Tragedy hits Shuvu Family – Children Miraculously Saved

Sometimes, even as we are overwhelmed with grief over a terrible tragedy, we can still find inspiration and consolation.
Gavriel and Tehilla are students in Shuvu’s school in Lod; he is an 8th grader, she is in 4th grade. They’ve each been in the school since 1st grade, and although their family was completely secular, the youngsters have made great strides in Shemiras Torah and Mitzvos.
Gavriel and Tehilla’s parents divorced years ago and the father had full custody of the children; their biological mother is not at all part of their lives.
The parents eventually remarried, and his new wife loved Gavriel and Tehilla dearly, raising them as her own children. Five years ago, the family grew, as Gavriel and Tehilla’s father and stepmother had a daughter together.
Tragically, this past Shabbos, their parents and their 5 year old daughter were in their car when they were involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. The parents were killed instantly, and their young daughter died of her injuries several hours later. Gavriel and Tehilla, however, refused to go in the car for that fateful trip.
Recently, Shuvu Lod, has been focusing on promoting Shemiras Shabbos through special campaigns and projects, and Gavriel and Tehilla had taken upon themselves to never again set foot in a car on Shabbos.
Although they horrifically lost their father, stepmother, and sister, their own lives were spared through their determination to observe Shabbos.
Shuvu has brought in professionals to work with Gavriel and Tehilla as well as their classmates. They are also working to ensure that the children will be cared for and raised in an appropriate, loving environment.
Even as we mourn this tragedy we cannot help but be but be stirred by the result of the resolve of two young children to observe Shabbos.
May Hashem comfort these young heroes b’soch sh’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim, and may they know no more tzaar.

Shuvu in the Jewish Chronicle

This summer Shuvu was pleased to play host to Sandy Rashty, Young Journalist of the Year.  Rabbi Chaim Michoel Guttermann, Director of Shuvu and David Blachman, Chairman of British Friends of Shuvu spent time with Sandy in Israel, visiting schools and talking with teachers, pupils and parents.  The attached editorial appeared in The JC as a feature on Shuvu.

Click the link below for the press release

Update on Timothy Sanikov who performed at the British Friends dinner

Timothy just graduated 6th grade in Shuvu Bat Yam. Despite his young age, he is already an acclaimed singer and has travelled worldwide to sing in concerts, including the British Friends of Shuvu Gala Dinner, and compete in competitions.


At his class’ recent Chumash Siyum the teacher bought pizza for the students. Timothy didn’t realize that they’d be having pizza and earlier that day ate a salami sandwich. When the teacher later gave out the pizza, Timothy told her that he didn’t want any. But what boy doesn’t want pizza? She asked him why he didn’t want any, to which he admitted that he was fleishigs. Upon hearing this, the entire class stood up and clapped in his honour! Although Timothy is very used to receiving applause after his performances, he said later that that clapping was the most meaningful he ever experienced!


At their graduation ceremony, a well-known singer Yoni Elitzur was playing the guitar and singing. Timothy got up and asked if he could join him, and suggested they together sing his favourite song – “Baruch Elokeinu Shebra’anu Lichvodo, Vehivdilanu min Hato’im!” The whole class rose together and joined them dancing and singing these meaningful words. Timothy’s mother later said “Toda Raba, you gave me back my son. Until he enrolled in Shuvu he was a big shot with no Derech Eretz and no respect for his parents. He insisted on having very long hair. Now he respects us and is a true Mensch – and he even cut his hair short!”

Shuvu’s Historic Global Fundraising Initiative

In the largest and fastest fundraising campaign in its 25 year history, Shuvu raised $1,702,712 in 24 hours last week. All donations were quadrupled, as three major donors agreed to match every dollar raised between 4pm BST on Monday 22 June and 4pm BST on Tuesday 23 June. But there was a catch! It was all or nothing, so if Shuvu hadn’t reached the original target of $1.6 million by Tuesday 4 pm BST, every donation would have to be returned.

The campaign known as ‘24 hours for Shuvu’ was run through the New York based Charidy organization, which has accrued much experience in these fast-paced fundraising activities. The Shuvu campaign was their largest to date, and left its managers in awe, seeing the vast popularity of the Shuvu network and its staunch support worldwide.

Shuvu’s campaign was indeed an international effort as operations rooms with computers, telephones and of course buffets of food were set up in four cities around the globe: Jerusalem, New York, London and Johannesburg. In each of these locations, dozens of volunteers and visitors worked around the clock calling and emailing relatives, friends and acquaintances, explaining Shuvu’s needs and asking for donations.

The Pillar Hotel in Hendon became the British Friends of Shuvu operations room, and with many friends and volunteers visiting throughout the 24 hours, it became a hub of activity, with many special guests arriving and giving their support including Dayan Y Abraham.

