Rabbi Robert Eisen has created a new tzedakah box program at Congregation Anshei Israel. Collapsible cardboard boxes imprinted with the synagogue’s name and logo, some general information and a quote from the Talmud were mailed recently to all congregants.
“I remember a tzedakah box near my mother’s Shabbat candlesticks. As the candles were lit, we dropped a few coins into it so that the additional mitzvah of at least symbolically sharing Shabbat with others was performed,” says Eisen. “The amount of money which the box held was never that much; its presence meant more than any dollar amount. It was there for the mitzvah.”
The quote on the new tzedakah boxes: Greater than one who does a mitzvah is one who enables others to do the same — Baba Batra 9a.
“Everyone wants your money — we want your mitzvah! We hope that recipients will put their CAI tzedakah boxes in their home (or office) where it will be seen and where they will respond. And when it is full, that they will bring it back to the synagogue office and pick up another one,” the rabbi explains. “We hope to encourage congregants to fulfill even more mitzvot than they do already.”
The response from congregants has been very positive, says Eisen, with many saying the boxes take them back to their childhoods.