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Bring Tzedakah to Life With Where Do You Give?

It’s easy to bring tzedakah to life in your community with Where Do You Give?

• Our innovative, FREE tzedakah curriculum gives you the tools you need to create lasting change, by empowering your community to claim their own tzedakah priorities in connection with contemporary issues of... Read more

Hillel’s Ask Big Questions asks: Where Do You Give?

We are thrilled to announce that Ask Big Questions, an initiative of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, has chosen Where Do You Give? as their “Big Question” for the month of December!

Ask Big Questions is built on the premise that we can change the world through better... Read more

Chanukah is coming!

Chanukah is right around the corner - are you ready to give?

No, we don’t mean presents. This year, how about dedicating one night of Chanukah to giving tzedakah? It’s a great way to take a break from the gift-buying madness and engage your family in a meaningful conversation. What could... Read more

Tzedakah Resources for Responding to Disaster: Hurricane Sandy

Nov 15, 2012 by Sasha  | 

By now, everyone knows that Hurricane Sandy ravaged homes and livelihoods throughout the Tri-State area and around the world in countries like Haiti. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the terrible storm. What’s inspiring, however, is that individuals and communities... Read more

Where Do You Give? Featured in the Jewish Week!

We are so thrilled to be featured in today’s Jewish Week!

Steve Lippman, a staff writer for the publication, featured American Jewish World Service and our Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum, as pioneers in a new movement to reinvigorate tzedakah and tzedakah education in the American... Read more

Where Do You Give? Is Now in Boston!

Do you live in the Boston area?

The New Center for Arts and Culture and Temple Israel are proud to host Where Do You Give? in Boston, MA!

Winning designs from the Where Do You Give? National Design Competition will be on display at Temple Israel from October 10 – December 30, 2012.

... Read more

Calling All Educators: Where Do You Give? Is Coming to LA!

Maybe you’ve registered for the curriculum already, but would like to learn about ways to adapt it for your community.

Maybe you’ve heard about Where Do You Give? but you want to hear more of what it’s all about.

Maybe you’re an educator who lives in the Los Angeles area and you’re... Read more

How to Make the High Holidays Meaningful

With Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret all coming up, we want to make it easy for you to make the holidays meaningful for you and your community.

One of the best ways to do that is through tzedakah—by talking about it, teaching about it and especially by giving it! The... Read more

Kick it Off Right: Welcome Back to School with Where Do You Give?

We hope you’ve all had a great summer. We sure have!

• One of our Grand Prize Winners, Dough Burnett, traveled with us to Uganda to meet with our grantee partners on the ground.

• On June 20, we hosted “Giving by Design: Celebrating New Tools for Inspired Philanthropy” at the... Read more

How America Gives

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently put out a study showing how Americans give, by zip code, by tax bracket, by politics and by faith. It’s a fascinating look at how different values and backgrounds can actually influence our giving practices.

According to this analysis, here are 5... Read more

Bring Tzedakah to Life!

Today, American Jewish World Service released its first-ever school curriculum, entitled Where Do You Give? A Tzedakah Curriculum. Our curriculum is filled with original, innovative and interactive materials that challenge students to think carefully and intentionally about tzedakah. Get... Read more

ANNOUNCING A NEW RESOURCE! Making it Real: Guiding Students Through a Tzedakah Allocations Process

OK, so you’ve taught the curriculum. You explored your values. Now it’s time to do the work of giving!

Let’s make some real decisions about money. Created in partnership with the Jewish Teen Funders Network, we are proud to bring youMaking it Real: Guiding Students Through a Tzedakah... Read more

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ANNOUNCING A NEW RESOURCE! How to build a culture of Tzedakah in your community

You know tzedakah is important, but how can you build it as an intrinsic cultural value in your community?

Tzedakah Taking Root: A Guide to Building a Culture of Tzedakah gives you the tools you need to embed the values of thoughtful and intentional tzedakah in your entire community - not... Read more

Thank You, Where Do You Give? !

