What Makes a Jewish Organization "Jewish"


Publication Date: January 2006

Publisher: Jewish Communal Service Association of North America

Author(s): David Ellenson

Research Area: Culture and religion; Social conditions

Keywords: Ethics; Jewish Organizations; Elderly

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This article addresses the issue of how the "Jewishness" of Jewish communal social service institutions such as hospitals and senior citizen centers can be gauged in a time of social and cultural transition for the North American Jewish community. In previous generations, such organizations were served and staffed almost exclusively by Jews. However, today such institutions frequently serve significant numbers of gentiles. This article argues that such service is in accord with the highest standards of Jewish religious tradition and represents the fulfillment of the Jewish obligation to engage in the act of Kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of the Divine Name in the world.