Charity, Saving a Life or Scam?

It’s that time of year again.

 Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, approaches, and it is time for 

tefilah, and teshuvah and zedakah:  prayer and repentance


and appeals to give money for charity. 

Appeals are blasted on the radio, printed in the papers and sent by email.

Jerusalem photo

Small charity collection boxes and

charity boxes

large collection boxes line many Jerusalem, Israel streets.

charity box

Does 100% really go to Zedakah, to the poor? 

In The 7 habits of highly effective schnorrers

beggars, J Street

a friend discusses the sites of successful Jerusalem beggars 

beggar, Old City

from a business marketing perspective.

Techniques are varied,

beggar, Jerusalem street

from a casual stance using a loud-speaker to get attention, 


 to sitting passively, appearing down and out.

beggar woman, J street

And there is always the traditional plastic cup collection approach.

Israeli VAT, the value added tax, has gone up 1%, 

so already high prices are certain to rise as is the cost of living.

Money is tight for most everyone,

so how does one decide where to give one’s charity money?

bike riders, Alyin ride

Hundreds of riders do Wheels of Love to raise money for Alyn Hospital. 

biker, Jerusalem street

Then there is this bike rider who seems to regularly need money for 

bus fare to her daughter in Bet Shemesh or a few shekels to buy water.

A few hours after I saw her ride by,

beggar, J Street

 this young woman on the right with a small child slung over her shoulder, 

was approaching English speakers on King George Street

 asking for 35 shekel to get back to Haifa.

I recognized her from last year with the same story

and suggested she go to the synagogue for help.

I am always impressed how many people walking on Jerusalem, Israel 

streets will stop, take out money and give to those out-stretched hands.

What are true opportunities to help strangers or what are scams?

I wish I had an answer to the questions, what do you think?

As the year 5772 comes to an end,

it is time for the new year’s greeting to be back on the buses,

sign shana tova bus

Shanah tovah, Happy New Year. 

May 5773 be a prosperous and healthy one for all.

13 thoughts on “Charity, Saving a Life or Scam?

    • September 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Good point, could be why some people seem to always have coins in their pocket.
      I used to carry a granola bar to give to beggars who said they were hungry, now I
      chould keep change in my pocket, not just when going to Kotel.

  • September 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I received a phone call last week. Some lady asked me for a donation – I did not catch the name of the Charity. I told her that I never give my credit card number or any details over the phone and that if she could send me a fax with all the Charity’s particulars, I would send a cheque. She asked me to send a bank transfer if she gave me the bank number. I repeated that if she sent me the details by fax with her name and phone numbers I would send her a donation. She even suggested that I commit myself to 50 shekels a month for a year. I am still waiting for the fax – what would you do?
    In the meantime I wish you, family and friends, Chug Samach – health and joy for the coming year. A bit of peace would help.

    • September 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Sad that we have to be so careful because there are those who would take advantage.
      All the best to you, your family and friends for a great year!

  • September 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you for raising this question with us, especially now…wishing you continued insight and joy as you continue to photograph our beloved Israel in 5773. Shanah Tovah tiketavu

  • September 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    All the street beggars in Jerusalem, Israel can really be perplexing to a tourist, and also to the residents I suppose. When I leave NY many give me shaliach mitzvah money which I keep in my pocket and randomly dole out, but I am never comfortable doing this, always feeling that somehow I was “taken”, but still under pressure to distribute the monies. I also never respond to a phone solicitation. I only support organizations that I have visited or have had personal experience with or I give to my rabbi’s discretionary fund, and leave it up to him. Shanna Tova to one and all, may we always give and never need.

    • September 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      I am not saying do not give, I am saying when pleas come from every direction, it is hard to decide what to do first.

  • September 13, 2012 at 5:33 am

    I’m so impressed with all that you do…..your pictuires are so beautiful, as well as your comments.
    I live in the USA and the Tzedaka requests are coming in, faster than I can acknowledge them. I do what I can, trying to send some to Israel as well as helping those in my community. May you and yours be blessed with a Shana Tova U’metuka. K’teeva V’chatima Tova.

  • September 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    My wife says that I can’t pass a beggar or fail to pet a dog. I am so lucky, how can I not give.
    It comes from my heart and if I am “taken” the sin is on them – still and all rack up one more mitzvah for the lucky guy that I am!!!!!!

    • September 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Beautiful! Hope your good will spreads far and wide. Shanah tovah and may you continue to do good deeds.


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