Aug 10, 2012 by miaj  | 

I’m sad to share that today is my last day of my internship at American Jewish World Service, and with Where Do You Give?. I want to take this opportunity to share some final thoughts, and more importantly, thank-yous.

It has been a true pleasure to watch this project grow from a little... Read more

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Announcing a new resource! Connecting Tzedakah to Jewish Holidays

Want to make tzedakah a year-round commitment, instead of just something we do once a year?

The Year In Giving: Connecting Tzedakah to the Cycle of Jewish Holidays is a wonderful resource that gives you several options for how to incorporate tzedakah giving in your community year-round.

... Read more

The Tzedakah Curriculum Has Arrived!

Aug 01, 2012 by miaj  | 

It’s finally here!

Today, American Jewish World Service released its first-ever school curriculum, entitled Where Do You Give? A Tzedakah Curriculum. A Tzedakah Curriculum is filled with original, innovative and interactive materials that challenge students to think carefully and... Read more

The Curriculum Countdown Continues!

Jul 31, 2012 by miaj  | 

Yesterday we shared part of our new Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum (see this post) in anticipation of our curriculum’s big release tomorrow for FREE download on our website. To give you another exciting taste, we’re now turning our attention to a different lesson: the definition of... Read more

The 3 Day Countdown to our Where Do You Give? Curriculum!

Jul 30, 2012 by miaj  | 

The countdown has begun!

After months of hard work and dedication from our staff, partners and sponsors, Where Do You Give? is proud to announce (drummroll please…)

Our Tzedakah Curriculum will be available for free download, this Wednesday, August 1!

We’re hugely excited to share this... Read more

Celebrating New Tools for Inspired Philanthropy

Our Giving by Design event was a huge success! Around 100 people joined us at the 92Y Tribeca to celebrate our Where Do You Give? winners and engage in deep conversation about where we give, to whom and why.

The event was only part of a two-day-long celebration. What did we do, who did we... Read more

Slideshow: Giving by Design

What a lively and thought-provoking conversation about the meaning of philanthropy – one that included the multiple voices of speakers and participants, the written “conversation” about giving priorities on the chalk board wall, and the visual “conversation” inspired by the... Read more

Wide-Eyed Innocence—Reflections from Uganda

When Doug Burnett was named Grand Prize Winner of the Tzedakah Box category in the Where Do You Give? National Design Competition (for his “Vending Box” design), he received a cash prize and the opportunity to travel to Uganda with Global Circle, the community of young professionals who... Read more

WDYG’s Summer Guide to New York

Jun 25, 2012 by miaj  | 

Last week 2 of our three winners, Lily (Change Sculpture) and Michael (Grocery Store tags), plus Michael’s wife Elizabeth, came to New York to celebrate their national design competition wins, and to join Where Do You Give? and over 90 guests (!) for Giving by Design: Celebrating New Tools... Read more

Voices of the Poor: Jenny’s Story

Spare Change is an independent newspaper in Boston, which is mostly written and entirely distributed by homeless and formerly homeless individuals. The newspaper serves as an economic opportunity for people working their way out of homelessness, as vendors buy copies of the paper from the... Read more

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Meet Mia, Our New Summer Intern

Jun 11, 2012 by miaj  | 


My name is Mia, and I’m the new summer intern working at Where Do You Give? I’m so excited to be here!

I thought I’d start by telling you a little about myself: I’m originally from northern New Jersey, and about to enter my senior year at the University of Pittsburgh, where I’m... Read more

Spotlight on Giving by Design: Interview with Karen Pittelman

Our Where Do You Give? kick off event is coming up on June 20! Meet one of our speakers, Karen Pittelman, who uses her privilege to make change in the world.

This post was originally published by Pursue: Action for a Just World.

On June 20, Pursuers will join AJWS and Global Circle to see... Read more

Celebrate our winners with us!

