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Resources on Money and Congregational Life

  1. Altman, Remi, ed. Money Matters: Compassionate Guidelines, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1998.
    A collection of resources developed by the UAHC for its congregations, including: fundraising and dues (e.g., how to organize and manage dues collection, establishing dues adjustment or variance procedures that protect both the dignity of the members and the needs of the synagogue). Available through the UAHC.

  2. Amsel, Nachum. The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues, Jason Aronson, New Jersey, 1996.
    Three relevant entries: Advertising; Money and Wealth; Tzedakah. Written from a traditional, Halahkic perspective. It is very well laid out and accessible. He primarily cites Talmudic and code literature. Each entry is organized into very readable sections on logical subtopics. Sources are well footnoted at page bottom and all footnoted sources are included in Hebrew (no vowels) in the back.

  3. Bonder, Nilton. The Kabbalah of Money, Shambala Press, 1996.
    An examination of the interaction between spirituality and money based on the notion that Judaism advocates a balanced relationship to wealth and resources. Bonder is a Brazilian rabbi trained at JTS. The book is translated from the Portuguese. He relates Kabbalistic concepts to the contemporary economic life on both individual and communal levels.

  4. Dekro, Jeffrey and Lawrence Bush. Jews, Money and Social Responsibility: A "Torah of Money" for Contemporary Life, The Shefa Fund, Philadelphia, PA, 1993.
    This book coined the term "Torah of Money." It is one of the earliest expressions of a progressive American Jewish approach to money and resources. Bush and Dekro examine the discomfort we have discussing money and our use of it. They offer a vision of Jewishly based participation in the Social Responsibility Movement. The book examines consumerism, investment and tzedakah. Dekro is the founder and president of The Shefa Fund and a member of Reconstructionist Synagogue Mishkan Shalom. Larry Bush edits "Reconstructionism Today".

  5. Dekro, Jeffrey and Betsy Tessler. Building Community, Creating Justice: A Guide for Organizing Tzedakah Collectives, The Shefa Fund, 1994
    A do-it-yourself guide for creating tzedakah collectives, where a group of people who pool their tzedakah funds and meet regularly to plan and decide jointly which causes to fund.

  6. Dekro, Jeffrey. The Highest Degree of Tzedakah: A Guide to Jewish Institutional Investment in Low-Income Community Development, The Shefa Fund, 1997.
    A brief organizing manual for Jewish involvement in low-income community development through CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions).

  7. Kushner, Rabbi Lawrence. The Book of Words, Jewish Lights Publishing, 1998. pp.35 & 75.
    Kushner has translated traditional Jewish terms in provocative ways. Interesting here are his translations of "Korbanot" as "Dues" and "Tzedakah" as "Money."

  8. Neusner, Jacob. The Economics of the Mishnah, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990.
    A scholarly examination of the economic system implied and articulated through, the Mishnah. His first chapter begins, in typical Neusnerian style, by disparaging the work of Tamari who he accuses of blithely accepting the statements of Jewish text as reflective of lived Jewish life and practice. Neusner examines the text deducing a system of economics. He as it addresses such topics as the Household, the Market, Wealth and its distribution.

  9. Pava, Moses. Business Ethics: A Jewish Perspective, Ktav, New York, 1997.
    In a Yeshiva University academic approach, Pava develops a theory and practice for Jewish business ethics.

  10. Tamari, Meir. With All Your Possessions, Free Press, New York, 1987.
    Tamari is an economics professor at Bar Ilan University who began his lay writing to integrate economic teaching into a Jewish values framework. He is one of the more well-known and established scholars in this field today. Written from a traditional perspective, this first of Tamari's works presents Jewish sources and analyses of many issues in economic life. The chapters address different topic areas such as: Competition, Prices & Profits; Wages and Labor; Money, Banking, & Interest; Taxation; Welfare; and Environmental Issues & the Public Good.

  11. Tamari, Meir. In the Marketplace: Jewish Business Ethics, Targum, Southfield (Michigan), 1991.
    Tamari's second book is a less extensive, less formal work. It is designed to provide a "Torah Perspective" on basic issues of personal, individual economic life. The desire to amass wealth is described as the unquenchable inclination of the yetzer hara. He examines issues of Ownership & Property, Fraud & Theft, Competition, Advertising, Just Prices and Profits, Interest (both the forbidden and permitted kinds) and Environmental Issues. It is a much more casual read than the 1987 book, written for a sort of "ArtScroll" audience.

  12. Tamari, Meir. The Challenge of Wealth, Jason Aronson, New Jersey, 1995.
    Somewhat of a bridging of the previous two works. (Aronson publishes for a somewhat more mainstream audience.) This is an integrated theology/economics focusing on the two major challenges of wealth: getting it and spending it. His thesis is that Judaism (an halahkic, text-based, traditional type) articulates an ethical and moral framework in which one can engage in a "pattern of economic behavior" summed up in eight points (Introduction pp. xxi-xxiv). It is a very interesting traditional articulation of a Torah of Money.

  13. Tamari, Meir. Al Chet: Sins of the Marketplace, Jason Aronson, New Jersey. 1996.
    In this, his fourth book, Tamari presents a program for Teshuva preparation in Elul. Using the terms of the Al Chet litany from the Yom Kippur liturgy, he examines various economic and social transgressions. He draws on traditional sources from the Bible through Chasidic teachings.

  14. Waskow, Arthur. Down to Earth Judaism: Food Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life. Part 11 Money (pp. 147-239), William Morrow and Co. New York. 1995.

  15. The Alban Institute
    This progressive, congregational think-tank publishes a number of money and congregational life books, including Rabbi Shawn Zevit's Offerings of the Heart: Jewish Values-based Approaches to Money and Community
Type: Bibliography