Lucette Lugnado: When the Big Spenders Fail, Who Will Save Jewish Charity?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Back then, instead of relying on a few megadonors, the Jewish community relied on donors like my dad. He favored charities in Jerusalem, and regularly would dispense two-figure checks of $10 or $20 to his pet causes -- orphanages, trade schools, even a bride's fund designed to help orphaned girls obtain wedding dresses and veils for their big day.

It would be lovely to see the return of little checks -- the donations everyone could afford to give and often did. Neither they nor the pushkes require the fund-raising galas and the elaborate administrative structures that have become the norm across the Jewish charitable world.

Some Jewish leaders may blanch at my words. Prof. Wertheimer notes that "Jewish organizational life has become much more expensive -- nickels, dimes and pushkes aren't going to do it." Though Mr. Kane at the UJA and others now hint at new strategies to broaden the donor base, some Jewish leaders are ready to return to business as usual, sending the message that we must get in some big checks to replace the money that was lost. But this scandal makes me wish we could remember the values of our shtetl and think small again.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyStock MarketBernard Madoff Scandal* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted December 27, 2008 at 3:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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