NewsBits: Around the Jewish Web

new-website-iconA somewhat eclectic selection of articles all touching on the world of Jewish philanthropy – all with the common theme of how the economic crisis is effecting our community.

both from the LA Jewish Journal:

AJCongress Closes L.A. Office

The American Jewish Congress closed its Los Angeles office this month. The move was part of massive reorganizing and staff reductions spurred by the Bernard Madoff investment scandal, which reportedly cost the 91-year-old AJCongress $21 million of its $24 million in endowments supporting programs in the United States and Israel.

Jews Can Find Similarities in Current Crisis, Depression

The Bernard Madoff scandal does not represent the first time that American Jews and their institutions needed to confront such financial challenges. (An insightful post by Steven Windmueller dean of the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College.)

from The LA Times:

Alleged Madoff victims may be vulnerable to other victims’ claims

Those who profited before suffering losses — including retirees and charities — could be hit with demands to give back cash in a settlement.

both from The Forward:

Hebrew College’s Big Plans Yield Big Debts

…Hebrew College is fighting for its life. The school owes tens of millions of dollars and has spent the past two years slashing expenses and staff. With the economy in shambles and fundraising sluggish, the next couple of years may determine whether Hebrew College and other schools like it have any future at all.

Board Fight, Staff Cuts at Yiddish Center

Following other Jewish organizations that have made cutbacks, YIVO this month fired five staff members. Among those laid off at YIVO, the vaunted champion of Yiddish culture, was the sole employee who knew how to type and edit documents in Yiddish. In addition to the layoffs, three members of YIVO’s board of directors resigned.

The problems at YIVO, one of the largest libraries and archives of Yiddish material in the world, are connected to the stock market dive, and the drying up of donor funds.

from The New York Jewish Week:

Not Your Grandparents’ HIAS

Should the Jewish community fund an organization, even modestly, whose central business is at present largely outside that community? Could the money granted to HIAS be better used by earmarking it for Jewish education or helping poor Jews? Can Jews be expected to take care of the world’s refugees?

Start And Stop For Jewish Startups?

More on the recently released 2008 Survey of New Jewish Organizations