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The Function of the Conference of Jewish Charities

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Publication Date: January 1909

Publisher(s): Kohn & Pollock Inc.

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Banking and finance (Philanthropy and nonprofit sector)
Social conditions (Community life and organization)

Keywords: religion; communal organization; social services

Type: Other

Coverage: United States


The author criticizes Jewish charities for their disorganization and lack of initiative. The Conference of Jewish Charities should emphasize the need to seek out areas where needs are unmet and services are unprovided. Charity should be about more than funding from a distance, and require more personal involvement. The numbers and status of Jewish social workers must be increased.

The leaders of charity organizations should not be chosen for their potential ability to be generous towards them but for their abilities, and the organizations themselves must not be petty or have a sense of exclusive ownership of tasks, but rather seek to cooperate and streamline services to the benefit of the population. Jewish charities ought to respect Jewish values but not prioritize ritual observance over personal health and welfare. The should get involved with government programs when appropriate but oppose and struggle against them when they are not. Charity must pursue justice, not replace it. Transcript of discussion and responses follow.