Why Should We Care?

Over the past year or so, we’ve often written about the projects and the people, connected to the PresenTense network. Most of the stories have centered around their flagship fellowship program that takes place here in Jerusalem each summer. However, before there was a summer institute, there was PresenTense Magazine. Like eJewish Philanthropy, the magazine is as an all volunteer effort; and one that “provides a nurturing environment where Jewish youth are able to explore and enrich their Jewish identity within a pioneering framework.”

Their most recent issue deals with Philanthropy; currently at the printers it will be available shortly. Some of the questions the issue addresses are: what is the point of volunteering for non-Jews? Is the Jewish Philanthropic establishment relevant anymore? What is a giving circle? What is wrong with the Israel-America philanthropic relationship?

We are grateful to the PresenTense editors for permitting eJewish Philanthropy to share this issue with our readers. We also encourage you to share the various articles with your colleagues and friends (each one has a link so you may email) and then begin a dialogue right here in the comment section that follows every post. And, of course, please consider a subscription (through the link at the bottom) and help support the work we all benefit from.

It is our pleasure to welcome this new generation of pioneers and innovators.

We begin today with an editorial from the PresenTense Group.

PT9 coverWhy should young Jews today care about philanthropy? Ours is an entitled generation, secure in our opportunities, enticed along a Jewish journey sweetened by free trips to Israel, social ‘engagement’ programs, lavish leadership conferences, and more. Yet in the world after Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and its decimation of even established philanthropies, and after the general crumbling of the economy this past year, it is time we question whether our society truly is secure. We now have to come to terms with questions concerning the Jewish community’s responsibilities and priorities. In a world where every good idea can no longer be funded, which visions for a Jewish future will be pursued?

Philanthropy is not only a field important to the Jewish world in its own right – it is a fascinating predictor and perpetrator of our concerns, trends, and passions – perhaps even of what’s coming next for the Jewish People.

As such, we at PresenTense felt philanthropy was a topic worthy of exploration this issue – our tenth in print. We developed a new process to facilitate conversation on new ideas in philanthropy, as well as foster connections and discussion on emerging trends between innovators in the same field. We identified young, innovative experts currently engaged in changing the field, and this issue is the product of their guidance and the new trends they have identified. We paired them with PresenTense writers passionate about exploring these topics and editors to help them flesh out their ideas. In doing so, we seek to bring you cutting edge thinking from experts in the field, while we continue to lower the barrier to entry for young Jews into the global conversation on Jewish identity and innovation in the digital age.

We learned that the trends in philanthropy affect trends across the board – and that philanthropy itself is strongly affected by general social trends. Ours is the generation that has been empowered by the democratization that came with the digital age and rise of grassroots, peer-led groups. We value individualism and the ability to tout the specific causes that speak to us, no matter where they originated in our globalized world. Confident, tech-savvy, and filled with new ideas, we have taken Jewish communal matters into our own hands through grassroots organizing, starting new initiatives, and becoming leaders. The philanthropic world has taken note of these trends and capitalized on them.

PresenTense furthers a global marketplace of ideas that inspires and supports young Jews, enabling them to become the next generation of Jewish pioneers. It is our goal to facilitate ongoing conversations that will generate ideas, ultimately leading to actions that can change the world. Whether your field is philanthropy or education, new media or the environment – whether you are an innovator, or a creative individual looking to learn more, we hope that you will join our community and gain the support you need to broadcast your ideas to the world. Just tell us how you would like to get involved by emailing contact@presentense.org.

This post is from the just-released PresenTense Philanthropy issue; you can also subscribe to PresenTense Magazine and receive this, and future issues, delivered directly to you.