18 Sivan 5757 (6/23/97) 

Mrs. Haya Mond 
Executive Director 
Zionist Federation of Australia 
306 Hawthorn Road 
Caulfield South, VIC 3162 

RE: Restoration of the Holy Half-Shekel. 

Dear Mrs. Mond, 

Shalom Aleichem. Ms. Helen Brustman suggested that I contact you. My name is Reuven Prager.  My work of the last thirteen years has been to research and restore ancient Israelite customs.  My work represents the next generation of religious Zionism, where the emphasis moves from pioneering the Land to pioneering our culture to be in harmony with being on that Land. 

I invite you to view my work on the Internet at: israelvisit.co.il/beged-ivri. 

Our current project is to restore the ancient custom of  giving a pure silver Holy Half-Shekel to Jerusalem, on Purim, to coincide with the fiftieth year celebrations in 1998. A complete archive of the project is available on our website. 

The Half-Shekel comes to teach the unaffiliated that they are at least Half a Shekel, and the ultra-religious that they are only Half a Shekel.  The rich can not give more and the poor no less.  Whether that speaks of material wealth or Mitzvah observance, every Jew's fulfillment of this Mitzvah is equal, whether that person finds him/herself sitting in jail or on the throne of a Chasidic dynasty.  There is not even room for an hidur. 

The ceremonial coins are to be sold through participating existing Jewish Institutions worldwide. Brink's will  handle the safe transportation of the coins from and to Jerusalem.  All the details can be obtained on our website. 

I am turning to you to enlist the many institutions represented by the Zionist Federation of Australia to serve as points of sale and collection of the Holy Half-Shekel.  For a Jew living outside of Eretz Yisrael, this will enable everyone to have a participatory relationship with Jerusalem on an annual basis. It will greatly increase Purim attendance at all your participating institutions, and I can envision school children saving up all year to buy a Half-Shekel to donate on Purim. 

At this time, following so many tragedies, so much pain, and so many divisions amongst our people, we could use a real Simcha; one that does not come on the backs of any vanquished. A universal Simcha such as the restoration of the ceremony of giving an Holy Half-Shekel that unites our people and sets everyone on an equal footing. Especially at this time, when we are forced to give up something so precious to our people, it would behoove us to restore something equally as precious to offset the loss. 

Can we count on the Zionist Federation of Australia to help realize this? I am available to answer any and all questions you may have. 

Would you be willing to be the coordinator for Australian Jewry for this project? 

Thank you in advance. 

G-d Bless, 

Reuven Prager 
Beged Ivri 


    Mr. David Bar Illan, Prime Minister's Office 
    Mr. Michael Kahanov, Brink's 

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