Making News This Morning

From The Jerusalem Post, Globes and Haaretz, respectively; on-point stories on our core themes.

Analysis: Misunderstanding the rich American uncle

American Jewish giving, like American philanthropy generally, is based on a culture of personal generosity that Israelis have never encountered and don’t understand. The American philanthropic industry is so large and sophisticated that an entire profession of highly-trained professionals, with advanced degrees in economics and management, exists to assist wealthy people (and literally thousands of American Jewish foundations) in giving away hundreds of billions of dollars each year in effective ways.

The Haaretz article Haviv refers to in his story is from May 12th: Let’s be done with all the Talanskys

Jerusalem is full of wheeler-dealers, functionaries, lobbyists, donors and philanthropists. There are rich men and middlemen, envoys and delegations, many of them with good intentions, but some without.

They wheedle and schnorr and contribute to various causes. It’s the kind of schnorring that begins with Shaare Zedek Medical Center and could end in court.

Knesset adopts tough anti-spam legislation

The Knesset yesterday passed in its second and third readings of a bill banning the sending of advertisements by SMS, e-mail, fax, and automatic dialing systems without the prior consent of the addressee.

and two very different articles on Birthright Israel:

Does Birthright Deliver?

Millions of dollars, thousands of participants… but it’s not clear that programs like Taglit-Birthright and MASA make the impact the founders intended.

We want the non-committed Jews

Free trips to Israel? That’s exactly what Taglit-Birthright Israel was born to provide, it appears. But program co-founder Charles R. Bronfman isn’t dismayed by the hordes of kids who see the program as a vehicle for a free vacation. On the contrary.

“I think that’s great. That’s our target market. We weren’t after the committed Jews. Nobody needs to use public money on people who are already committed,” he says gleefully. “The people we wanted were those who were not committed. The only thing that would get them to Israel is a free trip. Then Israel does its magic, and all of a sudden they change as human beings.”