The Involvement of the Youth in Jewish Philanthropy

Posted on October 4, 2011

     Rachel Levenson, in her article on titled “Shattering Stereotypes: The Newest Philanthropists,” raises the point that philanthropy in the Jewish community is “typically operated like a club reserved for an elite group of people with money.”  This bothers Levenson because not everyone in the Jewish community is a wealthy donor who is at the top of the calling list at a federation.  Young adults also have a responsibility to give tzedakah which “as Moses reminds us, is a commandment required of all Jews.”  She makes the argument that the youth will bring a fresh outlook to the world of philanthropy providing the “new thinking and strong leadership” that comes with their excitement to become involved in a worthy cause.  Anybody can make a positive difference in their community and  the amount of money one has is no factor in that difference.  Energetic and eager to help, the youth of today want to reach out and are looking for ways of doing so regardless of their financial standing.  Areyvut aims to do as this article suggests, “striv[ing] to infuse Jewish values into our giving – to create an effective, consensus-driven decision-making process, and to choose how to commit our limited time and resources to tikkun olam.”  The youth we work with are excited about their mitzvah projects and one project often inspires another not only by them, but by their friends and family who witness or take part in that project.  It’s exciting to see others recognizing the power the youth have and we look forward to working with more driven teens and young adults in the days and years to come!

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