Cost of (Jewish) living


By Geoffrey Paul
January 11, 2010
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My old friend and colleague Gary Rosenblatt, who is editor and publisher of undoubtedly the best Jewish newspaper in the US, the New York Jewish Week, has struck a number of chords with his recall that a 60-year old report into Jewish defence agencies - like the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee - recommended a number of mergers for reasons of communal sense and communal economy. As Gary notes, nothing came of the extensive study, and it has remained a footnote of 20th-century American Jewish life. But, as he also observes, even after all this time, there is much in the report that is eerily relevant, from the charges of excessive duplication and waste, to the insistence by each of the national organisations that its work is unique and cannot be consolidated or shared, and that fundraising cannot be pooled. At this time of financial stress, does this ring any bells for you? I am not going to point the finger but, if you can get access to a current Jewish Year Book, have a little fun noting where there could be mergers which would benefit the community both organisationally and financially. And, if you wish, tell me what you find and I may return to this topic with your suggestions.

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moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 22:25

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An excellent point, well made: For a start, why are there so many charities dealing with care issues. Would it not make sense to have a single care organisation incorporating Jewish Care, the Jewish Blind Society, Jewish Childs' Day, the Association of Jewish Refugees, all the synagogal welfare groups irrespective of denomination etc etc etc?
Then there's the organisations that deal with helping Jews abroad (although in this day an age surely there's a case for aniyeh irchah kodmim - the poor of your city come first), including the Israel charities. Surely one central one is sufficient? How about one central "Friends of..." charity to help all Israeli hospitals and academic institutions?

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