4/4/19

Can we take Tainted Charity? Who wrote the Haggadah? My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Zahavy - Your Talmudic Advice Column for April 2019

Can we take Tainted Charity? Who wrote the Haggadah? 
My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Zahavy - Your Talmudic Advice Column for April 2019

Dear Rabbi,

I am the head administrator at a major Jewish nonprofit in New Jersey. One of our biggest donors has been charged with a crime. We want to remove his name from our building now. Do we need to wait and see if he is convicted or exonerated? It could be years and we do not want to suffer embarrassment in the interim.

Disheartened in New Jersey

Dear Disheartened,

You do not need to wait. But you may not need to disown your disgraced donor, even when he (or she) is convicted and sent to prison. Check with your New Jersey colleagues in the nonprofit sector about the local customs in this muddy swamp. It seems obvious that where big money is involved, creative solutions abound.

For instance, I can recall several years back, when a big-named donor of a New Jersey Jewish school was sent to prison. It was true that as a result, his name was removed from the school. But resourcefully, the school put up his mother’s name as the replacement. And the family continued supporting its cause.