New app allows easier donations to synagogues

Jews who attend temple can be hard to trace for their pledged donation to synagogues; new application helps collect funds for synagogues

An ancient Jewish problem faces those who celebrate their reading of the Torah on Shabbat and on holidays. Seeing as Jewish law forbids both the transfer of money and the act of writing on the holy day, those who pledge to donate to the synagogue where they pray cannot do so, nor can they write down any details that would allow them to pay later.


Over the years, gabbaim, who are responsible for managing financial matters at synagogues, have tried to find ways to keep track of promised payments, but even when they managed to do so, there remained the problem of non-frequent synagogue attendees, who, even if they wanted to donate, had no way of paying.


For example, those who arrived at the Central Synagogue of Haifa have found at the end of service that the gabbai shoved into their hands a bank referral note – surely an uncomfortable moment for all parties involved.


A Chabad member, Yossi Mor Yosef, 32, decided to eradicate this ancient problem. Yosef, a yeshiva student, a married father of four, started ShiftMedia – Internet Solutions, which operates internet websites for various foundations and businesses, 10 years ago.  


Payment plan for those who pray

Yosef is consumed with the Torah – and with developing applications that will make the lives of those who follow it easier.


Before one of his previous inventions came to life, he noticed that many Chabad members in Israel and the world did not have the resources to invest in creating a website despite expressing the interest in creating one. Yoself then invented the "Chabad Al Atar" (Chabad on the net) project, which allowed Chabad missionaries to maintain a basic internet website at minimal cost, operate a newsletter, and more. 


The new app (Reproduction photo: 123rf/ Shift Media)
The new app (Reproduction photo: 123rf/ Shift Media)

"For many years I would come to Safed for Shabbat," he said. "I did my aliyah (reading from the Torah) and collected debts to the synagogues, and couldn’t find a way to pay them." To solve the problem of the lost payments, the young entrepreneur developed the application.


"The free software allows the management of the entire financial correspondence with the synagogue," Yosef said. "For example, in the click of a button, a gabbai can provide a bill with costs and payment details – just like an electric bill."


The young entrepreneur explained that his invention "is a cloud software, so the service is available everywhere, from any device, and for more than one user at a time. In the future we intend to extend the software to more fields in the management of the temple, such as determining order of aliyot, arranging seating, etc."


Support from the rabbis

The app, "Shekel Hakodesh," is free for synagogue goers, and runs at a minimal cost for the gabbaim, according to Yosef. The service allows all those who register to pay their debts to their synagogue by phone or through a website.


"Launching this application, we've received widespread support from rabbis," Mor Yoself said. "Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan, even said he would personally recommend his synagogue's gabbai to join the initiative."


When asked about his future dreams, Yosef said, "I dream that synagogues in Israel will be accessible to the entire population, with my application being a focal point to manage all communications with temple goers."



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פרסום ראשון: 08.23.13, 07:55
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