Religious Briefing Papers
Explores the concept of action motivated by regard for others.
Traces charity back to the 4th Century roots of "agape," translating love for mankind to a concern for their welfare.
- Freedom of Religion
Covers both the origin and basis for concern about religious freedom and its strong ties to the Constitution's First Amendment.
- Freedom of Religion II
A second paper on this topic provides another student's perspective on the historic roots and importance of freedom of religion in the founding of the United States and its current influence on our legal, judicial and philanthropic systems.
- Jewish Philanthropy: The Concept of Tzedakah
The Hebrew word for charity; giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy, or to worthwhile causes. It is the responsibility to give a portion of one's personal substance for the common good. But it is more than giving money to the poor; done properly, tzedakah requires the donor share his or her compassion and empathy along with the money. Judaism teaches the belief that donors benefit from tzedakah as much or more than the recipients.
- Motivations for Giving and Serving
Without giving, it is reasonable to assume there would be no nonprofit or volunteer sector and little capital base from which to address social needs and problems and make necessary societal changes. The nonprofit sector has been built on three factors--financial giving, giving of time, and voluntary association (voluntarily belonging to a group). This paper examines a variety of theories concerning why people contribute their time, talent and money for the common good.
- Native American Philanthropy (Paper I)
Native American tribes have a long and fascinating history of self-sufficiency and community support for their members. The giving-and-receiving reciprocity in the Native American communities has been informal, ceremonial and ritualistic. Its sole purpose has remained as a way of "helping out" in hard times. All gaming tribes are giving entities and contribute funds to charitable causes or to needy communities.
- Native American Philanthropy (Paper II)
Giving in Native American cultures is a way of life rather than an obligation or a responsibility. Their religion and philosophy is based upon sharing, giving and receiving, and this concept of interconnectedness serves as a system to balance community resources.
- Philanthropy and the Black Church
Historically, the Black church has been a core institution for African-American philanthropy. It does not only serve as a faith-based house of worship, but it facilitates organized philanthropic efforts including meeting spiritual, psychological, financial, educational and basic humanitarian needs. Black churches are also involved in organizing and providing volunteers to the community and in civil and human rights activism.
A pushke is a container kept in the home, used for collecting money that the family will use to donate to charity. This Jewish tradition originates with the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, in which G-d commands the people to perform acts of tzedakah the Hebrew word for "justice" or "righteous behavior." It is important to the commandment of giving tzedakah because it allows Jews to give anonymously.
- Religious Basis for Charitable Giving
Many religious faiths encourage charitable activity by its members. Although the reasoning and origin varies from one group to another, numerous similarities emerge as the basis for charitable giving. For example Christians often use the term "stewardship" when referring to financial giving while Jews use "tzedakah" to refer to "acts of charity" which include charitable giving. A general definition of "charity" is: "A voluntary giving of money or other help to those in need."
- Szold, Henrietta
A major force in the Zionist movement, in healthcare and in women's independence in the United States and in Palestine. She was the founder of the women's volunteer organization, Hadassah, which is one of the largest today. In addition, Ms. Szold was an accomplished scholar, editor, and Jewish thinker. Within the Youth Aliyah Movement, she was instrumental in bringing thousands of Jewish children from Germany to Palestine during World War II and integrating them into their new homeland.
- Tikkun Olam
A jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world. The phrase is found in the Mishnah, a body of classical rabbinic teachings. It is often used when discussing issues of social policy, insuring a safeguard to those who may be at a disadvantage. In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice.
Generally defined as a tenth of the fruits of one's labor owed to God in recognition and thankfulness, tithes are traditionally paid to one's religious institution. Today, tithing includes wages earned by employment or secured by other lawful means such as inheritance or royalties. This tithe is generally given as a donation to a house of worship that then pays for the salaries of its religious leaders and support staff, for establishment and upkeep of worship facilities, and for the ongoing ope