The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

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

Did Haman Have a Point?

Maybe what Haman wanted wasn’t so bad after all. He yearned for a homogeneous society, one in which people think the same thoughts, obey the same ruler, respect the same law, and march together towards glory and prosperity. If a small group stands in the way of a bright utopia, isn’t it justified to eliminate them?

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Diaspora Philanthropy To Israel Is No Longer A One Way Street

Forward, February 26, 2018.

I follow Anshel Pfeffer’s column in Haaretz with assiduity. I usually find his mordant analyses profound and insightful. But I can’t help but take exception to his recent article, “Help Israel. Stop Giving It Money.”

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Tu Bishvat: Rousseau’s Social Contract and the Carob Tree

Our obligations extend to both past and future.

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The Kidnapped Goddess, The Hidden Light, and Hanukkah

Persephone was a unique goddess in Greek mythology. She lived an idyllic and lonely life in communion with Nature, far from the other gods and the endless intrigues of Zeus’ gang. The most eligible bachelors on Mt. Olympus, Apollo and Hermes, courted and wooed her to no avail. She preferred to spend her days picking wild flowers and nurturing the Earth. Hades, however—the wicked Greek god of the underworld—didn’t waste time on courtship. Instead of spending his drachmas on fancy dinners or expensive Olympian champagne, he simply opened a wedge in the Earth’s crust, emerged from his darkness, and forcefully abducted the beautiful Persephone. With Persephone gone, the Earth plunged into cold and darkness. The trees lost their leaves, flowers withered and died, and the land become bare and desolate. Humans were hungry and the gods sad.

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Terror in New York: A Personal Reflection on Friendship

Intense, lifelong friendships that transcend social and cultural barriers are an Argentinian specialty, like tango, recurrent currency crises, and artery-clogging steaks.

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Sukkot: Don’t Read This—It’s Utterly Futile

The choice of Kohelet for Sukkot is a curious one. Sukkot is supposed to be the most joyous festival in our calendar, and yet, on it we read a book that starts with this uplifting phrase: “Utter futility, utter futility, everything is futile”. Gulp.

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Philanthropic Arrogance (and how to avoid it), Part II

In order to succeed as philanthropists, we need to better understand and accept the views of those who are in positions of less relative power. Now, that’s not impossible, but it takes deliberate, and sometimes uncomfortable, action.

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The New Year for Globalists & Nationalists

Cross-posted on eJewish Philanthropy

Georg Friedrich Hegel was to modern thought what Plato was to Greek philosophy. Most of the ideological movements of the 19th and 20th century see themselves as his heirs: from Marxists to nationalists and from existentialists to psychoanalysts, they all imbibed Hegel’s philosophy and methodology, especially the “dialectic”: thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

But we Jews were, as usual, a thorn in Hegel’s side.

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Arrogance of Philanthropists, Part I

Philanthropy Daily, Sep 13, 2017

Many people acquire power precisely by having a great capacity to be empathetic, or, at least, to be well-attuned to the emotional realities of others. But then, achieving that power seems to cause a loss of that very capability.

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Tisha Be’Av: A Failed Holiday?

If the purpose of Tisha Be’Av is to warn us about the dangers of internecine hatred, it has failed miserably.

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