Some of us have asked, “How big a donation should I give to the DJC over and above my Membership fees?”
There are so many variables that a simple straightforward answer is not possible. We hear a Jewish voice saying, “On the von hand and then on di udher hand…”
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.“C.S. Lewis
Tithing has a long Jewish tradition. It is mentioned in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. To oversimplify, the dictum is to give 10% of one’s “wealth” to others. So, in DJC tradition, the suggestion below is for a sliding scale. The measure varies based on one’s circumstances, however, the belief is that everyone can give… if even a small amount.
One might make a distinction between tzedakah and tithing. Tzedakah is perhaps more about giving to those less fortunate, while tithing is about giving to build community, ensure programmes and maintain core services. The Hebrew word to give is “Natan”. In both English and Hebrew, the word can be read forward and backward, so when we think about giving (the handing out) we can at the same time recognize the return (the taking in). Thus, to give is also to receive. Experience shows that giving of any kind makes us feel better, more connected and contented.
So back to the question of how much to give, over and above your Membership. Ten percent of one’s wealth is huge and perhaps only aspirational for pretty much all of us. You also may give to multiple causes and so in considering the tithe, it makes sense to relate it to one’s total giving, not just to one cause or organization.
The table below is devised as a guideline. It begins with suggestions of one-tenth of one percent of income and grows from there to one percent. You can locate yourself based on your income and find a recommendation. Again, the numbers given are a guideline. They are provided to stimulate your thinking about your gift to the DJC and help in your decision making.
We hope that this article and the table help you with your decision to donate and the amount. We also ask, as you consider your gift this year, to stretch a little knowing that 2020-2021 will be a challenging one for the Danforth Jewish Circle.