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Jewish Philanthropy 2.0

Mark Zuckerberg.

There is no lack of worthy causes, and American society is uniquely blessed by charitable giving from all members of society. Among the country's very biggest philanthropists, Jews continue to be disproportionately represented, taking five out of the top six spots and comprising nine out of the 53 individuals and couples on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's recently published top-50 list for 2010.

Relevant Links
The 50  Chronicle of Philanthropy. A list of the top American philanthropists and some of their causes.
Mega-Givers and Their Giving  Gary A. Tobin, Aryeh K. Weinberg, Institute for Jewish & Community Research. American Jews are uniquely philanthropic, but where does the big money go? (PDF)

Jewish mega-donors are hardly news. It is also a commonplace that wealthy Jews allocate less than 25 percent of their giving to specifically Jewish causes. Of the two facts, the latter has understandably puzzled and frustrated fund raisers for Jewish causes as well as students of American philanthropy. But is it really so mysterious? 

Jewish philanthropists have always seen themselves, or have wished to see themselves, as members of the American class defined by its support of the great civic causes of the day. The causes may change, but the pattern remains the same. Take two perennial stand-bys: hospitals and higher education. Among last year's top 50, the investor Leonard Blavatnik has pledged $117 million to establish the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. Marc Benioff, the founder of, and his wife Lynne gave $100 million to the children's hospital of the University of California at San Francisco.  Irwin M. Jacobs, a founder of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan pledged $75 million to a new medical center at the University of California at San Diego. Showing regard for today's health concerns in particular, Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, gave $45.1 million to his Ellison Medical Foundation for stem-cell research and the study of age-related diseases and disabilities.

If philanthropists are attracted to higher education, they are also increasingly called upon to pick up the slack left by government failure at lower levels. Last year, the home builder and financial-services mogul Eli Broad and his wife Edythe gave $10 million to the Washington, D.C. Public Education Fund, $2.2 million to the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard, and $2 million to a Los Angeles charter-schools foundation. Lin Arison, the widow of the founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, sold a Monet and a Modigliani and put the proceeds of $39 million into her National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

Among younger Jews, Mark Zuckerberg, the twenty-six-year-old Facebook founder, pledged $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system. Another such gift, of $25 million, came from William A. Ackman, the hedge-fund manager whose other local causes included the Innocence Project and Centurion Ministries, both of which work to free the wrongfully convicted. Others in the younger Jewish cohort on the top-50 list show a preference for social entrepreneurship over institutions.

All of these causes are undoubtedly worthwhile; none is particularly Jewish (though some might point out that education has always been a core Jewish value).

That is not to say, though, that Jewish causes and giving to Israel are wholly absent from the priorities of the top 50. Stephen and Nancy Grand gave more than $20 million to the American Technion Society. Irwin and Joan Jacobs pledged $39.1 million to their fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. William Ackman gave $6.8 million toward retiring the debt of the Center for Jewish History in New York. Still, conspicuously absent from the top-line causes are Jewish day schools, yeshivas, educational or communal services in Israel or in Europe, or programs in Jewish identity and continuity, let alone in Jewish ideas.

And therein lies one much-noted difference between yesterday and today. However much the major American Jewish philanthropists of former times gave to non-Jewish institutions, many clearly felt no less obligated to answer the call of the Jewish community. From Rebecca Gratz, who founded the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1819, all the way through the 20th century, wealthy American Jews could be counted on to bestow equivalently large gifts upon the community's eleemosynary institutions and defense agencies and to rise to the needs of the state of Israel and Jews worldwide. That seems less and less the case; at the extremes, indeed, it seems to be morphing into something much more problematic. 

Enter the biggest Jewish philanthropist of them all. Last year, George Soros gave a whopping $332 million to his Open Societies Foundations, which operate throughout Eastern and Central Europe, plus another $100 million to Human Rights Watch. More than anything, Soros represents the growing influence of a numerically small but vocal minority in the Jewish world that is ruthlessly dedicated to cosmopolitanism. To the extent that Israel and Jewishness interfere with this value and identity, they are opposed—in the case of Soros, with large amounts of cash. There is scarcely an anti-Israel cause with which he is not involved, from softer ones like J Street to hard-line ones like Human Rights Watch.