We know there just aren’t enough gallery openings in NYC these days, which is why we’re hosting one just for you.

Earlier this year AJWS launched the Where Do you Give? National Design Competition, challenging artists to create new vehicles for giving tzedakah that reflect our... Read more

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winners!

We just couldn’t hold it in any longer.

It’s time to announce our Grand Prize Winners! Not to mention our Student Track Winners and some Honorable Mentions who we just had to recognize for their amazing work.

Make sure to congratulate them in the comments below!!!

... Read more


May 11, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

Lily Feinberg is a graphic designer originally from Atlanta, GA who now lives in Washington, D.C.

WDYG: What is your educational and professional background?
LF: I earned my BFA in graphic design from the University of Georgia. I currently work as a graphic designer for the National... Read more

Where Do You Give and Why?

Where do you give and why?

The act of charity is a powerful vehicle to make a positive difference in the world. Your money can contribute to saving lives and make an impact on serious problems in our world today. As an intern at AJWS for the grants department I could not help but to wonder... Read more

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The Best of Both Worlds: Back to the Future of Philanthropy

May 11, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

The following post was originally published by eJewishPhilanthropy.

by Sandy Cardin

Ask anyone to name the greatest philanthropists of all time – Jewish or otherwise – and they will invariably identify people known for giving away huge sums of money. From Rockefeller to Rothschild,... Read more


May 09, 2012 by Sasha  | 

Tyson Brady is a design student at the University of Washington, who wants to make giving a more interactive experience.

WDYG: What is your educational and professional background?

TB: I am currently a sophomore design student at the University of Washington. Although my focus is... Read more

MEET OUR FINALISTS: Federico Zannier

May 08, 2012 by Sasha  | 

Federico Zannier is an electronic engineer living in New York. He’s working to make giving more fun!

WDYG: What is your educational and professional background?

FZ: I am an Electronic Engineer with a background in Nanotechnology and Interaction Design, currently pursuing a Master at New... Read more

MEET OUR FINALISTS: Kristen Baumlier-Faber

May 07, 2012 by Sasha  | 

Kristen Baumlier-Faber is a professor from Cleveland, Ohio. Her submission, entitled Hand + Heart, focuses on gaming to educate users and inspire them to give to those in need.

WDYG: What is your educational and professional background?

KBF: I have a BFA and MFA degrees in Fine Arts. I... Read more


May 06, 2012 by Sasha  | 

Our next finalist is Julie Wohl from Altoona, PA. Julie has a background in art and Jewish education, and likes to combine the two in her personal and professional life.

WDYG: What is your educational and professional background?

JW: I received my Master’s in Jewish Education from the... Read more

Meet Our Finalists: Michael Cohn MOreau

May 04, 2012 by Sasha  | 

Every day from now until May 15 when we announce our Grand Prize Winners, we’ll be featuring one of our finalists on our blog so you can get to know them a little better! Our first finalist is Michael Cohn Moreau from Nashville, TN. Join us in congratulating him!

WDYG: What is your... Read more

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Introducing our Where Do You Give? Finalists!

Apr 23, 2012 by Sasha  |  Project Updates

The judges have deliberated, and we’re proud to announce our Where Do You Give? Finalists!

Check out our submission gallery to view all of the Finalists across our three categories: Tzedakah Box, Web/Interactive and Out of the Box.

Where Do You Give? Finalists will receive $250 and will... Read more

Congrats to our People’s Choice Finalists!

After an intense period of public voting, our People’s Choice finalists have finally been chosen.

Thousands of you came to our site from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, e-mails from your friends and all over the web to pick your favorite designs for the future of giving.

Thank you to... Read more

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Mar 26, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

Juxtaposing the names of the five Books of Moses, Helene Aylon calls on us to do something—give!

