It may be too early for some, but for others the gathering of information and sorting of receipts in order to prepare tax filings has already begun. Although April 15th has no mention in Torah, it is somewhat fitting that “These are the records…” is how P’kudei, this week’s Torah portion, begins. The records referred to are the inventory of donated materials for construction and completed components of the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary in the wilderness. Our biblical “accountants” understood that when people make charitable contributions, they want to know how the funds are used. The need for record-keeping and oversight still exists today, and is implemented in all aspects of Temple’s finances.
One fund that our congregation is especially generous in supporting is the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, and for that I am tremendously grateful. Uses for the monies in this fund include Temple programming, buying books, supporting worthwhile 501(c)(3) organizations, providing meeting supplies and assisting those both in and outside of our community who are in need. Records are kept of every disbursement made; although, when helping an individual or family in need, the anonymity of recipients is protected.
In Torah and today, donations from the heart are sacred. They bring holiness into the lives of both those who give and those who receive.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush