Moral capitalism and the collapse of Jabe

By Simon Rocker
February 15, 2012

It is ironic when Prime Minister David Cameron and others have been talking of the need for moral capitalism that the Jewish Association for Business Ethics has folded owing to lack of funds.

JABE successfully exported Jewish ideas on ethical practice to schools and offices well beyond the Jewish community.

It grew out of an initiative, Integrity in Action, which was launched in partnership with the Chief Rabbi’s Office. And therein lay the seeds of its downfall.

Because of the Chief Rabbi’s patronage, the only rabbis allowed to speak on JABE platforms were Orthodox. Eventually a number of leading backers such as Stephen Rubin, David Bernstein and Lloyd Dorfman resigned in 2006 in protest at this religious exclusivism.

The withdrawal of their support turns out to have been more costly than the charity could have foreseen at the time. Had Jabe operated on a cross-communal basis, it might have been better able to weather the current financial storm.


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