Please briefly describe your design:

The global inspired sphere can be made of blown milk glass as depicted in the photographs- (however other materials can be used). There can be a slit for... Read more

Tzedakah Facilitates Love’s Presence Among Us

Mar 25, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

A truly conceptual and artistic response, Cheselyn Amato’s submission explores tzedakah through Jewish mysticism.

Please briefly describe your design:

My submission is in the “out of the box” category, and at this point of development, conceptual and exploratory. The work is in the form... Read more

Mar 24, 2012 by Sasha  | is a website that provides a Jewish platform for giving. It’s also an entry in our Where Do You Give? Design Competition!

Please briefly describe your design:

JChoice .org is focused on engaging the next generation of Jewish youth to learn about the importance of philanthropy... Read more

Aid. Money. Time. Love.

Mar 23, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

What, graphically, would inspire us to give and think about our giving priorities? TyMooney responds with his submission for the Where Do You Give? Design Competition.

Please briefly describe your design:

Using universal symbols; a medical cross representing aid, a money sign for monetary... Read more

Three-Slot Tzedakah Box

Mar 22, 2012 by Sasha  | 

For today’s design check out this 3-Slot Tzedakah Box from SolomonWorks!

Please briefly describe your design:

This was fabricated using square tube steel and sheet metal then completely welded including the hinge to create a singular object locked together with a simple pad lock. The... Read more

Where, How, Why Do You Give? Rabbi David and Rabbi Jennie Rosenn Respond

April may be the cruelest of months, but March is when we usually find ourselves falling behind in our tzedakah schedule. Yes, we know it¹s only a quarter of the year in, but camp tuition means that we usually have less to give in the beginning of the year and then race to catch up in the... Read more

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Charity Saves from Death (Part II)

Here is a different take on the proverb “Charity Saves from Death” from Meesh Hammer-Kossoy, of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies:

“Charity saves from death” Proverbs 10:2  

I was hurrying to wait.  It would be 4 anxious hours in the hospital waiting room while they sawed open... Read more

A Hand-Held Tzedakah Box

Mar 20, 2012 by Sasha  | 

From now and throughout the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring one of our Where Do You Give? Design Competition submissions every day. Visit our site daily to learn more about our talented entrants!

Gabriel Bass (@CustomCarving) is an artist and designer who creates synagogue furniture... Read more

Open Up (‘Patoach Tiftach’)

Mar 16, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

Dov Abramson
Open Up (‘Patoach Tiftach’)
194 glass boxes, 10x10x10cm each, 7147 marbles

Due to our legal constraints the Where Do You Give? Design Competition could only be open to people in the US. However, we received this lovely submission from Dov Abramson and it was so great that we... Read more

Public Voting Has Begun! Vote Today!

Mar 15, 2012 by Sasha  | 

The deadline for the Where Do You Give? Design Competition has passed, and we’re proud to have received over 70 incredible submissions! From interactive web apps to conceptual sculptures, people from all over the country are sparking a conversation about giving. Will you join the... Read more

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The Competition Deadline Has Passed. Thank you to all who submitted!

Mar 13, 2012 by Sasha  | 

Thank you to everyone who submitted to the Where Do You Give? Design Competition! I’m proud to announce that we received over 70 incredible submissions that have inspired us to change the way we think about giving. We can’t wait to launch public voting on March 15, so that everyone can see... Read more

Thanks to all of our Twitter supporters!

As many of you may know, we love Twitter. What better place to have a conversation about tzedakah? With the Where Do You Give? Design Competition deadline right around the corner, we wanted to give a special thank you to some of our Twitter followers for helping us spread the word.

