The Fund for the Victims of Terror, operated by The Jewish Agency for Israel and made possible by contributions from Jewish Federations across North America, will provide financial assistance to Israelis wounded in the attack in Bulgaria and to the families of those killed.
The Fund, established in 2002, provides financial assistance to victims of terror in Israel. Since its establishment, the fund — which is sustained by contributions from Jewish Federations, philanthropic foundations and donors around the world — has enabled The Jewish Agency to provide thousands of terror victims and their families with assistance at a scope of more than NIS 100 million.
Donations can be mailed to:
The Jewish Federations of North America
Wall Street Station
PO Box 157
New York, NY 10268
Attn: Victims of Terror Fund
Online donations can be made here: https://donate.jewishagency.org/page/contribute
What: The Global Day of Jewish Learning
About: “On November 7, 2010, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz will complete his monumental translation and commentary on the Talmud. His mission has been to give Jewish texts and learning back to the Jewish people. To mark this achievement, communities around the world are joining in a Global Day of Jewish Learning.”
In Rabbi Steinsaltz’s words:
“Jewish knowledge belongs to everyone. In this sense, I suppose
that my work on the Talmud has helped to open a new era: taking
the books out of the hands of the few and making them available
and accessible to everyone. Our goal is not so much to “spread”
knowledge, but to give it back to its owners.”
“Even before the Global Day, you may also want to engage in some
of the Big Questions that are part of our communal study, such
as: Does God hear prayer? What is my responsibility to Tzedakah?
What is sex for? When we say “do unto others”…who are the others?”
“I have been commenting on these questions and invite you to join
the Big Questions discussion.”
Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av is by far the saddest day in the scope of Jewish history.
Both the First Temple and the Second Temple were destroyed on that day and many other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people happened on the very same day.
We mark the day with a 25-hour fast and many other customs of mourning. For details, there is a good article here.
There continues to be some dissonance in modern day Israel’s attitude towards Tish B’Av. The Jewish State is reborn and the Jewish people alive and well after a long exile. Problems remain to be sure, but none-the-less here Israel is, now home to half of the world’s Jewish population.
Still we continue to mourn.
An easy fast and better times ahead.
Mishneh Torah, Laws of Charity, 10:7-14
“There are eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.”
1. The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others…
2. A lesser level of charity than this is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven. This is like the “anonymous fund” that was in the Holy Temple [inJerusalem]. There the righteous gave in secret, and the good poor profited in secret. Giving to a charity fund is similar to this mode of charity, though one should not contribute to a charity fund unless one knows that the person appointed over the fund is trustworthy and wise and a proper administrator, like Rabbi Hananya ben Teradyon.
3. A lesser level of charity than this is when one knows to whom one gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to walk about in secret and put coins in the doors of the poor. It is worthy and truly good to do this if those who are responsible for distributing charity are not trustworthy.
4. A lesser level of charity than this is when one does not know to whom one gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to tie coins into their robes and throw them behind their backs, and the poor would come up and pick the coins out of their robes so that they would not be ashamed.
5. A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person directly into his hand, but gives before being asked.
6. A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person after being asked.
7. A lesser level than this is when one gives inadequately, but gives gladly and with a smile.
8. A lesser level than this is when one gives unwillingly.
There are several charity rating agencies on the web, the best-known and largest being Charity Navigator.
|Executive Director’s Salary: $205,232|
OneFamily Fund: 1 Star
Executive Director’s Salary: $148,077
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger: 2 Stars
President’s Salary: $147,799
American Jewish Committee: 3 Stars
Executive Director’s Salary: $463,939
AFMDA: American Friends of Magen David Adom: 3 Stars
Chief Executive Officer’s Salary: $279,155
Milwaukee Jewish Federation: 4 Stars
Executive VP’s Salary: $224,767
Anti-Defamation League: 4 Stars
National Director’s Salary: $282,252
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America: 4 Stars
Executive Director’s Salary: $334,628
Jewish National Fund: 4 Stars
Chief Executive Officer’s Salary: $392,819
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee: (4 star)
Chief Executive Officer’s Salary: $431,654
Chai Lifeline: 4 Stars
Executive Director’s Salary: $160,295
Jewish tradition teaches that there is something even better than charity…
Nearly a thousand years ago, the sage Maimonides wrote:”A loan is better than charity, for it enables one to help himself.”
And Jewish communities around the world have operated interest-free loan funds for just this purpose.
Ozer Dalim, operating community-based funds in 35 cities throughout Israel. Read about them here. Or call them at 718-434-2228 to donate.
And the Israel Free Loan Associationwhich grants over 400 loans every month. Check out their website and donate on-line.
We were particularly delighted to receive an email from Professor Eliezer Jaffe, an old friend, and the founder of the IFLA with this great news:
The Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA) received a major donation in March from Trudy and Bob Gottesman of New York City. The Gottesmans granted $1 million to the IFLA to provide interest free loans to low income Israeli individuals and struggling small businesses. Mr. Gottesman is also publicly challenging other donors to match the donation in an effort to encourage others to assist the IFLA.
Love the gift to this worthy cause and especially love the challenge issued by the donors.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has given a $1 million gift to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin
Photo: AP [file]
HIAS was one of the groups that helped Brin’s family when it fled the Soviet Union 30 years ago.
Brin, who is Jewish – as is Google co-founder Larry Page – apparently is ramping up his philanthropy. According to The New York Times, he has given several gifts to Jewish organizations that helped his family.
“I would have never had the kinds of opportunities I’ve had here in the Soviet Union, or even in Russia today,” Brin told the Times in an interview. “I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that’s what this organization does.”
Staff Writer: Jewish Week of New York
So she joined Birthright NEXT’s Young Philanthropist Committee, a group of 20 Birthright alumni who each contributed $250 to a communal giving pot (previous YPC groups gave a minimum donation of $500, but the amount was lowered due to the tough economic climate). Birthright matched the combined $5,000, effectively leveraging the individual $250 contributions into a sizeable $10,000 donation.
Over the course of three months, the group met weekly at a conference room in Manhattan’s Diamond District. They learned how to evaluate grants and met with philanthropists like Charles Bronfman (“He’s a calm, little man who looks like everybody’s grandpa, but he’s unbelievably generous with the amount of money he gives away,” Kleter said). They were each responsible for researching a Jewish charity worthy of the group’s collective funds.
This quote could help explain why the Jewish community lags a little behind in following trends, including trends in social media and new fundraising application.
“God calls the Jews a “stiff-necked people.” Being stiff-necked is both good and bad. It’s bad because you are stubborn and unwilling to change. But it’s good because in the face of fads and trends, you stick to your guns. If the Jewish people were not stiff-necked, we’d never have survived till today.”
– Rabbi Noah Weinberg, Aish.com from the article “Handling Social Pressure”
What’s the Jewish perspective on giving?
A good place to start is Maimonides and his eight levels of charity.
Sasha Dichter beaks it down for us in his post “Reflections on Maimonides’ 8 levels of Charity (tzedakah)” in his blog: Sasha Dichter’s Blog
“Maimonides wrote a code of Jewish law, the Mishnah Torah, based on the Rabbinic oral tradition, and he described charity from the least to the most honorable as follows:
8. When donations are given grudgingly.
7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.
6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.
5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.
4. When the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor does not know the identity of the recipient.
3. When the donor is aware of the recipient’s identity, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
2. When the donor and recipient are unknown to each other.
1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.
Read Sasha’s post in it’s entirety here.