Although Soros is unique, at least with respect to the scale of his generosity if not his ferocity, his anti-Israel and anti-Jewish inclination is not. The older Jewish mega-philanthropy, concentrated in the support of institutions meant for the ages, was motivated by a simultaneous desire to do good and to commemorate the goodness of the donor. Less tangible but no less real was the memorialization of Jewish acceptance into American society, as if to say: a Jew did this, and America allowed a Jew to do this. One message of the new Jewish mega-giving would seem to be not only that Jews have arrived but that, as with other members of their class, the primary terms of their identities, allegiances, and civic engagements are increasingly attuned to transnational causes and largely unshaped by, or positively averse to, explicitly Jewish concerns or values.

Of course, the list of the top 50 donors hardly captures the full range of Jewish philanthropy. Smaller donors are increasingly leveraging their resources collectively through mechanisms like the Jewish Funders Network, and a number of well-endowed foundations—the names include Koret, Taube, Wexner, Dorot, Bronfman, Schusterman, Marcus, Adelson, and others—continue strongly to support Jewish causes and Israel. And this is not to take into account Jews at all levels of wealth who give to Israel, to local UJAs and federations, and to their synagogues and day schools.

Still, the symbolic weight of the mega-donors is telling, and their priorities help shape perceptions and priorities both inside and outside the Jewish community. As a number of still-stalwart foundations have closed their doors or entered into spend-down mode, and individuals of stature have begun to retreat from active philanthropy, the distinction between Jewish philanthropists and philanthropists who happen to be Jewish looms more important than ever.

Alex Joffe is a research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research.

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Jacob on February 23, 2011 at 7:34 am (Reply)
Mr Joffe has many good points in his piece, but he undermines his piece with his evaluation of George Soros: "There is scarcely an anti-Israel cause with which he is not involved, from softer ones like J Street to hard-line ones like Human Rights Watch."

When serious thinkers like Mr Joffe claim that the sky is falling by naming institutions like these as the face of anti-Israel causes, they do themselves and the Jewish people a great disservice. Can thoughtful people debate whether these organizations' current work is strengthening the Jewish state? Yes. Should they be labeled anti-Israel in the same way that Hamas and Hezbolah are - not in a million years.

In the children's fable Chicken Little, Chicken Little feels an acorn fall on his head and declares that the sky is falling. More and more animals take up the refrain without first investigating the claim. And in the end, in their fear induced frenzy they are all led to their doom by a fox that takes advantage of them.

There are dangerous people in the world seeking to destroy the state of Israel. But let's not be led astray by the vocal claims of some who wrongly focus their attention on groups like JStreet and Human Rights Watch.
howard hyman on February 23, 2011 at 10:38 am (Reply)
Jacob is correct.

The cheap shot vs. Soros was uncalled for.

Is he 'anti-Israel' or just anti- the
hardline Likud definition of what should constitute Israeli policy and values?

There is a HUGE difference between the two- which is deliberately and characteristically glossed over by (the right-wing bent of) JEWISH IDEAS DAILY.
David on February 23, 2011 at 10:41 am (Reply)
I agree with Jacob. The article was generally good, until the author ruined it by equating JStreet and HRW with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. You don't have to be Likud to be pro-Israel.

The author should have stuck to his point, which is that Jewish givers aren't giving to Jewish causes. Although frankly, I'd consider JStreet donations to be Jewish donations. Just because it takes a different position doesn't make it any less Jewish.
Ron Broxted on February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am (Reply)
I have no time for Soros he cost me and everyone else in the UK money when he broke Stg. As for Jewish causes what is this begging bowl time? Is a poor Jew more deserving of help than a starving Zulu?
Josh on February 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm (Reply)
Two comments:

First, let me echo the sentiment that causes such as J-Street and HRW would easily fit within the Zionist Israeli left, and that it would be patently unreasonable to consider them anti-Israel under those circumstances. It is fine to think that their positions are counter-productive (and to dislike both the causes and the individuals) from any particular perspective, but the conflation is flat inappropriate.

