In the last couple of decades, a tectonic shift has altered the landscape of Jewish philanthropy. The phenomenon is not only Jewish — the number of foundations in the United States has grown fivefold in the last 20 years; the same growth in donor-advised funds has taken just a decade.
In 2007, when philanthropist Stanley Gold was asked to become board chair of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, he knew he would need an effective partner to accomplish the reinvention of Federation he envisioned.
Kayla Tinucci would never want to walk a mile in the shoes of the disadvantaged children she has vowed to help. “Their feet would be squeezing into shoes that were way too small for them,” she said. “I would pull off the shoes of one boy to measure his feet, and his toes uncurled because they had been in shoes that were too small.”
Todd Gindy, a certified financial planner, likes to tell a story about Johnny Carson to illustrate how nonprofits miss a big opportunity when they don’t suggest donors use life insurance policies as a vehicle for charitable giving. For years, the longtime host of “The Tonight Show” gave $1 million every year to Children of the Night, an organization founded by Dr. Lois Lee to rescue child victims of sex trafficking.
Call it the Adelson conundrum: What happens when the guy who acts as if he owns the room really does?
Alexander Soros — what a catch! And not just for the obvious reason. Sure, papa George is worth $22 billion, and as your bubbe says, it’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one.
Last week, everyone was scurrying around Zane Buzby’s small but serviceable office, high up in a rather creaky building in downtown Los Angeles. Right inside the door, one person packed tubes of arthritis creams, soaps, magnifying glasses and Star of David necklaces. Someone else carefully counted cash into envelopes. And yet another entered data into a computer.
The old stereotype of Mizrahi music — an Israeli genre created by immigrant Jews from North African and Arab countries — was of teary, sorrowful love ballads: tales of lost loves, broken hearts and dashed hopes. You could say Mizrahi music was Israel’s version of country music.
Later this month, the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk will become Caesarea, the Israeli amphitheater renowned for its magical atmosphere and unparalleled performances.
When Eli Tene, co-chair of the Israeli Leadership Council (ILC), first called to tell me about a new initiative they had cooked up, I knew it was something big. I could hear it in his voice.
Giving to Israel decreased by 16 percent between 2006 and 2009, exhibiting the same trends as overall American giving, a study found.
Philanthropists Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are giving a $5 million matching grant to Taglit-Birthright Israel.
Two Jewish philanthropists were overheard disagreeing about how to give charity. “I only support Jewish causes — the Jewish people need our help more than anyone else in the world,” Cohen said.
Almost as soon as the catastrophe in Japan began unfolding last Friday, Jewish groups scrambled to figure out how to get help to the area. In Israel, search-and-rescue organizations like ZAKA and IsraAid readied teams to head to the Japanese devastation zone. In Tokyo, the Chabad center took an accounting of local Jews and began organizing a shipment of aid to stricken cities to the north. In the United States, aid organizations ranging from B’nai B’rith International to local and national federation agencies launched campaigns to collect money for rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts in the Pacific.
If you scroll through the list of Madoff's philanthropic victims, you'll find plenty of evidence that even Jews who have shed every vestige of their ancient practice short of circumcision still resonate to the prophetic call to heal the wider world.
Our major institutions are struggling to adjust, react, prepare but most of all to respond to those most harmed
" . . . Women tend to want to spread the wealth a little more, and a lot of that has to do with how men and women are socializedin terms of their upbringing . . . "
Over the years, b'nai mitzvah students have been encouraged more and more to select a cause, organization or project that they can support by donating community service hours, a portion of their gift money or both.
"God has a to-do list for you," the book opens. "You are God's partner. God needs you to continue the ongoing creation of the world."
Having trouble finding the perfect gift for the one who has everything? Want to give back to the community this holiday season and into 2007? Here are eight great ways to contribute.
In addition to my business, I always take on the opportunity to help in my own community. I believe that it is important to help out whenever you can, whether it's picking up trash at the beach or working at a charity benefit, as well as taking on new challenges.
The wisdom to help others is not privileged information. It is taught to all of us through our life experiences.
How do we enlighten our concrete-thinking kiddies to the fact that -- despite popular playground belief -- money doesn't grow in ATM machines? With the Spend/Save/Tzedakah plan, of course!
It is the small things that merit the blessings. It is the "heel" commandments, the acts we forget about, that can change lives and bring holiness into our world.
Founded in 1997, the Justice Ball has grown into one of the nation's most successful nonprofit fundraisers/parties targeting young professionals, Jews and non-Jews alike. Over the past nine years, more than 16,000 attorneys, financiers and others have attended the soirees, and scores of them have gone on to become Bet Tzedek contributors and volunteers.
As the years have gone by, I realize I'd just as soon be alone than continue to go through cycles of head-spinning effort with someone in exchange for a couple of moments of grace. So I don't do that anymore. And though this kind of spiritual honesty has created an ease in my nervous system (and a welcome death to that horrible intimate uncertainty of giving myself where it's not appreciated), I have to stop and wonder, have I become overworked and underplayed?
