"What is Philanthropy"


Tzedakah. Charity. Giving. We throw these terms around, but do we really know what they mean? What is philanthropy anyway?! A new short film (7:30 minutes), asks the question “What is Philanthropy?” and answers it by presenting a historical context along with various modern viewpoints and perspectives. The film is accessible for children and adults alike, and is a great way to kick off a conversation about giving: why we give, the role of philanthropy in American culture and society, and the ways in which philanthropy creates social change.

Religious leaders provide faith-based context for philanthropy, and Rabbi Pinny Rosenthal (Manhattan Jewish Experience), makes an important distinction between a common understanding of tzedakah and the real meaning of the word. “Tzedakah is roughly translated as charity, but it really misses the picture. The word comes from tzedek, or righteousness, so therefore, when you give charity, you’re not doing something special – you’re doing the right thing.”

Watch the video below:

Stefanie Zelkind is director of the Jewish Teen Funders Network.