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April 2012

Leonard Saxe
Leonard Saxe
Dear Friends,


Today concludes a special week that included  Yom Ha'Zikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut. The latter, Israel's Independence day, marks David Ben-Gurion's public reading, on May 14, 1948, of the Israel's Declaration of Independence. In Israel, it follows Yom Ha'Zikaron, a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Among Jewish communities in North America, Yom Ha'atzmaut has become an opportunity to celebrate Israel's accomplishments and promise.

It seems appropriate, therefore, to announce today the release of our new report examining an important facet of the American Jewish community's relationship to Israel: philanthropy.
The New Philanthropy: American Jewish Giving to Israeli Organizations was developed by Eric Fleisch and Ted Sasson and analyzes the growth in philanthropic support for Israeli non-profits over the past decade and a half. This is the first research of its kind to provide a comprehensive account (within the limits of the available data) of American Jewish giving in Israel. 

On another Israel-related front, I am also pleased to report that we have received extraordinary response to the conference we are hosting next month, Learning from Taglit-Birthright Israel: An Academic Symposium.  More than 40 leading scholars and educational practitioners from North America, Israel, and Europe will come to Boston, along with two dozen community and philanthropic leaders. A half dozen academic and research centers in the United States and Israel are co-sponsors, and we have received support from a dozen philanthropies and Jewish communal organizations. 

As always, I welcome your comments and questions. 

Best wishes,
Len signature  

Len Saxe

Director, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Reseach Institute at Brandeis University 

The New Philanthropy: 
American Jewish Giving to Israeli Organizations


The New Philanthropy

The first of its kind, this report draws on Internal Revenue Service documents to describe trends in American Jewish giving to Israeli organizations. Contrary to widespread belief, the authors find that American Jewish giving increased substantially during the past two decades, roughly doubling to just over $2 billion before the great recession. The authors attribute increased giving to improved fundraising practices and growth in the number and variety of organizations fundraising in the United States, from 265 in the late 1980s to 667 in 2010. The largest sums were raised by organizations in the Zionist, welfare, and general education categories, followed by organizations in the medical, religious education, and arts & culture categories. The smallest sums were raised by organizations that support politically charged causes on the left (e.g., democracy, human rights) and right (e.g., West Bank settlements). The authors conclude that trends point to a rapidly diversifying philanthropic field and to ongoing engagement of American Jews with Israel.


Read the report 


Note: The individual organizations are listed in the Appendix. We asking interested readers to help us by providing additions or corrections to this list of organizations. Please do so in the comment section of our blog found here.  

Volume 6, Issue 3
In This Issue
The New Philanthropy

Employment at CMJS  is currently seeking a Community Relations Manager to join the team and help bring JData to full national scale.,  a project of CMJS, aims to collect and make available high-quality data on the field of Jewish education in North America.

Visit the CMJS employment page for details.       



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Constructs is the e-newsletter of Brandeis University's Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies,   Steinhardt Social Research Institute, and  Fisher-Bernstein Institute