As you know, the Jewish Federation is quickening the pace of our community’s Annual Campaign by trying to raise $2.5 million between October and November. In the spirit of maximizing our community’s campaign, I am delighted to announce that an anonymous (as well as new) donor to our annual campaign has committed a $100,000 matching challenge grant to all donors who increase their commitment by a minimum of 10% or any new gifts to our campaign! The increased amount on these gifts will be matched dollar for dollar.
The match will include donors who previously made their gifts and met the criteria, as well as additions to gifts already made (if you choose to increase your current support)
This is just incredible! And we need your support to help maximize this opportunity for our Jewish community. Make your gift today!
We are truly grateful to this family for their generosity. And I must share, what makes this gift even more meaningful is what they said when asked. Their immediate response – “Thank you for asking. It is truly our honor and pleasure.”
I hope all of you find similar joy in your philanthropy.
Last weekend I travelled to Orlando, Florida for a family wedding. It was the first wedding for the next generation in my family and a wonderful simcha. While away, I read a beautiful article that captured my thoughts and attention.
On the Avi Chai Foundation blog, and later in ejewishphilanthropy.com, was an article written by Dr. Michael Berger, a colleague of mine in Atlanta, Georgia, about the tale of two philanthropists.
Dr. Berger writes, "The Bible’s first two chapters provide an account – or, more accurately, accounts – of the creation of Adam and Eve, featuring two very different views of what it means to be human. In a famous 1965 essay entitled “The Lonely Man of Faith,” the 20th century thinker Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik analyzed the differences between the first two chapters of Genesis, formulating the distinction in the terms “Adam I” and “Adam II.” In the opening chapter of the Bible, the first human couple was created at the end of the week and given the charge to “master the world and dominate it” (1:28). According to Soloveitchik, “Adam I” is a restless personality who sees the world as an endless toolbox of raw materials with which to create new things. He studies the world carefully, trying to understand its workings in order to tackle problems and improve the status quo. He is driven by the question “how?” Created together, Adam and Eve are the first entrepreneurial couple, pragmatically collaborating to achieve their individual ends.
Chapter 2 of Genesis, on the other hand, gives us a very different picture of humanity. Created alone in the Garden of Eden, “Adam II” is situated in the Garden and charged “to tend it and guard it.” His role is conservative rather than creative, requiring him to do his utmost to preserve the ideal reality in which he finds himself. Interestingly, it is this work – the work of maintenance – that leads him to ask the question “why?” According to Soloveitchik, Eve appears in this scenario as a response to Adam’s deep sense of loneliness, not as a collaborator but as a companion. It is out of this complementarity – Adam’s sense that he is not whole without Eve – and genuine community is born.”
Individuals from multiple generations see their philanthropy in very different ways. As Dr. Berger describes, some philanthropists are content to be Adam II and, “maintain the garden” of this institution or that program. It is fulfilling to play a supportive role for an already established resource. On the other hand, there are entrepreneurial individuals who may see themselves as Adam I. They may see a void in the Jewish landscape that needs filling or they want to create a new reality.
Each of us can reflect on our own giving that fits into each category. How or why people contribute is based on a number of factors, including family history, personality, or connection with an organization. In the end, however, it is up to each organization to be aware of what type of philanthropy and philanthropist is needed at any particular time.
Dr. Berger concludes, "Admittedly, popular American culture tends to venerate the Adam I philanthropists. Basing themselves on the fast-changing worlds of business or technology, some donors seek a “Big Idea” to change the reality we know in a lasting and positive way. More power to them. But Jewish tradition acknowledges the equal importance of Adam II, the role played by those who tend the garden to preserve its lushness and fruitfulness. Though less flashy and headline-grabbing, the quiet support of regular, reliable donors has helped buoy Jewish communities and institutions for centuries. Indeed, as with Adam and Eve, that’s where genuine community is frequently found.”
Our community is blessed with thousands of Adams I and II and this new anonymous donor. We hope you will fulfill your own philanthropic pursuits and, right now, double your pleasure with your gift increase matched dollar for dollar.
Thank you in advance for your generous support and help us maximize this matching grant.
PS – The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning classes start this Tuesday, in just four days! Explore Jewish culture, ethics, history, philosophy and more using curriculum from Hebrew University in Jerusalem with inspiring local teachers in welcoming classrooms. Last chance! Register now at www.meltonportland.org.
Don't miss out on an incredible evening...