The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

Andrés Spokoiny is President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. Full bio >>

What We Can Learn From Russian-Speaking Jews Here

The Jewish Week, May 31, 2016.

What impact can Russian-speaking Jews have on American Jewish identity?

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Speaking of Jewish Identity…

eJewish Philanthropy, May 25, 2016

According to cognitive scientist Lera Boroditzky, you and I don’t see the color “baby blue” in the same way. That’s not because we have different eyes, but because we have different tongues. Mother tongues, that is. You see, language shapes perception.

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"Israel" (Jorge Luis Borges, 1969)

Dear friends,

I was working on a message that would express my feelings in relation to Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day. Something that would say that, despite everything, because of everything, Israel is one of the major triumphs of Jewish spirit and human will. And then I came across a poem that my landsman, Jorge Luis Borges—who was not Jewish—had written about Israel in 1969.

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On Persistent Illusions

When medical students in the Middle Ages opened a body and pointed out discrepancies between what they saw in front of them and the traditional descriptions of Hippocrates and Galenus, they were reprimanded by their teachers: “Would you trust more your fallible eyes than the wisdom of the ancients?” It was only in the 16th century that Andreas Vesalius, father of modern anatomy, established the revolutionary medical notion that observed facts should outweigh received beliefs. Thank Vesalaius the next time your doctor prescribes you a pill or an exercise regimen rather than a leech or a purge.

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No, Peter Beinart: Anti-Zionism Is Indeed a Form of anti-Semitism

Haaretz, Apr 20, 2016

Zionism is one of the most inspiring and justice-oriented movements in human history, and we faithful Zionists need to defend its good name.

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The Seder: Liberation and Radical Empathy

Cross-posted at The Times of Israel, April 19, 2016

Every culture has etiological myths, foundational stories that relate the origins of the people in question. Those stories — which generally have a supernatural dimension — are not merely explanatory, but convey something essential about how that group sees itself.

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Empowered Humility: Andrés Spokoiny's Address to JFN 2016

JFN President & CEO Andrés Spokoiny's annual address to the 2016 JFN International Conference was entitled Empowered Humility: Leveraging Your Limitations in Philanthropy.

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The Haman Within: Purim 5776

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel, March 22, 2016

Purim is a holiday in which we are not afraid to be ridiculous. We don funny costumes; we drink ourselves into oblivion; we are boisterous and noisy. Purim is all about ridicule.

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The Next Big Thing, or the Next Near Thing?

Cross-posted at eJewish Philanthropy

If I had a penny for every time someone talked to me about creating “the next Birthright” or “the next PJ library,” I’d be a millionaire.

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Time for the Jewish Community to Learn About the Birds and the Bees

Cross-posted at eJewish Philanthropy

Sometime in the cretaceous, flowers “discovered” that bees could be an amazingly useful tool in their reproduction. Those flowers then started an arms race to develop the most brilliant colors and the tastiest, sweetest nectar, so as to attract the pollinating bees. Some 30-odd million years later, somebody crashed the party: the hummingbird.

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