Monday, April 21, 2008

Pandering Tzedaka Ads Make Me MADDDD!!!!!

Well, I should be writing something about Pesach.

Isaac Kaplan pretty much summed up how I feel about hotels on Pesach. In his piece, he mentions that a sum equal to these exorbitant amounts of money spent on hotel stays should be contributed to charity. Meaning, if a wealthy family chooses to spend $15,000+ on Pesach, they should donate a like amount to Tzedaka.

On the topic of Tzedaka, my fingers have been itching to type this post since Shabbos.

We received an insert from a particular organization, chronicling their "success stories."
It was the most pandering, condescending, and patronizing thing I have ever seen.

They told a story of a young man, who, of course, struggled with shidduchim. A story about a young woman in that position would be, well, obvious. This young man tried everything, from davening at Kevarim, receiving Brachot from Gedolim, but to no avail. He suddenly decided to donate to this organization, and for some reason, had his mind set on donating $2,000. Not $20. Not $200. Two thousand dollars.

Since he didn't have that kind of money hanging around, he collecting from whoever would give him so that he can donate to this organization...and whaddya know? Before the money was even delivered, he was redt a shidduch....need I finish? Didn't think so.

In each one of this obnoxious anecdotes, they were sure to stress that the donation was a "significant sum" or a "very considerable amount," or, more bluntly, "very generous."

Their point was that if you donate to them, you will see a yeshua.

Let's get this straight. You talk to me like I'm a nebuch case, desperate, willing to try anything, and all I have left is donating to your organization. Then you say that in order to have a "yeshua" like these people had, I need to donate "generously." You say your organization is backed by "Gedolim." You hang illegal posters all over Brooklyn, and spend countless dollars on condescending advertising. I don't know. Why should I trust you?

Yad Eliezer, on the other hand, was the lucky recipient of my check this Pesach. Why? We received a letter in the mail on a plain white sheet of paper, in black ink. They simply stated the cold, hard facts regarding the declining value of the dollar combined with the rising cost of food. No pandering. No promises for Yeshuos if I donate "a considerable amount." I gave what I could, and that was all.

And, oh, yeah, have a Chag Kasher V'Sameach...whatever's left of it. :)

Monday, April 07, 2008


Well, I wasn't really invited in the first place. Just paying homage to Alanis Morissette.

Anyway, these few weeks, my parents have been invited to various Smachot in the neighborhood on Shabbat for meals. That meant three weeks in a row of leaving their kids on their own for either Friday night dinner or Shabbat lunch.

I don't like that.

I especially didn't enjoy hosting my little teenage brother and his two friends on my own for lunch. Nice kids, but baseball really isn't my thing.

When my parents made my brother's Bar Miztvah a few years ago, they thought about how much they hate leaving their kids, and did what any considerate person would do. They invited families rather than couples. So rather than 40 "friends," my parents hosted my relatives and their closest friends (about 5 non-family families) for lunch. That was it.

The others were invited to a kiddush and the evening, but they did not encourage leaving kids on their own for Shabbos meals.

One might argue that you encourage politics this way because people start comparing, "wait, you were invited and I wasn't?" but that happens all the time anyway.

Some might argue that the host has the choice whether to invite the guest, and the guest has the option to decline. My parents justified each week, saying that there wasn't one they could have missed.

Since I'm the middle one left at home, and the youngest is 16, the situation differs from my friends who are generally oldest children (hmm, what does that say about my personality?). When the youngest is 5 or 10, it's a lot harder to leave them.

In most families, both parents work, the children have different schedules, and a family dinner with everyone at the table only occurs on Shabbos. Why take that away from people?

(Don't get me started on separate seating on Shabbos)

I say that the ba'alei simcha should either invite whole families or nobody at all.