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Clark Howard Advises Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries

By , Brooklyn, NY

( Every day, 3.5 million listeners tune in on over 200 radio stations nationwide to hear consumer advocate and self proclaimed penny-pincher Clark Howard dispense his timely financial advice. This past Monday Howard spoke to a different audience: 500 Chabad rabbis. The 90 minute conference call, arranged by the Shlichus Academy – the online education and support network for Chabad emmisaries – focused on topics ranging from tried advice when purchasing a car to budgeting and home equity.

According to Rabbi Levi Shectman, coordinator for the Academy, the goal of the conference call was to “help maximize the resourcefulness of Chabad emissaries in the current economy,” so they can run on a leaner budget without sacrificing their actual programing. 

Non-profits across the spectrum of the Jewish world have been forced to cut back.  In response to the economic downturn, however, Chabad rabbis have turned their focus on finding ways to make every last penny count so that cutbacks are kept to a minimum. 

Rabbi Shectman has been involved in the development of various classes for the Academy’s weekly webcast and conference calls to help rabbis maintain their high productivity despite the difficulties.  

“During a brainstorming session we thought of contacting Howard,” Shechtman says. “After initial inquires, we were thrilled to hear that Howard was excited to work with us.”

Meeting in Howard’s home in Atlanta, Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz of Alpharetta, GA joined Clark as moderator for the conference call. During the course of their opening remarks, Howard praised Chabad’s representatives and their activities, remarking on the Jewish revival in Ponte Vedra, Florida, where he lives part of the year.

Given the dedication of the Chabad rabbis to the Jewish cause, Howard says his personal role as a financial adviser and advocate takes on a new level of importance.  “You’re busy devoting yourselves to our religion. So making decisions about financial matters is not something you have time to do.”

The conference call, which attracted participants from Tennessee to California – and as far away as England – focused on Howard’s motto to “save more, spend less, and avoid being ripped off.”

Minkowicz said the response by Shluchim was excellent. “Working with Mr. Howard has been an amazing experience. His advice was relevant to everyone that I spoke to.”

According to Rabbi Kushi Schusterman, who will be moving with his wife Fraida Malka to Harford, Maryland in time for the High Holidays this year, the message was of special importance to new Chabad representatives.

“As a new emissary,” Schusterman says, “it’s critical that we establish a precedent of fiscally responsible and informed spending. The lessons learned in the conference call are ones that will hopefully stand us all in good stead.”


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