A Conversation with William Foster & Toby Rubin: Over the past decade, the Jewish innovation sector has created more than 600 new organizations that seek to effect change in the world through a Jewish lens. What are the obligations of both entrepreneurs and philanthropists to increase the impact of those organizations and determine if and how to provide next-stage funding and a crack at sustainability?
The philanthropic paradigm that funded the organized Jewish community for much of the 20th century is in terminal crisis. The future of the Jewish nonprofit sector depends on new mixes of investment income, charitable gifts, and earned revenue.
In contemporary human rights studies, a distinction is often made between the “cosmopolitan” and “communitarian” frameworks. The former places a premium on responding to the immediacy of suffering wherever it occurs, and the latter focuses upon the systemic changes needed to eradicate such suffering. This tension might be thought of as the difference between the emergency room and the research department of a medical center. One stops the bleeding; the other strives to cure the disease. This spectrum of activism may be a useful prism for looking at the fundamental differences between tzedakah in its classical formulation and Jewish philanthropy as it has emerged in American life.
Lucy Bernholz What does it mean to be Jewish and philanthropic in 2011? Larry Moses wisely addresses this question from the perspective of the Jewish tradition of tzedakah. I am not a religious scholar; I am a philanthropy wonk. I study, write about, and consult with philanthropists on the changing ways we can create, fund,
Noam Zion “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” — Anonymous Bombarded by requests for help from worthy causes, how does a philanthropist choose? The answer resides not only in the nature of the cause and the effectiveness of the organization, but also in answering certain
Rachel Levenson In “Rethinking American Jewish Giving,” Larry Moses leaves the reader with important questions about how to reconcile the differences between traditional concepts of tzedakah and the more modern American model of philanthropy. Tzedakah, as Moses reminds us, is a commandment required of all Jews — even those who are receiving help. But most
Seth Cohen: There’s a lot of talk in the Jewish and secular world about innovation, philanthropy, new ideas and how all of this fits together. How do you personally define innovation in the Jewish world, and what advances and animates innovation? Will Schneider: For me, and for Slingshot, innovation is about relevancy. Innovative doesn’t necessarily
Daniel S. Nevins The third paragraph of <>birkat hamazon, the prayer after eating, presents an odd conflation of concerns. Opening with a petition for divine mercy toward Israel, its people, capital, temple, and monarchy, the prayer veers into an anxious plea to escape material dependence on other mortals: “Do not make us dependent upon the
Charlene Seidle Larry Moses’ thoughtful essay expounds on the juxtaposition between the traditional nature of obligatory tzedakah — a “Jewish tax” — and the contemporary focus on philanthropy as a tool for individual impact. But can we equate centralized decision making by a privileged few, the way it is currently practiced, with democratic and consensus-driven