On... Read more

On Generosity and Giving

This morning a man came down the crowded subway, collecting money for the homeless.  I’ve seen him before; this is part of his regular beat.  He usually ends his pitch by reminding the passengers that homelessness doesn’t only happen to “others.”  A lost job, a house fire, a death... Read more

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PreSchool Emergent Curriculum in Action: The Blessing of a Broken Tzedakah Box

Even PreSchoolers can engage in thinking about tzedakah - it’s never too early! Here’s a great example from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Maryland. This article was originally posted at Beth Tfiloh

PreSchool Emergent Curriculum in Action: The Blessing of a Broken Tzedakah Box

Over... Read more

The Writing on the Wall

Five years of leadership in an “independent minyan” – part of the landscape of innovative or D.I.Y. Jewish projects increasingly littering and challenging the mainstream Jewish organizational framework – kept me safely distant from some of the classic architecture of old synagogue... Read more

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What Fighting Can Teach You About Philanthropy

Feb 27, 2012 by Anne Lieberman  | 

I am the program associate for Asia at AJWS. I am also an amateur Muay Thai fighter. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Muay Thai, it is a Thai martial art similar to kickboxing except you can use your knees and elbows to strike.  When I’m training for a fight, I train for two... Read more


Feb 23, 2012 by Sasha  |  Project Updates

This just in: The deadline for the Where Do You Give? National Design Competition has been extended to March 9, 2012!

So if you thought you didn’t have time to submit to the competition, now you do! Time to start reimagining tzedakah for the 21st Century.

Just because the deadline... Read more

Another look at the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum!

Recently I had the opportunity to see the third session of our Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum piloted in a 6th grade class at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The lesson was fantastic, mixing different activities and types of learning, including a physical look at... Read more

What is Jewish Philanthropy?

I recently returned from a trip to Israel where, among other things, I discussed, debated, and reflected on what it means to be a Jew.  Having left the synagogue for good after my Bat Mitzvah 12 years ago, I was never sure if, why or how I was Jewish.  Did eating gefilte fish on Passover... Read more

Little Givers

A recent Wall Street Journal article described a new enrichment program for young New York City children called Little Givers, which helps inculcate social consciousness and introduce children to philanthropy.  The article’s title, “Parents Outsource the Basics,” implies a correlation... Read more

Charity on the Campaign Trail

Feb 22, 2012 by Sasha  | 

This article is cross-posted from “Charity on the Campaign Trail” by Charles Riley @CNNMoney. First Published: February 7, 2012: 9:31 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)—President Barack Obama and Oval Office hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have all released at least one year of tax returns.... Read more

3 Things the Philanthropic World Can’t Stop Talking About

Feb 16, 2012 by Anne Lieberman  | 

On February 3, 2012 the Yale School of Management held its 7th Annual Conference on Philanthropy: “Beyond Best Practices: Financing and Implementing Social Change.” The conference highlighted discussions that have been ricocheting around the philanthropy sector and there a few we just... Read more

To Give Where You Live

Feb 16, 2012 by Lauren  |  Everyone is a Philanthropist

This post was written several weeks ago. We’re publishing it now to celebrate Lauren and wish her well on her move to Seattle. All the best to Lauren and her family!

In eight weeks, my husband and I are moving to Seattle, WA for a new job he recently accepted. Moving across the country is... Read more

Sneak Peak of the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum!

Feb 10, 2012 by Lisa  |  Project Updates

On Tuesday evening at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, I had the privilege of joining a group of seventh graders who are piloting the Where Do You Give? Tzedakah Curriculum. This was the second session of their tzedakah unit and it focused on the connections we have with people across... Read more


Striking a Balance: Social Change and Social Service Philanthropy

You are on a hike, deep in the mountains, and you sit down by a picturesque river.
As you dig into your picnic lunch, you catch a glimpse of something moving in the water.
Quickly, you realize that there is a series of babies floating down the river.
What do you do?

Years ago, I watched... Read more


How Should We Recognize Contributors?

