The recent primary elections in the U.S. have been, well, let’s just say they have been fiery … heated … unique, ya let’s stick with unique. No matter what your political persuasion, you have to admit that this has been one of the more unique election cycles in recent memory.
Not surprisingly, Israel has featured as a major part of the conversation. Some of it has been positive, some of it was unclear, and sadly, some of it was negative. While Americans have much more to consider than just the issue of Israel, the Jewish community as a whole is rightly concerned with the tenor of the conversation.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., there are even more reasons for the global Jewish community to be concerned. The anti-Semitism scandal that has racked the Labor party is a frightening development. It is worrisome not just for the British Jewish community, but also for Jews around the world concerned for what this portends for them and for Israel. Hopefully, this can be turned into a positive development and the Labor party will take the necessary actions to address the anti-semites in its ranks.
However, it nevertheless demonstrates the need for Jews and Israel supporters everywhere to pay close attention to the things that are being said about Israel in the halls of power around the world.
How does Israel, and and how do Jews in general, stay calm and composed in the face of widespread global concerns. Well, I always put it down to community. Jews stick together – like family. With Israel Independence Day just around the corner, this is a great time to reflect on that sense of community.
In that light, one organization has pulled together a widespread sampling of Jewish and pro-Israel charities and organizations into one umbrella campaign. Like a family, these organizations have been bundled together into one initiative. And importantly, from my perspective at least, they are turning to the power of the web to help push the initiative forward.
Called iAm Israel, this fundraiser of fundraisers represents more than just an opportunity to donate to multiple worthy causes. Rather, this campaign represents a new approach to fundraising that taps into the power of community. It does in this two key ways.
First, the campaign is being run by CauseMatch, a crowdfunding platform for philanthropies that harnesses the power of Challenge Grants. What’s that? Basically a major donor will offer a certain amount of money that he or she is willing to donate to a campaign – let’s say $10k. If the philanthropy is able to match that number by raising funds from regular donors contributing smaller amounts, then the major donor will match that with a single large donation of their own. So a campaign that raises $10k can be doubled or tripled. This mix of donor power and the power of the crowd allows organizations using the CauseMatch platform to amplify the power of their communities.
The second way that the campaign taps into community power, is by bundling multiple groups together into one campaign. Maybe you aren’t ready to contribute to one organization, or even two, but surely 18 groups bundled together represents a unique opportunity to make a difference. In essence CauseMatch has formed a community of doing good, and populated it with some of the most popular Jewish and pro-Israel organizations around.
The world is a challenging place and Israel lives in a particularly challenging corner of it. Yet, the Jewish people have always found a way to persevere and overcome the challenges we face, and this is certainly true in Israel. This reality is uniquely demonstrated in the one-two punch of Israel’s Memorial Day immediately followed by its Independence Day.
What I think this means is that even though there are a number of troubling conversations and trends that the Jewish community needs to be concerned with, this also represents an opportunity for Jews. It’s a moment to come together and do what we have always done – support each other.