When Allen Alevy was 12 years old, he was called to the Torah for the first time. Although he hadn’t yet had a bar mitzvah, his maternal grandfather’s Orthodox synagogue was one man shy of a minyan.
When Jews feels connected to their community, money will flow — to Jewish causes and elsewhere. That, in short, is the main finding of a broad new nationwide study of American Jewish philanthropy. Coordinated by Jumpstart, a Los Angeles-based think tank and incubator for innovative Jewish nonprofits, the study, titled “Connected to Give,” asked nearly 3,000 Jews across the United States about their giving habits.
Fifteen years ago, Shlomo Rechnitz co-founded TwinMed, a wholesaler of medical supplies serving nursing homes. Since then, Rechnitz has founded, or bought, and grown a number of other businesses, including Brius Healthcare, now the largest operator of nursing homes in California.
“Philanthropy is what you’ll be remembered for,” Jewish Funders Network (JFN) President Andrés Spokoiny told the 400 attendees at the Beverly Hilton on March 18, the first full day of the group’s annual conference. “Philanthropy is your legacy.”
At Hadassah's centennial celebration in October, 2,000 guests heard about two major philanthropic projects being undertaken by the women's Zionist group: a new tower and a new cardiovascular wellness center at its Jerusalem hospitals.
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.
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is restirring a tempest in a glass of milk (“How Kosher Is Your Milk,” June 22). This issue was addressed in great detail in the fall 2007 issue of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society in the article “The Kashrut of Commercially Sold Milk” by Rabbi Michoel Zylberman.
Solly Hess, West Coast regional director of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), was looking for ways to get Jewish teenagers motivated about charitable giving last summer. With the help of Brandon Lurie, a YULA Boys student and NCSY regional board member, he came up with a project that would eventually make an impact on youth as well as the local Jewish community: the Teen Philanthropy Movement.
When the New York Giants and New England Patriots take the field for Sunday’s Super Bowl, most of the country will focus on the athletes wearing the jerseys. However, from a Jewish perspective, the story behind these football franchises comes from those wearing suits in the owner’s box.
Mazon said it has awarded more than $3 million in grants for 2011 to agencies dedicated to fighting hunger.
President Obama told Jewish donors to his reelection campaign that Israel and the United States must assess the new Middle East with "fresh eyes."
Jack Mandel, a leader in Jewish philanthropy in the United States and Israel, has died. Mandel died May 12; he was 99. He and his brothers, Morton and Joseph, started Premier Automotive Supply in a small storefront in Cleveland and built the business into one of the largest distributors of auto parts and electronic components in the United States.
Holocaust survivor's pension, Philanthropy, Passover Seder
Baruch S. Littman is vice president of development for the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, which manages total charitable assets exceeding $700 million.
Lillian Mizrahi is not your typical Peace Corps volunteer. She first considered joining 40 years ago, when she moved to Los Angeles from the Bronx, but her life became busy with children and a career.
The Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund of Los Angeles (JVPF), in collaboration with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, is currently seeking grant proposals. Any local, national and Israel-based Jewish nonprofit can submit a request for funds.
Last week, 40 of the world’s richest families and individuals signed the Giving Pledge, each promising to give away at least half of their fortune to philanthropy before they die. A large number of the signatories are Jewish. This column is for them.
On March 4, Bruce Friedman, a Sherman Oaks-based mortgage banker, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with orchestrating a $216 million real estate investment fraud.
Anger has begun to supplant shock as those who contribute to prominent Jewish charities or work on their behalf gasp for comprehension of the unprecedented percussion that the Bernard L. Madoff investment fraud is having on their favorite causes.
Milken is a good man. Dare I say, a tzadik (righteous one)?
It didn't take long for Bernard Madoff's arrest in New York for running an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme to send shockwaves through Los Angeles' Jewish community. The growing swindler's list of victims reads like a who's who of L.A. Jewish communal life, including the Jewish Community Foundation, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Free Loan Association and Beit T'Shuvah.
The paradox -- one man possessed of bountiful quantities of good and evil -- is confounding to many who knew Madoff and only now are discovering his dark side.