Second, I think that much of the trend in modern Jewish philanthropy away from Jewish charities is due in part to a a phenomenon that is ignored by the author, namely that Jewish charities (and particularly the JCRCs) used to be considerably more focused on intergroup relations and helping those outside of the community. A change in the internal nature of the Jewish philanthropic scene has meant that giving to the same mix of causes tends to involve fewer Jewish charities.
Steve on February 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm (Reply)
I don't' know whether Soros is anti-Israel. Might be. But he is in his 80s. I have a question about Zuckerberg, at 26 he is fabulously rich and he represents the up-and-comers.

The question is, Along with his $100 million to the Newark school systems, how much $$ is he giving to Jewish causes? That is unmentioned, but I think that is as relevant as Soros's penchants. I am concerned about the best and the brightest from among our youngest Jews who are not interested in building Jewish causes and are not -- I shall say delicately -- interested personally in building a Jewish family.

Are we losing some of our most creative and successful minds, and what is to be done about it? That happens in every generation but we can only worry about our own generation.
Stef on February 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm (Reply)
"...conspicuously absent from the top-line causes are Jewish day schools, yeshivas, educational or communal services in Israel or in Europe, or programs in Jewish identity and continuity, let alone in Jewish ideas.Some of us cannot identify with the Jewish Day Schools, the orthodox...." I am 65 and identify as a Jew. However, I cannot identify with the need for Jews to stick out as Jews rather than as good human beings. I don't want Jewish Day schools, the Orthodox, or Israel to represent me and my beliefs. THEY DON'T. The Israeli government doesn't embrace Jewish values. The Orthodox don't respect women as individuals. They sneer at and condemn different ways of participating in Judaism. They have gone so far as to claim that Jews in the Reform movement are not really Jewish. They look down at people who don't adhere to their way which I find insulting and tribal. Why would someone like me give them money?
Steve on February 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm (Reply)
Stef, I understand your point. So give money to Conservative or Reform. Call me -- I'll give you the name of my (non-Orthdox) synagogue. They'll be glad to accept your donation....and they do respect women, diverse Jewish opinions, and broad human and civil rights. Deal?
Pointer on February 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm (Reply)
Steve overlooks a basic problem facing the Conservative movement: patrilineal descent. I'd bet that Zuckerberg's Asian-American girl friend factors into his Jewish giving, or lack thereof.
Steve on February 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm (Reply)
Pointer got my point. It's not a new phenomenom, but it's a growing one: If smart, wealthy, generous and influential Jews marry out of the faith -- if their Asian-American (not Jewish I assume) spouses "factor into" their lack of Jewish giving -- that is in my view not a good thing for Jewish concerns or Jewish community or Jewish future. That's my "delicate" reference in my first message.

There are upsides to American-Jewish freedom, acculturation (and maybe even assimilation). Patrilineal descent and the general weakening of the bonds of family and community -- I don't see those as being among the upsides.
G on February 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm (Reply)
@Stef I think you should not use the broad brush to describe orthodox judaism, as you do not like to have the broad brush describe your religious beliefs.
SKB on February 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm (Reply)
It's a same that this bit of content ended up on the front page of JTA. It was going decently until you equated J Street & Human Rights Watch with anti-Jewish sentiment. Mny Jews would argue that being in favor of human rights is quite a Jewish theme indeed.
yehudah cohn on February 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm (Reply)
in blandly describing j street as anti-israel you are showing right wing colors that are increasingly becoming apparent to your readers, and will I imagine turn off many of them
ken gold on February 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm (Reply)
Human Rights Watch has been extremely anti-Israel to the point that one of their Jewish senior staff members left....for that reason. They have become a one-sided mouth piece for the Palestinians and seem to thrive on finding ways to make it harder for the Israeli's to legitimately and ethically defend themselves from terrorism....