Most not-for-profit organizations depend upon gifts from individuals for the funding to survive and thrive. A look around the publications and the buildings of these organizations demonstrates that publicly recognizing donations plays an important role in the process of fundraising. There... Read more

What would Rambam think about

In today’s world, the opportunity to engage in the work of social change is, literally, at our fingertips.  But, does this newfound accessibility make us better donors? Adene Sacks and Dawne Bear Novicoff talk about our role as donors in an age of interconnectedness and independence:

... Read more
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Sh** Jews Say About Philanthropy

Jan 27, 2012 by American Jewish World Service  | 

In celebration of AJWS’s “Where Do You Give” Design Competition, and in honor of the successful slew of “Sh** People Say” videos, we present:

Sh** Jews Say About Philanthropy… brought to you by members of the AJWS staff:

“Yes, dear, it has to be in multiples of 18.”

“I... Read more

Tzedakah in your own backyard

As a Southerner who has made Manhattan my home for the past several years, I often credit Central Park with maintaining my sanity in this frenetic metropolis. Its sprawling landscape offers a natural rebuttal to the confines of my one bedroom apartment and to relatives’ insistence on the... Read more

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Announcement: Student Track Deadline Extended to March 26!

There are 37 days left to enter the Where Do You Give? National Design Competition, and we’ve already received a ton of great submissions!

Some schools have requested a little bit more time though, so we’re extending the Student Track Submission Deadline to March 26!

We hope that this... Read more

Where Does Pursue Give? Part 1

This past Tuesday, January 10 was the launch of the Where Do You Give? National Design Competition. The competition challenges designers, artists and conceptual thinkers to create a 21st century icon inspired by the values and imagery of the traditional tzedakah box that reflects our... Read more

A Grandmother and her Grandson: Talking about Tzedakah

Daniel, a 4th Grader, and his grandmother Jane discuss tzedakah boxes and tzedakah.

Daniel:  You have a large collection of tzedakah boxes, why do you have them?
Jane:  I have a few different examples, each an old one in a different shape, and each to raise money for a different purpose.... Read more


Six-Word Memoirs: Where Do You Give?

Check out what our friends at Pursue wrote about Where Do You Give? and SMITH Magazine’s Six Word Memoir Project!

According to literary legend, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story using only six words. He did it: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The six-word story is a... Read more

High Five! The Where Do You Give? Design Competition Is Officially Open for Submissions!

Jan 10, 2012 by Sasha  |  Project Updates

This is it, folks. The design competition is officially open for submissions.

Will you show us the future of giving?

Where Do You Give? challenges artists, designers and conceptual thinkers to create an updated vehicle for giving in the 21st century that inspires a national conversation... Read more


Checkout Charity

    I glanced nervously at the woman behind me.  Poor thing had a kid with her.  I said an impromptu prayer of thanks that I’d be spared that, at least.  How would I have explained to my children what I was about to do?  I steeled myself, averted my eyes and waited for the inevitable... Read more


Top 10 Tips for Talking about Giving

Where Do You Give? is all about thinking more deeply about where and how and why we give tzedakah. 

For me, one of the most important ways I can engage my family and friends in this crucial conversation is to ask them to donate to causes and organizations I believe in. It’s a way to... Read more

On the 8th Night of Chanukah: BBYO Revisits Giving

BBYO is a pluralistic teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. As part of its Teen PR Program, student Jessica Baar writes about giving tzedakah, forgetting all about it and then becoming inspired to give again:

As my younger brother and I... Read more

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On the 7th Night of Chanukah: Help me Make a Tzedakah Plan!

When I was little, giving Tzedakah was fairly straight forward. A portion of your allowance? Into the tzedakah box. Find a penny on the street? Into the tzedakah box it goes. Then once or twice a year, we’d dump all the money out onto the dining room table and count it up, lining up neat... Read more

On the 6th Night of Chanukah: Mayim Biyalik is Back!

