Communications with the
In considering the transportation requirements of the project, the following letters were exchanged with Brink's Israel.
LETTER TO MICHAEL KAHANOV,
DIRECTOR OF BRINK'S ISRAEL
7 Cheshvan 5757 (10/20/96)
Mr. Michael Kahanov
RE: A proposal in preparation for the Government of Israel
Dear Mr. Kahanov,
Shalom. My name is Reuven Prager and I research ancient Israelite customs. My work of the last thirteen years represents the next generation of religious Zionism. Our current project entails restoring the ancient custom first commanded in the Book of Exodus 30:11-16, of giving a ceremonial half-shekel of pure silver to Jerusalem, each year on Purim. It was an egalitarian commandment, the rich could not give more and the poor no less, all are equal in the eyes of G-d in fulfilling this commandment. It was forcibly stopped by the Romans in 70 CE, and replaced with a poll tax,a half-shekel of silver that we had to pay the Romans for Jupiter. The Romans laid off some 12 years later and in 82 CE the custom was left for dead. The sages never banned the custom and it remains an active Torah commandment today.
The custom was that on the first of Adar the call would go out that on the 15th (Purim) everyone had to give their half-shekel. The diaspora communities are obligated the same as those dwelling in the land, and their coins were transported to Jerusalem.
Now to bring it up to 1997. A doable scenario. Under subsection 33B, of the Bank of Israel Law, 1954., the Bank of Israel will mint a pure silver, non-legal tender ceremonial Holy Half Shekel weighing about 10 grams. These coins will be distributed via the Governament Coins and Medal Corp., the Chief Rabbinate, or via a new government body established just for this purpose, through participating existing Jewish organizations worldwide, in every city in which there is a Jewish population. The required number of coins and a specially designed, shofar-shaped, collection recepticle will be distributed to each of some 60,000 points of sale and on the 25th of Adar the shofars will be collected and transported back to Jerusalem contianing the majority of coins sold. The funds raised by the sale of the coins will also be transported back to Jerusalem. At its peak we are talking about 12 milliom coins, weighing 2.7 million ounces of silver, and revenues of about $36 million in foreign currencies.
This occurs annually inperpetuity. I am turning to you as the logical choice to provide the required safe transport from and to Jerusalem. This is all doable. The ramifications of bagging a contract like this should not be underestimated. Besides the boardroom humor- you signed G-d on as a client- it would cut quite a notch in your totem.
Can we meet?
RESPONSE BY MICHAEL KAHANOV (received 10/28/96)
Mr. Reuven Prager
RE: Half-Shekel Project
In continuation of our meeting on 27/10/96 it is our desire to specify that our corporation would be happy to take part in the project you proposed after it is authorized by all the relevant government bodies.
The services which we could provide are transportation of the coins in Israel and abroad and storage in distribution centers.
With much repect,