J-Street may have some well meaning Haaretz/Leftist/non-Likudniks in their ranks, but recent investigations seem pretty damning to me...

Readers are referred to articles in Commentary (too right wing for some I suppose), CAMERA, and Honest well as JPOST.

Soros' money is behind some of the NGO's that criticize Israel, I think often unjustly, and often in a non-transparent fashion. Many believe his monies are used to aide and abet the enemies of Israel, a point of view that seems ever more plausible. I doubt he wants Israel to survive as an independent Jewish state, and I doubt he truly supports the two state solution. Glenn Beck may have gone over the line with him, but there is a reason the right's radar goes on red alert when Soros is involved.....whether with his anti-Israel causes or his Left wing American causes....

It seems to me that when giving to any institution the giver weighs the good and the bad....whether it's a Chabad house, the IDF, a Shul, a Hebrew Day School, or a home for addicted Jews....The goal is to support the institutions good qualities, their noble aspirations, and their meaningful works. If Jews are not for ourselves, then who will be???

Sometimes I wonder if the angrier Jewish critics among us, who give to non-Jewish causes, hold Jews up to standards that can't always be met, and then in disgust that these fellow Jews (ie. Israelis, Hasidim, Orthodox, Reformed, etc..)don't meet their standards, have reason to almost self-hatefully give their donations elsewhere.....
Pointer on February 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm (Reply)
@ Steve. You are assuming that the non-Jewish spouse would not be supportive of participation in synagogue life. That is not an automatic. Far from it. However, conversion may be another matter. I also know several women who converted to Judaism, but are considered second class citizens within their Conservative congregation.
muti on February 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm (Reply)
most conservative and reform Jews have no connection to Judaism because they are extremely assimilated and intermarried, so why should they care about the future of the Jewish people, no wonder
mark on February 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm (Reply)
the reality is that most non orthodox Jews here in the unites states are so assimilated that the didn’t care about Jewish causes.
SKB on February 24, 2011 at 11:30 am (Reply)
@Muti, that's a pretty blanket statement. I wonder whether you have any firsthand knowledge of Conservative, Reform & Reconstructionist Jews? If so, you'd likely be aware of the colorful, dedicated communities that exist within these denominations & are very, very dedicated to k'lal Yisrael & the Jewish people. Or are you one of those Orthodox who give the Orthodox a bad name?
Stef on February 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm (Reply)
G -- You are right. I should not be stereotyping people. Thank you for reminding me.

