Investing In the Jewish Future: Combating Antisemitism and Building Communities

Everything changed for the Jewish people on October 7. But also, nothing changed: Antisemitism is the oldest hatred, and Oct. 7 made clear just how existential the stakes are today. Jews have never had contiguous sovereignty in the Jewish state for more than 70 years at a time. We cannot afford to take what we have for granted.

The Anti-Defamation League has recorded thousands of antisemitic incidents on Jews in the United States since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas. Roughly half of all young American voters overall think Israel is intentionally killing civilians, and that Israelis are not serious about achieving peace. And Jewish students on campus are riding out an unprecedented rise in antisemitism while under the care of campus leaders who cannot all unequivocally say that calls for the genocide of Jews are unacceptable.

We’ve seen this story again and again. And we know how it ends if we do not act.

These realities threaten to tear the seemingly unbreakable bonds between Jews and their heritage, and between Israel and the Diaspora. These are truly existential times for the Jewish people, and the time to act is now.

As a generation of Jews whose culture was largely formed by immigrants who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust, as well as those who fled persecution in the Middle East, we cannot take living freely and openly as Jews for granted. Never again keeps on happening, again and again.

But we know how to change things. The state of Israel, the culmination of thousands of years of Jewish longing, was built by those who knew that wishing things were different means nothing if you do not act. The early founders of the state, and the leaders who have shaped it since, knew growing and sustaining a community requires time, resources, and sacrifice.

We have their bravery — and the bravery of our ancestors here in the United States — to thank for our ability to live openly and proudly as Jews today.

But there is still more to be done. Jewish Americans have always been a philanthropic bedrock of this country: few of our nation’s medical and research institutions, museums, universities, and other centers of arts and culture would look like what they do today without the generosity of Jewish Americans.

Today, when Jews are once again under attack, Jewish institutions need our help more than ever before. Far too many Jews are afraid to be openly Jewish: 38% of all Jews surveyed in 2022 by the AJC reported changing their behavior due to fears of antisemitism.

Younger American Jews are increasingly skeptical of Israel, under-informed about their heritage, and lacking communities and institutions that align with their values. We need to invest in those organizations working effectively to ensure that they feel connected and a part of our heritage.

Now is the time to commit not only to preserving, but to building Jewish institutions and communities so that the next generation can truly say Never Again and mean it. Never again will Jews be afraid and alone — in their ancestral homeland or elsewhere.

This will require hard work and hard conversations. It requires sharing our values, traditions, and histories with the next generation, as well as speaking out as proud Jews in all of our other communities.

Over the next 25 years, $68 trillion of overall wealth in the U.S. will transfer to the next generation. About 10 percent – $6.3 trillion – will be allocated to overall charitable donations. Charitable dollars given by Jewish donors is estimated to be 20 percent or $1.26 trillion. Imagine how much good we could collectively do if even half of these dollars – $600 billion – given by Jewish donors were earmarked for Jewish causes and Israel!”

The time to have conversations about your Jewish stories, values, and traditions with your children and grandchildren is today, and The Jewish Future Promise creates the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s important that we as a people Never Forget what Jews have survived — the Holocaust, generations of persecution in the Middle East, and the attacks of Oct. 7

This work of sustaining and protecting the Jewish future requires all of us. No matter how much money or time you can commit, investing in the Jewish future is a moral stance all of us can take. It’s time to make sure your loved ones understand your personal commitment to sustaining and growing the Jewish community, and the morals and values that lead you to do so.

Jewish causes and the state of Israel are in desperate need of our support. As “Ethics of Our Fathers” teaches us, “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.”

Of all the thousands of ancient civilizations, Judaism is one of the few that remain. This is an existential time in Jewish history. We must all do our part to ensure it’s not the closing chapter.

The Jewish Future Promise is a moral commitment to share Jewish stories, values, and traditions with family and friends. And, that if any charitable contributions are made upon passing, whether that be $10 or $10 million, at least 50% will be allocated to Jewish causes and/or the state of Israel. It is not a legal or binding agreement, but a promise to the next generation of the Jewish people.