Where Do You Give?

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Hear from Jewish philanthropists young and old, established and new, about where they give and how they determine their tzedakah giving priorities. Tell your story! Upload your own video now, responding to one of the following four questions:

  • What are your first memories of learning about tzedakah (or philanthropic giving)? What are your first memories of giving money to those in need?
  • What does it mean for you to be a philanthropist? When did you realize you were a philanthropist?
  • How do you determine your giving priorities? What values and factors do you consider when deciding where to give?
  • Tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, meaning “justice” or “righteousness,” as opposed to the more common translation of “charity.” Do you see financial giving as a way of pursuing justice? Why or why not?

Camera-shy? Click here to submit written responses about your relationship with tzedakah.



  • Where Do You Give? Official Video

    Giving doesn’t look like it used to. Perhaps it’s time for us to think outside of the box. Watch our amazing video that explains it all…

  • Navin

    Growing up in the Cambodian-American community, Navin didn’t see philanthropic giving as something that her friends and family engaged in. But as she grew up, she realized people were always raising money for their community in support of education and many worthy causes. Now, in addition to working as AJWS’s program officer for Asia, Navin is an active fundraiser for the Cambodian-American community.

  • Anne

    For Anne, giving is cyclical - it’s not just about making a contribution, it’s about giving back! As AJWS’s program associate for Asia, Anne has seen first-hand the power of effective giving and how it can make a real difference in communities worldwide.

  • Maggie

    For Maggie, conversations about philanthropy began in the home, around the dinner table. From being inspired by her parent’s example, to a heartwarming tale of her grandfather’s altruistic giving practices, Maggie shares some wonderful insights about what giving represents to her.

  • Naomi

    Naomi, an AJWS service alum, has an interesting take on the root of the word ‘tzedek.’ Hear her explain what justice means to her, and how this translates to her giving practices.

  • Rebecca and Stephanie

    Rebecca, a former AJWS development officer, and Stephanie, AJWS’s director of education and community engagement, interview each other about where they give, to whom, and why at AJWS’s Global Circle benefit at City Winery.

  • Shaina

    Shaina recently returned from AJWS’s World Partner Fellowship placement in India. Her tzedakah journey has taken her many places, but it started in the parking lot of her local grocery store, where her mother showed her that giving to those in need can take many forms.

  • Ilan

    Ilan believes in the importance of giving… maybe a bit too much. He’s the type of person who will give to just about anyone who is passionate about their cause, and spend 20 minutes on the sidewalk hearing their pitch! One of Ilan’s resolutions for 2012 is to think more critically about where he gives, to whom and why.

  • Julie and Katie Tilson

    Meet the Tilson sisters, Julie and Katie. They both work at AJWS because they believe in giving back, and have mom and dad to thank for teaching them about what it means to give!

  • Kate Greenberg

    This year instead of giving holiday gifts, Kate is making donations in honor of her loved ones at organizations that are making a difference. She wants to know where you are planning to give!

  • The Power of Half

    Joseph Salwen describes how his family sold their house and bought one half its size in order to be able to donate more money to those in need.

  • 100 People

    This video imagines the world as 100 people and shows the unequal distribution of global resources and opportunities.  It’s a powerful reminder of why we give tzedakah.

  • Rabbi Manis Friedman

    Rabbi Manis Friedman asks people on the street why they give charity and explains the difference between charity and tzedakah.

  • Kathleen and Richard Levin

    Kathleen is the vice chair of the AJWS board of trustees, and her husband Richard is a lawyer. Both individually and as a couple, Kathleen and Richard believe strongly in the obligation to give.

  • Marty Friedman

    Marty is a managing director at DH Capital and has served on the AJWS board of trustees since 1993. Marty talks about the responsibility to give, how to determine the right amount, and what our sense of community can really mean.

  • Mor Keshet

    I give because it empowers the greater human collective, so regardless of where or how we give, it essentially empowers each of us, as we are all invaluable members of that collective.

  • Sally Gottesman

    Sally is both a fundraiser and donor, and an AJWS board member, who believes that everyone has a cause that speaks personally to them; they just have to find it.

  • Eileen Epstein

    Eileen is an AJWS board member, philanthropist, and former professional fundraiser. Having examined what giving means throughout her career, Eileen’s personal giving is informed by a sense of social justice and an obligation to give back.

  • Mark and Peachy Levy

    Meet Mark and Peachy Levy, AJWS donors and noted Jewish philanthropists from Los Angeles, California. Their views on giving are deeply rooted in the idea of repairing the world and making a real difference in the lives of those they help.

  • Valeta

    Valeta talks about the inspiration of her grandmother’s life and what it means to be a philanthropist.

  • Corinne

    Corinne, an AJWS staff member and philanthropist, talks about what inspires her to give.

Where Do You Give? Official Video
Rebecca and Stephanie
Julie and Katie Tilson
Kate Greenberg
The Power of Half
100 People
Rabbi Manis Friedman
Kathleen and Richard Levin
Marty Friedman
Mor Keshet
Sally Gottesman
Eileen Epstein
Mark and Peachy Levy