Tzedakah (Charity) Committee

Tzedakah, charity, is an important Jewish value. The tzedakah committee is responsible for collecting and distributing tzedakah. Jerry Zuriff chairs the committee. The tzedakah box is located in the back of Beren at all services, except on Shabbat and holidays. To make a contribution, make out a check to “Harvard Hillel Charity Fund” with “Orthodox Minyan Charity Fund” on the memo line, and send the check to
Jerry Zuriff 120 Foster St. Cambridge, MA 02138
Please contact Jerry (zuriff@mit.edu) with any questions. Below is the Committee's mission statement, approved by the Governing Board on 2/25/2001.

Statement of Mission and Basic Guidelines for Tzedakah Committee

The tzedakah fund serves as a vehicle by which members of our community can contribute money to individuals in need of financial assistance. It operates primarily indirectly by transferring funds to other charitable organizations that directly assist persons in need. It achieves its goals in two ways. First, it serves as a conduit to transmit funds raised on Purim (matanot l'evyonim and machazit hashekel) to Yad Chessed for distribution on Purim. Second, it accepts contributions throughout the year and distributes them periodically to several charitable organizations. These organizations are selected by the tzedakah committee chair, in consultation with the rabbinic advisor, subject to review by the orthodox governing board. Generally, the organizations selected are from among those the fund has already contributed to over a number of years. Funds are distributed according to these guidelines: approximately 60% goes to local charities (with two-thirds of this going to local Jewish charities) and 40% goes to non-local charities (with half of this going to charities in Israel). Although the fund does not typically donate funds directly to individuals, occasionally people do approach our minyan for help. In these instances, the gabbaim are authorized to donate up to $10 per request, with a maximum of $75 for any individual per year. Persons requesting donations in excess of these limits are instructed to see the rabbinic advisor who, in consultation with the chair of the committee, can authorize larger donations or arrange for an interest-free loan. If a member of our minyan is in financial distress, the tzedakah committee, in coordination with the chessed committee if appropriate, actively seeks to assist that member. The tzedakah committee may periodically make public appeals to raise funds, especially at the time of yizkor and community fasts. In critical circumstances, the committee may solicit funds from individuals.