The story of KSCVK begins several decades before its founder was even born. On one regular weekday night, a Chuppah was taking place in front of 770 Eastern Parkway. The Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatza”l was busy working in his office, his devoted secretary Rabbi Leibel Groner was present. The Rebbe would “participate” in the local weddings by listening in, to the ceremony and the Sheva Brachos, which were taking place right outside his window.
As the Chuppah ended and the shouts of Mazal Tov rang out, The Rebbe turned to Rabbi Groner: “Why do I not hear musicians playing the ceremonial songs?”. Reb Leibel explained that both sides, of the bride and of the groom are unfortunately of little means; they simply couldn’t afford to hire a band. The Rebbe immediately instructed him to hire the necessary musicians, on his account, stipulating that no one should know the source of the payment.
Fast forward to 1993. A newly married with very little means took it upon herself to emulate this very act of generosity. She, together with her husband set out to make a difference. They were determined to see to it that every Chosson and Kallah have, not only the absolute “basics”. They were concerned about those that don’t have, the orphaned Kallah, that she too should have a respectable “special day” to remember. They were resolute to see to it that every Chosson and Kallah come to their own Chuppah, to begin a new life together, in joy and comfort. They very quickly decided that this will always be done with absolute affection and always with the utmost emphasis on protecting the dignity of the new couple.
Meet Devorah Benjamin (nee Gold). She, never to be bashful, never to be deterred, went from door to door. A dollar, two, sometimes more. Many times, it was just a quarter or two… Her husband Reb Shmuel spent the entire Taanis Ester and Purim with a 5 Gallon bucket, in every Shul and up & down every street and avenue. The result: in that first year alone, these babysteps resulted in FIFTEEN couples receiving assistance for their special day.
The rest is history. That is developing and ever improving history! Whereas, that first year the entire distribution was roughly $30,000.00 and only gave an allowance of $2,000.00 or so to each respective couple; nowadays the budget of KSCVK exceeds ONE MILLION dollars. This is NOT a budget for administration and fancy office furniture. Devorah’s sophisticated “computer” sits on her two shoulders. Her “office” is the main Avenue where she spends most of her time, rain or shine, collecting for her beloved Chassanim and Kallahs – whom she rarely knows prior to their need of making a wedding.
With the goal of being a “full service” provider, Devorah is there from beginning to the end of the wedding, literally to when the lights in the hall are turned off. “Beginning” could mean buying a new shirt for a potential Chosson and providing the $50.00 for that first date, so he can meet his Bashert with whom he will spend the rest of his life. Devorah has forged amazing relationships with all the vendors necessary to produce an amazing wedding. Note: AN AMAZING WEDDING. The goal, which is always achieved, is to ensure that the couples she helps have a beautiful wedding, no different than those of their friends with more means. Money is of course never “just thrown out”. Devorah is totally hands-on. Through all the years of her “wedding making”, she has become a respected negotiator and well appreciated “customer” by all the caterers, musicians and Simcha operators in the community.
They know that if Devorah is “making a wedding” they will A) Get fully paid the negotiated (“Devorah Special”) price, and B) They too are part of this wonderful Mitzvah. Devorah and her staff are “all hands-on deck”, they personally serve as the party planners for these weddings, ensuring that everything is beautiful and charming.
It has been a very long, successful road since those days with the big white 5 Gallon bucket. As the budget increased, understandably the reliance on greater donations became a necessity. Still, Devorah is out there, rain or shine, giving every single Yid the opportunity to be part of this wonderful Mitzvah. Whether a quarter, a dime or a Ten Dollar Bill, or your generous donation – Devorah happily shares her Mitzvah with you and everyone.