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.
(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
“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.
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  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.”
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.
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!”