And when, after 23 hours, the target of $1.6 million was reached, the operations rooms across the globe erupted with excitement and jubilation. The campaign wasn’t at an end though, and so a bonus round was announced with the new goal of $1.7 million. A few minutes before the deadline of 4pm BST, we were delighted to see that not only had we reached the new target but surpassed it and euphoria spread through the various operations rooms across the globe.

And the true internationalism doesn’t end there, after looking at the donations we can see that donations for Shuvu came from not just Israel, America, South Africa and Great Britain, but also from many other countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada and Switzerland.

Shuvu has had some very difficult years, with major budget cuts, and this campaign was part of the effort to pay off those overdue liabilities and secure continuity in our expansion efforts. More than ONE THOUSAND new students are expected to join the Shuvu network for the upcoming school year. The success of this campaign ensures that these children will be taken into Shuvu with open arms. New classrooms can now be fully equipped with computers and all other classroom essentials, ensuring that the new students will receive the excellent Jewish and secular education that Shuvu is famous for.

Shuvu’s Director ,Rabbi Chaim Michoel Guttermann could not hide his excitement after the great success, and commented that many donors have already approached him and the other Shuvu offices in the various countries, marveling over the success of this campaign, and requesting that the network run yet another mega-campaign next year, and for even greater sums.

LtoR Anthony Moshal, Danny Blum, Gavriel Green, Yomi Cohen and Dayan Y Abraham


Photo shows the London operations room L-R: Anthony Moshal, Danny Blum, Gavriel Green, Yomi Cohen and Dayan Y Abraham.

Pesach Newsletter


Shuvu Gala Dinner Video

Watch highlights from the recent British Friends of Shuvu Gala dinner


Shuvu UK Gala Dinner

 Shuvu Dinner




British Friends of Shuvu hosted its first fundraising Gala Dinner at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square, on Sunday 18th January 2015.  Over 350 men and women from across the London community came together to celebrate the incredible achievements of Shuvu and to support Shuvu’s ambitious growth plans for the future.  The guests were joined by participants from Manchester, the United States, Denmark and Israel.


The event was an opportunity to discover more about Shuvu’s network of 69 kindergartens, elementary and high schools throughout Israel.  The guests learnt about how Shuvu currently offers over 6,000 students from all backgrounds an outstanding education, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to become independent, successful and productive members of Israeli society.  Shuvu’s students come primarily from underprivileged, immigrant families, primarily from the former Soviet Union but now also from France and the US.  Shuvu provides a secular education at the highest level combined with education in strong Jewish values.  Although Shuvu is an intrinsic part of the Israeli state school system and receives a significant proportion of its funding from the Government, Shuvu schools provide so much more in the form of afternoon schooling, hot lunches, busses to school and a support network to the family of each pupil.  The extra-curricular activities and Shuvu’s extensive outreach programs, Jewish studies staff and shabbatons require significant independent funding.  The Gala Dinner was held to raise funds to enable this vital work to continue and expand.


The theme for the evening, generously hosted by Philip & Suzy Goldberg together with Nechemya & Ruchi Sheinfeld, was ‘Turning Dreams into Reality’.

Guest Speaker, Rabbi Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and Kiev

Guest Speaker, Rabbi Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and Kiev



Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine, Vice President of the World Jewish Congress addressed the audience with a rousing speech and described the work he has undertaken in the Ukraine since arriving almost 30 years ago.  He described how in a country with over 1.5m Jews, when he arrived, barely a minyan could be put together.  In light of recent political events in the Region, Shuvu schools in Israel are essential to provide Jewish education for the those who are able to make aliya.



Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, who has been a driving force behind British Friends of Shuvu and whose guidance and counsel have led Shuvu to great achievements, received the Shuvu Leadership Award.  By way of thanks, a wing at the Shuvu School in Nazareth Iliit is now dedicated in his honour.


Dinner Chairman, Aryeh Melinek presents the guest of honour Dayan Abraham with a certificate of sponsorship of a Shuvu Student

Dinner Chairman, Aryeh Melinek presents the guest of honour Dayan Abraham with a certificate of sponsorship of a Shuvu Student

Dayan Yonason Abraham, a great supporter of Shuvu, who led the UK Mission to Israel in February 2014 with such passion and greatly inspired all the participants, was the Guest of Honour.  Dayan Abraham delivered an impassioned plea urging the assembled guests to regard the children in the Shuvu schools as their own and to take responsibility for ensuring the schools can expand and thereby change the face of Israel.  Dayan Abrahams received a certificate of sponsorship of a high school student in recognition of his dedication to Shuvu.


11 year old Timoti Sannikov entertains Shuvu Dinner 2015

11 year old Timoti Sannikov entertains Shuvu Dinner 2015


Guests were entertained with Hebrew and Yiddish songs sung by Year 7 Shuvu Bat Yam Pupil, Timoti Sannikov, who’s family are originally from Moscow.  At just 11 years old, Timoti has already been a contestant on ‘The Voice’ in Russia and competed in musical shows and competitions all over Israel.

