Giving Priority to the Jewish People

By Jack Wertheimer

The Jewish Peoplehood Hub, November 2010

The author speaks out against what he sees as an over-emphasis today on Jews helping and serving "others" instead of their fellow Jews. He argues that before they invest even more funding and direct still more volunteers to nonsectarian causes, Jewish philanthropists should consider a different path. Think of what they could do for the cause of Jewish literacy by creating a Jewish Teach for America. Such a program would serve the dual purpose of deepening the Judaic knowledge of volunteers, while simultaneously directing much needed personnel to the understaffed field of Jewish education. Philanthropists could also create a Jewish Service Corps with the mission of sending volunteers to Jewish communities in the United States and around the world where poverty, inadequate Jewish education, and social problems exist. Imagine what several thousand dedicated volunteers serving in Jewish educational and social-service institutions for two years might do to lessen the two-fold crises of affordability faced by families and understaffing afflicting most major agencies. New initiatives might also strive self-consciously to teach Jews what they need to know, not only what they want to hear. They could begin by explaining that Jews, too, suffer from poverty and illiteracy.

Topic: Peoplehood, Communal Responsibility, Sectarianism, Jewish Communal Service, Education, Poverty, Community Relations, Service, Jewish Literacy

Name of Publication: The Peoplehood Papers

Editor: Ravid, Shlomi

Volume/Issue: Volume 6

Page Number(s): 13-15

Funder: Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) , Nadav Fund , UJA-Federation of New York

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Genre: Essay

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Wertheimer, Jack. Giving Priority to the Jewish People. The Peoplehood Papers. The Jewish Peoplehood Hub. November 2010: 13-15.


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