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Chabad Hits the Streets for Facebook Votes and Cash

A few weeks ago, while walking past the fountain at Lincoln Center, a young Lubavitch teenager approached me with a laptop in his hands. He asked if I had a second to vote for his school on the Kohl’s Cares for Kids Internet contest, in which the department store chain is giving away a total of $10 million to 20 schools based on Facebook votes.

Well, apparently tactics like this are paying off — Great Neck N.Y.’s, Silverstein Hebrew Academy, a Chabad-Lubavitch school, is currently in the lead, with over 82,000 votes. According to JTA, of the 20 finalists, 12 are Jewish schools, and of these 12, eight are Chabad-Lubavitch.

I’m a little uncomfortable with a school employing its students to fundraise on its behalf. Unlike Chabad’s traditional “street intercept” methods, such as giving out candles on Friday afternoons, there is no educational or outreach value in having strangers sign into their Facebook accounts. On the other hand, efforts like this will help schools raise an extraordinary amount of money, which will almost certainly benefit the students.

So congrats to all the finalists, and kudos to Kohl’s. Voting ends on September 3. If you’d like to participate, log into Facebook and click here — with or without a yeshivah bocher by your side.

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