For many years, Jerry Salkin, our weekday gabbai, would remind us at the end of minyan to “remember the pushke.” When Jerry went to his eternal reward, Joan Hartman Moore picked up his task. Each morning (and some evenings), regulars and visitors at minyan put a coin or a bill into the charity box. And once a month or so, the contents are emptied and placed in the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.
On occasion, I get a request to “dedicate” the contributions for the month to some cause or another. And, frankly, I use the discretion in the title of the fund to decide whether I will or won’t. But it seems to me that it’s not a very democratic way to distribute tzedakah, especially when the contributions are offered by such a wide cross-section of the congregation.
So I would like to suggest that you nominate causes to which we will dedicate the contents of the pushke each month. I will accumulate your suggestions and create a list to be posted in the Flax Family Chapel. When you come to minyan, you are welcome to vote for the recipient you prefer, and we will dedicate a month’s worth of tzedakah to the most popular causes. If this process succeeds, I anticipate repeating it every six months.
You have decisions to make: Jewish or general, local or distant, large or small, popular or relatively unknown. The only recipients that I will arbitrarily disqualify are those that are overtly political – please do not nominate groups that are affiliated with any political party here or abroad.
Send your suggestions to me by e-mail or regular mail, and address them to PUSHKE. Nominations received before January 21 will be posted in time for Rosh Chodesh Adar.
Some remember the Alamo. Some remember the Maine. We remember the pushke!