Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries is recognizing the importance of traditional charitable giving. Los Angeles’ largest Jewish funeral home has begun offering free, limited-edition tzedakah boxes to California, Arizona and Nevada residents, hoping they’ll give to charities of value without being told where to give.
It’s the inspiration of Leonard Lawrence, general manager of Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries. “I was sitting in my office, and I happened to have a blue [tzedakah] box here, and I said, ‘Gee, here’s something that Mount Sinai can do for the community that can really be meaningful,’ ” he said.
“People can write in, call in, e-mail, stop in, and we will happily send boxes out,” Lawrence said. With every box it gives out, Mount Sinai is including a packet filled with 18 cents — 18 denotes chai, the Hebrew word for “life.”
Run by Sinai Temple of Los Angeles as a nonprofit, Mount Sinai Memorial Parks operates locations in Simi Valley and Hollywood Hills, serving all streams of Judaism.
In light of the gifts, Temple Beth Ohr in La Mirada is planning a tzedakah project, encouraging congregants to requests boxes — the funds collected in these boxes will be pooled after a three-month period and given to an anti-hunger organization or shelter, Rabbi Mark Goldfarb of Temple Beth Ohr said.
“It has generated excitement, and people are looking forward to being a part of this ongoing collection project,” Goldfarb said..
The design of the box replicates a window in the chapel at Mount Sinai’s Simi Valley location, unofficially known as the “Shabbat window,” with its rainbow-colored, mosaic pattern. Flanking the slot on the top of the box are words capturing the project’s goal: “Repairing the world one coin at a time.”