Books: Sounding a Call for Hope, Rebirth
During the high holy days, people of Jewish faith can reflect on the past year and experience spiritual rebirth. "Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance," authored by philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman and writer Beth Zasloff, seems to hold the same message for Jewish organizations.
Jewish youths will reinvigorate nonprofits, says Bronfman, the founding chairman of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. In the preface to this new edition, released in paperback in October, Bronfman highlights how more than 300 Jewish philanthropic startups have sprouted since the book first came out in 2008 — proving that the Jewish community can adapt and renew despite challenges, including the recession.
Bronfman urges American Jews to embrace the creative efforts displayed by young leaders and channel their energy toward reviving the community's philanthropic institutions. Here, FundRaising Success speaks with Bronfman about his book and how it can help invigorate fundraising and philanthropy in the Jewish community.
FundRaising Success: What prompted you to write "Hope, Not Fear"?
Edgar Bronfman: I decided to write "Hope, Not Fear" because I thought I had something important to say to the Jewish community. I want the American Jewish community to be proud of our accomplishments and to stop pinching itself to make sure it's really true. I also want to build our numbers by not fighting intermarriage unsuccessfully, but to take advantage of the opportunity to bring those who are not Jewish but have married Jews into the fold. That means welcoming the non-Jews with sincerity.
FS: How does the book deal with the changing face of Jewish philanthropy?
EB: More philanthropy needs to be focused on young people. The new, young philanthropists are bold, independent thinkers who are determined. They will direct their philanthropy to enterprises that excite them and that are able to accomplish something in the world. There is a generational shift in the way the young people are giving philanthropically.