On “Activism in Challenging Times”

By Russel Neiss Like many others who read eJPhil, I am both aware and so thoroughly appreciative of the work of Lynn Schusterman as an individual, and in her role as the Founder and Co-Chair of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the amazing work that she has helped support in the Jewish and broader community. Which was one of the reasons I was quite surprised and saddened to read Ms. Schusterman's piece in Sunday's eJPhil advocating for a cancellation of the Metropolitan Opera's performance of The Death of Klinghoffer writing that it, "presents a singular viewpoint about a horrific act of terrorism, contains language that can only be described as anti-Semitic and goes so far as to imply moral equivalence between the Nazis and Jews." … [Read more...]

Activism in Challenging Times

Our mark on the world will be characterized not just by what we stand against but also by what we stand for. By Lynn Schusterman Over the past month, we have celebrated the start to the Jewish new year and the series of holidays that includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah. This year, I find myself even more reflective than usual, following a summer of great pain and turmoil and in the face of ongoing global challenges. What I have always loved about these holidays is that while they invite intensely personal moments of reflection and atonement, we are expected to celebrate them as a community. Together, we are reminded of the fragility of life. Together we are reminded of all for which we must be thankful. Together we are reminded of how we, as individuals and as a … [Read more...]

Hope in Hannover

Hope in Hanover

By Evie Rotstein, Ed.D. In response to the raging anti-Semitic demonstrations throughout Europe this past summer, a respectable crowd of 5,000 gathered in Berlin, on September 14th, to demonstrate their support to fight a resurgence of the hatred that had almost wiped out Jewish life in Germany during the Nazi era. Many applauded when Chancellor Merkel said: “Jewish life is our life. It is part of our identity.” Earlier in the summer, two hundred and fifty kilometers west of Berlin, in the city of Hannover, my family, along with 17 other Holocaust survivors and their families, were guests of the city, for a week of dedication and remembrance. They came from the US, Israel, England and Argentina. Their story is very much a part of the German story that Merkel referenced. Mr Hauke Jagau, the … [Read more...]

Who Will You Be Welcoming Into Your Sukkah?

The very people who are reading and talking about the Pew study are by in large, the people who are already engaged and not the ones that we need to try and be reaching. By Sam Aboudara On Sukkot, we remember the several decades that the Israelites spent journeying through a hostile environment in search of a promised land that they believed to exist at the end of their travels. During this time, our ancestors took shelter in temporary dwellings. Essentially, the Jews experienced homelessness. Only a short few weeks after Sukkot ends, we read Parashat Vayera, in which we see evidence of Abraham’s hospitable nature as he welcomes in three traveling guests, who for all purposes are complete strangers. Not only welcoming them into his tent, Abraham rushes to their beck and call, involves his … [Read more...]

You Are What You Eat

By Rabbi Daniel S. Horwitz There’s lots of talk these days about “Jewish identity building” for millenials. While “Jewish identity” is itself a buzzword, assuming that the eJP readership is already familiar with / well versed on why Jewish identity development is deemed critical for the continuity and wellbeing of the Jewish people, I’d like to make an observation. I think it’s safe to say that one of the ways Jewish organizations strive to help non-Orthodox millenials develop their Jewish identities is by encouraging them to view their lives and experiences through a Jewish lens. For some, this actually means helping Jewish millenials view their existing routines and activities as reflections of their Jewish selves. For example, Repair The World in its June 2011 report titled “Volunteering … [Read more...]

Comment on The America Gives More Act

By Elana Maryles Sztokman, PhD This week, The New York Times ran a rather aggravating op-ed about Foundations and the Congressional efforts underway to get them to actually give more charity. It seems that many foundations just barely spend the 5% of assets required by law to maintain their foundation status, and that 5% includes spending on administrative expenses such as salaries and overhead. The bill before Congress would give extra benefits to foundations that give away more than 6% - that is, they would get to pay 1% tax instead of 2% tax. The reasons why this op-ed was so annoying are twofold. For one thing, it highlights the painfully widening wealth disparities between those donating to organizations and those doing the work of the organizations. If foundations are sitting on such … [Read more...]

If It’s Good for Buffett and Gates, It’s Good for the Jewish Community

By Stephen G. Donshik Several weeks ago I watched the most amazing interview with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on the CBS news magazine program, 60 Minutes. Many of you may have seen it as well. While watching it I immediately thought of Jewish philanthropists who contribute and support nonprofit organizations in their local communities and in Israel. In the TV interview, Buffett and Gates delivered two major messages to philanthropists and donors. … [Read more...]

Good News for the Jews: It’s Time to Embed

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By Aliza Mazor The recent announcement (eJewish Philanthropy 9/30/14) by Project Zug and Mechon Hadar that they will join forces to exponentially expand the number of Jews around the globe engaged in on-line hevruta (partner) study is good news for all of us - especially those of us who keep a close eye Jewish innovation. … [Read more...]