The Etiquette of Jewish
Giving -- Get in the Habit!
You’ve probably noticed a section in the
Shofar newsletter called “CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE”. You
also probably noticed lots of items in the synagogue with names or plaques
marking donations. Maybe you wonder what all this is about, and why you
constantly seem to be getting requests from every direction for more
donations, even though you already pay plenty in synagogue dues.
First, we want to thank
you for your support of Beth Emeth through your membership dues and your
many contributions, both monetary and in hours of volunteerism. The
congregation could not continue to function without your continued support.
We also want to let you know that giving is a very Jewish habit.
Money for Tzedakah (not translated as “charity” but as “justice”) is given
out of a sense of obligation to help make the world better. We
invite you to use the Jewish Links page on
this website to research the religious origins of the obligation to give
money to the needy and to other worthy causes, including supporting Jewish
life and education through your synagogue. One interesting example:
Jews make donations to mark almost any occasion, happy and sad.
When someone loses a loved one, instead of sending flowers, we express our
condolences by make a donation in their memory. To mark accomplishments or
happy occasions, we make a donation. To thank a teacher or a friend who has
been helpful, we make a donation in their honor. Donations are also given
to mark our joy and thankfulness for the blessings we enjoy at every holiday
season. It is a Jewish tradition to make donations in multiples of the
number “18”, which is the numerical value of the Hebrew word “Chai”, meaning
There are many Tzedakah
opportunities at Beth Emeth. Your contribution may be a general
contribution or earmarked for a specific fund. For
either an earmarked/restricted or a general contribution, you may designate
the occasion you wish to memorialize. All donations will be acknowledged in
the Shofar, unless you request anonymity. For any contribution of $18 or
more, you may request that an acknowledgement card be sent notifying an
individual or family of the donation. Details
on the funds and a form are available on the Contributions page.
In recent years, the
congregation has asked families to donate $54 (triple “chai”) to co-sponsor
an oneg or Kiddush (snack after Friday night or Shabbat morning services) as
a way to honor all types of joyous occasions (“simchas”). This is a
lovely way to share your happiness with your community.
Here's how to cosponsor an Oneg.
Your larger gifts can be recognized by the permanent placement of
plaque on the Tree of Life wall sculpture in the synagogue lobby, or on the
Memorial Board in the sanctuary. More information about plaques is
available on the plaque dedication
Your family or your
community group can also dedicate one of the
beautiful Ascalon stained-glass windows
that adorn our lobby and sanctuary. Please contact
Linda Eisinger, Executive Director for details.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR