|Behold the days are coming, says Hashem, when I shall send a hunger into the land. Not a hunger for bread nor a thirst for water, but a hunger to hear the word of Hashem.|
|Amos 8:11, Shabbos 138B|
Midos tovos, Yiras shamayim. Ahavas Hatorah. These are the values that we, as parents and educators, hope to inculcate in our children. But the demands are great, and resources are limited. There is a growing need for innovative materials that can capture our children's attention in an ever-changing world.|
This is the task of Pirchei Shoshanim.
The Pirchei Shoshanim societies were children’s groups founded sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s in Eastern Europe.
The following description of the Pirchei Shoshanim is taken from the memoirs Zichron Yaakov, authored by Rabbi Yaakov Lipschitz, secretary to Rabbi Yitzchak Elchonon Spektor.
Children, members of the Pirchei Shoshanim would visit parents on the day of the newly born son’s bris, and enroll the infant in the organization, which was reviewed as a considerable honor, and one in which the communities encouraged the families to participate.
Upon enrollment in the Pirchei Shoshanim, the parents would donate charity for the purchase of Jewish books in honor of the newborn “Pirchei” as the child was referred to. The child’s name was put inside the front cover of the book.
In this way, the children would collect enough to buy a new Shas, Rambam, Mishnayos, etc. When a set of books was obtained, the adults would accept them amid joyous festivity.
The privilege of carrying the bound volumes into the shul was auctioned off. Accompanied by torches and songs, the children would carry the books through the streets, while the adults would wait in the illuminated shul to accept the books...much like the festivities of receiving a new Torah.
The unrest in Europe in the late nineteenth century brought a suspension to the activity in the Pirchei Shoshanim network. But today Pirchei Shoshanim has been newly revived under the leadership of Harav Leibel Berenbaum zt"l, rosh kollel in Bnei Berak, and son of the Mirrer rosh yeshivah in New York, Harav Hagaon Shmuel Berenbaum. The goals of Pirchei Shoshanim remain the same: to link teachers, educators, principals and youth around the world, by providing the educational tools to foster midos tovos and strengthen Jewish identity.
Pirchei Shoshanim provides a pool of innovative educational materials to teachers and educators around the world at no charge. By utilizing the Internet, which is now world-wide, we are proving that it is indeed a small world, in which the Jewish kinderlach play a very crucial role. In keeping with the maxim, “one picture is worth a thousand words,” many of the materials we provide include beautiful illustrations and graphics.
Educators can utilize our network to communicate with each other and discuss questions and problems in a n international forum. Through the flick of a switch, anyone in the world can have access to our full series of illustrated lessons on subjects such as shmiras halashon; halachos of Shabbos; the halachos of day-to-day activities, from Modeh Ani to the bedtime Shema; weekly parshah sheets, focusing on midos; and a complete picture series of Pirkei Avos. The piece de resistance, however, is the perush on Iggeres HaRamban by Rab Berenbaum zt"l. This series, complete with fifty stunning illustrations, will be available in Hebrew, English, French and Spanish for the benefit of children throughout the world.
Other educational materials Pirchei Shoshanim provides include:
Commencing this Chanukah, Pirchei Shoshanim, in conjunction with Torah U’Mesorah, will be conducting a Hilchos Shabbos Contest in which most schools in the United States and Canada will participate. This will be the first of many programs which Pirchei Shoshanim and Torah U’Mesorah will jointly sponsor both in the United States and around the world.
V’Dibarta Bam, our affiliate organization, promotes world-wide study in memory of the children who perished in the Holocaust, al kiddush Hashem. More than ten thousand youngsters, in Eretz Yisrael and throughout the world, participate in the V’Dibarta Bam program by studying six million mishnayos yearly. All participants are tested on their studies and siyumim are celebrated. Every participant receives a membership card bearing the name of a martyred child, town or place or origin and age when deceased. To commemorate the name of a child who perished in the Holocaust, please contact Pirchei Shoshanim at the number listed below.
In addition, Pirchei Shoshanim works in cooperation with Chinuch Atzmai. We distribute their educational material which have been developed over the past fifty years.
Pirchei Shoshanim’s resources are not for children alone. Jews who have returned to traditional Jewish life but lack the resources to learn as much as they would like, Jews who may not have had the opportunity to learn it in their youth -- all can access Pirchei Shoshanim in the privacy of their homes and offices. They can receive our educational materials and ask their own questions in an international forum. We can provide referrals to other resources available in the Torah world when appropriate.
Please contact our office to obtain further information, to receive our materials or with any questions you may have.