Notice about Distributing Charity
The notice was printed by the Sephardic community which constituted the majority of the Jewish community in Jerusalem until the middle of the 19th century. The notice is an announcement by the Sephardic Community Committee in Jerusalem, in which the public are informed of the charity distribution for the community. According to the announcement, the distribution was carried out over five days during the month of Elul and the money was given to the needy from the Sephardi community "but not from the Yemenites and the Western community". The rest of the notice indicates the dates that the funds will be distributed in the different Jerusalem neighbourhoods such as Yemin Moshe, Machane Yehuda, Nachalat Shiva, Ohel Moshe and others.
The notice does not have a date, and it isn’t possible to tie the notice to one specific year. However, due to the names of the neighbourhoods which appear on the notice, we can determine that it must have been printed after 1908 since the notice refers to neighbourhoods that were established at the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time, Jerusalem extended only to the area between the walls of the Old City. The first Jewish neighbourhood to be built was Mishkenot Sha'ananim in 1860, after which Machane Israel, Nahalat Shiva, Beit David, Mea Shearim and others were created. Nahalat Zion is the most recent neighbourhood mentioned in the notice, and was established in 1908.
The distribution of financial aid at the time was also called the "halukah funds. The Jews in Palestine raised funds from Diaspora Jews, and the funds collected were distributed among the Jewish communities. Unlike the Ashkenazim, the Sephardim did not distribute all the donations to each family, but rather one-third of the sum was distributed to poor families, another third was distributed to talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars) and the last third was used for general public purposes.
The notice also stresses that the distribution did not include the Yemenite and Western communities living in Israel, since they had their own aid organisations. The 'Westerners' are North African Jews also known as 'Mughrabi' (Maghreb in Arabic is a name for the Western countries of North Africa: Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and Libya).
Connection to Parashat Kedoshim
This resource is an example of distribution of charity and assistance to the needy. Most of Parashat Kedoshim is dedicated to laws related to our interactions with our fellow human beings. Among these, are a number of different laws that guide us in our treatment of the poor. We are commanded to leave the corners of the fields and forgotten sheaves of crops in the fields for the poor In addition, judges are ordered to ensure that neither the poor nor wealthy are favoured in judgement.
This image can be used in a Jewish Studies lesson when discussing the concept of Tzedakah – charity in Judaism, and society’s responsibilities towards the poor.
The notice can also be used in a Jewish History lesson to discuss the expansion of Jerusalem in the years following 1860 into the bustling metropolis we know today.
This notice can also be used when learning about the Halukkah funds and the "Old Yishuv" – the Jewish communities in Israel during the Turkish rule.
What is this?
What does this notice say?
In which city did this notice appear?
Which communities are included in the charity handouts?
When were the funds distributed, according to the notice?
Reading Between the Lines
Why does the handout take place during the month of Ellul?
Where did these funds come from?
Why were certain communities excluded from this handout?
When was this notice printed? How do we know this?
The notice is not dated, but the names of the neighbourhoods can give us an indication of the time it was printed.
When can we suppose it was printed?
The notice mentions new neighbourhoods that were built in Western Jerusalem at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.
Where did the Jewish population live before the establishments of these neighbourhoods?
Why did the Jews establish these new neighbourhoods?
During the Turkish rule of Jerusalem, most of the Jewish population depended on donations from the diaspora.
Why was this?
Does your community have special programmes to assist the poor and disadvantaged?
Describe the programme.
This resource is an advertisement from the beginning of the twentieth century.
Design a modern advertisement promoting a Jewish charity in your community.