Your iPhone/Android becomes a money box

September 10, 2013 by Henry Benjamin
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The Jewish religion differentiates between charity and tzedakah and the latter has always been considered obligatory…and this generally forgotten cornerpost of Judaism is now set to reappear in the mainstream community thanks to an iPad/iPhone/Android app developed in Sydney.

Tzedekah developers Jeffrey Tobias, Stacey Mano and Jeremy Tobias

Tzedekah developers Jeffrey Tobias, Stacey Mano and Jeremy Tobias   photo: Henry Beenjamin

teza220The Tzedakah app allows its user to donate to a choice of Jewish charities on a regular basis with a once only registration of its owner’s credit card details.

The initiative has been launched in Australia but the development team of Jeremy and Jeffrey Tobias and Stacey Mano hope to overcome international financial online financial hurdles and see their brainchild in use throughout the Jewish world.

The idea is an offshoot of the Tobias’s Bondi-based GiveEasy business which allows iPhone and Android users to donate money to national charities such as the Salvation Army and the Smith Family.

But according to tradition Tzedakah is not charity. Charity is considered to be a matter of choice whereas Tzedakah is traditionally given as a duty at synagogue services, major festivals and celebrations and events.

31-yr-old Jeremy Tobias told J-Wire: “We have preset it to receive money in units of Chai [$18] although it will accept amounts as low as $5 or as high as any donor is comfortable giving. The recipients sign up with us and the money goes directly to them. Although we have just launched it, we already have JewishCare, Jewish House, JCA and the Central Synagogue on the site.”

Donors can commit to sending the same amount on a regular basis automatically or make one off donations.

According to Wikipedia, Maimonides lists his Eight Levels of Giving, as written in the Mishneh TorahHilkhot matanot aniyim (“Laws about Giving to Poor People”), Chapter 10:7-14:

  1. Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
  2. Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
  3. Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving tzedakah before being asked.
  6. Giving adequately after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving “in sadness” (giving out of pity): It is thought that Maimonides was referring to giving because of the sad feelings one might have in seeing people in need (as opposed to giving because it is a religious obligation). Other translations say “Giving unwillingly.

The Tzedakah app developers believe that it will give countless Jews an opportunity to reconnect or strengthen their existing connection with one of the world’s oldest religions…and help countless needy people in the process.

CEO of Sydney’s JewishCare Claire Vernon told J-Wire: “Anything which makes giving easier is a wonderful initiative and the developers are to be congratulated for combining the age old tradition of giving with new technology.  The community has been very generous supporting JewishCare and this enables us to continue to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO of Jewish House told J-Wire: “The more who can use it before Yom Kippur the better. The day dictates that it should be marked with prayer, repentance…and charity.”

The Tobias operation is a strictly not for profit company and they welcome qualifying organisations from Australia to avail themselves of the apps capabilities.

JCA Chief Executive Officer Ian Sandler said that the app was another way to strengthen communal giving for JCA’s 22 member organisations and urged donors that have not already done so to support the 2013 community campaign.

Contact them at

The app is available in the Apple App store and Google Play Store

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