Saul Kroll is a firm believer in yetzer hatov, and the 87-year-old Westside resident translates it into practice six days a week as an emergency room volunteer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
That volunteer work is vast. She served as the sisterhood president of Temple Israel of Hollywood and currently co-chairs its AIDS lunch project, which distributes food once a month. Gilman is also social action chair for the Western Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, which presents the women's positions on legislative policy.
Joyce Rabinowitz, 76, is a volunteer Braille transcriber. She takes the printed word and, using a special computer program called Braille 2000, transforms it letter by letter into a prescribed set of dots that she saves to disk and gives to the Braille Institute. Each disk, with the help of an embossing machine, is used to produce a book written in raised dot text that a blind person can read with his or her fingers.
Jewish groups, led by the United Jewish Communities (UJC), were particularly concerned about changes in Medicaid rules intended to slow the growth in the entitlement program.
The Cohens understand desperation. Eight years ago, Nouriel's beauty supply business went under, and the family had to give up their Beverly Hills home. He hasn't had steady employment since then and has had to rely on his parents and family to get by.
For the last eight years, Chadorchi, a Beverly Hills resident in her 20s, has become a rare jewel in the Persian Jewish community, quietly mobilizing a small army of friends, family members and local students to respond to the plight of the homeless in Los Angeles.
To its detractors, Los Angeles seems very much like a modern-day Sodom or Gomorrah -- besotting civilization with a trash culture of celebrity murder trials, reality TV and movies that trade on violence and superficiality.
Sometimes the best gift is a non-gift.
Moving from a familiar home and letting go of things owned for years can feel like an additional loss. It's not just the loss of the objects that has an impact; it's the connection with the past that these objects symbolize.
It starts with a tireless trek to the mall in search of that stylish synagogue suit. Next comes the culinary juggling act, simultaneously preparing Aunt Sophie's tzimmes, Bubbe's killer kugel and a 22-pound turkey, dressed and trimmed. The last step is grooming an entire family and shuffling the whole gang out the door and into the synagogue in under an hour.
Getting kids involved with giving isn't just for wealthy families. On the contrary, middle-class kids tend to have much more than they need -- and can benefit from the values and insights they will get from charitable activities. It's up to parents to get them going, and to figure out the best structure for the entire family's charitable activities
I remember visiting Harvard Square in Cambridge 30 years ago when I was a rabbi in Brookline, Mass. Among all the curious-looking people, myriad bookstores and Harvard University buildings was a huge bin of clothes, furniture cast-offs and other items.
"I think it's important for Jews to help other Jews," said Heather Greenberg, explaining one of the reasons behind her work on behalf of Jewish charities.
When it comes Chanukah, you've got eight nights to get your gift giving right. Our Gift Guide points you toward a cornucopia of categories for every evening of the Festival of Lights.
Powerful women in Hollywood, back in 1978, were as prevalent as communists during the blacklist. Probably even less so. That's when Loreen Arbus came to town.
Open Wilda Spalding's "little black book," and you'll discover a code of ethics -- written in part by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted by the United Nations in 1948: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As long as I focused on the task at hand, the time went by. Deciding on what was going to the auction house vs. what to charity, tossing out a bag of shoes that no one would take.
While most 13-year-olds gleefully rip wrapping paper off their abundant bar/bat mitzvah presents and dream of ways to spend their gift money, a growing number of teens are opting to make their bar/bat mitzvah more meaningful.
I saw a simple loaf cake wrapped nice and tight on the kitchen counter. My sister gladly parted with a thick portion, as she said she couldn't afford to keep eating it. With one taste, I understood.
Aphilanthropic couple and a young family with a preschooler are to be recognized at the 9th annual Jewish Family Service of Orange County (JFS) dinner celebrating family.
"Why is the festival of Shavuot called 'The time of the giving of our Torah' and not the time of the receiving of our Torah? Because the giving of the Torah happened at one specified time, but the receiving of the Torah happens at every time and in every generation. -- Rabbi Meir Alter of Ger"
Even a wizard at niche marketing would tremble before the title of Julie Salamon's most recent book. "Rambam's Ladder," based on an ancient text by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, sounds like it's bound for the remainder bins even before it hits the Judaica sections.
"I'm more nervous about the speech than I am about reading the Torah," Jonathan Shainberg told The Journal. "When you are reading the Torah you aren't looking at people, but when you give the speech you have to look out at the whole crowd and seeing the faces makes me nervous."
Tricia called Jewish National Fund (JNF) to find out if she could plant a tree in Israel for each guest invited to Danielle's bat mitzvah. "It turns out JNF has exactly such a program set up already," Tricia said.
Our Torah portion employs an enigmatic turn of phrase that appears quite instructive in this regard. As God commands Moses to solicit the necessary stuff to build the Sanctuary, He demands that the Jews "take for Me a portion."