04 February 2009

The Tzedakah Collective

Here's a good story.

Hidden away on our balcony storage area are about 250 of these Tzedakah Boxes. They were given away as gifts to donors to CBE during an earlier capital campaign for the Congregation, then stored, for some future use. Like many things in storage, they were forgotten.

Last week when President Obama announced his new appointee to Faith Based Initiatives, I wandered up to the balcony, hauled these down, and decided to encourage our Congregation to start a new Tzedakah Fund, especially now, to help our community in these troubled times.

People out of work, stretching their dollars, fearing serious dislocation. It's not going to be easy and we should be ready as a community to provide some support. Food pantries are stretched, people are falling short on rent, scholarship money becomes critical--the needs are suddenly growing and growing. The Torah teaches that the poor will never be gone from our midst; the rabbis say we're not free to desist from doing out part to lessen people's pain.

If we sell all 250 for $50 each, we make a quick $12,500 to start a Tzedakah Collective. And, when one's box is full, that gets brought into the synagogue as well, adding to the fund. A small group of lay volunteers meets periodically and decides how to allocate, how to help.

We announced it at last night's CBE Board Meeting and sold 27 boxes right out of the gate--an auspicious start to a commitment toward small acts of generosity and lovingkindness that can help carry us through.

We'll have them for sale in the Temple Office.

Come buy one and do your part to help those in need during these times.

No comments: