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2023 Annual Campaign

Dear Friends,

One of the models on which our obligations for tzedakah is built is the mitzvah of the machatzit ha-shekel (half-Shekel). During the times of the Mishkan and Beit haMikdash, there was a requirement that everyone contribute a half-Shekel for their maintenance. One of my favorite explanations for why the required donation was half a shekel and not a full shekel is to teach that one’s responsibility to the Temple – and by extension to our modern day shuls – cannot be fulfilled only by contributing money. One must contribute to ensure the financial viability of our institutions—and one must also contribute the time, skills, and expertise to ensure a rich and diverse communal experience in our synagogues.

Similarly, when it comes to caring for the poor, it is not enough to put some loose change in the pushke or to write a check for a tzedakah campaign, but one must find ways to directly interact with those in need. Preparing meals, inviting people over to our homes, providing child care, and helping to find jobs or advance careers of others are equally, if not more, important.

As I think about our beautiful and unique shul, I find myself returning to the idea of the half-Shekel contribution. This past year we celebrated Netivot’s 18th anniversary with a delicious and festive brunch. The highlight of the event was when we took time to allow everyone present to share what the shul means to them. So many people spoke about the opportunities they are afforded to participate in shul life, and indeed our shul and all of our members are richer for the myriad of ways that people are involved. Our shul thrives on volunteerism and our members' willingness to “roll up their sleeves and get dirty” when it comes to contributing to the functioning of the shul.

While we pride ourselves on the often overlooked hands-on element of tzedakah, we cannot shirk our responsibilities to ensure the financial viability of the shul. This is the time of year when we ask everyone to focus on the other side of the half-shekel requirement – the monetary and financial support needed to allow our shul to operate and thrive.

As we officially launch our Annual Campaign, we ask everyone to donate generously. Netivot Shalom holds a special place in so many people’s hearts. The funds collected from membership dues do not cover our overhead and programming budget. Last year our Board voted to do away with the mandatory building fund assessment with the hope and expectation that this would allow members to donate more generously to the Annual Campaign.

In the spirit of the half-Shekel, we hope that everyone will participate in the campaign. We ask that you please think about what Netivot Shalom means to you, your family, and the greater Baltimore community and that you donate with a full, generous heart.

Donations can be made on the shul website or by check. 

Thank you for your continued support,
Rabbi Elliot Kaplowitz 


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   Sinai - $5000
   Chorev - $3600
   Moriah - $1000
   Bashan - $540
   Gavnunim - $360
Thu, July 25 2024 19 Tammuz 5784