Letter from Community Rabbonim concerning recent surge in visiting charity collectors

Letter from Community Rabbonim concerning recent surge in visiting charity collectors
Letter from Community Rabbonim concerning recent surge in visiting charity collectors

Dear Members of Dallas Area synagogues,

We, the undersigned rabbis of the Dallas Area congregations, have observed and received much feedback from the community regarding the recent surge in meshulachim (visiting charity collectors) and various issues involved. To enhance the quality of the Tzedaka collection process (a paramount Mitzvah, and one that our communities are proudly trying to maximize) and smoothen the experience for the greater community, we have agreed on forming a new committee: Va’ad HaTzedaka of Dallas. This valuable effort is fully supported by the participating rabbis, aiming to accomplish the following:

  • Verifying the cause of each collector, whether personal or organizational 
  • Assuring proper behavior and acceptable visiting hours by the collectors
  • Regulating the frequency of each individual’s visits

From this committee, certain rabbis will be appointed by the VAAD to deal with tzedakah collectors, vetting the individuals and organizations, and issuing the letter of authorization from the Vaad. Along with this letter, each collector will receive a letter in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish with a list of the community’s requirements for behavior and visiting hours. We thank Rabbi Zecharia Sionit of Sephardic Torah Center, who has volunteered to fill this position at this time. 

The new system will be effective APRIL 1st 2024. Please understand that this initiative can only work if it’s followed seriously by community members, both at shul and at home. Although we cannot advise our congregants NOT to give tzedaka, we strongly recommend ONLY giving to collectors carrying an authorization letter from the Dallas Va’ad HaTzedaka. If you are approached or visited by a collector, we urge you to ask for the Dallas Vaad HaTzedaka letter and inform them that based on a community-wide policy, that letter is necessary for collecting in the Dallas Area. You can refer collectors to Rabbi Sionit, who can be reached at (917) 678-0385. The person should be told to leave a clear voice message or send a text in case Rabbi Sionit can’t answer. We will also endeavor to spread the word among the network of tzedakah collectors about our new system and requirements, so they should arrive prepared. 

Of course, if you have a preexisting relationship with a particular collector or institution, we encourage you to continue donating to them even if they have not produced a letter. Additionally, women who are home alone should not accept any collectors, even if they can produce a Va’ad HaTzedaka letter. 

We hope and pray that this initiative will both enhance the quality of our precious Tzedakah, and the dignity and normalcy of Tzedakah collection in the Dallas Area. 

Sincerely,
(list in formation)

Rabbi Ariel Darrison, Ohev Shalom
Rabbi Bentzi Epstein, TORCH Dallas
Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Ohr HaTorah
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried, DATA
Rabbi Avrohom Zev Kosowsky, Mesorah High School for Girls
Rabbi Eliezer Poupko, Lev Yisrael of Plano
Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky, Shaare Tefilla
Rabbi Yaakov Rich, Congregation Toras Chaim
Rabbi Aryeh Rodin, Ohev Shalom
Rabbi Meir Sabo, Tiferet Israel
Rabbi Zecharia Sionit, Sephardic Torah Center
Rabbi Howard Wolk, Shaare Tefilla

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