Thursday, June 09, 2011


Tzedakah Competition

It’s not unusual for religious society to pick up some techniques from modern society.  In the past 5 years or so, charedi Judaism has picked up modern advertising techniques for tzedakah (charity).  Conceptually this is a good thing, more charity more helping of people.  On a practical basis though it’s led to some serious tzedakah competition, increasing amounts of advertising and like the maker of soap or laundry detergent, everything has to be NEW and IMPROVED and BETTER THAN THE COMPETITION…


Kupat Ha’ir (the City Charity) and Vaad HaRabonim (the Rabbi’s Council) are the current leading competitors.

- Each has a famous leading rabbi of the generation supporting them (or at least letting them use his picture and signature).

- Each has a few fantastic claims for supporters.

- Each is in your face with big expensive charity boxes in front of each supermarket (in religious Jewish communities in Israel), at major bus stations, and advertisements in every major orthodox religious Jewish publication (frequently).

Let’s see what they have to say…


The City Charity, “All that tithe to the City Charity (of Bnei Brak) merit to see visible miracles”, followed by the signatures of 2 leading rabbis of the generation.

Sounds excellent!  I could use some visible miracles!  Let’s see if the Council of Rabbis can complete with that…


“Tithe to the Council of Rabbis and see salvations!” They don’t have a signature on the front but a full letter from a leading rabbi of the generation on the side (confirming the salvations to be seen).

Hmm.  Visible miracles or salvations?  Which is right for me?  If I give to the wrong one will I not merit either visible miracles or salvations?  What if I give to someone locally needy? 

Like any brand, these charity organizations are struggling to build up their brand and outdo their competition.  Somehow for charity that feels unseemly, but those involved would say “whatever it takes to get another bit for charity is worth it.”

I’m not so sure.  Pirke Avos tells us we shouldn’t turn Torah into a spade, perhaps we also shouldn’t turn charity into a promise of return but rather emphasize the need for tzedek (justice) in helping our needy brethren.


  1. Didnt have to be written.

  2. I only just discovered thru google that there are a couple of different Vaad Harabonim websites with different spellings and URLs on the internet (which I don't think are connected to each other). I donated a small amount of money to one of them and unfortuneately I got scammed (they took off way way more then I had donated and I have a DEBIT card with a limit so I knew my limit of how much I had in there, not much). Which Vaad HaRabonim site are you referring to?

    To be fair the Vaad HaRabonim Tzedakah site(s) that ARE genuine & legitamite should be worth a mention. The good should outweigh the bad :)

  3. Why can't you back up your claims? If you want to rip into organizations SHOW THE PROOF, BACK IT UP. I'm STILL waiting for a reply to my comment to this. Otherswise its blatant Motzi Shem Ra.

    In this article you make your opinion known regarding "charitable" organizations not doing "kosher" business and don't mention a single website it's either Motzi Shem Ra or Gnaivas Daas..Especially when we give Tzedakkah to these particualr mentioned organizations with sincere good intent and these organisations or one or 2 behind them don't have good intent.

    We as contributors have a RIGHT to KNOW so as NOT to be ripped off especially if you're pointing it out! Otherwise what is the purpose? Loshona Hora?

  4. You are reading words not written. I didn't claim that these organizations aren't kosher. My claim was "they are making fantastic claims for supporters", and the pictures back that up!

    These organizations support many kollel learners and needy families. They also have a significant overhead in advertising, management and operations, and collections. (Also backed up by the pictures, such boxes aren't cheap and require regular collection.)

    No other claims are made, regardless of what you're reading between the lines.


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