Recruited to attend fundraising dinner: Donation from Ma’aser?

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
Rabbi, some time ago you advised me that with these big charity events, ma’aser [the tithe=one’s charitable obligation] would be counted for attending even if the cost of the “dinner plate” is £150 on its own ie the £150 may be allocated from one’s charitable funds and not separate to any donations above £150.
I have been recruited to attend an event – a very worthy cause where it is not so much a fundraiser but an awareness evening to try to get people involved in supporting a particular community. The aim is more long term fund raising – some heavy hitters are on board but not many “youth” (a fairly elastic designation in this context). I have been asked to be involved, but there is of course a contribution to attend the evening (it is not trivial: £250). Can I apply your ruling to say that this could be part of the ma’aser contribution? It is also my understanding that the “youth tables” are being specifically sponsored by a generous donor. Does that change things?
Best wishes

Hi Tzadok
TY for your Q.
Since  the “youth tables” are sponsored separately, you are attending as the guest of the benefactor, and your presence itself is regarded as advancing the objectives of the evening. The fact that you are asked to make a donation to further advance the cause you are supporting means that yes, you may use ma’aser funds for the full amount. Some would suggest that you should not include, however, the value to you of the meal you are enjoying. However even this may not be necessary as in a way you are the guest of the benefactor rather than of the charity itself. Bon appetit and enjoy the evening.
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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