The obligation to give to charity and help the poor is stated several times in the Torah. This is one of the commandments of Judaism and is a tradition that is kept alive until today. If you want to continue this tradition and donate funds to charities in Israel, there are several ways to do so. Discover where you can give your donations to, and in what ways your donations can be used for a good cause.
The Jewish Tradition of Charity
The act of tithing (giving maaser) is a Torah obligation. The act of giving to charity and the needy is considered one of the basic tenets of a frum Jew. This is an act of genuine care. It does not matter how big or small the contribution is, or the purpose for that contribution, it’s the act of giving that is recognized. The concept of Tzedakah is also something that isn’t time-sensitive. You can collect money and donate whenever you want to. Many people make it a habit to give tzedakah on a daily basis, as to incorporate the mitzvah in their very being.
A popular teaching from Chazal is described as “mitzvah gorreres mitzvah”. This phrase literally translates to “one mitzvah leads to another”. By maintaining your own tzedakah box at home, you will be reminded to give tzedakah on a daily basis, and this will lead to more good deeds of sharing your blessings with others who are in need.
The tradition of the pushka box is a lot older than the internet and online money transfers, and its still going strong today. The simple method of collecting coins in a pushka box is effective in raising funds for the poor, and in enabling us Jews to give tzedakah. Even small children can give charity at home.
The pushka is traditionally a locked canister available in various shapes and sizes. You can keep a pushka pretty much anywhere (think your car, office desk, kitchen counter, etc.) and drop in any amount of money as often as you desire.
After some time, or when the box is filled, the money inside should be donated to charities to serve a worthy cause such as a local charity organization or to an Israeli charity. Once your pushka is full, you can either deliver the funds to a dropoff point, have someone pick it up from your home or office, or wire the equivalent sum to a charity of your choice.
Types of Charities and Beneficiaries
It has been established that giving to and doing charity is an integral part of our belief system. If you want to give to charity and practice this act, there are several charitable organizations in Israel and within each local Jewish community that need your support. Here are some of the ways that you can practice mitzvah by showing your generosity.
- Medical Assistance – This is another form of charitable contribution that you can make when you support Israeli or Jewish charities. Many are dedicated to providing assistance to those who are undergoing medical care but cannot afford to pay their bills.
- Unemployment Fund – This type of charity is given to those who are dealing with temporary or permanent loss of job. This is a one-time gift for those who need the funds to support their family’s basic needs.
- Single–Parent Support – Raising a family is not an easy task. Single parents need all the support that they can get. This type of charity is given on a regular basis to ensure that single parents can provide for their child/ren.
- Newborn Fund – There are several expenses associated with welcoming a newborn baby into the family. This form of charity is given to Jewish families who are struggling to sustain the needs of their newborn.
- Ezer Nisu’in – This form of charity is given to families marrying off children. This can be given to the beneficiary in the form of a loan or stipend.
- Orphan Children – There are many Jewish children who have become orphans in Israel and in various parts of the world. Support their basic needs by showing your generosity to charities that provide financial assistance to orphans and those who care for them.
- Holocaust Survivors – There are a lot of impoverished Jews that escaped death during the time of the Holocaust period. As they age, it is important that we support their needs and help them age gracefully.
- Poor Elderly – Elderly Jews who are unable to work to survive need the support they can get from charitable organizations to sustain their daily needs.
- Victims of War and Terror – Known as the collateral damage of war, you can show your generosity to charities that provide food, medical assistance, emergency aid and shelter to the victims of war and terror. They also need support in terms of dealing with emotional and physical trauma.
The customs and traditions of the Jewish community are built heavily on the idea of giving to charity. Choose a charity that is closest to your heart and give willingly. This is one of the most important parts of giving – the willingness to share what you have been blessed with to help those who are in need.