Interesting article in Haaretz about declining levels of contribution, among younger Jews, to mainstream Jewish organizations.

The positive news is that donations are still going to other, smaller charities and therefore overall donations to the Jewish community are up. However, the structure of giving right now is centralized, and many organizations require the central organizations to keep funneling funds to them in order to survive.

It should be noted that some leaders of the Jewish community are already clamoring to keep more of the donations in the U.S and Canada, instead of continuing to send 50% of the annual total to Israel. This is a no-brainer, and needs to be implemented asap. For more on why, please see comment, #13 and view the link in there.

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themiddle

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  • Having had an Israeli friend of mine move last year from Canada to England she said the big difference so far in terms Jewish education is that in Canada is cost huge to send her son to Jewish day school, but in England it is completely covered! including the cab ride to the school since no buses run from her area!
    Colour me surprised that this is coming from a country that has been singled out for having such anti-semitic feelings.
    Why can’t we do the same here in Canada??

  • Um, because the Roman Catholic schools get all the funding and if the Jewish schools would receive some, they’d have to give it to everybody…

  • There was talk about this only two months ago in Quebec (didn’t we talk about this?). Apparently, the greek schools get 100% money, the Jews and every other private school does not.

    Anyways,
    the post is valid, except when the organization is ‘Israeli’ that decides to withhold money from Israeli itself. The JNF comes to mind in raking in about 45-50% on overhead (i.e. salaries). While I don’t deny that to raise money you need great minds and motivated people to stay dynamic and not get burnt out from basically begging day in day out, but I hear that recently JNF overseas wants to keep more money from going to Israel, and even decide where it should be spent instead of the main office.

    At this point, I think that they should stop calling themselves the JNF, stopping charging $10 a tree for a tree that won’t be planted, and call the kettle black.

  • Yes Josh, we had this discussion. I believe the Roman Catholic schools do get full funding but a couple of Greek schools got it recently. Then when they tried to give it to the Jewish schools, all hell broke loose.

  • Things have to get worse before they get better. The funding will shrink, and we’ll become more creative and, as a community, we’ll be forced to layoff excess staff, cut back on silly events catering to the top 2% of wealth in our communiites and use creativity to fund projects that worth funding.

  • that won’t happen Shtreimel. Those events that cater to the “top 2%” are the lubricant that creates the social interaction which promotes some of the giving. People get to know each other and participate more readily in various charities. Also, in my experience, these events tend to be cultural events created for the whole community bt where there may be an additional special event added for the patrons who give more.

    I’m also not so sure there is excess staff at these organizations. Most Jewish organizations I know are adequately staffed but with salaries that tend to be lower than in comparable positions in the corporate world or sometimes even in the non-profit world.

    I think at the very upper tiers of the largest organizations, you might find expenses that are high, but that relates also to the relationships some of these individuals have with benefactors. Nobody wants to have Abe Foxman earning less than a senior executive as a significant organization. The thinking is (and I’m not sure it’s wrong) that if you are good enough to be at a senior level, you should be compensated fairly.

    I’m not saying everybody is perfect, but the money is tight and used relatively efficiently at most organizations I know. The problems arise when there isn’t enough of it to spread around. The Jewish community is sending half its revenues at the mainstream organizations to Israel instead of keeping it here. That is definitely a problem for North American Jews, although it is obviously a blessing for the Israelis. I have no idea about the efficiency of organizations in Israel like the JNF or others.

  • Instead of bad-mouthing the Quebec or Canadian governments – why not first understand what it means when they say that Jewish education is free in England. Yes- it’s free. But the schools are for anyone, e.g. not only for Jews (for instance in Liverpool, more than 50% of the Jewish day school students are not and have no affiliations whatsoever to Judaism). and Yes – it’s free, but they have to follow state curriculum, so they don’t learn more than 5 hours of Hebrew a week and the same for other Jewish studies. so yes -it’s free, but the only thing that makes it a Jewish school, is that your classmates are Jewish and that most of your Judaic studies teachers are Jewish. Is that what we want in Canada? Well… it’s not what I want. I send my children to school to get a Jewish education, and not only to be in a Jewish environment.

  • GF: The situation in Liverpool is nothing compared to what would have happenned in Montreal had the Quebec govt. kicked in the extra $2000 per student to bring their funding on par with that of public schools. The schools already follow a govt. approved curriculum while still maintaining proper Jewish educational standards. Having said that, the govt. announcing that they were going to kick in the extra cash and then turning around and caving in to pressure from unions etc? Very unimpressive and weak.

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