Dr. Jonathan Donath wants to change the world, one dollar at a time. Several months ago he was at a Maariv minyan at the Young Israel of White Plains and put a dollar in the tzedaka box. He realized his next day’s busy schedule wouldn’t allow him the time to get to shul. Having heard a powerful shiur emphasizing the importance of every mitzvah, whether large or small, he started thinking about a way he could make it easier for everyone to perform a small mitzvah, like giving tzedaka every single day, that would yield enormous results.
Thus, “Daily Giving,” or the “Tzedaka Yomi” project was born. Donath started to envision what it would be like if each person who was contacted donated just a dollar a day for tzedaka. The number of dollars collected would be multiplied by the number of people who donated; the result would add up to one huge mitzvah. The dollar amount would increase quickly with great sums of money being raised for deserving organizations.
Teaming up with friends Rabbi Shlomo Ressler of White Plains, New York; Shaul Hen of Mount Vernon, New York; Rabbi Rami and Debbie Strosberg, Beit Shemesh, Israel, and Beth Goldsammler of West Orange, New Jersey, he realized that giving only a dollar a day, together with, hopefully, tens of thousands of others, would result in exponential amounts collected, thanks to the power of unity. With approximately 14.5 million Jews in the world today, if only 1 percent gave a dollar a day, that would mean collecting $145,000 per day, or over $50 million dollars in charitable funds per year.
A rabbinical council comprised of distinguished, influential rabbis was established to approve the organizations to be supported. The council, composed of Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva, RIETS, Yeshiva University, Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Morah D’Asra, Agudath Israel, Bais Binyomin, Brooklyn, New York, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, internationally renowned rabbi, mohel, author and lecturer and Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg, Morah D’Asra, Young Israel of White Plains, New York, decided that the charities would be well-respected national or international organizations, rather than local community-specific projects. Out of the current list of 36 recognized charities one will find organizations such as Camp HASC, OHEL, United Hatzalah, NCSY, YACHAD, Chai Lifeline, RCCS (Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society), Sharsheret and many others. Additional charities will be added in the coming months.
Donath was excited to share the fact that January 1, 2019 was the first day Daily Giving “went live” and over $5,000 was donated that day. Rabbi Paysach Krohn, appearing on TorahAnyime, a website and app that provides thousands of free Torah lectures, spoke about Daily Giving and urged Jews everywhere to join him in the Daily Giving—Tzedaka Yomi project. Rabbi Krohn has a huge following and within minutes, contributions began pouring in from South Africa, Israel, Australia and all over the United States. The website, created by co-founder Shaul Hen, www.dailygiving.org, reflects the constantly increasing donations.
“With God’s help, the numbers will keep growing,” Donath said. “One dollar at a time.”
As a child, he was taught to put money “in the pushka” every day. This mitzvah gave him great joy. “Daily Giving is determined to bring back the joy that giving just a little every day can bring to one’s soul. If all Jews would see the potential of what this could become, and would donate just one dollar a day, an amount that might otherwise not go very far, all of our small donations would be combined with what will hopefully be tens of thousands of others, resulting in a monumental impact on meeting the needs of worthy organizations.
Donath stated the three main goals of Daily Giving and the Tzedaka Yomi project:
1.To reenergize the Jewish people, both as individual givers, and as small parts of a whole nation, who can make immeasurable differences when joining together as one.
2. To enable individual Jews around the world to accomplish one additional mitzvah each day, knowing that every mitzvah, big and small alike, has tremendous meaning unto itself.
3. To get at least 1 percent of all Jews to join Daily Giving, which would mean over $50 million of extra tzedaka given each year to deserving Jewish non-profit organizations across the globe, making an unbelievable impact on the world-wide Jewish community.
Daily Giving’s stated mission is “to enable every Jew to easily perform the mitzvah of tzedaka every single day and to disperse those funds to deserving Jewish non-profit organizations around the world on a daily basis.” Daily Giving Inc. would serve as a shaliach/messenger, distributing an individual’s donation to a worthy organization every single day.
Daily Giving is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. People can donate to Daily Giving and receive a charitable tax deduction. Individuals can choose to donate a dollar a day or more, with their credit card charged either monthly or annually. On a daily basis, each donor will receive an email that states, “Thank you! Today your dollar was (for example) one of $17,4ll that went to Camp HASC.”
Donath is a chiropractor and the clinical director of the Joint Effort Chiropractic & Westchester Spinal Decompression Center in White, Plains, New York.
For further information, please go to www.dailygiving.org.
By Yvette Finkelstein