Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A very reasonable sounding terrible idea.

The Jerusalem Post Online
May 19, 2009 22:17 | Updated May 19, 2009 23:43
Right of Reply:
Collective action can make every philanthropic dollar effective

In their editorial entitled "Charity begins with priorities" (April 14), the editors of The Jerusalem Post suggest that the current economic climate requires the "rich" in our community to set aside their "philanthropic dalliances" in favor of funding communal needs determined by "collective decision-making." That certainly is one way to address the problem the Post describes as "too many organizations... and too much competition for resources" in American Jewish life.

Of course, what may appear to be a "dalliance" to one philanthropist may be a strategic focus of another. Rather than bemoan the breadth and depth of Jewish interests, Jewish expression and Jewish spirituality, those of us who care deeply about the future of the Jewish community should embrace the diversity of our interests and find ways to weave these various strands into a strong and rich tapestry. What is required to make that happen is collective action, not collective decision-making...

...Cooperation and collaboration are no longer sufficient by themselves; to borrow from Lee Iacocca, every responsible Jewish organization must lead, follow or get out of the way, either by closing their doors entirely or by finding ways to integrate their programs into stronger, more viable entities.

...Our community has long talked about greater cooperation and collaboration. Now, the time to act has arrived. Consolidation and collective action represent two approaches with the greatest potential to encourage Jewish life to flourish.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?

In real life, however, there are real concerns that consolidating charitable giving means putting more and more money into the hands of people who have no business with it - people who have no respect for basic human rights like freedom of religion, people who have a hidden agenda of intending to delegitimize non-chereidi sects of Judaism , people who are racist, or sexist, or have received absolutely no secular education in economics, geo-politics, real history, or business management.

Many such groups claim to have only the Jewish people's best interests at heart, but their definition of "Jewish" is discriminatory and their idea of "collaboration" is really more like empire-building - and let's not forget, "Them that hath the gold make the rules." For those of us opposed to many of their goals and teachings, having all charitable giving put under an umbrella of theirs simply means we will no long give to Jewish charities. I won't support them, directly or indirectly. I'll give all my tithes and charitable budget to secular organizations before I'll give one dime under the control of a Rabbinate that despises and denigrates everything that I and other intelligent, educated people hold dear.

And what will the funds go for once they have hold of it all? What will they fund and what will they starve of funds? I shudder to think.

And I can't be the only one who feels this way.

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