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Mar 19, 2008

Local RBS Tzedaka: corrupting the words of Rav Kanievsky

With Purim knocking on our doors, along with all the yeshiva boys the past few days collecting for their various yeshivas, we have all been deluged with emails, signs, posters, flyers in our mailboxes, notices in the shuls, paper plates on the shul bimas, advertisements, etc. telling us to donate our Matanos L'Evyonim to this or that organization, this or that poor person, this or that Tzedaka fund, the poor of this or that city.

When Rabbi Perlstein and the gabbaim of the Kupa shel Tzedaka of RBS A went last week to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rav Steinman, and Rav Lefkowitz, and discussed the cherem on Shefa Shuk and its ramifications for the Kupa, they also were there to get a bracha and haskama for the Kupa shel Tzedaka of RBS A.

Now, I have no idea what transpired when they were there. I was not there, and I have not heard firsthand any accounts...

I also have no idea why they should need to go to Rav Kanievsky and the others to get their haskama and a declaration that we should be giving them tzedaka. They are a local Kupa, with the supervision of local Rabbonim along with the longstanding bracha and approval of other national Rabbonim and gedolim. Why should they all of the sudden feel the need to go to Rav Kanievsky and get a declaration that we should give them our tzedaka?

Ok, but they felt the need to go get Rav Kanievsky's bracha adn declaration. The result of that meeting can be seen on posters displayed around RBS A.... and below:
Now, I was not there and can therefore not quote Rav Kanievsky. All I have to go on is the sign itself. In the sign there is a discrepancy between the Hebrew, which seems to be a quote from the letter written, or at least signed, by Rav Kanievsky, and between the English, which is what the sponsor of the poster is telling us to do as a result of the declaration of Rav K.

The Hebrew reads (excerpts really), (my translation) "It behooves you to give precedence to the poor of your neighborhood, and to donate to the local Kupa Shel Tzedaka of RBS A before giving to the poor of other cities."

Now, I suspect the need for this was because the Kupa saw all the posters and flyers from charities from all over the country, though mostly from Bnei Braq and Jerusalem, with declarations from various gedolim saying each one was the best for mattanos l'evyonim. The Kupa must have felt people would give precedence to these charities over the local ones, and therefore got Rav K to say that the local Kupa has priority over the ones from other cities.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky has no idea who Lemaan Achai is, what they do, or that they even exist. I would guess the same is true of another local charity called the "Kupa shel Tzedaka of Mishkenos Yaakov". Nobody told Rav Kanievsky about them, so he has no knowledge of them.

So, the Kupa managers, who sponsored and put up the signs around the neighborhood, then took Rav Kanievsky's declaration and gave us instructions for our tzedaka based on his words. But they do not fit with what he said (or wrote).

the instructions given to us are, "Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita instructs all residents of RBS A to give preference to the local Kupa shel Tzedaka when giving their mattanos L'evyonim."

But that is not true, and all I have to go on what the Kupa showed us. Maybe the Kupa spoke to Rav K and told him about other organizations and Rav K said the Kupa is better, but the Kupa did not quote that for us, so I assume it did not happen.
The Kupa quoted for us from Rav Chaim Kanievsky that the local Kupa has preference over the poor of OTHER CITIES. Not over other local kupot tzedaka, such as Lemaan Achai and Kupa shel Mishkenos. Rav K does not even know about the existence of the other kupot tzedaka, and he did not say the Kupa has preference over them.

This is another example of misleading, or even false, advertising to get us to give our tzedaka money to one over the other.

If they were going to do this, they could have at least arranged Rav Kanievsky to give a bracha to anyone who donates to them, just like the other Kuppot Rav Kanievsky signs off on promise. At least then, people would be getting a bracha out of the deal. but they did not even do that.

No poor person should be hurt or missed on Purim, or any other time, because of false advertising. The poor of the Kupa need our tzedaka, just as the poor of Lemaan Achai need it and the poor of Mishkenos need it. The poor of RBS A need it.
Let us support all our organizations fairly, each person according to his preferences as to how his tzedaka money should be used, and not allow misleading advertisements to sway us that one is better than the other.
The Kupa has issued a clarification (not through me, but I saw it and am therefore posting it)

The signs that were hung up regarding Rav Chaim Kanievsky Sh'lita urging
everyone to give to the Kuppah Shel Tzedakah were intended (and actually
state EXPLICITLY in the Hebrew) to urge people to give to their local
"Kuppah" before giving to the "national" non-local Kuppahs (whose signs are
plastered all over the country).

The message has absolutely nothing to do with giving to Lemaan Achai, which
of course is just as local as Kuppah Shel Tzedakkah RBS A.


