Print Icon

Welcome to the May edition of the Jewish Future Pledge newsletter. Please scroll to the bottom if you have been forwarded this edition and would like to learn more about Jewish Future Pledge and subscribe.

This edition includes: 

  • An inspiring St. Louis-based Jewish philanthropist
  • A lesson in teaching your children tzedakah
  • Everything new and newsworthy at the Jewish Future Pledge, including a new piece in the Jerusalem Post by our volunteer CMO, Elisa Morton Palter

Pledger Spotlight: Michael Staenberg

What did you think when you first heard about the Jewish Future Pledge and why did you ultimately sign? 

This is a great opportunity to show leadership in the Jewish philanthropic space. My family, our foundation and I personally want to give over 70% to Jewish causes. I signed this immediately to hopefully inspire others. If we don’t help ourselves, who will? 

What conversations have come up since you have signed the pledge? 

I speak to many philanthropists and have told them about this opportunity. This pledge is similar to what Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have done, but more directed to helping Jewish people. It’s not only enhanced what Mr. Gates and Buffett have started but allows us to help ourselves. 

What is one Jewish value you carry with you in your daily life? 

Tzedakah. When I was 10, I saw a beautiful red leather coat that I really wanted, but it cost $10, and I did not have that kind of money in 1964. 

My father offered me 25¢ an hour to clean the basements of his buildings. It was hard work, but I knew that if I did 40 hours, the coat would be mine. When I completed the hours, my dad pulled out ten $1 bills, but then divided them into three piles. Two dollars went in the tzedakah (charity) pile. Three dollars represented my contribution to my room and board. Only $5 remained for me. The Torah says you should give a minimum of 10% to tzedakah but my father said, “We’re not a 10% family, we’re a 20% family."

I was so disappointed, but then my dad said something else that would change my life: “You have two choices right now: You can quit, or you can work another 40 hours.” I chose to work, and a month later, I got my coat. Both lessons have stuck with me ever since. I learned from a young age that giving tzedakah is an unquestionable part of the Jewish values I carry forward. I learned that I could be a ‘20%’ family, and even though it meant working harder to reach 20%, I always chose to work harder. And I always give tzedakah. 

If we don’t do this, how can we ask others to? We must lead by example.

How To: Teach Your Children About Tzedakah

In the above spotlight, Michael mentions that his parents taught them to be a “20% family.” Children can learn about tzedakah at an early age. Many Jewish families already have a tzedakah box in their homes. We like the idea of getting kids their own divided piggy bank, which has 3 slots – one for spending, one for saving and one for sharing. 

The first is for small things – a treat, a game. 

The second is for bigger items- something that would take months or a year of saving to purchase. This one teaches delayed gratification. 

The third is for tzedakah.

How you teach your children to allocate their money among the slots is up to you. Michael’s family might have done: 50%, 30%, 20% but your family might choose 70%, 20%, 10%.

New and Newsworthy

I have three children. But the Jewish community is my fourth, Jerusalem Post

“We give our three children enormous love and energy and guidance, and at the same time, we also discuss the fourth child that we nurture and guide alongside them: the Jewish community.” - Elisa Morton Palter, Jewish Future Pledge Volunteer CMO

Jewish Philanthropy Podcast Hosts: Mike Leven and Amy Holtz, Jewish Philanthropy Podcast 

Jewish Philanthropy Podcast hosted Jewish Future Pledge co-founders Mike Leven and Amy Holtz for an interview on everything from finding life purpose to talking to the next generation about philanthropic giving. Listen to the podcast to hear about their personal insight that they bring to the Jewish Future Pledge and more.

In case you missed it – Video recording of Webinar: A Letter to the Future Me: Writing the Legacy That I Want to Leave

Last month, Dr. Erica Brown and Judy Altenberg joined Jewish Future Pledge and the Jewish Federations of North America for a webinar workshop on writing a legacy letter and ethical will to carry your values forward to the next generation. Learn more by watching the webinar recording at the link below.

Video recording of Securing Your Jewish Legacy: A Conversation with Jewish Future Pledge Co-Founder Mike Leven

The Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy invited Jewish Future Pledge co-founder Mike Leven for a conversation with CEJP president Joseph Hyman on the importance of meaningful Jewish philanthropy and building a movement of Jewish legacy giving. 

The Future of Philanthropy: Key Findings, Fidelity Charitable

This past year, Fidelity Charitable conducted a survey of charitable individuals to uncover the forces influencing charitable giving and offered an outline for the future. Here’s what they found:

  • Charitable giving is becoming charitable living. Giving is increasingly integrated into our everyday decisions.
  • Millennials are leading the transformation, pushing philanthropy beyond its traditional boundaries.
  • 2020 could mark a pivotal moment in philanthropy. During the pandemic, many donors placed a higher priority on economic development, hunger, and racial inequity than they did previously and also became more reliant on virtual tools, accelerating digital trends in philanthropy.
  • The social sector has unique opportunities and challenges as donors rethink and revise the ways they give. Because the nonprofit ecosystem enjoys higher levels of trust, it is uniquely positioned to lead the charge on many of the world’s largest issues.
Click below to read more about the study’s findings on philanthropic giving.

The Jewish Future Pledge is a worldwide movement working to ensure that vibrant Jewish life continues for generations to come. The Pledge is not a fundraiser. It is a moral obligation. It calls on all Jews to pledge that half or more of the charitable giving in their will/estate plan will support the Jewish people and/or the State of Israel – and sparks intergenerational conversations about why the Jewish people matter. Whether you’re leaving $10 or $10 million to charity in your will, you can be a part of securing the Jewish future for generations to come.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Mail


Facebook LinkedIn

Copyright © 2021 Jewish Future Pledge, All rights reserved. 

Contact information:
45 E. City Avenue, Suite 499, Bala Cynwyd, PA 

Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser