Gilbert and Dean Debate the Virtues of Charity and 'Genetic' Jews
Right now Gilbert and I are exchanging thoughts on the topic of charity, and specifically my belief that Eli & Edythe Broad should redirect their funding of charitable causes away from the art world and toward worthy Jewish non-profits. You can read our back and forth at the Jewish Journal web site, or view part of the conversation below.
GILBERT: I apologize for Mr & Mrs Broad for not donating to your favorite charity.
DEAN: Apology accepted. If you really want to make amends, write a check, even for $18.00, and mail it to one of Los Angeles’ fine Jewish Day Schools. Send me a copy of the check and I’ll post it on The Memo to show you are after all a truly good guy. Come on, it’s only 18 bucks and it will put you in good with the man upstairs. Deal?
GILBERT: I think that I’m a charitable man, more generous than some, not as generous perhaps as others. Your suggestion to post my check on your blog would lessen the level of my gift. You cited the Rambam in your response to J. Did the Rambam not say that the second highest level of Tzedakah is to give anonymously? The recipient of the donation should not know from where it came and the charity should remain unknown. However, rest assured there is a Jewish Day School that is receiving some support from me.
DEAN: I believe you really do support an area Jewish Day School and I publicly thank you for it! You are a good man after all .
I believe there are some concepts in the world that are absolute and charity is one of them. There is a huge, huge difference between what is legal, what is constitutional and what is right.
Eli and Edythe Broad have not yet met a building they don’t want to see their names on. Do they have the right? Of course. Is it right? Obviously, I think not.
I believe great art museums enrich us all, Jew, non-Jew, atheist, communist, you name it. I am a member of LACMA and my family and I regularly visit area art museums.
But if my enjoyment of art is at the expense of securing the long-term viability of the Jewish people, then I can live without it. I simply can’t equate the two as being morally equivalent.
The Broads have done plenty for the art world. Enough! Time for them to step up and bolster the many worthy Jewish causes.
Some may question whether or not God notes the difference in charitable giving. All I can say is that the God described in the Torah most certainly does—if that matters to the Broads or any other ‘genetic’ Jews.
What, you may ask is a ‘genetic’ Jew? A human whose DNA says s/he is Jewish, but whose behaviors would argue otherwise.