Rav Moshe Feinstein: Shul Dedications – Out With The Old, In With The New?


rav-moshe-feinsteinA Kehila in Los Angeles was redoing their Shul with many improvements. To raise money they wanted to sell dedications for various items that would replace older ones. The older ones however were dedicated and inscribed with the names of the original donors. They asked Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 3:26) if they can replace the older items. They also wanted to, instead of writing inscriptions with the items themselves, to write on a single large donors plaque each donor and their individual donation.Regarding the question of moving names from the item itself to the plaque, Rav Moshe said that he doesn’t see any problem. Although the Rema (YD 259:3) writes that unless it is for a D’var Mitzva, the name of a donor may not be removed, Rav Moshe says that by moving it to a new plaque you have done no harm.

Regarding the question of replacing the donated item, Rav Moshe says that it cannot be sold to another without the permission of the first donor. His donation, even if no time frame was mentioned, is forever and does not expire. However says Rav Moshe, surely he cannot hold up improvements in the Shul. If it is small item that is matter of dispute then he should be notified and offered the new dedication, and surely he will not refuse. If it is an expensive item like an Aron Kodesh then the old one should be sold and the new Aron should be attributed jointly to both the old donor and the new one.

{Revach.net/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Rav Moshe zt”l such a chachom….. (how empty & void life is without his understanding of the American kehilla)