JPost Editorial: Jewish giving is about setting priorities

In reaction to budget cuts at federations and the UJC, the Jerusalem Post says in an editorial that the Jewish philanthropic world has to get its priorities straight.

The general sentiment is that the community is stretched thin in the pocket right now because Americans need to balance domestic and overseas needs and poverty and social issues with peoplehood and continuity issues.

Cash is down but needs are high.

Nursery tuition at a middle class Manhattan Jewish day school runs $23,875. New York’s Jewish Week reported that financial aid requests from parents are soaring.

In addition to providing programming for middle class people hard hit by the recession, federations continue to look after the less well off. Roughly 15-20% of the US Jewish population lives below the federal poverty level.

The community could once count on government to carry the bulk of the burden for responsibilities such as operating nursing homes. But US municipalities and states have had to cut their allocations and the federal stimulus package will not cover the entire shortfall.ve had to cut their allocations and the federal stimulus package will not cover the entire shortfall.

You’ll have to read the whole thing at the JPost, but I agree with their punchline:


In order for money to go where the community most needs it, Jewish benefactors ought to do a better job of communicating, coordinating and networking. This may require a willingness to partner with existing philanthropic structures.

Capital is accumulated in the free market, but prioritizing Jewish communal needs necessarily involves an element of collective decision-making.

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