HAMODIA - TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT 1-2-1 KIRUV TUTORING!
1. Kiruv is NOT a job only for the professionals! You may not believe you’re qualified to tutor because you don’t have any formal kiruv training or experience, but most tutoring organisations will not see that as an issue. As Rav Wolbe z”tl said, we all have an equal obligation in kiruv rechokim and getting involved on a personal level will bring Moshiach closer.
2. Besides, you know a lot more than you think you do... You went through kindergarten, primary school and secondary school, all in a frum Jewish framework? That’s more than most 1-2-1 partners did – 15% have had no formal Jewish education whatsoever! With your sem or yeshiva years on top of that, you have huge amounts to offer.
3. You don’t have to sign your life away! Most organisations will ask you to commit one hour a week of your time, but if you have a simcha to attend, or you’re going on a family holiday, or one of your kids is sick – your partner will understand if you have to reschedule or cancel from time to time.
4. The partner is not the only one who gets a lot out of the learning! Nearly all tutors report that their partners regularly fill them with inspiration and that they grow and learn just as much from the experience – if not more.
5. Be ready for the responsibility before you sign up. Tutoring is certainly a commitment and you will have to work at building the relationship. There may be many reasons why your partner comes across as ambivalent at first – nerves, shyness or fear of the unknown. It’s up to you to make the initial contact with them and get the ball rolling.
6. No-one’s going to make you sign on any dotted lines! If after a few months you can’t commit any longer, kiruv organisations will understand! They’ll appreciate the time you did give them – and the zechusim are yours to keep as well.
7. But don’t forget to keep your contacts informed – if you decide to take a break from the programme you signed up to, you’re moving country or expecting a simcha, make sure you tell the orgainsation. And don’t assume your partner will let them know on your behalf – they may not make contact to request a new tutor because they feel shy or embarrassed to ask. But partners often lose heart if they feel they’ve been left hanging – if the organisation knows about it early on, they can easily rematch them. Three months down the line though – the partner may be lost for good.
8. Don’t worry about existential angst! Not every partner wants to know answers to the really tough ‘kiruv classics’ – they’re more likely to be interested in knowing the ins and outs of shabbos observance, or learning the weekly sedra so they can understand the d’var torah their kids bring home from school. If you’re nervous of philosophical types, tell your kiruv organisation – they will do their best to match you with someone you feel comfortable with.
9. You’re not on your own – most kiruv organisations give tutors amazing support and back up in the form of access to a wealth of resources – articles, courses, yom tov packs and parsha sheets. Some even have a dedicated Ask the Rabbi facility.
10. This is YOUR chance to make a difference to someone else’s life, and shape the future of the Jewish people. Don’t turn it down!