The Shuvu Leadership Award presented to Dayan Ehrentreu LEFT TO RIGHT David Blachman, Dayan Ehrentreu, Rabbi Chaim Mikael Guttermann, Aryeh Melinek, Dayan Abraham

The Shuvu Leadership Award presented to Dayan Ehrentreu LEFT TO RIGHT David Blachman, Dayan Ehrentreu, Rabbi Chaim Mikael Guttermann, Aryeh Melinek, Dayan Abraham



During the evening, British Friends of Shuvu Chairman, David Blachman said that he was astounded by the support shown to Shuvu and thanked the attendees for their generous contributions.



David Blachman Welcomes Guests Shuvu Dinner 2015

David Blachman Welcomes Guests Shuvu Dinner 2015



There is still more to be done though as Shuvu’s network of schools and welfare programmes are falling half a million pounds short of their annual budget.  Donations can be made through the website at or by contacting the Shuvu office  17 Golders Court, Woodstock Road, London, NW11 8QG T) 020 8209 3010

Menorah Grammar School Pupils Generously Donate Tefillin to Shuvu Akko Pupils



Menorah Grammar School Pupils Generously Donate Tefillin to Shuvu Akko Pupils


Dayan Abraham and David Blachman attended the End of Term Siyum at Menorah Grammar School in London and were presented with two sets of tefillin for boys at Shuvu schools in Israel.  Many of Shuvu’s families do not have the means to purchase tefillin for their sons when they become Bar Mitzvah.  Instead, each day these boys must borrow from the school or share other people’s tefillin in order to daven.  The Menorah year 8 pupils saved their Bar Mitzvah presents, tzedakah and pocket money to buy them.  The grateful recipients, Daniel Padirko and Refael Davidian of Shuvu Akko School, wrote personal thank you letters to the boys, expressing their joy at receiving their very own pair of Tefillin that they will continue to use every day!

Avi Shapiro  presenting tefillin to Dayan Abraham and David Blachman from Shuvu

Avi Shapiro, the first boy to be Bar Mitzvah in the year represented the class and presented the tefillin to Dayan Abraham and David Blachman from Shuvu.  (See picture left)


Rabbi Dovid Sulzbacher, principal of Menorah Grammar School, explained that the boys understand that they are indeed very privileged and wanted to share their good fortune with disadvantaged boys, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to have their own tefillin.


Dayan Abraham was the inspirational guest speaker, he spoke about symbolism of the Menorah, explaining to the boys that the branches of it join together representing the achdus of the Jewish People and the true friendship of the pupils, twinning with those less fortunate at Shuvu Akko, especially at this difficult time for those in Israel.


British Friends of Shuvu Chairman, David Blachman, presented framed letters of thanks to the school from Daniel and Refael, which will be hanging in pride of place in the school when the pupils return to start the new term in September.  Mr Blachman told the boys about Shuvu, as it strives to provide nurturing surroundings for underprivileged children and instil Jewish pride in all its students from diverse backgrounds.  He also stressed the immense importance of the wonderful mitzvah of tefillin and the special significance that the boys’ gifts would have for the beneficiaries in Israel.


Menorah Grammar School Year 8 Boys, Dayan Abraham and David Blachman 2

The photograph (above) shows Year 8 Pupils at Menorah Grammar School, Dayan Abraham and David Blachman with the framed thank you letters.


Daniel Padirko  Refael Davidian (2)


(Above left) Refael Davidian, who lives in Kiryat Motzkin parents are from Russia and (above right) Daniel Padirko, who has studied at Shuvu since 1st grade.  They were the recipients of tefillin generously donated by the boys of year 8 at Menorah Grammar School.





Lisa Fox, British Friends of Shuvu

17 Golders Court, Woodstock Road, London, NW11 8QG

020 8209 3010

Registered Charity Number: 1100984

Dayan Lichtenstein Visits Shuvu

Shuvu was honoured to have Dayan Y Y Lichtenstein, Rosh Beth Din of the Federation of Synagogues visit Shuvu last week.

The Dayan had stated in the past that although he had heard much about Shuvu (and  was even Zocheh to know Shuvu’s founder Hagaon Harav Pam zt”l from his years learning in Torah V’Daas in New York), nonetheless wished to physically visit one of the schools in Israel and see firsthand the Kiruv network’s activities. Thus upon the Dayan’s recent trip to Israel for Pesach, he joined Director Rav Chaim Michoel Gutterman and toured the Yehuda Menachem Shuvu school in Petach Tikva, dedicated by the Schimmel family in London.



