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Charity - give anonymously or publicly?

  

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Rabbi Eliezer G: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

Silent_giver: I am involved with a public service organization in my city. Last year at a fundraiser I gave them a large charitable donation, which I agreed to repeat every year for 5 years. This year's fundraiser is next week -- I'll be attending, and am helping to invite others, including many friends and colleagues.

Silent_giver: I was just asked by one of the organizers if it would be ok to put my name in the program for being part of this program, and to wear a symbol on my name tag indicating that i'm part of this multi-year giving program. I assume the reason is partly to acknowledge us, partly to motivate others to give more. This seems to go against the spirit of charitable giving, and I think I should decline. On the other hand, my name is listed on their website as a donor (I wasn't asked), and I haven't asked to have my name taken down. Should I decline to be acknowledged, or am I making mountains out of molehills?

Rabbi Eliezer G: the halachah stipulates that it is permissible to publish a name on a building for example, if it will encourage others to give more

Rabbi Eliezer G: giving tzedakah is a sacrifice of sorts

Rabbi Eliezer G: you gave your money to benefit the cause, and now you are being asked to give away your anonymity and sense of modesty for the sake of the cause

Rabbi Eliezer G: this is a much more difficult sacrifice

Rabbi Eliezer G: but it is for the cause

Rabbi Eliezer G: now put this way, how does it sound?

Silent_giver: it sounds more agreeable, but i think i fear that, down deep, i want people to know about my giving for my own vanity, which is wrong, and this would facilitate that

Rabbi Eliezer G: yet, would you deprive the cause for your vanity?

Rabbi Eliezer G: should your vanity consume the funds that can aid the cause?

Silent_giver: wow, ok. so if i get you, what it comes down to is, this isn't about me, it's about the cause, and i should let them go ahead since it will help raise more funds, which is what's important

Rabbi Eliezer G: you hit it right on the nail

Silent_giver: thank you rabbi, you've been very helpful

Rabbi Eliezer G: you are welcome

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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