“If there is a needy person among you, ……..do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather, you must open your hand”
Deuteronomy 15.7

Introduction:

The main charitable giving at Sinai is through the annual High Holy Day Appeal. The High Holy Days are a time of reflection, a time of change, and a time of tzedakah. At this time, we look back to assess the year, look forward to seek improvement, and look outward to give generously. In addition to the major aim of charitable giving, The High Holy Day Appeal can be an opportunity for learning, community involvement and to engage our future leaders in this act of communal giving.

The purpose of this policy is to lay down a procedure by which to

  • choose charities, which resonate with Sinai's progressive Jewish Values, to benefit from the annual High Holy Day appeal.
  • Involve our b’nei mitzvah students in the process.
  • encourage all members to give generously to the chosen charities.

Principles:

It has been previously agreed that Sinai High Holy Day Appeal supports the MRJ High Holy Day Appeal and The Leeds Jewish Welfare Board. This policy does not alter that decision. It outlines a process by which to choose an additional one or two charities.

The process is aimed at engaging the next generation of Sinai leaders in

  • the choice of additional charities
  • the implementation of the appeal

Process:

An adult Sinai member, The Appeal Lead (currently Pippa Brook) will have overall responsibility for the organisation of High Holy Day appeal.

Each year, as part of their Jewish Studies, the Makepetzah class will learn about Tzedakah, Tikkun Olam and the reason why charitable giving is particularly important at the High Holy Days.

The Appeal Lead will advise the class of the charities supported by the appeal over the previous 5 years.

The Appeal Lead will advise the class of any requests from charities for Sinai to support them in that year’s appeal. The class will research these and other charities which they feel should benefit from the appeal. They will agree on one or two charities to recommend as the additional charity or charities for that year. Their decision will be informed by reform Jewish values and accepted criteria for charitable giving.

If a student wishes to nominate a charity with which any member of their immediate family is directly connected, either by paid employment or as a Trustee, they should declare their interest in that charity. This will not prevent them from nominating the charity but demonstrates transparency, responsibility and good governance.

On having reached their decision, the class will prepare and present their recommendation to the Sinai Trustees no later than the May board meetings each year. The proposal will include the reasons for their recommendation.

Trustees will vote on the proposal and advise the class of their decision. If for any reason Trustees reject the recommendation, they will give their reasons and ask the class to submit an alternative proposal the following month.

Publicity/fund-raising:

The Appeal Lead will consult with the class on the wording of the letter to be sent with the High Holy Day mailing.

The Appeal Lead will arrange for the appeal to be delivered during the main High Holy Day services at times to be agreed with the Rabbi. The Makepetzah class will make the appeal to family services at times to be agreed with the service leader.

The class will be encouraged to help the Appeal Lead in promoting the appeal and will be invited to suggest ways in which to implement the appeal.

During the time the appeal remains open, reminders and updates will be given via usual communication channels to encourage members to donate.

The Appeal Lead will ensure that every donor is thanked for their donation (unless the donation is made anonymously).

The Makepetzah class may arrange fundraising events during the year to augment appeal donations.

Following the appeal:

The appeal closes by 31st December each year. As soon as possible after the closing date, the donations will be sent to each of the charities. Outstanding gift aid will be forwarded when received by Sinai.