Steve -- To what synagogue do you belong, Steve? Is there a synagogue which does not send money directly to the Israeli government? Is there one where a person can politely disagree with or criticize the behavior of the Israeli governnment without being ostracized? I am looking for one. Because I don't agree with some of the things the government does, I have been called a "self-hating, self-effacing Jew" and this is an unwarranted accustion. Judaism fosters (or is it fostered) civiilized open discussion and dialogue. I would love to participate in this. I read recently that the head of all of the Hillels doesn't want anyone to say anything anti-Zionist at their debates. I think that open discussion is one of the Jewish values which helped so many of our peole become teachers, doctors, lawyers, scholars, scientists, etc. By the way, I am NOT an assimilated Jew who is disinterested in Judaism and Jewish culture.
muti on February 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm (Reply)
How dedicated could they be if they can't instill a love for Judaism in their own children, because the intermarriage rate amongst the conservative and reform is over 60% versus 1% amongst orthodox Jews, A lot of reform and conservative Jews don’t believe in god and are atheists. The next generation amongst the reform and conservative Jews are not interested in Judaism - the reform synagogues are full of people in their 80's.
joe on February 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm (Reply)
muti is right a majority of liberal Jews are assimilated and are always sympathetic to the Palestinian cause , because they are so removed from Judaism that they don’t have that special love for israel, you will barely encounter an orthodox Jew being obsessed with criticizing israel even if they are not Zionist, but amongst the assimilated liberal Jews you encounter very frequently that obsession to single out israel for excessive criticism and boycotts, and these same people will never criticize the Muslim terrorists, no wonder they say.
muti on February 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm (Reply)
stef you might be well intentioned the problem is that it became acceptable amongst millions of anti Semites that single out only israel for criticism to claim they are not anti Semitic just anti israel and point the finger to many liberal Jewish organization that are also anti israel, so stef you are playing right into the trap of all these anti Semites that love to see Jews criticize israel.
SKB on February 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm (Reply)
I criticize Israel because I love Israel, just as I criticize the US because I love it. I don't care much what other countries are doing; I have no connection to those countries. But Israel is dear to me, & it's important to me that it live out Jewish values in its governmental processes & the way it treats others - Palestinians included. When you love a country, you neither accept it blindly nor forsake it for its flaws - you work to better it, precisely BECAUSE you love it.
SKB on February 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm (Reply)
Muti, everything you've said about Reform & Conservative Jews is way off base. I am the product of an intermarriage who was raised Jewish, as so many others like me are, & is very dedicated to Reform Judaism. Also, have you ever been to a Reform synagogue? Are you familiar with NFTY, our youth movement, which is flourishing & thriving & certainly NOT full of people in their 80s? Do you have any idea what you're talking about or how we love Judaism? Don't speak about things you have no idea about. Your ignorance is offensive not to mention entirely not in keeping with Jewish values. Perhaps you should look inward?
dbkenner on February 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm (Reply)
The defense of Soros here in the comments is both laughable and deeply sad. The article DOES NOT compare Soros with Hamas. However, Soros is very anti-Israel. He chose, of his own free will, to back and bankroll anti-Israel causes and organizations; organizations which routinely apologize for Palestinian-Arab terror. Organizations which -- in classic anti-Semitic style -- rewrite Jewish/Israeli history to put Israeli Jews in the roll of aggressor when they were in fact being attacked. Regardless of how you feel about Likud, Jstreet and HRW are, by any reasonable definition, supporters of Israel's enemies.

I suppose Jacob, Howard Hyman, and David will tell us that the United Nations, the EU, and the BBC are all politically neutral when it comes to Israel? Perhaps you should just go back to reading your London Review of Books.
muti on February 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm (Reply)
dbkenner u r 100% right, liberal jews are reading too much new york times and haaretz
muti on February 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm (Reply)
The NJPS 2000 found that 47% of Jews who married in the past five years had wed non-Jews, up from a readjusted intermarriage figure of 43% a decade ago. The rate of intermarriage has risen dramatically in the past 30 years, from an average of 9% before 1965 to 52% in 1990.

The 1990 NJPS indicated that Secular, Reform and Conservative Jews are far more likely to intermarry than Orthodox Jews. Secular Jews have doubled their intermarriage rate, while Reform and Conservative Jews have tripled theirs. Secular Jews in the 18 to 39 year age group have an intermarriage rate of 72%, while those over age 39 have an intermarriage rate of 35%. Younger Reform Jews now at a 53% rate, compared to a 16% rate for the older group. Among younger Conservative Jews, the intermarriage rate has increased to 37%, compared to 10% for those over age 39. Only Orthodox Jews have reversed this trend: Their intermarriage rate has fallen from 10% among those over 39 to 3% of the 18-39 group today.

the above study was done in 2000 i am sure 10 years later the intermarriage rate is a lot higher.
muti on February 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm (Reply)
The Connection between Intermarriage, Orthodox Observance and Jewish Education
Just as the decision to intermarry is the product of countless previous decisions about how to live one's life, so too the decision not to intermarry seems to be the product of a lifetime of Jewish living and learning. The research indicates that a stronger commitment to a higher level of Jewish education and observance leads to a lower likelihood of intermarriage and assimilation. The combination of Jewish commitment and having experienced a complete K-12 Orthodox Jewish Day School education results in an intermarriage rate of not greater than 3%. All the research indicates that it is essentially the Orthodox who are committed to such a complete Day School education.

