Jewish Philanthropy: A Family Affair?

By LuAnne Tyzzer

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), April 2012

As this case study’s title suggests, “Jewish Philanthropy: A Family Affair?” a prime goal of this paper is to better understand how the value of tzedakah is transmitted between parents and children. The paper looks at how parents of religious school children in an LA Reform congregation understood tzedakah when they were growing up; how they experience tzedakah as adults with children of their own; how they give; where they give; and to what degree they involve their children in their giving. The results of this study are intended to inform a family education curriculum on the subject of tzedakah.

Supported by scholarly articles and opinion pieces, the study consisted of extensive interviews with ten religious school parents of a large and historic Los Angeles Reform congregation. Study findings reveal the following realities are prevalent amongst religious school parents:

  1. Religious school parents engage with philanthropy, but lack connection to the Jewish values and sense of responsibility that makes for tzedakah.
  2. On average, these Jewish parents do not have established plans for giving nor do they have a rationale for their gifts.
  3. Family education about tzedakah would effectively inform Jews of all ages about Jewish giving and, if given the opportunity to engage in tzedakah, they would do so.

Based on current trends in Jewish philanthropy and religious school parents’ interview responses, which largely reflect those trends, a family education program on tzedakah is recommended.

Topic: Tzedakah (Charity), Philanthropy and Fundraising, Development, Charitable Giving, Fundraising and Philanthropy, Family

Name of Publication: HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses

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Genre: Thesis

Coverage: Los Angeles, California

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

Copyright Information: Download for personal use only.

Bibliographic Information:
Tyzzer, LuAnne. Jewish Philanthropy: A Family Affair?. HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). April 2012:


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