Jewish Literacy Empowers Jewish Action

by Dr. Marc Kramer There is a famous argument in the Talmud over which takes precedence, Jewish learning or Jewish action: Rabbi Tarfon and some elders were reclining in an upper chamber in the house of Nitza in Lod when this question came up: Which is greater, study or action? Rabbi Tarfon spoke up and said: Action is greater. Rabbi Akiva spoke up and said: Study is greater. The others then spoke up and said: Study is greater because it leads to action. (Kiddushin 40b) Learning is great because it leads to action - this is the consensus reached. Action without learning is blind, impulsive; learning without action is impotent. Only when learning and action inform each other are both nourished and replenished, creative and dynamic. As modern research consistently shows, “service learning” - … [Read more...]

The Israeli Spirit and Style of Corporate Giving

[This article is part of an overview on Philanthropy in Israel today.] by Frayda Leibtag In the first half of the twentieth century, before Israel was home to philanthropists and a plethora of nonprofit organizations, halutzim, pioneers, were the ultimate representation of commitment to the State of Israel. With blood, sweat and tears, they did the arduous and grimy work of building a state by ploughing fields, drying swamps and defending outposts. This Israeli ideal of getting involved on the front lines in a very hands-on way persists in the way that Israeli corporations are choosing to give back to society. Israeli companies are not just writing checks. They are inviting students into their offices and factories, volunteering in fields and classrooms and working to create a better future … [Read more...]

The MiNYanim Multiplier Effect: Making a Difference in Eastern Europe

Minyanim 2013

If you invest in ten people in one community and these ten people reach out another 100, you will soon reach 1,000 or more people. by Abigail Pickus Tamás (Tomi) Buchler is a 30-year-old Hungarian Jew who has been a leading force in what can only be described as a renaissance in Jewish life throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Born and raised in Budapest, his story is “a bit different from the typical Jewish Hungarian narrative.” … [Read more...]

Are Investments in Experiential Jewish Education for Teens Worthwhile?

by Sally Gottesman Dr. Amy Sales, associate director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, recently wrote an insightful piece for that should serve as a wake-up call to all those who fund or run informal education programs. “The research on goals in experiential Jewish education,” Sales writes, “shows a strikingly low priority placed on Jewish subject matter.” Sales goes on to say that “it is possible that the current low priority of Jewish subject matter in experiential Jewish education is a result of this shift from education to engagement.” If you find yourself reading this and questioning whether a shift to experiential Jewish education is a good thing for the future of the Jewish people, then you are asking what we at Moving … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Moscow Kicks Off Tomorrow

Moscow, Russia, April 123 - Over 1,000 Jewish participants, mainly from across Russia, will gather in Moscow, tomorrow through Sunday, for the Limmud FSU Moscow conference. Limmud FSU Moscow is considered the largest Jewish gathering in the former Soviet Union. Limmud FSU conferences are also considered to be among the leading Jewish cultural events in the FSU, and provide a festival of Jewish learning featuring lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, music and a wide-range of cultural events in Russian, English and Hebrew. This year will mark the ninth Limmud FSU Moscow event, organized entirely by a local team of volunteers in what is the biggest Jewish community in the FSU. The conference will feature more than 180 sessions covering topics such as Judaism, Jewish culture in all its … [Read more...]