Chayenu, Inc. is an IRS recognized 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization  (EIN: 80-0375542).

How was Chayenu started?

Two South African Jewish businessmen were on an airplane (this is not a joke!) on their way to explore a lucrative venture in the oil business.

Although they are real-estate developers by profession, this deal seemed too good to pass up.

One of the two is a comitted Lubavitcher. On the plane, he pulls out his Dvar Malchus to learn Chitas and Rambam, a Sichah, etc.

The other partner, a traditional Jew with a geshmak in the mitzvah of tzedakah, asks, “Hey, Mendel, what’s that?”

“Oh, it’s a weekly booklet with a huge selection of learning on the weekly Parshah, Rambam, and other things– all in one convenient pocket-size magazine. It’s really handy, especially when you’re traveling.”

“Can you please get me the English version?” asks Louis.

“Sorry, Louis,” says Mendel. “It doesn’t exist.”

“What do you mean, it doesn’t exist? Why not?”

“Well, this is a major undertaking. You need to negotiate with lots of publishers to get copyright permission, and printing is a big expense funding. The Dvar Malchus was funded for many years by the well-known philanthropist Levi Leviev.”

“Well, if it doesn’t exist, then let’s create it!” says Louis quite spontaneously. “In fact,” he continues, “if the deal we are looking to make now comes through and this venture succeeds, we’ll fund it from the profits.”

And so it was that Louis Pearlman and Mendel Goldman of Pretoria, South Africa, came to be the founders of Chayenu.

Chayenu Founders- Mendel Goldman and Louis Perleman

(In the end, that particular investment didn’t materialize, but  Chayenu got seed money and substantial, ongoing support from a charitable trust that Pearlman and Goldman set up in Johannesburg to fund educational organizations.)

Chayenu is now published as a weekly Hebrew-English

Torah study booklet, making daily learning simple and

convenient. The content includes Chumash and Rashi,

Tanya, Rambam (a chapter per day plus Sefer Hamitzvos),

Hayom Yom, and the weekly excerpt of Likutei Torah or

Torah Or. If that is not enough, it also features weekly

halachos, concepts of Geulah related to the weekly Torah

portion, a Chassidic story, a weekly Sichah, and letters of

the Rebbe.

“What began as a nice idea quickly snowballed into a

massive undertaking,” says Rabbi Michoel Goldman,

Chayenu’s director. “Frankly, we had no idea how much

work would go into each edition on a weekly basis.”

Fortunately,  Chayenu reached an agreement with

Moznaim Publishing, which has just completed a 20-year

project to translate the Rambam’s entire Mishneh Torah (by

Rabbi Eliyahu Touger), to reprint their content. The very first

issue coincided with the launch of the new Rambam study

cycle. Sichos In English (SIE) publisher Rabbi Yonah

Avtzon has also been very supportive of the project, allowing

the inclusion of a wide variety of SIE’s translated works.

Another major agreement was with Kehot Publication

Society, which released a new format of Tanya with vowels

through Chayenu, and agreed to Chayenu’s innovative linear

layout of the Tanya.

“We are working with publishers to improve the layout

of the Chumash, as well as broaden the content we offer in

English, in an ever-expanding drive to deliver the best

selections to our readership,” says Rabbi Goldman.

Chayenu is currently distributed in the United States,

Canada, South Africa, Australia, Europe and South America.

Circulation is over 2,000 copies per week, and counting.

Prisoners

One day, a woman called the office wishing to remain

anonymous. She wanted a subscription for a relative in

federal prison. She said that he saw a fellow inmate with it

and wanted a copy for himself. The next day, Rabbi

Goldman called The Aleph Institute of Florida (which

focuses on providing the needs of prisoners) and asked

whether they could run an article about Chayenu in their

monthly National Liberator Newsletter. Rabbi Menachem

M. Katz of Aleph agreed wholeheartedly.

46 N’SHEI CHABAD NEWSLETTER [1] FEBRUARY  2011

“When your 11-year-old is packing for

summer camp and the only thing that

bothers him is how to continue getting

his Chayenu in camp… I am willing to

pay the additional costs.”

Chayenu:Layout 1 1/11/2011 2:53 PM Page 2It didn’t take long and Chayenu’s mailbox was flooded

with requests from all over the United States – Jewish

inmates requesting a sample. Without hesitation, Chayenu

subscribed them all, whether they could afford it or not.

(Chayenu currently has 45 inmate subscribers in over 30

correctional facilities across USA.)

The letters Chayenu receives from Jewish prisoners are

heartbreaking yet heartwarming.

“It is with much regret I am informing you I do not have

the funds for a subscription. I learn so much from it, it truly

educates me and brings simchah to my neshamah, but I only

earn 45 cents a day. A subscription fee of $2.50 a week is

beyond my means. Hopefully, you can send back issues or if

you find a sponsor – all 11 Jews here will appreciate it.”

One  Happy Camper

A mother from Los Angeles called up before the summer

asking Chayenu to please forward her son’s subscription to

Camp Gan Yisroel of Montreal for the summer.

Rabbi Goldman describes the conversation: “Ma’am,”

he said, “firstly, it costs a lot more to ship to Canada,

especially just one issue at a time. Secondly, can you imagine

if we had to track every kid’s summer plans and forward

mail before and after the summer?!”

But Jewish mothers don’t give up so quickly. “When

your 11-year-old is packing for summer camp and the only

thing that bothers him is how to continue getting his

Chayenu in camp… I am willing to pay the additional costs.”

Cockpit Chitas

Mordechai is a pilot for Quantas Airlines in Australia.*

Unfortunately, the tight security rules do not allow him to

bring aboard any paraphernalia unnecessary for the job, and

that includes his Chayenu. Ironically, he is allowed his iPad.

So, he requested a “Chayenu App for iPad.” Right now,

Chayenu is only published in print, but calls like this, and

the ever-growing popularity of the iPad, has  Chayenu

management thinking of going digital too.

The Spectrum

Chayenu readership includes a diverse cross-section of

the Jewish world. There is something inspiring in there for

everyone! Subscriber Reuven Fischer says, “Chayenu is the

Swiss Army knife of Torah study. If you are trapped on an

island without your library, a weekly subscription to

Chayenu is all you need!”