Mayim Biyalik, our favorite Jewish teenager from the 80s and 90s, recently wrote an article on Kveller about why it’s important to give:

As a public Jewish person, I am asked to speak for a lot of Jewish causes. I feel truly blessed to be able to put the word out there about organizations... Read more

On the 5th Night of Chanukah: Families Watch Brightness Enter Our World

December has rolled around, and once again it is hard to avoid the annual conversation about excessive gift giving and its apparent cure—unbridled charity and the negation of the self. We hear reports of competitive shopping, nourished by the false notion that an iphone or a box of Legos... Read more

On the 4th Night of Chanukah: The Vanishing Ghosts of Giving Past

I heard once that ghosts are what you see out of the corner of your eye, what creeps into your peripheral vision when you aren’t expecting it or when your guard is down. If this is true, then i spent the ages of 7 to 11 being haunted by a Tzedekah box.

Before I quit Hebrew school, the... Read more

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On the 3rd Night of Chanukah: Interfaith Couples Find Common Ground

For the past six months, my boyfriend and I have started to talk about what our future together could be.  After four and a half years, we’re committed to the long haul and are planning on moving in together this summer.  We’ve processed all the details – he’ll start putting his... Read more

On the 2nd Night of Chanukah: Turning Family Tradition into Lifelong Passion

September 1997: I am sitting with my family on the soft, beige carpet in the family room ready to begin our annual tradition. Index cards are lined up in front of us: “Hunger in Africa” “Literacy in America” “Homelessness in Mountain View, CA.” My parents hand my brother and me... Read more

On the 1st Night of Chanukah: Religious Schools Celebrate Presents AND Giving

The following was written by Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin, a Rabbinical Student Delegation alumna and Congregational Educator at of Temple Emanuel in California.

It’s a religious school routine, and has been for generations. Before you get out of the car in the carpool line, you hang your... Read more

On the 1st Night of Chanukah: Kids Wax Poetic on Giving

Dec 21, 2011 by Sasha  |  Everyone is a Philanthropist

Last night, on the first night of Chanukah, Rabbi Lauren Kurland and I went to Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn to light candles and help teach Got Gelt?

The night was filled with latkes, pizza and the usual middle school racousness, but when it was time to debate about our... Read more

Happy Chanukah! (Have and Have Nots)

Dec 20, 2011 by Rabbi Jennifer Krause  | 

Are you a “have” or a “have not?” Quick.  Don’t reflect. Just answer.  Which one best describes you? 

Now deconstruct away.  How did you arrive at your response?  Did you define it by your own standards?  In relationship to that anonymous, ubiquitous “they,” your peers,... Read more

What’s the future of giving? Global Philanthropy

The Council on Foundations surveyed leading global grantmakers asking them to predict the global philanthropy trends for 2012.  The product was an optimistic list of trends indicating increased global connections and philanthropy, and increased attention to funding grassroots organizations... Read more

Tzedakah Saves from Death

Tzedakah saves from death. – Proverbs 10.2

I’ve never been very comfortable with this verse from Proverbs, quoted in the Talmud to support the idea that the act of giving tzedakah can prevent the death of the giver. It implies that tzedakah has some kind of magical power and that we... Read more

‘Tis the season! (When upper-income people give tzedakah)

‘Tis the season when upper-income people all over the country open their checkbooks and give tzedakah.

For the most part, I don’t work with these people. At Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, in Washington, DC, our constituency is almost entirely young professionals, many of whom don’t... Read more

Investing in an Ethical Future

Dec 12, 2011 by Sasha  |  Everyone is a Philanthropist

Tonight the Pursue City Team is hosting an event at the Nathan Cummings Foundation for a night exploring the possibilities of ethically-oriented investment, motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue economic justice. As a preview for tonight’s event, we asked two presenters, Sonia... Read more

AJWS Staff Enjoy Snacks and Get Involved In Where Do You Give?

