770 Gabbaim Defend $5 Fee


770-eastern-parkwayCrown Heights – The rising numbers of panhandlers at the main shul of 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, has led the ones in charge to instate a new rule: Pay for your stay.

Charity collectors who roam around the large shul, its lobby or entrance throughout the day are now asked to pay a symbolic $5 a day from what they collect.

One outraged panhandler has told the New York Post. “Poor people collecting money have to pay? It’s like extortion.”

And some congregants like real estate owner Mendel Drizin refused to believe it. “It’s a lie from top to bottom!” he was quoted as saying. “These rabbis are not poor people – they don’t need the $5 for people to beg inside.”

The policy was created by R’ Avrohom Holtzberg, one of the 5 gabboim elected to the shul by Crown Heights residents (the role of Congregation Lubavitch Inc. as administrators of the shul is being contested in court by the Chabad establishment).

While Holtzberg was not reachable for comment, two of his colleagues told COLlive.com the move was more than justified.

“Many of the tzedaka collectors are not unemployed people,” one of them said, asking to remain anonymous as financials was Holtzberg’s responsibility.

“What we have here is an open shul that anyone could come, spend the whole day here and collect for himself or an institution, and we are left paying the maintenance and electricity bills each month,” he said.

He added that “what is being publicized is not honest.”

Another gabbai, also asked not to be named, said: “They get free shelter, coffee, cake, a chance to raise money – $5 is not a percentage.”

{COLlive.com/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. This is the 1st time I agree with 770! This is a GREAT idea. Every Shul, Shteible, Yeshiva, etc… should adapt this wonderful rule. It would weed out some of the undesirables.

  2. The halachah is that beggars must give maaser from whatever they collect – it is not unreasonable to ask that a portion of that maaser, which is probably more than $5 a day in a big place like 770, should be given to the shul that made it possible to collect that money – perhaps the rule could be maaser of what is collected up to $5 if one collects less than $50 as some beggars are not as successful as others

  3. #1 I suggest you learn halacha before you post. One who does not have enough for himself does not need to give maaser.
    This is a true scandal!

  4. #9, where did you learn math???

    $5/day X 12 days (2 days are Shabbat where they can’t collect) equals $60

    So the Lakewood certificate is CHEAPER

    Besides, the lakewood certificate can be used ANYWHERE
    the $5 charge at 770 is for ONE place only

  5. #3 is not correct at all. An ani is not obligated to give maaser kesafim, only a half shekel per year.

    #1 Is making an incorrect analogy. In s’dom it was criminal to collect charity. 770 is asking those who collect to help pay for the upkeep of the shul that they are using (in a manner). One may have some criticism perhaps but to compare this to s’dom is a wild exaggeration.

  6. Oh really? Please quote me the source? Also, no one asked or forced these takers to come into any Shul. They came in on their own. Since your mamesh a Tzadik on yenems cheshbon, why don’t you invite them to come & stay in YOUR house?! You sound like a typical Liberal! Always lecturing others to help – as long as it’s with someone elses money & place, not yours!

  7. To 16. This is basic Halacha. Look at any sefer that talks about Hichos Tzdaka. You are comparing a public building to a private house.
    Every bais Medrash that I frequent has Meshulachim there.

  8. You still haven’t quoted any Halachic source! You are a totalAm Ha’aretz to boot! I hate to break this to you. A bais Hamedrash is