Jewish philanthropy is gradually shifting to serving non-Jews as well as Jews, reports Moment magazine (December). In the new landscape, American Jews and American Jewish organizations are funding “programs to eliminate suffering of all kinds in their own communities, donate to groups that protect the environment, and feed, clothe and find jobs for the poor all over the world.”
But the more significant shift is in the patterns of individual Jewish philanthropy. More wealthy Jews today give money to non-Jewish causes than to Jewish charities, according to a 2001 study conducted by the Institute for Jewish Community & Research.
Some find this drift away from giving strictly to Jewish causes troubling, believing that Jewish institutions may be hurt by the shift. But the change has been expected; as Jews become more assimilated , their philanthropy is assimilating as well, says Gary Tobin of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research. It is mostly the younger Jews who give to non-Jewish causes, but Tobin adds that since their average income is higher than other ethnic groups, many Jews can afford to donate to both Jewish and non-Jewish causes.
Two of the most popular Jewish philanthropies today are the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and Mazon, which deals with worldwide hunger.
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