JFLV CEO Weekly Message - Help Us Match Your Half Shekel

The concept of the “half shekel” comes from the practice in ancient times of every Jew giving half a shekel or more to the temple in Jerusalem as a way of being counted as part of the community.  Commentary by the great Jewish scholar Rambam explains further; When a census of the Israelite men was taken, each man was required to contribute one half shekel. The coins were counted and the total indicated how many people had been numbered.

This process raised several questions. One, why weren't they counted by head, and two, why was each required to donate a half coin instead? The rabbis have said that the method of counting by means of coins signifies the fact that every single person numbered has his own individual worth (in our lexicon, "Everyone counts"). If this is the case, why did they only donate a half-shekel rather than a whole one to represent one whole self?  Because no individual is complete when standing alone. When you associate with other Jews and go out of your way to learn from others, help others, and do for others, then you are a true member of the Jewish people. To remain isolated and away from others, one stands alone and lacks character. (Rambam, Perek 4, Hichot Teshuva Halacha 1)

 The Jewish Federation Annual Campaign - The Campaign for Jewish Needs - is our modern version of the half shekel.  The Campaign for Jewish Needs ensures that we, as a community, are helping those in need and seeking a Jewish life in Southern Nevada, Israel and in over 60 countries around the world.  Through the campaign we are ensuring that no Jew is left behind and that everyone, no matter their geography, station in life, or level of observance, has a community with which to stand.  It is the best and most effective way to ensure that our community continues to grow and prosper, and it is the highest impact investment that you can make in our community.  This year, we have been given a unique opportunity to increase the impact of that investment.

Through the incredible and enduring generosity of Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, and the Adelson Family Foundation,  will match all new and increased gifts to the 2016 Jewish Federation Annual Campaign - The Campaign for Jewish Needs - up to $500,000.   This extraordinary showing of generosity and care for our community has the potential to add $1 million to the pool of funds that directly benefit our partners, agencies and programs.

 In closing, I would like to offer the community the opportunity to do as our sages have taught us, "go out of your way to learn from others, help others, and do for others," through the Campaign for Jewish Needs.  Please consider making your new or increased gift today to ensure the growth and strength of our local and global Jewish community.

Please click here to make your new or increased gift today to the 2016 Jewish Federation of Las Vegas Annual Campaign - The Campaign for Jewish Needs.  As always, I welcome your comments at todd@polikoffs.com.


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