Daniel Elbaum

Securing Our Jewish Legacy: The Power of Legacy Giving and Jewish Future Pledge

Bernard and Joan White, pictured with their family. Bernard and Joan took the Jewish Future Pledge, vowing that 50% of their intended charitable bequest will be earmarked for Israel or Jewish causes, such as the Jewish Agency. Photo Credit: Jewish Future Pledge

As the war in Ukraine grinds on, there are many lessons that will be studied by historians and policymakers. But for the Jewish community there are two that tower above all others: First, quick action saves lives and, second, quick action is only possible when you have infrastructure on the ground.

The situation laid to rest any question about how global Jewry would respond to a massive crisis. Yet, as millions of dollars poured into the effort to save our fellow Jews, we know that these efforts would not have been nearly as effective without existing funds. As is often said, you do not build the fire house when your home is on fire.

Yet can we say with total confidence that the Jewish community will respond in the same manner 50 years in the future? What about 25?  What about 10?

We do not know the next time that Jews will be in danger, but we do know that we need to think beyond the present and consider the lasting impact we can make. One profound way to make that impact is through legacy giving.

The Jewish Agency has long been at the forefront of preserving and strengthening Jewish life. Our organization’s rich history spans over 90 years, during which we have championed Jewish immigration, supported Israel’s development, and fostered Jewish identity and connection worldwide.

Our responsibility extends beyond the present, requiring us to think strategically about the future. If we have a down fundraising year, we do not want to be faced with the idea of doing less. So, we are speaking to our supporters, our family, to ensure we are part of the estate plans of those who have given so generously throughout their lives.

In this effort, The Jewish Agency proudly endorses the Jewish Future Pledge—a transformative initiative that inspires individuals, families, and family foundations to make a lasting commitment to the Jewish people.

The Jewish Future Pledge invites Jews and Jewish allies to include Jewish causes or the State of Israel in their estate plans, providing critical support to the institutions and initiatives that sustain Jewish life, education, and community-building around the world. By encouraging individuals to leave a lasting legacy of giving, the Jewish Future Pledge promotes continuity, particularly during times of rapid societal change, and an opportunity for everyone to contribute to a shared destiny.

Through legacy giving, we have the chance to support critical initiatives, such as educational programs, community development, and Jewish identity-building efforts. By investing in these areas, we not only help guarantee a thriving Jewish future, but also contribute to the broader well-being of society as a whole.

Perhaps most importantly, signing the Jewish Future Pledge sends a message to our children and grandchildren – and to the world. Every Jewish Future Pledge is another resounding statement that this generation cares deeply about the challenges facing world Jewry today.

Together, The Jewish Agency and the Jewish Future Pledge aim to ignite a spirit of unity and purpose among Jews across the globe. We encourage every member of our community to consider the impact they can make by joining this visionary movement. By planning for the future today, we can shape the narrative of Jewish life and leave an enduring legacy for generations to come.

In 2022, I had the immense privilege of flying on separate flights with Ukrainian and Ethiopian Jews. I saw the Ukrainian Jews cry and the Ethiopian Jews sing and I took comfort that Israel was there for them both. It is my responsibility to assure that this does not become less true on my watch.

Join me in taking the Jewish Future Pledge. Let us seize this opportunity to make a lasting impact on our community, to inspire future generations, and to ensure that organizations like the Jewish Agency can continue their crucial work.

About the Author
Dan Elbaum is head of North America at The Jewish Agency for Israel and the president and CEO of Jewish Agency International Development.
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