The longer children are in Orthodox Day School, the fewer parents are likely to face the "Guess who's coming to Seder?” issue. Almost all Orthodox families today give their children the greatest number of years of Jewish education. This seems to be crucial to their exceptionally low intermarriage rate. Contemporary Orthodox children generally have at least twelve years of Jewish Day School education, while the peak number of years of Jewish education in the Conservative and Reform movements is generally from four to eight years of Hebrew School, much of it being part-time.

Intensive Jewish education impacts adults as well as children. Indeed, the recent growth in the Orthodox movement has come from five sources: higher marriage rates, increased family size, low intermarriage rates, propensity of those raised Orthodox to remain within the fold, and the influx of baalei tshuvah, or returnees to Jewish life. During the past thirty years, tens of thousands of American Jews who were raised in non-observant homes have committed themselves to an Orthodox lifestyle. Each young adult who "returns" brings along the likelihood of an entire family remaining within the Jewish People.

In summary, the most recent analyses of Jewish population indicate two distinct trends in American Jewry. During the period from 1945-2000 -- and particularly from 1960 to 2000 -- the Orthodox have steadily increased the duration and intensity of their children's education, their birth rate, and the percentage of those raised Orthodox and remaining Orthodox. At the same time, their intermarriage rate has been reduced (see above). Also, for the first time in American history, significant number of Jews who were not raised Orthodox are becoming so. During the same period (1960-2000), intermarriage among other denominations of Judaism has evidenced different trends. The level of education among Secular, Reform and Conservative Jews has (with a few notable exceptions), remained about the same; their birth rate has declined, and their rate of intermarriage has multiplied. Once a Jew intermarries, he or she as an individual remains Jewish, of course, but the likelihood of that person having any Jewish descendants is close to nil (see Demographic Chart attached).

Long-Range Implications for Today's Jews
As the Chinese proverb says, "If we don't change our direction, we will end up where we're headed." Elihu Bergman, Assistant Director of the Harvard Center for Population Studies, in a controversial yet disturbing report, had projected in 1975 that unless current trends were reversed, the American Jewish community would decrease by 85% - 98% by the year 2076. This prognosis now seems to apply to descendants of Secular, Reform and Conservative Jews. As far as the Orthodox is concerned, the opposite trend has become apparent. As illustrated in the Demographic Chart, multiple research studies have come to the same conclusion: Within three generations there will be almost no trace of young American Jews who are currently not being raised in Orthodox homes with a complete Jewish Day School education. Clearly, this is discomforting news for all of us to whom Jewish survival is of deep concern. There seems to be no hope that the less traditional approaches will have the same results as the more intensively traditional approach.

The Impact of the Jewish Orthodox Day School
The strongest counter-assimilation effect is exerted by Orthodox Day Schools; the less time-intensive forms of Jewish education have almost no effect on intermarriage. Since most Orthodox families now send their children to Orthodox Day School (usually for at least 12 years), the graduates of today's Orthodox Day Schools will probably be the forbearers of most of the Jews who will exist in this country in the future. This prediction is already beginning to come true: While only 7.8% of Jews aged over 70 are Orthodox, 9.7% of those aged 30-69 are Orthodox and between the ages of 18-29, the Orthodox percentage is 19.5%. Furthermore, approximately 27% of all Jewish children under the age of 18 are being raised in Orthodox families. It is also interesting to note that according to the NJPS 2000, although only 46% of US Jews belong to synagogues, that minority divides up 39% Reform, 33% Conservative, 21% Orthodox and 7% Other. If synagogue affiliation continues to be an important "bell weather” of the denominational forecast for the years ahead, Orthodoxy is capturing a growing market. More specifically, between the ages of 18-34, 34% of Jewish adults who are synagogue members have chosen to belong to an Orthodox synagogue [9] .

