It is with great sadness we inform our readers that Prof. Eliezer Jaffe, one of the founders of the Hebrew University School of Social Work and referred to by many as Israel’s Dean of Philanthropy, has passed away. He was 84.
The American born Jaffe initially came to Israel in 1957 as a volunteer in Jerusalem. He returned to the U.S. to complete his education, obtaining degrees in sociology, psychology, and criminology, and a doctorate in social work, and made aliyah in 1960 to be one of the founders of Israel’s first university school of social work, the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jaffe’s research has focused primarily on social services to children and families, ethnic stereotypes, and on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy in Israel. He has conducted research on culturally sensitive practice, ethnic stereotypes among Israelis and public access to information regarding nonprofit organizations in Israel.
He was the first Centraid-L. Jacques Menard Professor for the Study of Nonprofit Organizations, Volunteering and Philanthropy at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This is the only Chair on this subject at any university in Israel and is an important element of the Hebrew University’s Master’s degree program in Nonprofit Management, the first program of its kind in Israel.
Jaffe suggested the twinning concept in Project Renewal, whereby Jewish community federations worldwide and private philanthropists abroad link-up and twin directly in partnerships with specific disadvantaged neighborhoods in Israel. He has also written about how not to do urban renewal at the expense of residents in slum neighborhoods, using Yemin Moshe as a case in point.
In 1990, he founded The Israel Free Loan Association to provide interest free loans for new immigrants and other needy “working poor” Israelis.
In 2000, Professor Jaffe published a second edition of his book “Giving Wisely: The Israel Guide to Nonprofit and Volunteer Organizations.” This was followed shortly after with his book “Sources of Funding: The Israel Foundation Directory.” While working at the School of Social Work at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he conceptualized and created the website “Giving Wisely” that contained the content of both books and much additional material, in English and Hebrew. It contained nearly 30,000 full and partial profiles of Israeli nonprofit organizations and foundations. The site, Giving Wisely: The Internet Directory of Israeli Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations, was acclaimed by the Israeli and foreign media, donors and researchers in Israel and abroad, Israelis seeking services, and nonprofit organizations and foundations for contributing to the development and transparency of the Israeli nonprofit sector. After 11 years of private operation the website was closed in 2011 when its original goal was accomplished of having the government and private foundations create a permanent “GuideStar – Israel” website, bringing transparency to the Nonprofit Sector in Israel.
Baruch Dayan Emet; May his memory be a blessing.