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American Jewish Identity And New Patterns Of Philanthropy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the contemporary patterns of Jewish philanthropy, especially philanthropic ties to Israel, are respective of broader patterns of Jewish collective identity. The stronger the ties to Israel, the stronger the collective identity. The chapter begins with an overview of the role of philanthropy in Jewish tradition, then turns to the role of Israel in Jewish philanthropy, especially American Jewish philanthropy. Changes in patterns of American Jewish philanthropy during the last third of the twentieth century are analyzed and shown to be related to reflect increasing individualization and declining ethnic identity. During the early twentieth century American Jewish philanthropy was organized and the federation movement emerged. The figures on pro-Israeli and Zionist identification suggest that American Jews may be viewed as "diaspora transnationals" for whom the historic homeland is no longer viewed as "the center" and no longer has the affective power it once had.

Keywords: American Jewish identity; diaspora transnationals; Jewish philanthropy



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