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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bad Taste

Okay, I can't really go into details here, because they would be too identifying. But let's say you were invited to a tzedakah function that was raising money for... say, people who didn't have enough money to put food on the table. Do you think it would be in bad taste to throw a lavish party with fabulous food served by well-dressed waiters? How about a carving station? Huge floral centerpieces? Designer martinis and a full open bar?

I do too.


Blogger Shifra said...

Sounds like a great party in the poorest of tastes.

10:38 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

I hope they at least saved the leftovers for the family they were collecting for... (how totally brainless...)

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like you live in lawerence

10:52 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

who said I was there?

10:54 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"who said I was there?"

no one. D.FEN.SIVE.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We throw events like that in my community. The Syrians like to throw lavish parties, even if we are raising money for the hungry and sick. Last year we made a womens' spa day in Deal. It was fabulous. We had tents and mimosas and massages and facials and mani-pedis. We raised a ton of money. I don't see anything wrong with it if it get's people to give money to sedakah who otherwise would not.

11:00 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Thanks for calling me on that,SW. But I was taking issue with the stab-in-the-dark by the anonymouse about my 'hood.

11:02 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I don't disagree, anonymouse #2, but let's just say this was a crowd that WOULD give the tzedakah regardless.

11:02 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

everyone likes a party. Even the hypocritical and ego-centric

11:07 AM  
Blogger Linny said...

I think I'd send out an invitation on recycled paper stating what the party "would have been like... had we had it..." but asking for the person receiving the invitation to spend the money they would have spent on an evening gown or tux and forward it to the charity, noting that the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the party would have cost will also be donated. All the while suggesting that the invitee spend a quiet evening at home with their family, giving thanks for what they have and what they are able to share with others... using the party as a "ruse" to keep others from calling or dropping by to disturb them. :)

11:11 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I wish that would work, Linnie. Unfortunately, those fundraisers RARELY make the kind of money that a personal appearance garners. But I just wonder whether they really made that much more than they woould have made had it been a cake-and-fruit event.

11:13 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Linny. Fundraising is hard work and people are funny. the whole charity concept is balance on ego and power. Without full page ads in the NYTimes touting "Who Wasn't There," with plaques and photo-ops to follow, the 'non-event' is generally a non-starter. Don't quit your day job.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Would you be upset if a fund raiser to help the handicapped featured athletes?

Don't really have a problem with this one.

11:22 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Maybe you had to be there. Which of course, I wasn't.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

I think our chat last night helped. Today's blog is much improved.

11:40 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Thanks, AT, I aim to please!

11:43 AM  
Blogger FR5TJew said...

It's the same old story. Why do the Yeshivas - some that have a hard time meeting payroll - have extravagant dinners. Would people give the same if they don't attend? When people attent a very fancy wedding why do they give more than the simple weddings (and we know who needs it more). How about the country club Bat Mitzvahs and the 8 million dollar Bar Mitzvahs (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml%3Bsessionid%3DLEGGQZUY11LBBQFIQMFCM5OAVCBQYJVC?xml=/news/2005/05/15/ngreen15.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/05/15/ixportal.html)
Why are those kids getting better presents than the simple Shabbos Bar Mitzvahs. Is any of this fare or correct? I guess it's the same with catered parlor meetings, and fund-raisings breakfasts that could probably feed the entire population that is being collected for. I could go on and on but all you 5 towners know exactly what I'm talking about. Everyone blames everyone else and it just gets worse.
So Mom I'm with you on this one - Any ideas??

11:50 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I wish.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS is the post your husband objected to? It's as vanilla as possible. Every community has these fundraisers and yes, they are obscene, but yes, they do raise money for a good cause.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

I have an idea.
How about setting a reasonable percentage limit on how much can be spent on an event compared to how much money is raised. So if an event is raising over a million dollars then maybe a lavish event would be alright...

When I give money to a charity I'm always interested to know what percentage goes to the needy and what percentage goes to administrative fees. For example I was recently horrified to discover that the DRIVERS who take shnorrers (excuse my language, I'm sure many of them are truely needed or collecting for the needy) around town to collect money take 20% or more off the top of all the money the people collect.

Ok now I'm slightly off topic...

1:54 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

I also think this post is pretty tame. It's just your opinion, and a pretty conservative one at that.


1:55 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Mirty, you may be right, but OrthoDad gets queasy about offending our friends and neighbors. And no, these kinds of events are NOT that common in my neighborhood.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Anshel's Wife said...

Our cheder is having a fundraising dinner on Monday night. It will be a fancy affair. Most of the parents can't afford the $100 a person. The school is willing to help them out just so they can be there. But I think the idea behind a big, fancy dinner is that you have to spend some money to make some money. The people with the bucks like nice affairs. I'm waiting to see who shows up to ours.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Noam S said...

The issue of conspicuous consumption is a difficult one. The group that supplies food and needs to the poor here in our town has a pretend dinner. They send out invitations, get donations, but there is no dinner(they tell you it, it isn't a fake out where people show up all dressed up and nothing to eat). It just has the trappings of a dinner. Seems to me the best way. However, some groups do better wining and dining the big donors. It is a sad commentary on our society when donations depend on entertainment value. I am not against fun and entertainment, but moderation is the key.

11:05 AM  
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2:46 AM  

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