The Dayan visited various classes in the school and was very impressed seeing the children from secular backgrounds having a good grasp on the Limudei Kodesh learned.

In the 4th grade the boys were learning Mishnayos Perek Hamafkid. The Dayan asked the students questions about the Daled Shomrim, Tashlumei Daled and Heh, Hatoen Ta’anas Ganav and more, and was very impressed with the Kinderlach’s clear and precise answers.

In the 2nd grade the Dayan heard the students recite a Perek of Tehillim and answered questions on Parshas Hashavua. He was also impressed with the high level of English taught even at this young age.

The Dayan also spoke to the 9th grade girls and answered their Halachic questions. One girl asked about using hot water on Shabbos, another about heating up food on Shabbos for both Ashkenazim and Sefardim, Hilchos Basar Bechalav and other topics. One girl asked the Dayan about Bishul Akum, as she mentioned that her mother had baked a cake together with a goyische friend. In his response the Dayan amused the girls mentioning that years back in Kollel when he dealt with the Kashrus of tuna fish, he somehow obtained information from Buckingham Palace as to whether tuna is defined as “Oleh al Shulchan Melachim” (Bishul Akum is only Assur for foods that are Chashuv and eaten by monarchs). He found out that indeed it is “Oleh Al Shulchan Melachim”, but never from a tin…


The Dayan then told the girls that over the years he had seen queens, princes and many other Chashuve people, “yet you’re no less Chashuve! Every Bas Yisroel is a Bas Melech!”

Rav Gutterman also introduced the Dayan to the school’s principal, Mrs. Batsheva Kepler and to the School Rabbi, Rav Chaim Arousi who updated him about the Kiruv of the School Rabbis Project. One girl illustrated the effectiveness of the School Rabbi telling the Dayan that her father had not put on Tefillin for many years and had even forgotten how to do so. One day though the School Rabbi Rav Arousi showed up at their house with a pair of Tefillin and showed the father how to perform this Mitzvah. The daughter confirmed that since that day her father hasn’t missed a day of Tefillin!


The Dayan was also very impressed with the integration of the many different backgrounds under the same roof. Indeed, although Shuvu was founded 23 years ago for the Russian population, over the past few years many native Israeli and other parents saw the unique Chinuch provided and the Derech Eretz of the students, and wanted their children to join the network as well.

Upon the conclusion of the visit the Dayan promised that when he returns to the UK he will do whatever he can to promote Shuvu.

Great Success at Shuvu’s 23rd Annual USA Dinner

Shuvu held its 23rd annual dinner at The Palace in Brooklyn, NY this month. The many hundreds of participants included many prominent businessmen from the New York area, distinguished Rabbis, Shuvu USA Board Members, and the heads of Shuvu including Co-Chairmen Abe Biderman and Yossi Hoch, Director Rabbi Chaim Michael Gutterman, and Chairman of Shuvu UK David Blachman. The main address was delivered by Rabbi Meir Pam, grandson of the founder of Shuvu Rabbi Abraham Pam zt”l.


The Honorary Chairman of the dinner was renowned philanthropist R’ Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz from Los Angeles. Dinner Chairmen were David Wolfson (grandson of Mr. Zev Wolfson z”l, one of Shuvu’s greatest supporters) and Rabbi Naftali Miller (grandson of Rabbi Pam zt”l), and Journal Chairmen were Nussi Motechin and Ari Hoch (son of Chairman Yossi Hoch).


Chairman David Wolfson opened the evening by saying that his late grandfather was very particular as to which organizations to support. “And now that I’ve learned closely of Shuvu’s activities I can certainly understand why he chose to support Shuvu. What they do for the children in Israel is incredible.”


At the dinner, Shuvu paid tribute to its School Rabbis Project headed by Rabbi Yehuda Butterman. Over the past two years since its inception, this initiative has earned a wonderful reputation among the Shuvu students and their parents. For all practical purposes these 14 Rabbis within the Shuvu schools throughout Israel, act as community Rabbis of the Shuvu parents, assisting the families in their questions and needs regarding Jewish practice and philosophy.


The Shuvu Beit Shemesh High School for Girls was dedicated at the USA Dinner in memory of Mrs. Sarah Devorah Pam a”h, wife of Rabbi Aron Pam (eldest son of Rabbi Pam zt”l). The unveiling ceremony at the school will take place IY”H within the next few months in the presence of politicians, Rabbis, the heads of Shuvu, the school’s staff and of course the student body.


One of the most moving moments of the evening took place when Rabbi Gutterman told the story of “Rabbi Pam’s Donation Going a Long Way” (please scroll down to see this remarkable story posted earlier!) and then surprised the crowd when he called on the newly married groom Ariel who together with his wife Chana Penina were sitting in the crowd. Ariel went on to state how grateful he is to Shuvu for not only the excellent education given to its students but also for providing him with such a wonderful bride!