Top Five List Books

  1. Miller, Lorne S. Ensure the Future: How Synagogues and Day Schools Can Compete in the Philanthropic Marketplace. Lorne Miller and Associates, Toronto, Canada, 2001.
  2. Tamari, Meir. With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life. Jason Aronson, Northvale, NJ, 1987.
  3. Dorff, Elliot N. and Louis E. Newman. Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Money. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008.
  4. Kass, Amy A. Giving Well, Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists. Indiana University Press, 2007.
  5. Zevit, Shawn Israel. Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities. Alban Institute, Herndon, VA, 200.

1. Miller, Lorne S. Ensure the Future: How Synagogues and Day Schools Can Compete in the Philanthropic Marketplace. Lorne Miller and Associates, Toronto, Canada, 2001.

Lorne S. Miller's book, Ensure the Future, has been a staple for our research in the field of Jewish fundraising and philanthropy. Miller, a fundraising consultant, provides a framework for ensuring the survival of "smaller" Jewish institutions, like synagogues and Jewish day schools. Gleaning from his work in fundraising, he created a simple, yet thorough guide to fundraising using Jewish ideals and concepts.

This resource would be helpful to a rabbi or Jewish professional entering the field of fundraising or for an experienced fundraiser who needs some new ideas. Each section begins with a quote from the Jewish tradition. Examples are giving throughout the book to make sure the student of fundraising has a visual from which to model. Miller acknowledges that each community is different and has a culture of its own, but the framework of fundraising is fundamentally the same. Ensure the Future allows every Jewish organization, "to compete for a significant share of the philanthropic pie in what has become a very competitive and sophisticated marketplace."

2. Tamari, Meir. With all your possessions
With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life
Jason Aronson Northvale NJ 1987

A central figure in the field of Jewish business ethics, Tamari was one of the first to bring the discipline into the realm of scholarship. Originally from South Africa, he made aliyah and became a major figure in the study of economic in Israel. Frustrated by the seeming disconnect between academic study of economics and the Jewish values system, Tamari integrated Jewish sources into his economics courses to emphasize the traditional approach to business ethics. In 1987 Tamari published With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life based on the course he offered at Bar Ilan University. Unique in his field, Tamari integrates Jewish sources on integrity, communal records of medieval Jewish communities as well as normative law.

In 1992 Tamari founded the Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility at Jerusalem College of Technology, now known as the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem. His subsequent works includes the publication of The Challenge of Wealth: A Jewish Perspective on Earning and Spending Money as well as international teaching on the topic of Jewish Business ethics. Tamari's divrei torah can be found on Torah.org. link

Tamari's book is a significant resource for the congregational rabbi interested in teaching a class on Jewish business ethics, or merely presenting a sermon on the relevance of Jewish Law and thought to our economic attitudes. Including both halachic and historical presentations of Jewish response to economic questions, Tamari's central assertion is this: while each person is allotted a particular share, the material goods belong to God and we are responsible for stewardship. Passages from the text are useful on their own, but the whole text would serve well as the subject of a serious book club.

3. Dorff, Elliot N. and Louis E. Newman. Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Money. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008.

Elliot Dorff and Louis Newman have collaborated on a number of works before co-editing Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Money. As the Rector and Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University, Dorff brings a wealth of knowledge in the area of philosophy under Jewish authority. Newman is the John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies and director of Judaic Studies at Carleton College and has written a number of volumes in the area of Jewish ethics. The pair has co-authored and edited other titles such as, Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality: A Reader and Contemporary Jewish Theology: A Reader.

Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Money offers perspectives from a variety of Jewish professionals. Part I offers case studies with accompanying Jewish sources on the topic of money. Each case study highlights a difficult decision that one may face in the realm of the ethics of money. Credit card debt, morally troubling jobs and childcare are a few examples of issues discussed in this work. Part II is a compilation of essays written by scholars and rabbis on other complicated issues such as government money, philanthropy and a reflection on the previous case studies. Each essay offers Jewish texts to support its stance on a particular issue.

Rabbis and Jewish professionals will find that the Jewish sources cited in this book are helpful for any fundraising or philanthropic venture, ranging from Torah texts to Talmud sugiyot. The case studies offer a specific view on an issue while giving the reader an opportunity to think about how they would personally answer the question. The conclusion of the book is also very helpful in forming one's own ideas about the ethics of money in this contemporary age.

4. Kass, Amy A. Giving Well, Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists. Indiana University Press, 2007.

Amy Kass is a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago and a senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. One of her central interests is civic philanthropy, on which she has lectured nationally. In addition to Giving Well, Doing Good, She is also editor of The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose.

While discussion of giving is often relegated to technical language of foundations, Kass's volume addresses a financial topic from the perspective of the humanities. Including readings from a broad historical frame, selections range in genre from political treatises to poetic musings. The potential audience is as broad as the range of topics, serving those who participate in their own family's foundation to those who solicit funds. The pieces are arranged according to five central themes: five themes: goals and intentions; gifts, donors, recipients; bequests and legacies, effectiveness, accountability; and philanthropic leadership. The pieces gathered in this anthology address the fundamental questions of philanthropy and can be used to provoke thoughtful conversation. The collection encourages thoughtful giving towards more effective and recipient-focused giving.

Selections could be studied in cultivation of a donor, to inspire a campaign or to focus those involved in development work. Individual selections would also serve as a jumping off point for a sermon, especially a high-holiday appeal. This volume would make a wonderful thank you gift for major donors.

5. Zevit, Shawn Israel. Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities. Alban Institute, Herndon, VA, 200.

Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit serves as a consultant to congregations, Jewish and otherwise, in the areas of community building, money and values and leadership. He is currently the Senior Consultant and Director of Outreach and External Affairs of the Reconstructionist Movement.

Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities is based on the Jewish value of nadiv lev. This book provides texts and tools for congregations to explore the area of fundraising and philanthropy as communal tools for bringing communities together. Zevit says this book, "demonstrates how faith communities can create values-based approaches to developing and managing financial and human resources that are rooted in the very sacred traditions, principles, and impulses that bring us together." The ideas of money as a spiritual tool, organizing money, and tzedakah are the focus of the majority of the work. A case study is provided at the end to show how the lessons learned throughout the book can be applied to bringing a community and fiscal resources together.

Rabbis and Jewish development professionals will find the Jewish texts and creative liturgies helpful in creating a fundraising campaign. The glossary of Jewish and development terms may also be useful when creating a fundraising strategy and creating congregational fundraising materials. One of the most important ideas communicated in this book is following through with the mission and vision of the organization, samples and activities are included to help Jewish professionals to articulate the mission and vision of a congregation.