Helen Chernikoff's blog

Slump in Charitable Giving Could Last Until 2022

 

The continued softness in charitable giving is hitting synagogues especially hard, and non-profits in general are facing a slog back toward recovery from recession that could take as long as a decade.

2011 donations were almost flat

Oy, Sonja.

Once upon a time – about seven months ago – in a land far, far away (Sweden), where there aren’t many Jews, the government decided for PR purposes to give a different citizen control over its Twitter account every week, the only real requirement being that the Twitterer tweet in English.

The idea was that the tweets would naturally broadcast the essence of Sweden as it conceives of itself: open, creative, progressive, eclectic.

@Sweden/Sonja

Chipping Away at a Sense of Connection to Israel

Last week, we learned that Jewish extremists vandalized – and in parts destroyed – a 1,600-year-old mosaic in Israel’s Hamat Tiberias Synagogue.

“The damage is widespread … Some of the damage is irreversible,” said Shaul Goldstein, executive director of the Nature and Parks Authority, quoted in the Times of Israel.

Hamat Tiberias Synagogue's mosiac

A Navi Chai in Moab (Utah)

It’s easy to venerate our prophets, harder to relate to them. They were noble, and they were also cranky, dirty and solitary; strange things to be in our scrubbed, relentlessly social world. This seeming eccentricity gives us reason, if we want it, to avoid their message. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want it? Even thinking about them too much, much less emulating them, is uncomfortable.

Where prophets walk, and run.

Cate Upham, Née Edwards: Ayshet Chayil

In Jewish tradition, we think of an Ayshet Chayil, or woman of valor, as a wife:

A woman of valor who can find?


She is more precious than rubies.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,


And because of her he lacks nothing.

I want to make a pitch today to expand our definition to include daughters in tribute to the heroism of Cate Upham, 30, daughter of disgraced politician John Edwards. (She married in 2011.)

Daughter of Jephtah

Sendak's Legacy: Love and Art

Maurice Sendak was justly celebrated this week, as the many people who cherished his books poured out their appreciation and grief.

Maurice Sendak

Funny: Yarmulke. Sad: The Jewish Drawer

In watching and enjoying the oeuvre of Jewish Hollywood juggernaut Judd Apatow -- the "40-Year-Old-Virgin," "Knocked Up," "Bridesmaids" -- I have noticed that the romantic connection of a Jewish man to a woman who isn’t Jewish is a kind of recurring motif. Sometimes it’s implicit; sometimes it’s mined for its comic value.

Judd Apatow

A Jewish Giving Pledge?

 

Edgar Bronfman, the funder behind the Samuel Bronfman Foundation (named for his father) last week signed Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge” by which he committed to giving away more than half of his wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations, either during his lifetime, or in his will.

Who Is ... um ... French?

 

The French have given the world many amazing things – existentialisme, brie, Burgundy.

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