Date: November 20, 2018 01:37AM
> Do Jews pay tithing and if so, who gets that money?
No, Jews do not pay tithing. (In ancient times they did pay tithing, and I am pretty sure it was paid to the temple priesthood. After ancient times: no more tithing.)
There are also no collection plates in Judaism (since observant Jews are not allowed to "touch money" on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays).
In the United States, congregations are generally run on a "membership system," with an annual dues payment (paid annually, or in increments) which includes High Holy Day tickets [for those who are not members of a given congregation: you buy High Holy Day tickets separately, for the congregation of your choice--this is a once-a-year thing, and High Holy Day tickets for non-members are also on a sliding scale, so it works out in such a way that everyone who wants to High Holy Day services can come, even if they can't afford to pay for a ticket], and the congregational membership dues schedules are on a sliding scale to make this fair for everyone in the congregation (down to memberships for "nothing" for those who cannot afford them). Shortfalls in the congregational budget are most often made up by sporadic, large, donations from the more well-to-do members. Congregations are run by an elected Board of Directors (elected annually), who are responsible for the wise distribution of all monies received, for hiring the paid employees of the congregation (the rabbi(s), the cantor(s), teachers in any congregational Day School, clerical staff if paid clerical staff is needed, the custodians, the gardeners, etc.), and for planning for future congregational needs next year, in five years, and for several decades down the line.
[P.S. MANY Jewish congregations do not have their own buildings/underlying real estate. This is especially true for the "niche" congregations: LGBTQ, Secular Humanist Jews (agnostic/atheist/pantheist, etc.), the "first arrivals" of new immigrant communities (Farsi-speaking, etc.), or some kinds of associated Jews (the Synagogue for the Performing Arts, where I became Bat Mitzvah). IKAR (Hebrew for "essence") had no building for many years (I don't know if their plans of a couple of years ago to get a building have come to fruition yet), and has become a HUGE and enormously enthusiastic congregation. Instead, congregations can rent storefronts in strip malls (this is very popular with Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews), or rent the buildings of Christian churches (a very popular choice for both the Christians and the Jews, since the two groups seldom need the premises for the same days, and doing this financially benefits both), or rent Assembly Halls at places like the Veterans Administration center (which the Synagogue for the Performing Arts used to do routinely).
If a congregation is not paying for a building/the real estate underneath, but instead rents the premises which are owned by someone else for (mostly) just a few hours on Friday nights or whatever, the costs of running the congregation go down dramatically--which means that membership dues with those congregations are often a small fraction of what dues for congregations with a standard "neighborhood-type synagogue" building would be. (The Secular Humanist congregation closest to me that I am aware of rents a Lutheran church for Friday night and Saturday services, and both groups benefit substantially from this arrangement.)]
> Is there a Jewish church headquarters who speaks
> for all Jews world-wide?
I am laughing--you obviously are not familiar with the always a propos saying: Two Jews, three opinions! :D
The answer to your question is "No." Trying to mentally imagine such a situation is comical.
> Is there a Jewish leader like a Pope or prophet?
Not in normative Judaism or normative Jewish life, but this IS true for the seemingly countless, different, ultra-ultra-Orthodox sects, such as the ones in the NYC area, where the men are all heavily bearded, have ringlets next to each ear, and dress in the height-of-1700s Polish fashion (regardless of the prevailing temperature or humidity level in New York City), and women (a woman assistant from their own community comes in, a couple of hours before sunrise on the day following a wedding, when it is still totally dark, to do the job) shave off all of the hair on their head directly following their first experience of marital sex, and then wear (if they can afford them) wigs for the rest of their lives--so that no man other than her husband ever sees another hair on that woman's head until after she is dead [doctors, and other medical personnel treating a patient, are exceptions to this rule], and the community funeral volunteers come in to do the washing of the newly-deceased body. In these kinds of communities, the "rebbe" is frequently consulted on all kinds of everyday issues (from the very big ones to the silly, trivial ones), and routinely makes decisions on every possible kind of personal dilemma or choice in these communities.
Other Jews call THESE Jews "the crazies." ;)
> Do they claim to have a priesthood....
Yes, absolutely. The kohainim, from the ancient priestly caste of the Bible, who (if they are observant) are subject to MANY other laws which do not affect non-kohainim (such as: who they can marry and who they are forbidden to marry, how close to a dead body they can be (as an example: when a parent or grandparent dies), etc.)
There is also a priestly blessing that only a kohain can say to a congregation, so (like a not-quite-a-minyan seeking that "one" more Jew to make a minyan), there will sometimes be a request from the bimah: Is there a kohain here [who will say the blessing during the service]? (If there are no kohainim present, this blessing is skipped in the service.)
> that exercises magical powers....
The rebbes in the ultra-ultra-Orthodox groups I described above are, on occasion, credited by those in their groups with results of various kinds which appear to be miraculous (children saved from what seemed to be certain death, etc.).
> ....or that speaks for god?
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2018 02:48AM by Tevai.