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Jewish Federation of St. Louis has announced the launch of the Congregational Chesed Fund, which will enable senior rabbis to help Jewish individuals with emergency financial assistance. The fund provides $1,000 to each congregational rabbi that can be distributed at his/her discretion.

“The fund recognizes that some people have close relationships with their rabbis and are more comfortable going to them than a social service agency when they need short-term financial help,” says Mark Levin, chair of the Caring for Jews in Need–Domestic Subcommittee of Federation’s Planning and Allocations Committee. “We wanted to provide the rabbis with a resource to supplement their already existing discretionary funds.”

Rabbis from 18 congregations and the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Chaplaincy program have been offered the funds.

The Chesed Fund must be used to assist members of the Jewish community. Rabbis will be asked to report the number of people served and provide a few examples of the type of requests that were granted so that Federation can determine the need for future grants. If the program is successful, second-year funding will be considered.