At least two foundations have been forced to close because they had invested their funds with Madoff. The Robert I. Lappin Foundation in Salem, Mass., announced Dec. 12 that it would shut down after losing $8 million -- all of its money. And the Chais Family Foundation, which gives out some $12.5 million each year to Jewish causes in Israel, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, announced its closing Dec. 14.
" . . . 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 . . . "
The media is full of sad-sack accounts of billionaires who, having lost 20 percent of their net worth overnight, are down to their last 9 billion. Some of these men have the gall to say they will have to reduce their charitable commitments.
According to a survey taken in late September by the private wealth research firm, Prince & Associates, the cuts have arrived. Fifty-one percent said they planned on giving less next year than they did this past year -- and only 16 percent said they planned on giving more.
"Suddenly, I cared less about a hit movie or making money than I did about giving back. That was the legacy that I wanted," Lansing said.
" . . . We have one thing that's not happening now that happened then, which was the memory of the Holocaust. We are 50-plus years removed. The urgency that existed then doesn't exist today. The Federation campaign did better with Lou Wasserman -- people didn't tell him no. There isn't that iconic person like Lou who is willing to be identified publicly with their Judaism . . ."
Microsoft founder Bill Gates will receive the inaugural Einstein Award, the American fund-raising arm of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem announced Monday.
The award, which will be presented to Gates in December at a gala dinner in New York, is named for Albert Einstein, who helped found the university. It will be given only rarely to those who have made a significant impact on humanity, according to the organization's executive director, Peter Willner. American Friends officials say this is the first time that Gates is accepting an award from a Jewish or Israeli organization.
"The Einstein Award represents the creation of a continuum of great minds and was inspired by the legacy of Albert Einstein, a founding father of our university who wrought a profound revolution in human understanding of our world," said Hebrew University President, Professor Menachem Magido. "The award pays tribute to today's most original, creative and effective thinkers. Bill Gates is a most worthy recipient -- like Einstein, he is a leader whose actions stem from the knowledge that human progress includes alleviating human suffering."
A new report lends muscle to certain aspects of the phenomenon, hinted at by Katznelson: Young Jews' desire to be with other young Jews and their interest in creating their own Jewish experiences rather than signing up for long-standing programs.
Last Sunday night in an amphitheatre outside Jerusalem, I had a flash of insight into how to get disaffected Jews excited and involved in Jewish life: Make it free!
One of the benefits of the creation of the State of Israel is the creativity and industry of the Israeli people ... living in Los Angeles.
Yes, the Zionist ideal is that all Jews would move to Israel, and those born there would grow up to be proud citizens of a noble land, etc., etc.
Here we are, Jews in every corner of the world, awash in a frenzy of celebrations for Israel -- all because of a birthday. And not just any birthday, mind you, but one that ends in a zero.
Scene and Heard briefs.
Rescuing excess food from Israeli corporate cafeterias on a daily basis is just one of the projects Joseph Gitler conceived about five and a half years ago when, as a new immigrant to Israel, he decided he must do something about the disturbing reports of poverty in Israel.
The philanthropic world is becoming increasingly fearful about what seems to be a perfect storm brewing against the financial world. While most philanthropy professionals feel some anxiety now, they are bracing for what could be a calamity in the world of charitable giving.
Mark Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas since 2002, is to be formally confirmed by the UC Regents within a week. As such, he will take the helm of the world's leading public research university, with 10 campuses, including Berkeley and UCLA, some 220,000 students and an $18-billion budget. Even more noteworthy for the Jewish community is the resumÃ(c) of his wife, Judy Yudof. She is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, representing 760 synagogues, the first woman to hold the post in the organization's 89-year history.
Walking through the doors of the Los Angeles Free Clinic was much easier for Cheryl Saban last week than it was 25 years ago. Back then, she was a newly divorced mother of two young girls with little child support and a poor paying job as an office administrator. With an apartment, groceries, gas, clothes and all those other necessities, health insurance seemed a luxury she couldn't afford.
