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As Maimonides wrote, "Even a poor person who lives entirely on tzedakah must also give tzedakah to another." (Mishnah Torah Chapter 7, Line 5)
Maimonides on Charity, Tzedakah, Righteousness, and Justice...
The RaMBaM, or Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides was raised in the town of Cordoba, in Moslem Spain in the 12th Century of the Common Era. In 1148, the city was conquered by the Almohads, a Moslem group which sought to convert all residents to traditional Islam. The family fled and settled in Fez, Morocco several years later, where Moshe studied Jewish law and Moslem medicine. The family then moved to what is now Cairo, Egypt (Fostat). It was in Egypt that Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, who was supported by his brother David, completed his Misheh Torah, 14 volumes of Codes of Jewish Law. David drowned during a business trip to India, devastating the family. Moshe therefore became a physician to support the extended family. He died in 1204 and is buried in Tiberias.
Among the Rambam's works was a treatise on Tzedakah
The Rambam identified EIGHT Levels of Charity, or doing justice. They are:
1. A person gives but is not happy when s/he digs into the pocket in order to give.
2. A person gives cheerfully, but gives less than s/he should.
3. A person gives, but only when asked by a poor person.
4. A person gives without having to be asked, but gives directly to the poor. The poor person knows he gave the help, and the giver knows who was benefited
5. A person gives a donation in a certain place, but walks away so that the giver does not know who received the benefit. The poor person knows the giver however.
6. A person makes a donation to a poor person secretly. The giver knows who was benefited, but the poor person does not know who the giver was.
7. A person contributes anonymously to the tzedakah fund which is then distributed to the poor.
8. The highest level of charity is to give money and help to prevent another person from becoming poor. For example, teaching a person a trade, finding them a job, lending money, teaching them to fish.
LINKS TO CHARITIES
COMMUNITY AND ISRAEL CHARITIES
United Jewish Communities (formerly UJA)
New Israel Fund
USA Jewish Federations
United Jewish Appeal (before name change)
Joint Distribution Committee/ HIAS / Rescue
HUNGER AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
American Jewish World Service
Aleph Prisoner Relief
Hebrew Free Loan Society
Hebrew Free Burial Society
Dorot - NY
MAZON - A Jewish Response to Hunger
Lifeline for the Old in Israel / Yad Lakashish
Project Ezra in NYC
YOUTH, COMMUNITY AND NATIONAL ISSUE GROUPS
Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps
Avodah, 443 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10016, Attn.: Rabbi David Rosenn, 212-545-7759, fax: 686-1353
National Jewish Center for Literacy
American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Congress
Anti Defamation League of B'nai Brith
Jewish War Veterans
JCRC - Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Equality and Justice
American Jewish Family and Childrens Agencies
Children's Mitzvah Network
The Giraffe Project - Stick Your Neck Out !
Locks of Love - Wigs for needy bald kids
Kavod Tzedakah Collective
Ziv Tzedakah Collective - Danny Siegal's
Shefa Fund (Philadelphia)
Hatzolah, the ambulance people
Jewish National Fund, the tree and dam people
Bronfman.org, the trip to israel people
Abraham Fund people
Oxfam famine relief
Gods Love, We Deliver
Tzvi Aryeh Aids Foundation
Tomchei Shabbos Food Bank
The Alternative Spring Break
Habitat for Humanity
Jewish Guild for the Blind, 15 West 65 Street, New York NY 10023, Telephone: (212) 769-6200. DID you know that the leading cause of blindness among Jewish men and women over the age of sixty is Macular Degeneration, for which there is no known cure.
National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association
Late Tay Sachs Onset Foundation
MPS - Muclolipiosis
Dystonia Med Research Foundation
Dystonia & Parkinsons / Bachman-Strauss
National Foundation for Jewish Genetic Diseases, 250 Park Ave #1000, NYC 10177
National Niemann-Pick Foundation, 3734 East Olive Avenue, Gilbert AZ 85234
The site for all Not for profit managers
JUST-TZEDAKAH.ORG - a fabulous site that everyone should visit before making a contribution to any Jewish group !! Excellent graphs that show the percentage spent on fund-raising. For example, did you know that The Eldridge Street Project spends 30% of its funds on fund-raising (not including Admin), Maccabi USA spent 30% on fundraising and 20% on salaries, or Hadassah spends 6% on fundraising, AF of Hebrew U spends 12%, Hillel 16%, Jewish Fund for Justice 14%, Wiesenthal 13%, Mazon 9%, NIF 9%, ZOA 9% (but over 35% on Admin).....yee-ha
GUIDESTAR.org is a charity watchdog that maintains an online database of over 150,000 U.S. Charities and their IRS 990 forms which can inform you how much of your contribution goes into the leaders' pockets.... I mean, wouldn't you like to know if those donated cars actually get driven around by the charity's leaders??
Who Says There is No Business Like the Fund Raising Business??
According the the Chronicle of Philanthropy (9/23/99), salaries of top fund raising professionals are as follows:
Stephen Solender, UJA/Fed of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, $327K
Darrell Friedman, Associated JCF of Baltimore, $307K
Steven Nasatir, JF / JUF of Greater Chicagoland, $279K
Robert Aronson, UJF/Fed of Metro Motown Detroit, $251K
Howard Charish, JF of Greater Phillie, $250K
John Fishel, JFC of Greater LA, $247K
Jacob Solomon, Greater Miami Jewish Federation, $240K
Stephen Hoffman, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, $229K
Wayne Feinstein, JCF of San Fran, and environs, $225K
Jeffrey Klein, JF of Palm Beach County, $220K
Barry Shrage, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, $213K
David Samat, JF of Greater Atlanta, $195K
Ted Farber, JF of Greater Washington DC, $185K
Max Kleinman, UJF of MetroWest NJ, $183K
Spencer Gellert, JF of South Palm Beach County, $182K
Speaking of Jewish charities in the USA, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of the top 400 Charities in the USA (November 4, 1999), 27 of the top 400 are "Jewish". Among them are:
As for the leaders.....
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