Kevah Receives Major Grant to Fund Educators and Young Adult Learning Groups

Kevah - an organization empowering individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities - has received a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, which focuses on creating effective and compelling Jewish learning experiences for youth and young adults in the United States. “The Jim Joseph Foundation was an early champion of Kevah’s grassroots approach to organizing and supporting ongoing Jewish learning experiences for adults. This new grant will allow us to strengthen and expand our current work as we prepare to bring the Kevah model to additional communities” said Kevah’s Executive Director Sara Bamberger. Kevah plans to expand from 50 to 125 adult Jewish study groups over the next three years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Denver. Kevah was … [Read more...]

#GivingTuesday and The Shmita Year

Kibbutz Lavi, near the Sea of Galilee, preparing for the shmita year. Photo courtesy Kibbutz Lavie.

By David Eisner We have reached an exciting time of the year. The air has turned crisp and the leaves vibrant shades of red and yellow. The holiday season, with its family gatherings and festive mood, is just around the corner. For many, the old song’s adage rings true: “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But in today’s busy world, with its onslaught of advertisements blaring messages of consumption from all corners, it can be all too easy to lose touch with the season’s deeper meanings. It is all too easy to forget to stop, truly give thanks and, most importantly, to give back. At Repair the World, we work to make giving back a defining part of American Jewish life. We aim to inspire people in the Jewish community and beyond to make service to others a priority in their lives. Our … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday & The Morning After


By Avrum Lapin As we approach and are guided by the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, and Giving Tuesday to follow, I am struck by the many things that we as Jewish leaders might be thankful for and the “arrows” we have in our “quivers.” We have power; we have opportunity; we have resources; and we have the capacity to touch and to improve the lives of so many. … [Read more...]

Transitioning Legacy: Maintaining Philanthropic Tradition During and After Spend Down


By Nancy Rosenfeld The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies is not the only time limited foundation within the Bronfman families’ philanthropy. The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation (SSBFF) was established in 1952 by Sam and Saidye Bronfman in their hometown of Montreal. While this family foundation no longer has living donors, each of their four children has sat on its Board of Directors at one point. Today, third generation family members living in Montreal and the United States who have some separate as well as common interests also sit on the board. This board encourages collaboration among all of its members. Even though many have set up their own vehicles for giving, their involvement on the board of SSBFF has offered them the opportunity to learn together, bringing their … [Read more...]

Jim Joseph Foundation Awards $5.25m in Grants


The San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation has announced grant awards from its Fall 2014 Board meeting, totaling more than $5 million to a variety of Jewish education organizations. Grants were awarded to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, American Institutes for Research, Birthright Israel Foundation, and Kevah. The Foundation focuses on creating effective and compelling Jewish learning experiences for youth and young adults (primarily ages 13-30) in the United States. A full breakdown of the Foundation’s grants can be found in its portfolio analysis. Details of Major Grants from Fall 2014 Board Meeting: Contemporary Jewish Museum: Innovation Fund 2.0 (2014-2018) Total Awarded: Up to $1,200,000 Purpose: Innovation Fund 2.0 will support creative, cultural exhibitions in the San Francisco … [Read more...]

It’s Okay to Seek Credit for Giving: Now Give And Go and Study!

tzedakah_giving tree

Tzedekah, Philanthropy and Giving in America Part 2 of 2 By Robert Evans and Bryan Schwartzman Most major donors are looking for some type of recognition for their generosity, but many feel guilty about their desire, perhaps their need, for public kudos. However, our ancient sages understood that people often do the right thing for a complex mix of selfish and altruistic reasons. Giving for the right reasons is not necessarily juxtaposed with giving for the wrong reasons. From the Mishnah to Maimonides, classic Jewish sources pay a great deal of the attention to the role that ego plays in philanthropy. Yes, donor recognition has a basis in Judaism. The key, for many people with means, is to direct their ambition and desire for public recognition for good rather than for ill. Remember the … [Read more...]

#GivingTuesday: Advancing a Global Movement for Giving Back

By Daphne Lazar-Price #GivingTuesday is brilliant in its simplicity. Who doesn’t want to do good? And who doesn’t want to encourage others to do the same? Many of us already have the language, skills and tools to make #GivingTuesday a force for tzedakah in our communities. All you have to do is find a way for your family, community, company or organization to come together to give something back - but, sometimes, people don’t know where to start. As development director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, I feel privileged to do my work. Whether I am connecting with a long-time funder or acquiring a new donor, helping people channel their finances and resources to reflect their moral values is as gratifying as it gets - both for the patron and the organization. And yet, never … [Read more...]

#GivingTuesday and the Tradition of Tikkun Olam

Giving Tuesday for posts

#Giving Tuesday challenges every presumption about the inherent selfishness of human nature and provides us the power not only to make a difference but to change and repair this world. By Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein Most acculturated Jews may never have known and might even deny that the idea of the Messiah (Mashiach, literally “anointed one”) is a firm integral part of Jewish tradition. The established presumptuous vision in our texts is that there could be a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prediction that “the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the lion will lie down with the kid.” Above all the coming of the Mashiach, an inherently miraculous event, would usher in an age defined by world peace. Jews would be gathered from the four concerns of the earth and returned to Israel. The strict … [Read more...]