Thursday, July 14, 2005

'An established culture of giving'

The story of the Argentinian Jewish community (and Argentinians in general), which was impoverished in one fell swoop a few years ago and thousands of members, including from the middle classes, driven to shanty towns and true poverty, is one of the saddest in recent years. Lets hope that this is an indication the community is beginning to find its financial feet again, even if the signs are still faint.
One thing that's interesting is the comment that
Considering the obstacles to attracting substantial charitable donations in Argentina, [director of the Tzedakah Foundation, Jorge] Schulman cites the small number of Jewish families with large fortunes and stresses that there simply is no established culture of giving in the community. But Schulman says the country’s recent financial crisis motivated Argentine Jews across the religious spectrum to help each other.
I know that North American communities are often surprised to discover that Russian Jews do not have an 'established culture' of financial giving -- in their case, it's because for so many decades there were simply no Jewish institutions or organisations to give to. Not clear why this would be the case in Argentina. Still, it's interesting how things which are taken for granted as cornerstones of some Jewish communities are completely unknown elsewhere.

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