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Janine Lowy on the Urgency of Supporting Jewish Nonprofits

Star of David pendant symbolizing Jewish faith, hanging from a tree branch in spring, representing the growth of Jewish nonprofits as advocated by Janine Lowy.

Many Jewish organizations across the United States enter this Pesach in a tight position. In the nearly seven months since Hamas’ attack on Israel, antisemitism has soared in major centers of power and culture in the West. ‘

Jewish nonprofits have risen to meet the moment, providing a wide range of services and support programs to bolster Jewish life and protect Jewish communities. 

For many nonprofits, this has meant working well beyond the scope of their stated missions. In the present context, a nonprofit focused on issuing Jewish summer camp scholarships, for example, no longer has the luxury of focusing its efforts solely on camp. Now, organizations of all kinds—with vastly diverse missions and mandates—have diverted significant resources to fighting antisemitism, protecting their constituents, educating the public, and collaborating with stakeholders. Many Jewish organizations now feel they are expected to play a role in what has become an all-hands effort to fight intolerance and support Jewish communities across the country.  

Doing so has been a significant challenge for many organizations. Fighting antisemitism all while still maintaining mission-aligned programming has come at steep costs. Operational expenses are up. Staffing hours have increased. Security fees have skyrocketed. Maintaining the vibrancy of Jewish life has not come easily. 

Pesach presents an opportunity to support the organizations that have sculpted and enriched Jewish life for decades. But can the Jewish community help the organizations working to advance its interests amid this difficult time? 

“Fundraising and donations,” answered Janine Lowy, a philanthropist in Los Angeles who founded the Winkler Lowy Foundation. Janine Lowy has become one of L.A.’s leading authorities on Jewish philanthropy. She’s participated in the creation of many noteworthy programs in Los Angeles, including the Master of Arts in Teaching at American Jewish University and the Education Twinning Program at The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. 

“Jewish nonprofits have done a fabulous job supporting the Jewish community in the days since October 7,” Janine Lowy continued, “but the excellence of their work is ultimately constrained by the limits of their resources. This is a moment when the Jewish community needs to come together and support the organizations that have uplifted and enriched our lives for decades.” 

Janine Lowy highlighted the extent to which modern Jewish life has been shaped and maintained by these organizations, whether those in the Jewish community notice it or not. 

“Pillars of modern Judaism—institutions of our Jewish community from summer camps to day schools to family services—are often organized and sustained by nonprofits,” she said. “And these organizations need our help.” 

Janine Lowy provided some simple tips to help families get involved. 

“When your family gathers for Pesach, go around the table and state one service or experience within the Jewish community that you’re thankful for,” Janine Lowy said. “Then, get everyone to chip in $5 or $10 to support a family favorite.”

Kids, Janine Lowy said, love to get involved in philanthropy, too. And, she noted, establishing a habit of giving early on in their lives can strengthen their connection to the Jewish world—and to charity more generally.

“Give the children in your life a few dollars each to donate to a nonprofit of their choice. Let them decide which group to give it to—encourage them to research topics that are important to them and find Jewish organizations making a difference. They’ll thank you in the long term—and the Jewish community will too.” 

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