Dec 09, 2011 by Melanie Goldberg  |  Project Updates

Earlier today, Where Do You Give? held its very first “snack bag” to bring information and excitement about the project to AJWS staff.  At 2 p. m., the 11th floor conference room was packed with enthusiastic employees.  As one staffer put it, “There is nothing I’d rather do than... Read more

In this season of giving, how to make it meaningful

How do you make giving meaningful? Tzedakah, the Jewish commitment to righteous giving, is something that most people are familiar with. Tzedakah boxes are things of childhood memory for many Jews, except me. I tithed. Growing up with a Baptist mother, a Methodist father and educated in... Read more

You can’t wipe your hands clean: Finding your philanthropic obligation

In her article in the Jewish Daily Forward, Linda K. Wertheimer challenges readers to reevaluate the value of a “Mitzvah Day.”  She asserts that this annual day of volunteering negates the idea that doing mitzvot should be a way of life.  People volunteer once and believe they have... Read more

Ari Hart, of Uri L’Tzedek, on tzedakah and ma’aser kesafim

How we make and spend our money is a central concern in Jewish life. The concern is most famously manifested in tzedakah: using money to pursue tzedek – justice—by providing financial support to individuals and institutions in their struggles for better lives and a better world.

Tzedakah... Read more

Teenager Tells us How to Find Righteousness in the World

Check out this wonderful blog post from Emily Goldberg, who has also written for Sh’ma and Florida’s own Sun Sentinal.

Where can we find true righteousness in the world? Is it a number on our paychecks? A filled tzedakah box? A room filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the... Read more

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Got Gelt? Is Here!

Nov 22, 2011 by American Jewish World Service  | 

Got Gelt? Is Here!

This Chanukah, inspire your community to join a fresh, cutting-edge conversation about tzedakah in an increasingly interconnected world. Our Got Gelt? Chanukah activity—the first phase of American Jewish World Service’s Where Do You Give? project—is an interactive,... Read more

How to Prioritize Your Giving

The following is an article that Rabbi Sandi Intraub, of Beth El Temple Center in Belmont, MA, wrote for her synagogue this past Yom Kippur. It’s a fantastic response to the time-old question, “How do I prioritize my giving?”

Within the past month, I have received envelopes requesting... Read more

Poll Results: A lot of us have no idea how much we give

Nov 08, 2011 by Sasha  | 

“If we could first know where are are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”—Abraham Lincoln

Thank you to everyone who answered our first poll:

What percentage of your income do you give to philanthropic causes?

While almost a quarter of... Read more

Tell us Your tzedakah story!

Nov 08, 2011 by Sasha  |  Everyone is a Philanthropist

Does this story sound familiar to you?

I recently asked a friend of mine about her experiences with tzedakah, from when she first learned about tzedakah to what it means to her today. I found that her memories of tzedakah are very similar to mine and many others whom I’ve asked. It... Read more

What are your tzedakah priorities?

Deciding where to give tzedakah can be very overwhelming.

There are so many organizations and causes that we believe are important and yet we have limited amounts of money to give. One way to deal with this challenge is to get really systematic about giving tzedakah and to articulate our... Read more


Top 5 differences between charity and tzedakah: Day 5

#5 Charity will not necessarily produce sustainable change; tzedakah can.

When we think of charity we usually think of giving spare change to people who ask for money on the street, donating to a food drive or giving money to a local shelter. This kind of giving is considered tzedakah as... Read more

The Top 5 Differences between charity and tzedakah: Day 4

#4 Not all charity is considered tzedakah

Ways to tell whether or not the money you are giving is tzedakah:

From the Babylonian Talmud, Chagigah 5a, taken from On1Foot: “It had been better that you had not given him, than now that you have given him publicly and put him to shame.”

... Read more

The Top 5 Differences between charity and tzedakah: Day 3

#3 Charity is voluntary; Tzedakah is compulsory

From the Jewish Virtual Library: “Hundreds of years later, the Talmud taught: ‘Tzedaka (sic) is equal to all the other commandments combined’ (Bava Bathra 9b). From Judaism’s perspective, therefore, one who gives tzedaka is acting... Read more

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