As stated earlier, long-term Jewish survival depends on four choices that each individual Jew makes: the level of personal observance; the choice to marry another Jew; the desire to have two or more children if possible; and the absolute priority of providing maximal Jewish education for oneself and one's children. The relationship among these factors is plain in the data. Choosing Jewish observance is a result of parents having chosen a Jewish education, which in turn is likely to lead to choosing a Jewish spouse. Choosing a Jewish spouse is likely to lead to providing a stronger educational and ritual base for one's children, who then perpetuate the cycle.

Of course, it is never too late for any Jew to enter, or re-enter the cycle of Jewish tradition. During the past 30 years, an enormous outreach or kiruv movement has developed throughout the world, offering a variety of programs designed to reach out to disaffected Jews. Such outreach programs have been launched by all the major denominations.

Jewish survival depends on religious observance and education because only a long-term, intellectually and spiritually challenging process of Jewish practice and education can provide Jews with the reasons and the commitment not to marry the attractive, friendly Gentile in the office or apartment next door.
Ellen on February 25, 2011 at 7:59 am (Reply)
Wealthy Jews have almost always been assimilated and assimilating. The fact that these people give anything at all to Jewish causes is reason to be happy, and it would be nice if they would give to Jewish day schools and orthodox religious life because that is the future of the Jewish community, not their own intermarried descendants.

For people like Stef, all we can say is that his generation of secular Jews produced a cultural dead end. Few if any of their descendants will be Jewish. This is the unfortunate reality for people like that which is why they are disappearing from Jewish communal life. Even the secular Jewish organizations in NY have to hire young Orthodox Jews to fill their positions, because there aren't enough committed Reform and Conservative Jews who want to work in Jewish communal life. These organizations are all dying off and what will remain are the ones with a religious connection or that garner support from the Orthodox community. Hadassah and Bnai Brith are dying organizations, while Chabad is bursting at the seams. What does that tell you about the future of the Jewish community?

Secular Jews like Soros are the end of the line and their views really will count for nothing within 10-15 years. These people are hollow shells and their organizations will collapse soon enough.
Sandra on February 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm (Reply)
I think Ken Gold eloquently responds to the universalist, "we don't want to be so parochial" commentators by asking if Jews don't help Jewish causes and Israel, who will? Maybe evangelical Christians care more for the Jewish people than the majority of Jews. And then there are the self-righteous here who claim that Israel doesn't represent Jewish values - really? Considering Israel's record in responding to disasters in other countries (Israelis provided rescue and medical care to Haitians after the terrible earthquake there), to providing medical care to their neighbors, a majority of whom seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State, yet seek medical treatment at hospitals in Israel...and are treated and healed, by Jewish doctors and nurses. What about the incredible research done at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and the discoveries there in medicine and science that are shared with the world?
abrahão israel pitkowski on February 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm (Reply)
Caros amigos.
O tema discutido é importantíssimo, porque trata da identidade judaica, brevemente será publicado meu livro que trata do assunto, cujo tema é: " A PERDA DA IDENTIDADE JUDAICA E SEU POSSÍVEL RESGATE ". Esta obra é a resposta direta para todos que denigrem Israel, sua cultura e sua religião; o judaísmo evoluiu.SHALOM.
Marina on September 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm (Reply)
You have really interesting blog, keep up posting such informative posts!
zayin on October 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm (Reply)
"Patrilineal descent and the general weakening of the bonds of family and community -- I don't see those as being among the upsides." To think that patrilineal descent is more weakening than matrilineal is crazy. They are equal, and any other skewed statistic out there I would bet has been twisted. Thousands of pat's consider themselves Jews and live as Jews on a daily basis, yet find themselves in the position of not being Jewish to the Jews around them while they are considered Jews by the gentiles around them. To say matrilineal is the way it has always been is for the non-critical thinker and denier of what science and history have proven. And to those who say "just convert," this has nothing to do with conversion. Many pat's feel as if converting is denying their ancestral heritage whose name they carry and with which they associate.

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