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May 15, 1992 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

P FRONT

A Tough Look Inward

An in-house report offers a sobering
°. critique of some of the UJA's hard-sell
Fundraising methods.

LWINSTON PICKETT

Special to The Jewish News

hen more than 750
United Jewish Ap-
peal executives and
fund-raisers from across the
United States converge here
khis weekend, they'll be car-
ving a report in their at-
!aches that may change the
way Jewish philanthropy is
r conducted for years to come.
The UJA-commissioned
report, titled "Trends in
0.American Jewish Philan-
thropy," was written by
(demographer Gary Tobin of
the Cohen Center for Jewish
I Studies at Brandeis Univer-
sity. Embedded in its 130
pages of analysis, case
studies and policy recom-
mendations is a sober criti-
que of one of the largest and
most influential fundraising
organizations in the United
States.

Mr. Pickett is a free-lance
writer in New York.
0 ■ -

In what amounts to a col-
lective soul-searching, some
of the UJA's familiar hard-
sell solicitation methods are
referred to as "embarrassing,
strong arming, rude and inef-
fective," while the technique
of "being told what (donors)
ought to give" is labeled
"most offensive."

Moreover, says the report,
UJA, Jewish Federations
and other Jewish organiza-
tions are frequently seen as
"consistently creating a
crisis in order to raise
money," while most of the
programs they support seem
"distant, unknown, or
removed" from the donors
themselves.
Even missions to Israel —
long considered one of the
most tested methods of ge-
nerating funds — come
under scrutiny. First-time
visitors routinely report be-
ing "turned on" to Israel,
and then approached only
for solicitation instead of
more meaningful volunteer

roles once they return home.
Veteran mission-goers, for
their part, report wanting
"less show-and-tell and less
propaganda" in favor of
more direct contact with
Israelis."
Sobering as some of the
critiques appear, UJA offi-
cials who are familiar with
the report claim they are
nothing new. "There are no
real surprises there," said
UJA's top executive, Rabbi
Brian Lurie. "Unfortunate-
ly, we've been hearing some
of these complaints for
years."
Nevertheless, the report is
bound to raise eyebrows.
Compiled partly from
previous demographic
studies Mr. Tobin conducted
over a five-year period, the
report includes observations
from some 100 interviews
with focus groups in Jewish
communities including New
York, Boston, San Francisco,
Washington, Dallas and
Baltimore.
And while the majority of

Anwort from 14averky by Arothrory O'Mara Cappighr. 1970. Nrondey. Perbated by Los Mo.& Twos S,Sano.

those observations are far
from negative, the conclu-
sions, nevertheless, paint a
picture that UJA and Fed-
erations officials will not be
able to ignore.
According to the Tobin
study, American Jewish
support of Israel is strong
and "visceral." Cor-
roborating earlier studies by
sociologist Steven M. Cohen,
Israel remains at the core of
Jewish identity. While
"Who is a Jew" issues, the
Israeli government's handl-
ing of the intifada and its
perceived settlement of
emigres in the West Bank
have "dampened the pas-
sion," according to the
report, those actions have
not resulted in cutbacks in
UJA support.

At least, perhaps, not yet.
Most respondents under-
stand that the UJA is the
most direct conduit for send-
ing philanthropic dollars to
Israel, but the report notes
concern by donors regarding
"Israeli inefficiency, waste,
lack of coordinated plann-
ing, and Israelis who are not
willing to help themselves."
Some focus groups reported
seeing Israelis occasionally
as "unscrupulous, looking
out only for themselves,
dishonest," and generally
viewed as "foreigners" to
whom American Jews as in-
dividuals cannot relate."
For many of the largest
donors, the biggest source of
anxiety is Israel's tilt to the
right, with some donors
stating they would "serious-

Associate Director Burt
Friedman will continue to
coordinate relief efforts of
the B'nai B'rith volunteers,
in cooperation with local au-
thorities.
Send contributions to the
B'nai B'rith Disaster Relief
Fund, 1640 Rhode Island
Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
20036, earmarked: Los
Angeles Riot Relief.

ticipants between the ages of
12 and 18.
The only Jewish youth
group in Budapest that
makes community service a
regular part of its program,
the new chapter already has
begun visiting a Jewish old-
age hospital.

ROUND UP

Jerusalem Photo
Contest Slated
The Jerusalem Post and
r-the International Forum for
a United Jerusalem have
launched a contest for pro-
fessional and amateur pho-
tographers.
"Jerusalem: Eternal
Beauty" is the theme of the
-contest, one of the first
events in the celebrations
scheduled to mark the 25th
anniversary of the reunifica-
tion of Jerusalem.
0. "Our objective is to find
new visions and expose new
'angles in the photography of
the city," said Eliyahu Tal,
I Jerusalem Foundation di-
rector. Both black-and-white
and color photographs will
0, be accepted.
The first prize is $5,000.
OpThe jury will include Abe
Orlick, president of the
• World Council of Profes-
sional Photographers, and
representatives of the Israel
Museum, the Bezalel Art
II Academy and the Israel
Ministry of Tourism.
Entries must be received
by July 1. Mark envelopes

"A" for amateur, "P" for
professional. Send to Photo
Contest, P.O.B. 6771, Tel
Aviv, 61067. Those wishing
to have photos returned
should include a self-
addressed envelope.

Vilnius Hosts
Music Festival
Vilnius this week is con-
cluding a 12-day interna-
tional festival of Jewish
music, featuring a century of
music from Gustav Mahler
to Leonard Bernstein.
Organized by the Lithua-
nian Ministry of Culture and
the Lithuanian National
Philharmonic, in coopera-
tion with Tel Aviv Univer-
sity's Rubin Academy of
Music, the First Interna-
tional Festival of Jewish Art
Music will host musicians
from Europe, America and
Israel.
The program includes 24
concerts of symphonies,
operas, choral, cantorial,
klezmer and chamber music.
Other composers repre-
sented include Arnold

Aaron Copland

Schoenberg, Ernest Bloch,
Darius Milhaud, Aaron
Copland and compositions
by Dmitri Shostakovich on
Jewish subjects.
It also will highlight works
by composers murdered in
the Theresienstadt death
camp.

B'nai B'rith
Aids L.A. Victims
B'nai B'rith has launched
a nationwide campaign to
help provide food, clothing
and medical supplies to vic-
tims of the recent violence in
Los Angeles.
A B'nai B'rith team al-
ready has visited the area
and distributed some sup-
plies. B'nai B'rith District 4

USY Group Holds
First Convention
A new Hungarian chapter
of the United Synagogue
Youth (USY) recently held
its first convention in Zirc,
outside Budapest.
"The spirit was incredi-
ble," said Jacob Blumenthal,
USY assistant director, of
the group's first convention.
"For many, the kinnus
(convention) was their first
exposure to traditional
Judaism. Yet the parti-
cipants were very receptive
to prayer, and they became
increasingly comfortable
wearing kippot."
The group includes 50 par-

Czech Cemetery
Is Restored
The Nazis converted the
sacred grounds into a park.
Now, a '425-year-old Jew-
ish cemetery in Lipnik,
Czechoslovakia, has been
rededicated.
Late last month,
Chancellor Karel Schwart-
zenberg of Czechoslovakia
presided at ceremonies
rededicating the cemetery,
where 15 chief rabbis who
served Lipnik are buried.
"The people of
Czechoslovakia must always
remember that we have a
stain on our conscience."

Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

11

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