Mishegas, Politics

Invest in me

Crossposted to The Reform Shuckle and New Voices.
I have a friend, X.  X college graduate. X wants to do a variety of Jewish learning and then go to a rabbinical school. X also has what basically amounts to no money.
X also works for a Jewish non-profit that has a wealthy executive director.
We were just chatting and I asked if X minded telling me how X plans on paying for X’s education. After first saying, “A lot of prayer,” X told me about a few options and then said…
…that X is hoping the rich executive director, who likes X a lot, will be willing to invest in X.
Which got me thinking. Rich Jews should invest in young, not rich Jews.
We have Jewish start-up organization investment stuff going. But we don’t have individuals investing in individuals.
Bikkurim is an organization that invests in organizations. Joshua Venture is an organization that invests in individuals who have specific projects that they’re already working on (I think).
But I think rich Jews should just invest in young Jews who need more money to get more education so they can be better at stuff. Or something.
I’m kind of kidding. Kind of. But also, if you wanna invest in me, that would be cool.
Or you could invest in X. If you want me to set you up with X, I can do that too.
Think about it.

31 thoughts on “Invest in me

  1. No kidding needed. Back in the day, the gvir would show off his wealth by hosting the most yeshiva bochers at his lunch table every day, while others would have only one or two, those poorer still would host only one once a week (or at least Chaim Grade et al would have us imagine it worked like that). In fact, it still works like that in certain places, in Haredi circles.
    Ask around at your shul in San Antonio, you might be able to take up a collection.

  2. Rich Jews do give for young Jews to receive education. It’s called scholarships/grants/fellowships. Here is a recent example. http://www.jtsa.edu/x14673.xml
    Generally it’s better to give to an institution and let them pick the students then trying to pick students yourself with no background in who makes a better candidate. Also, institutions are tax deductible. People aren’t.

  3. To add to what Avi wrote, a system that relies heavily on the interests of rich individuals is a dysfunctional system. It’s a sign that the large communal organizations are letting too many things slip through the cracks either through lack of vision or money. I want as many voices as possible deciding and arguing about the best ways to invest money for current and future Judaism. I’ve had a potential guest post that’s related to this topic spinning around my mind for a while. If I ever get around to writing it, I might ask about posting here.

  4. We don’t need rabbis or rich benefactors. Down with capitalism, down with Zionism, down with hierarchy! All Torah to the people!

  5. They are.
    Can someone come up with examples of religious schools, Hebrew schools, day schools, post-high school study programs, high school study programs that AREN’T heavily subsidized?
    In my locality, all Jewish ed is heavily subsidized.

  6. We have had Jewish institutions where older, richer members invested in younger, poorer members.
    These Jewish institutions are (or were) called ‘families’.
    (There also was a Protestant concept called ‘individual initiative’, but yes this is a Jewish website)

  7. Yeah, I have to agree with Avi. This is basically exactly how the Jewish world goes round…just that in X’s position, it’s not so much about knowing a rich executive, but rather, about applying to scholarships, grants, or fellowships (think the Dorot Fellowship in Israel, which seems like something that X might be interested in).
    I’m sure if we all took a moment to think about our Jewish lives and the institutions that have aided in our Jewish development, we would realize that synagogues, college Hillels, Jewish day schools, Hebrew schools, summer camps, trips to Israel, Rabbinical schools, and even the learning programs of the type that X is probably interested in attending right now, are all heavily subsidized and supported by the generosity of philanthropists.
    I think a more interesting question, which I’ve often pondered, is why are these programs and institutions so reliant on philanthropy? Is there not a way to make them profitable? What kind of change would this require? One scheme I’ve contemplated is some sort of linking of an institution to a profitable company or industry, which would generate the funds necessary to support the initiative. Sort of like a kibbutz, in a way, or like this monastery (https://monksbread.com/cart/index.php?p=page&page_id=about_us), which supports itself by making and selling bread. In a way, our model is already similar to this, with philanthropists simply serving as “conduits” that funnel funds from industry into Jewish initiatives.

  8. DAW — I’m curious as to what exactly you are proposing that a wealthy individual would be investing “in” if they, as you suggest, “invest in (you).”
    What exactly do you do, apart from writing blogs? And what would and investor’s “return” be on their investment in you?
    Are you suggesting that people should invest in journalists? Wouldn’t that compromise your work product if you had a wealthy benefactor?
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong but don’t your parents support you? Why do you need other benefactors?

  9. It would be great to help aspiring Jewish professionals so they can afford advanced degrees and other help to succeed in life. Where should we dis-invest from to make that happen? I’m thinking, the elderly, disabled and mentally ill. Those folks contribute practically nothing. Let’s divert more funding to college grads who want advanced degrees.

