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We must Rethink War-Time Diaspora Jewish Philanthropy

In these turbulent times, the war in Israel is not just reshaping Israel but is also having a profound impact on Jewish communities worldwide. The ripple effects are undeniable, and they are poised to reshape Jewish life in the diaspora in more ways than one.

The patriotic surge in Israel and the communal support surrounding the conflict are reminiscent of the mobilization of the global Jewish community during the Yom Kippur War. The sense of shared destiny is a testament to the enduring bond that connects Jews around the world.

One of the central expressions of this solidarity is the significant financial support pouring into Israel. Communities worldwide are mobilizing, raising millions of dollars in aid.

 

This joins significant contributions and volunteerism within Israeli society, which marks a historic peak of social solidarity. This remarkable display of unity is especially noteworthy considering the deep polarization within Israeli society of the past year, and the gap between some within American Jewry and Israel. 

 

However, philanthropy under a sense of urgency and threat, even though filled with the best intentions, doesn’t always lead to the best allocation of resources. Some reports on the current Israeli and Diaspora philentropy suggest some of the equipment, services and goods were not utilized optimally. 

 

As we move forward, philanthropy must evolve beyond immediate humanitarian aid and address the medium and long term effects of the war. It should become more strategic, addressing societal needs such as education, employment, housing, infrastructure, and community building for the displaced.


Jewish communities have successfully raised substantial funds primarily from the US and Canada, often relying on existing Jewish organizational structures and international networks. As philanthropy takes on a more strategic role, and as the Israeli philentropy is devoted primarily to urging war issues and does not have a long legacy to hang on,  global Jewry can play a pivotal role in shaping this evolution

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