The simplest innovations sometimes lead to the greatest rewards, as Rachel Andres learned this week when she was named the 2008 recipient of the $100,000 Charles Bronfman Prize. The annual prize is awarded to a person or team under 50 years of age, whose Jewish values spark humanitarian efforts that contribute to the betterment of the world. In Andres' case, her work gives succor to some of the most helpless and brutalized people in the world, the 10,000 refugee families, mostly fatherless, who have escaped the massacres in Darfur.
"Live For Sderot," a benefit concert organized by the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles and the Israeli Leadership Club (ILC), aimed to raise awareness of one of Israel's most painful, ongoing issues, along with funds for children's educational programs.
Two days after Hollywood's biggest night -- the 80th annual Academy Awards -- the Los Angeles Jewish community will be treated to a celebrity-studded red carpet event of its own: Ninette Tayeb, Israel's reigning pop idol, as well as Israeli-born hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari; Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; the Oscar-nominated "Beaufort" delegation; and the creme-de-la-creme of the Jewish and Israeli communities will gather at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills for an important benefit concert, "Live for Sderot."
If the plans follow the promises of its sponsors, the site of the next preeminent national Jewish institution will be in the historic heart of Philadelphia.
There, steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, edging a revitalized Independence Mall, the proposed National Museum of American Jewish History is to begin construction early next year for its target completion date of July 4, 2010.
Philanthropist Hubert Leven, a French Ashkenazi Jew who recently visited Los Angeles, has ties to the close-knit Iranian Jewish community that go back four generations.
One of the Jewish calendar's most widespread and public observances, the Chanukah holiday has traditionally emphasized two miracles: the military victory of Jewish rebels over Greek invaders and the one vial of oil that lasted for eight nights. However, just as other holidays have seen their historic purpose shaped to contemporary narratives, Chanukah is increasingly being used as a vehicle for other Jewish agendas that seem to stray far from the holiday's original meaning.
Last Shabbat at Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe stood at the bimah to deliver his sermon -- and brought out a small, colorful laptop to push his congregants to participate in a remarkable, world-changing program called One Laptop per Child. One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is the name of a USA-based nonprofit launched in 2005 by Nicholas Negroponte and faculty members of the MIT Media Lab, with the goal of bringing computer technology to the children of the developing world.
Galina's renewed sense of hope for her future -- for the chance to relax and to read and memorize her beloved poems about Victory Day -- comes as a result of the work of comedy director/producer Zane Buzby and the Survivor Mitzvah Project, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that brings direct financial assistance to about 700 elderly and ill Holocaust survivors in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Lithuania.
Profiles and pictures of volunteers of the Survivor Mitzvah Project and some of the Holocaust survivors they serve.
Ben Goldhirsh the 27 year old brains and bread behind GOOD magazine, wants to combine his successful business with a commitment to philanthropy and public service. Goldhirsh sees the GOOD brand, which also includes Reason Pictures, a film company he started in 2004, as much more than a media organization. It's "a meta-company," he said, "a lifestyle brand" that appeals to the "reason-based sensibilities" of people like him. People who know privilege and yet want to change the world in a big way.
The results of a new study, "Beyond Distancing: Young Adult American Jews and Their Alienation from Israel," on young American Jews' attitudes toward Israel, were released recently, and the news is disheartening. These Jews, who represent American Judaism's prospects in the next generation, are growing increasingly alienated from Israel, the study finds. They are less concerned with its welfare than previous generations and, unbelievably, less comfortable with the very idea of a Jewish state.
It's not uncommon for well-established, wealthy members of a community to donate money to various causes, but these days, there's a new breed of philanthropist in town -- the college student.
Interview with Rabbi Marvin Hier who created the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Museum of Tolerance and Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA).
If the group of Gen Y-ers -- also known as Millenials or NextGens or iGens -- who gathered for a Jewish leadership conference in Santa Monica last week are any indication, it seems that parents who did everything to build their children's resumes and self esteem may have been on to something. This handpicked group of Jewish leaders in their 20s and early 30s have the self-confidence to think -- to actually believe -- that if the old people would just make some room for them, or maybe get out of the way altogether, they could fix this mess of a world. They are committed to social justice; they are willing to get their hands dirty; they have great ideas, time to volunteer, and they have the arrogance, self-centeredness and technological savvy to bring their ideas to fruition. The question is how to channel all that into the Jewish community.