[COMMUNICATED] It had been a while since Avromi felt like himself. What had begun as a twinge of a question had slowly grown into gnawing doubts eating away at his long-held beliefs and values. Nobody around him knew it and he wouldn’t dare mention it – who would understand him, anyway? Everyone around him seemed so happy and content; was it only he who had these struggles?
Hesitantly, Avromi picked up the phone and dialed the Regesh helpline for boys. On the other end of the line was a veteran mechanech with over thirty years of experience and professional training in working with boys just like him. His soft and warm voice immediately calmed Avromi.
A welcome wave of relief washed over the boy as his worries and doubts gushed forth. He was anonymous; the man listening to him didn’t know who he was, nor did he care. His only objective was to help the young man. And help he did. As the two discussed and together grappled with the problems Avromi was pained by, the young man was imbued with a sense of clarity and insight into all that he had been troubling him.
By the end of the call, Avromi had his spark back. He knew that he could potentially be troubled again in the future, but now he knew who he could turn to: Regesh.
Avromi’s story isn’t an outlier. The men and women answering calls to Regesh’s helpline field a broad array of questions and concerns – nearly two dozen every day. And it isn’t just limited to adolescents and teens. Parents are now calling Regesh in increasing numbers for advice as they pour their efforts into assisting their child, with a special helpline set up just for them.
“Regesh isn’t a mental health helpline. We can and will refer the caller to seek professional if the need exists, but primarily we work to provide the support, chizzuk, and a listening ear that our young men and women are so often in desperate need of,” says Rabbi Shmuel Zimmerman, senior advisor to Regesh.
“Regesh personnel are highly trained in dealing with a broad spectrum of issues, from general questions to potentially life-threatening crises,” he adds. “Each staff member has a unique and proven capability of ferreting out underlying issues, often unmasking deeper troubles the caller may be confronting, and then ensuring that the problem is addressed.”
An Ounce of Prevention
Founded by HaRav Yehuda Jacobs zt”l, the famed mashgiach at Bais Medrash Govoha, Regesh serves as the front line of defense in helping our youth who are struggling. In contrast with numerous other programs, Regesh’s goal it is to prevent children from ever losing their way by providing critical guidance and mentorship to teens and young adults in need of someone to talk to.
“We aren’t waiting for children to fall into a rut before getting involved,” Rabbi Zimmerman says. “Regesh was created to ensure that such cases are mitigated as much as possible, and to give boys and girls – even those not ‘at-risk’ – a place to turn to.”
Regesh consists of a confidential, anonymous helpline with trained rabbanim, mechanchim, and mentors at the ready to provide a listening ear for teens with questions or concerns. With Regesh playing an ever-larger role in guiding teens through their most trying times, its helpline now fields over 6,000 calls annually from teens, friends of teens, and concerned parents who need counsel and direction.
“Daagah b’lev ish yisachena l’acheirim – for someone who is troubled, speaking with others can be of tremendous help,” Rabbi Yudi Altusky of Ride4Regesh says. “From the first call to the last, everything is anonymous. Teens feel safe calling because they know their privacy isn’t at risk and they have literally nothing to lose.”
“Regesh is there to support teens through their troubles and help them find practical ways to address them,” says Rabbi Naftoli Stern. “When a teen needs help, we’re often the first people they turn to. And our goal is not to let them down.”
When it comes to young people, Regesh operates by a simple maxim: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
More Than Just a Helpline
Regesh’s helpline has become increasingly known as the go-to place for numerous children, adolescents, and parents as they navigate the struggles of life. What a majority of people don’t realize, however, is the lengths to which its dedicated personnel will go to assist every caller.
“Whether a single phone call to hear out a child’s concerns, or a deeper and more concerning issue that requires a follow-up, Regesh will make every effort to make sure the people who turn to us get the help they need,” says Rabbi Dovid Benaroush, co-founder and director of Regesh.
“The issues that reach the helpline truly run the gamut of possible impediments to a child or teen’s growth, both as an individual and as a member of our broader society. Regesh responders are not there for themselves; They have made the conscious decision to provide a listening ear and a helping hand to every caller.”
Ride4Regesh: The Ride of a Lifetime!
Nearly 900 boys huddled together on their bikes, their helmets gleaming in the sun as they awaited the green light to begin their ride. Parents, grandparents, and siblings surrounded them, waving and smiling their approval and taking in the kiddush hashem playing out before their very eyes.
A police motorcycle revved its engine, slowly moving forward. That was the boys’ sign. Off they went, pedaling furiously as their relatives cheered and encouraged them on. They pedaled not simply for themselves, but for others. They pedaled not only for their own benefit, but to help those who they didn’t know but cared deeply about.
“It was exhilarating to be a part of it,” the mother of a rider said. “It wasn’t just my son who loved the event – our entire family did! There was something for everyone to do, and it was all for an amazing cause.”
With the full-throated support of Rabbi Jacobs zt”l, Ride4Regesh was created as a way to raise funds for Regesh and increase awareness of the work it does, as well as acting as a way through which children and teens would feel more comfortable calling its helpline.
Ride4Regesh started with about 200 riders. Now in its fifth year, Ride4Regesh has grown well beyond that: with nearly a thousand boys participating this year, it has blossomed into an essential family and communal event – one that leaves children with the indelible lesson of doing for others that lasts for a lifetime.
Due to the massive crowds expected at the Ride4Regesh event scheduled for June 26th, the ride will commence in the parking lot of the BlueClaws Stadium, with the expected participation of Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles, Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller, and other officials and dignitaries. Hatzolah, Lakewood Police, and Chaveirim will also be present, as well as a bike specialist to assist any riders who may experience trouble with their bikes.
With the 2022 Ride4Regesh event quickly approaching, now is the time for children to sign up and earn themselves prizes for raising money. To be a part of this spectacular display of camaraderie, chesed, and devotion to others, call Ride4Regesh at 833-R4R-BIKE (747-2453) or sign up here: https://www.rayze.it/ride4regesh/
All They Need is You!
With the exponential increase in calls to the Regesh hotlines, our boys and girls need YOUR help. Regesh is constantly adding to and enhancing its personnel with training, workshops and mentorship courses. Along with these perpetual improvements comes a significant price tag. And for that, we – and the thousands of boys and girls who rely on us – need your help.
There are many ways to assist Regesh in its quest to help our youth. From sponsoring a Ride4Regesh biker, to simply making an online donation in support of the cause, every penny counts and will go to a most virtuous use.
Helping Regesh will not only benefit the countless people who have already called its hotlines – it could one day help someone you know.
Regesh Helpline Numbers
Helpline for Boys: 732-719-5045
Helpline for Girls: 732-746-0133
Helpline for Parents: 732-813-0665
Main Office Number: 732-367-7700
Regesh welcomes all feedback regarding its helpline – positive and negative – which enables its leadership to constantly update and polish the free and selfless service it provides to those who need their help. If you have feedback for Regesh, you are strongly encouraged to email it to [email protected].