Why do Jews Love to Donate?

February 11, 2015 by

"Cause for concern" was the common thread running through two articles I read recently on the topic of Jewish-American philanthropy. Research shows that while Jews rank amongst the most charitable, the community at large is more likely to support a non-Jewish organization than a Jewish one.

As negative as this may sound, it does lead to a very intriguing realization – giving is more than a religious practice; it's an intrinsic part of being a Jew. One article claimed that Jews are motivated by Jewish values to give, but don't even realize it, writing it off as "family values." The bottom line - Jews love to donate. The question is – why?

One of the many mitzvos in Parshas Mishpatim is that we are to be charitable with our money – "im kesef tilveh es ami" (Shemos; 22:24). The Sefer HaChinuch gives a profound explanation of this mitzvah. He says that tzedakah is part of the Divine plan to offer us the opportunity of being shluchim – messengers – of Hashem (Mitvah 66). Contemplate that for a moment and you'll realize a portion of our wealth is never meant to be ours. Hashem deposits it into our account in order that we transfer it into someone else's.

This could be the trigger of Jewish philanthropy. It's part of Hashem's plan. The challenge facing today's Jewish organization is channeling that energy towards their cause. But the reality that Jews are leaders in the field is part of our spiritual DNA.

The information was taken from the following articles:
Jews take 5 of 6 spots in annual list of top US givers

Jewish Giving Strong, But Concerns Loom, New Study Finds

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