstock’s family pays a heavy price for his askanus. The work never leaves him and family plans can be interrupted at any time due to an emergency. Once, after a particularly stressful period, he told me that he checked himself into a local hotel and slept for almost 24 hours straight. He simply couldn’t function anymore and knew that this would be the only way for him to get uninterrupted sleep.
    Since the wages quoted must also pay Rabbi M. and some part-timers or freelancers, let’s be honest here: Mr. Rosenstock’s cut cannot possibly allow for a life of luxury in a typical frum community! Besides, until a few years ago, he was an unpaid volunteer who ran a business, but the growing needs of the community have now completely overtaken his life. I don’t know how his eishes chayil puts up with the extreme pressure her husband lives with every day. Can we not fargin her to at least be able to buy food and clothes for her family without undue stress?!
    It is so difficult to give one’s life to others in the way that Mr. Rosenstock has. I challenge anyone who has an issue with the tax return to spend 24 hours with that man and then say a word of criticism. Until we have the courage and selflessness to stand at the helm of such an organization, we should keep quiet and speak up only to offer gratitude, encouragement and support.

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    • We are impressed by the organization. We question its returns. There is a different. We will be questioning Rabbi M but that is for a different post. Perhaps you might want to look at the donor pool for the most recent fundraiser. Why would Tomche Shabbos of Rockland give 2 separate amounts to itself? The answer as we would guess is to meet the deadline to have donor match from Charidy.com. However, there are another number of some questionable donations from the day of the fundraiser. There is a 40K + donation from a Fidelity account, which lead us to question look into that account only to find a number of other questionable issues, also for another post. We strongly believe that there are those decent and selfless, altruistic people involved in this organization and we commend them. That does not mean, however, that it gives those who are less than “altruistic” in their “philanthropic” endeavors a pass. Perhaps you can look at the donation list, most of which came in only hours before deadline, from Tomche Shabbos to itself. We’d be curious to see your conclusions.

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