  1. Chareidi Judaism 101

    1. The Ends Justify the Means
    2. See #1
    3. Choshen Mishpat? What Choshen Mishpat?


  2. Rafi,

    There is no arguing with the incorrect mistranslation - but honestly this whole 'kupa vs lemaan achai' thing is making me a little sick.
    Why are you so bothered by the success of the kupa, or even what they say? [this goes vice versa for those who attack L.A]
    Does any of this really matter as long as those who need help are getting help?
    You are losing sight of the wood for the trees my friend - the issue is the poor and needy in our community, not which tzedakah organisation is better, or who is the posek for whichever organisation.
    As much as you preach tolerance, you are no more tolerant than the kannoim in Bet.

    Purim Sameach from your 'astute friend' and reader of your blog.

  3. anon-

    How wrong you are!

    1) Each tzedaka makes up lists of aniyiim to give matanos. If one falls short because of the flase advertising of another the poor are hurt not helped.

    2) Perhaps the "attackers" in the Kupa vs Lema'an Achai should be addressed. This wasn't a case of some people saying something in the name of the Kupa..this was official Kupa PR.

    Just on a side note...would you be saying this if it were reversed roles?

  4. anon - I preach they should all be supported fairly, and they should all treat us with respect and not try to manipulate us using dishonesty.

    I support both organizations, Kupa and Lemaan Achai. This sign has not convinced me to give them more than I had planned to. But maybe somebody else will give them more and deduct it from what they were going to give LA or someone else.

    What is even worse, is that I worry that maybe people will give less because they see the Kupa trying to deceive. And do not tell me that they made a mistake and mistranslated. They have plenty of English speaking people involved in their organization that are smart people. they wrote what they wrote with intent.

  5. The photos of gedolim and the KST box should have been good news for RBS, and encouraged people to NOT give to Kupas HaIr and other out of town organizations (which have the same photos, just different tedaka boxes).

    However, KST then blew this opportunity to to good, by decptively having a stab at other local tzedakas (Lema'an Achai and KST of Mishkanos Yaakov).

    Why can't KST just do things straight??!

    Where are the community rabbonim to keep them straight??!

  6. doesn't rav kanyevsky have anything better to do with his time than be a background model for all the dozens of zedaka organizations that want to print a nice glossy brochure or poster?

  7. Once again....


    I sat at the Kupa Melave Malka and saw many of the RBSA Rabbonim on the dais. A couple of them even spoke. All of them wrote glowing letters about Kupa.


    Let them speak up and clarify this issue before needy families lose out.

  8. Kuppah Shel Sheker!

  9. We are in a sad state of affairs when chessed has to be mixed with dishonesty, especially dishonesty regarding the words of a Tzaddikk such as Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

    Shame on you Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah!

  10. Look what a tzaddik Rav Chaim Soloveichik is! He never would allow LeMaan Achai to stoop to this level!

    Rav Chai, Rav Chaim, Rav Chaim Soloveichik-the new song of Ramat Beit Shemesh!

  11. This reminds me of ancient Athens and Sparta.Athens suffered a disadvantage because they were more civil and less barbaric!

  12. The latest lies by Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah prove how right Rav Chaim Soloveichik was to condemn the vilification of Le'Maan Achai-let us never forget how supporters of Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah egregiously accused Le'Maan Achai of baby snatching!

  13. Baruch Hashem that this poster by Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah did not say-"Rav Kanievsky urges all to support the tzeddakah organization which does not engage in kidnapping frum children"

    Is this coming next?

    Shame on you-Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah!

  14. It is a sad day for Klal Yisroel when a Tzedaka has to come and explain or clarify what their PR states.

    1) Kupa has to issue a statement saying how Lema'an Achai is "ok" and repudiating statements made by Kupa reps.

    2) They have to come now and "explain" what they meant to write on their posters with Gedolim.
    Did they ever consider what impact this would have on the kavod of Rav Kanievsky just so they could publish his name/picture next to a Kupa box?
    How many people will now question other quotes in his name?

    Perhaps the Kupa should concentrate more on the good they do in helping people and not the PR harm they do to others.

  15. I find the whole thing humorous. While it can be explained, it still seems ironic that the message to give preference to the poor of your neighborhood is accompanied by a picture of a Gadol not from RBS giving to a non-local charity? Aren't there poor people in Bnei Brak?

