Adult Hebrew Class Tzedakah Allocation Worksheet


 Temple Emanu-El Adult Hebrew Class Tzedakah Allocation Thanks to everyone for the generous contributions throughout the semester.  This tool developed and used by the Social Justice Council has been adapted for the adult classroom and we hope it will be meaningful and useful to you as you do this mitzvah of tzedakah, righteous giving.

RAMBAM, MISHNEH TORAH, LAWS OF GIFTS TO THE POOR 7:7 We support the poor of the gentiles along with the poor of Israel for the sake of “the ways of peace”. A poor person that goes door to door begging need not be given a large gift but is given a small gift. It is prohibited to turn away a poor person empty-handed. Even if one gives only a single dried fig, as it says, “do not let the poor turn away disappointed (Deut 15:11).” [Translation by Hillel]

מפרנסין ומכסין עניי עכו"ם עם עניי ישראל מפני דרכי שלום, ועני המחזר על הפתחים אין נזקקין לו למתנה מרובה אבל נותנין לו מתנה מועטת, ואסור להחזיר את העני ששאל ריקם ואפילו אתה נותן לו גרוגרת אחת שנאמר אל ישוב דך נכלם.   

Allocation Process PART 1 NOMINATE (5 minutes)

Each student suggests an organization to receive funds.  Students can also review the Temple Emanu-El Social Justice Partners list that is located on the website for suggestions.

Consider having each student use this format...

I love and support this organization... because it does the sacred work (mitzvah) of.....   

PART 2 DISCUSS (10 minutes)

Read the text above and discuss together:  

1. Why do you think the Rabbis suggest this specific reason to help the non-Jews, “the ways of peace”? What do you think this phrase might mean?

2. Why do you think this source emphasizes that everyone should be given a small gift? Would it better to concentrate resources on a smaller number of people?

3. Based on this text, using percentages, how would you allocate our funds?

PART 3 DO THE MATH (5 minutes)

Based on the conversation class members should decide how to allocate the collected funds--either by general consensus or by each person doing a personal allocation and then tallying the totals.