  10. JG — I know you’re being facetious, but you actually touch on the essence of my question: what exactly is Wilensky contributing (or planning to contribute after further education) that merits investment by “rich Jews”?

  11. C’mon guys,
    It’s pretty clear that rich Jews don’t fund enough entitlement programs for young Jews. They really need to get on that.
    More free trips!

  12. I think a conversation about what we wish wealthy people would do is a strange conversation. If I was rich, I wouldn’t care what y’all thought. I’d be donating 1$ to a Hamas affiliated orphanage in Gaza and daring the justice dept. to come after me.
    Then I’d buy a boat, fill it with Reform converts, and sail to Jerusalem demanding the right to get married in Israel.
    Finally, I’d start a program promising free drug and alcohol addiction resident treatment programs for all young Jews in New York between the ages of 30-33. Because your drug money should be going to Federation, you chazers!

  13. My previous comment is awaiting moderation – prolly because I used a forbidden word. For the record – I love that! Anyone want to guess which word?

  14. First of all, this was mostly not meant seriously. But it would still be nice if rich people wanted to give me money.
    What exactly do you do, apart from writing blogs?
    Apart from being a full-time college senior? Not a whole lot, I suppose. The point is that to do more, I’d like further Jewish education. So it would great if someone else wanted to foot the bill for that.
    Are you suggesting that people should invest in journalists? Wouldn’t that compromise your work product if you had a wealthy benefactor?
    I’m not suggesting that people should invest in journalists, but keep in mind that pretty much all Jewish media outlets in the US are non-profits. And journalism isn’t the end point for me, so I’m not asking people to invest in my further journalism, but in my further Jewish education.
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong but don’t your parents support you? Why do you need other benefactors?
    My parents support me now, but after four years of a private college education (which ends in May), their savings will be tapped out. So I, greedy little Jew-boy that I am, want more.
    Anyway, this was all meant mostly facetiously, so I just want to thank our commenters for taking everything to its most serious extreme, as usual. It’s great to know I can count on y’all for that.

  15. So what are you planning to contribute after you get this further Jewish education? And what’s stopping you from contributing that now?

  16. Also, you don’t see the irony in your “facetious” plea for rich benefactors to fund your education when a few months ago you railed against Yeshiva bochurim as “fundamentalist leeches”?

  17. Forget asking for recuperation! Smash the idols! Hazor must be burned to the ground! Don’t attempt to fix the machines that restrain you.
    Don’t ask for their investment. Divest from their programs. You want a better world, build it, and don’t expect the ivory tower dinosaurs to see the merits in it. If it isn’t scaring people into endogamy or kissing Israel’s ass, the plutonomy isn’t interested. They want a consumerist, Zionist Jewish community. For them, Judaism is just a way to justify the values of the bourgeois. That’s why so many organizations are top-down, and beholden to their investors. It’s a corporate Judaism, all marketing and no content. It’s an idol, smash it. Don’t play into their hands. To become Israelites, you must first burn Hazor.

  18. Schmuel — if your instruction is basically to stick-it-to-the-Man, consider your audience. Most (all?) Jew School contributors and commenters work for the “Man” (i.e., the conservative, reform, or renewal Jewish establishment) in one form or another.
    BZ — just ‘cos Wilensky has access to wealthy individuals due to the socioeconomic station into which he was born, somehow he’s superior to those who have to rely on public assistance to fund their learning? Maybe that’s what Shmuel is reacting to — the rich helping the rich maintain the Jewish establishment.

    1. Most (all?) Jew School contributors and commenters work for the “Man” (i.e., the conservative, reform, or renewal Jewish establishment) in one form or another.
      Certainly not all.

  19. curious, reduce my statement to “stick it to the Man” if you wish to. I’m simply trying to point out there’s a poison amongst us, and Jewschoolers, while often complaining of the symptoms, often ignore the cause.
    It’s like Avraham asking Terah for money to spread his monotheism.

  20. Shmuel – I was agreeing with your sentiment. My point was just that the people who write this site and the people who comment on it, most of them (apparently not “all”) are employed or funded by the reform/conservative Jewish establishment. So telling them to disconnect themselves from the establishment teet and stop relying on funds from traditional Jewish organizations is sort of futile.
    Wilensky hasn’t articulated why he’s deserving of this type of funding or what he plans to give back to the community if he received funding. (I’m still wondering what “rich Jews” would be “investing in” if they “gave him money.”)
    Great analogy btw.

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