In 2009, two rabbinical students, Rabbi Lisa Delson (left) and Rabbi Anna Levin Rosen (right), from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, submitted the first ever web-based Rabbinic Capstone entitled “Thinking Outside of the Tzedakah Box: A Resource on Fundraising and Philanthropy for Rabbis and Jewish Professionals.” Thinkingtzedakah.org provides a myriad of resources to engage in discussions on fundraising and philanthropy in a congregational setting. The project is comprised of three parts; online video interviews with some of the most successful rabbis and fundraising professionals from coast to coast, an intense look at traditional Jewish sources on tzedakah and issues of economic justice, and a resource for Jewish professionals seeking advice and teaching tools surrounding fundraising.
The goal of the project is clearly stated on the front page of the website, "We recognize that rabbis and Jewish professionals face the challenge of linking fundraising with the values of our tradition. Therefore, the goal of this project is to support rabbis in the field as they perform the mitzvah of encouraging tzedakah.” Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, participated in our learning by providing us with an interview as well as supporting our travel to New York and Los Angeles to meet with rabbis and Jewish professionals who share our passion of fundraising as tool for building community. Dr. Samuel Joseph and Dr. Jonathan Cohen co-advised this capstone and encouraged us to break the mold of what a rabbinic thesis could be and think outside of the box. For more information please visit http://www.thinkingtzedakah.org.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu