As My Ancestors Planted For Me Before I Was Born…

phil-tree-planting-big-2…so do I plant for those who come after me (Ta-anit 23a).

Two years, 1700 posts; thousands of opt-in subscibers and hundreds of thousands of site visitors later. eJewish Philanthropy has accomplished a great deal. But, there is so much more for all of us to do.

As we begin year three, it is a time for reflection but also to look forward.

Originally “envisioned as a Web 2.0 resource that would provide nonprofit management tools geared to ‘young’ and ‘small’ Jewish organizations”, we have grown into so much more.

We are extremely grateful to the numerous members of our communal world who have volunteered their time sharing content, and advice, with us. We are grateful to the many organizations and academic institutions that have graciously extended access and connected us to their communities. And most of all, we are grateful to all our visitors, whether online or just through our newsletters, who continue to visit on a regular basis and allow us to grow, month after month.

The past twelve months have been difficult for a great many in our communal world. Many organizations have been forced to reduce budgets and some are just hanging on. Far to many talented and valued professionals have lost positions as our institutions shrink. Meaningful programs have been scaled back. Life as we knew it, pre Fall 2008, is probably not coming back. But as 5770 begins, all of us need to look forward. We must consider the glass half full, not half empty. Yes, we may have fewer resources but we need to accept this new reality and forge new paths. We must not become complacent and we must not be afraid to embrace the future and move forward. Scary? Perhaps; but we really have no alternative.

Several of our institutions, including UJC/Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, have new senior leadership. It is likely several other high profile organizations will also see changes in the next few years. For all of these leaders, we will set the bar extremely high. Yes, all have real challenges ahead of them, but also real opportunity to remake their organizations and our communal world.

We too are moving forward as 5770 begins. We have significantly increased the number of individuals who will be contributing to eJewish Philanthropy as both regular, and guest, contributors.

We will dig deeper into the global world of communal innovation and the individuals driving momentum. We will begin to explore the contemporary Jewish worlds of the EU countries along with those of the FSU.

We will continue to highlight the news, introduce you to new resources and bring you thought pieces on issues facing our Jewish philanthropic world.

We will challenge the status quo, strive to create dialogue and advance the conversation.

We will introduce new products and new methods of content delivery – all with the goal of assisting organizations acquire the tools to help them flourish.

And, we will have an especially warm welcome for the many members of the NowGen, mostly under 35, who will be sharing their thoughts with us on an ongoing basis.

What began as the genesis of an idea, assisting Anglo-Israeli non-profits enhance their mission through the strategic use of the Internet, has taken on a powerful life of its own.

And now, today,

all of us, acting together and individually, have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new infrastructure of Jewish life.

Let’s not waste it.

“As my ancestors planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who come after me.”

The seeds for eJewish Philanthropy were planted in 2005 as a result of the AFP International Conference in Baltimore. Two years of planning, research and conversation followed with launch timed to coincide with the 2007 Nashville GA. Dan Brown, eJP’s founder, currently serves as managing editor.