Liturgy on the Ethics of Money

Since fundraising and philanthropy are sacred values in the Jewish community. These values should be celebrated in the synagogue. We, most often, recognize donors and fundraisers with thank you notes and plaques but liturgy during a Shabbat service is another way. Our standard liturgy does not include any blessings or prayers for those who participate in philanthropy, so we have to look to creative liturgy to fulfill this need. Below are creative liturgical pieces in the form of petitionary and thanksgiving prayers. These prayers recognize the important role that God plays in the lives of philanthropists and fundraisers.

Eilu Devarim: Ethics of Money
These are actions that are limitless,
Through which a person enjoys the fruit of this world,
They are: engaging in deeds of compassion,
Dealing honestly in business,
Compensating workers in a timely fashion,
Approaching money with gratitude rather than entitlement,
Sharing with the less-fortunate in order to protect human dignity,
Understanding that money is valuable because it helps us to survive
Rabbi Assi said: "Tzedakah is as important as all of the commandments put together."
-Lisa Delson
This prayer may be used in a shacharit service that may accompany a ground-breaking ceremony or the beginning of a fundraising campaign.

Prayer for Beginning a Fundraising Endeavor.
Dearest Source of Life
You are in us as a longing for each other
You are in us as a striving for Self
"Build for Me a sacred dwelling place v And I will dwell among you" the Torah states
And so the longing that is the I
And the longing that is the We
Come together in holy endeavor
To create a life and a home
Where the resources we are blessed with
Great or small, temporary or ongoing
Are directed and organized with an open heart
That you may dwell in the space within and between us.
-by Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, adapted from Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities
This prayer may be used in service or in a promotional packet of fundraising information distributed to potential donors.

Prayer for Ending a Fundraising Campaign
Blessed are You, Source of Abundance,
For providing us with the financial
And spiritual ability to give.
You reveal to us in our actions
That all humanity participates
In the flow of resources that come
And go through the world.
May we use our resources well,
And may this exchange be fair and equal.
Blessed are you, Provider,
Who is the enriching Power of life itself.
-adapted from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation resource book on money and Jewish values, developed initially at a mini-course on Jews, class, and money at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, Pennsylvania.
This prayer may be used during a ground-breaking ceremony or a dedication of a new building. It may also be used in a donor recognition ceremony h eld in the synagogue.

Amidah variations - Prayers for Abundance
"Grant blessing over us, Abundant One,
upon this year, and all its forms of produce;
let it be a year of good and give blessing on the earth,
and satisfy us with your goodness,
and give blessing to this year,
as in the good years of the past.
Blessed are You, All Bountiful,
Who gives blessing to the years."
-Ninth blessing of the weekday Amidah, translation from Kol Haneshama, Limnot Hol Daily Prayerbook (Wyncote, Pa.:The Reconstructionist Press, 1996), 228.
This prayer may be inserted into the morning liturgy in place of the prayer for abundance in the Amidah. It may also be used at the close of a fundraising campaign because it recognizes the abundance that God grants us.

MiSheberach offered for those committed to the religious community through offering of human and financial resources.
"May the One who blessed our ancestors, bless this entire holy community, along with other holy communities - them, their sons and daughters, and all that belongs to them. All thought who set apart house of assembly for prayer, and those who come into their midst to pray, and those who study Torah for the sake of teaching it to young and old, and those who provide light for lamps and wine...and food for guests, and donations to the poor, and all those who are faithfully occupied with the needs of the community...may the blessed Holy One provide them their reward, and turn away from them every sickness, and heal their bodies, and pardon their failures. May God send blessing and success in all their efforts"
Translation from Kol Haneshama, Shabbat Verasim (Wyncote, Pa.: The Reconstructionist Press, 1996), 416.
This may be offered during a Torah service to recognize those who have contributed to a fundraising campaign.

Prayer for Overcoming Indifference
I watch the news, God. I observe it from a comfortable distance. I see
people suffering, and I don't lift a finger to help them. I condemn
injustice but I do nothing to fight against it. I am pained by the
faces of starving children, but I am not moved enough to try to save
them. I step over homeless people in the street, I walk past
outstretched hands, I avert my eyes, I close my heart.
Forgive me, God, for remaining aloof while others are in need of my assistance.
Wake me up, God; ignite my passion, fill me with outrage. Remind me
that I am responsible for Your world. Don't allow me to stand idly by.
Inspire me to act. Teach me to believe that I can repair some corner
of this world.
When I despair, fill me with hope. When I doubt my strength, fill me
with faith. When I am weary, renew my spirit. When I lose direction,
show me the way back to meaning, back to compassion, back to You.
-Rabbi Naomi Levy
This prayer may be used in a prayer service that is dedicated to issues of economic justice.

Lisa Delson