Zecher LeMahatzit Hashekel for 5774
Halacha Yomit says:
The appropriate sum that one should donate in commemoration of the Half-Shekel this year (5774) is approximately $6 (USD) per person. (For those residing in Israel, based on the fluctuating price of silver and dollar-to-shekel conversion rate, the sum this year is approximately 25 NISper person.)When going to this silver calculator, and entering "9" in the "Total weight in grams" box, I get $6.1662 so that is the amount to pay per adult (unless the price fluctuates drastically in the next day or so). To be sure, enter "9" in the calculator right before giving the Zecher LeMahatzit Hashekel.
The way to calculate this sum is as follows: A troy ounce of silver consists of 31.1 grams. Thus, the price of one troy ounce of silver [recently approximately $21.25 USD] must be divided by 31.1 and then multiplied by nine in order to find the updated price of nine grams of silver, which is the value of actual Half-Shekel coin, as we have mentioned in past years. There is a disagreement among the Poskim whether or not the price per ounce of silver should be calculated including applicable taxes. Halachically speaking, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l has instructed us that one may be lenient and calculate this sum excluding tax. However, if one is stringent to donate a larger sum for charity, he shall surely be blessed from above.
The amount of the donation for the commemoration of the Half-Shekel for small children is a coin which is a half of the local currency. Example: In the United States this would be a half-dollar coin. (In Israel, this would be the Half-Shekel [NIS] coin.)
(Note that previous versions of Halacha Yomit put 10 as the multiplier. It seems that they changed it to 9 as it says in Sefarim. See also last year and 3 years ago.)