  16. I think everyone is over-reacting.
    there was probably no malicious intent.
    I doubt that the Kuppa guys even think about Lemaan Achay (they deffinately have no reason to feel "threatened" by them.) definately it is not at the fore of their thoughts.
    apparently the new Gedolim add campaign was to compensate against the add campaigns who use the Gedoylim's pictures to (unintentionally) divert local RBS funds to Yerushalyim and Bnei Brak.
    most of the people that such a campaign would be geared to barely remember that there is such a thing as Lemaan Achai (down on Revivim I heard that Lemaan Achai signs are rarely seen and the shuls there don't advertise for Lman Achai)
    no one at the kupa headquarters was even thinking about coming to knock Lemaan Achai it was far from their mind that anyone would even think in those terms.

  17. Let's not be naive!

    Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah knew exactly what their mistranslation of Rav Kanievsk's words was meant to accomplish-make sure that people "preffered" Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah over LeMaan Achai.

    As a haredi Jew I am outraged that Le'Maan Achai would have so liitle respect for gedolei yisrael! I'm switching to Le'Maan Achai-there is nothing haredi or frum about lashon hara!

  18. Kol HaKavod to Rav Soloveichik for keeping LeMaan Ahchai clean of these filthy lashon hara campaigns-maybe Le'Maan Achai can go to a local seminar for anti-lashon hara training.

  19. I'm also no longer going to give my donations to Kuppah Shel Tzeddakah-perhaps David Morris would be so kind as to advertize how I can now give my donations to Le'Maan Achai.

    I'm fed up with the slander campaign against Le'Maan Achai. What's the point of all of this nonsense?

  20. wow...
    some people have a complex.
    I live in mishkenos, and here we have a different kuppa - not RBS charity, and not LA. I guess that makes me a bit less "in" the issue. It seems clear to me that this big ad is against the kuppat hair of BB, and also vaad harabonim and haartzi (though on a lesser scale).
    I have to agree with anon when he writes that LA is the furthest thing from the minds of the kuppa people.
    What this blog does - at least to me - is make it look like LA is a small time charity organization who feels that the kuppa is trying to swallow it up, and that LA therefore needs to fight for its life.
    Now, since the last post where you got all uptight about the kuppa and la fighting, i did some research about la and it seems to me that they are a large charity fund which does a lot of great things.
    SO i dont really see why the people here feel all uptight and threatened by everything the kuppa does.
    Like i said, i live in mishkenos, and our kupps doesnt feel threatened by either LA or the kuppa. They are confident that their donors know them and they will donate handsomely.

    IN OTHER NEWS - did anyone see the mishpacha article about LA this past week, in which they neglected to tell the chareidi readership in america that they are 1 of 3 tzedakah organizations in rbs a. If I wouldnt have known, I would have thought that they are the ONLY charity here in the whole town.
    Rafi - can we hear your thoughts on that article. thanks

  21. Dear Posters,

    While I question the lack of discretion in the wording of the Kupa Shel Tzedaka poster I do not condone any negative comments made against them.

    Rav Kanievsky was not told that there are other kupot tzedaka here in RBSA. I'm certain that had he been aware of this his wording would have equally supported Lema'an Achai and Kupa of Mishkenos Yaakov, 2 wonderful organizations that assist hundreds of families.

    This Purim (and always) we should work together for shalom and unity in our community.

    Purim Sameach!
    Avrohom Leventhal

  22. you guys are a bunch of obsessed self-concious kst haters looking for any little thing to pick on. grow up and start doing some serious advertising if all you want is to make more money than the kuppa

  23. as pretty much an outsider here, I just get the impression that the kuppa is a chareidi lined organization asn Lemaan Achai is a mizrachi organization. (although correct me if I am wrong)
    while most of rbs is chareidi (or at least will aline themselves with chareidi more than mizrachi)in which case it would natural that the kupa would be bigger.
    also I doubt any of the gabboim of the mishkenos kuppa were too bothered by the kupa signs. anyone with a little seichel would realize that all Reb Chaim (Kanievsky that is)meant was local tzedakah as opposed to outside neighborhoods.
    most people can read hebrew and the kuppa did a bad job of hiding their "Manipulating"

  24. anon - I don't understand why everyone has such a complex that it brings out such hate and venomous comments. But I understand why it upsets people, as Lemaan Achai sees their funds lessening and lessening because of negative PR directed at them. That can be frustrating for people trying to run an organization - botht he lack of funds because people are giving less and less, and because of the issues that come up that they need to defend themselves.
    But such hate from the general public?

    about the articl - I normally do not read English Mishpacha, but bought it because I was curious and had heard about the article. I saw nothing interesting in it. Basic LA information. I was surprised Mishpacha chose LA to write about and not a more Charedi org, like KST. I still have no idea how that happened.

    But I see no reason for LA to mention other organizations in their PR, just as I see no reason or need for KST or KSt of Mishkenos to mention LA in their PR. Just don't be negative about the others.

    And on that note, I am closing this post from any more comments. I have had enough of reading the same stuff over and over again.


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