Responding to the evolution of a cashless society, a Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, has installed an ATM machine-of-sorts that allows congregants to donate to the institution with the swipe of a charge card.

The new device at the Lubavitch Golden Rose synagogue – deemed by officials to be the first such terminal that dispenses money to Jewish causes in this fashion – also allows users to deposit Ukrainian currency and direct the funds to the program or fund of their choice.

Jewish custom is to give charity prior to prayer services, but congregants, especially visiting foreigners, have begun to forgo carrying cash. To enable them to continue to give charity, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzki approached PrivatBank CEO Alexander Dubilet and its president, Gennady Bogolubov, who also serves as president of the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk. Together, they developed a 21st century version of the charity box which they called the Tzedakamat, playing off of tzedakah, the Hebrew word for charity and bankomat, the Ukrainian word for an ATM machine.


Installed in the synagogue's hallway, the device does not function on Shabbat, when handling money is prohibited by Jewish law. It accepts credit cards and debit cards as well as the local hryvnia currency, and prints a personalized receipt.

"Already, we have seen an increase in the amount of people contributing to charity as a result of the Tzedakamat," reported Kaminetzki.

PrivatBank is not charging any transaction or processing fees for the service.

"We aren't just a bank," said Dubilet. "We are a community bank and try to support our local community as much as possible. And giving charity is always good for business."

"Plastic cards have ceased to be something unusual a while ago," says Vladimir Gershenhorn," who prays daily at the synagogue. "Everyone has them today: pensioners, students, housewives and businessmen."

According to the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community director Viacheslav Brez, other machines could soon be installed at other community institutions across the city.