Traditions of Giving
Charity is a Jewish Tradition
The tradition of tzedakah - variously interpreted as righteousness or charitable giving - is as old as Judaism itself. It emphasizes both an individual obligation to help those in need, as well as a communal responsibility to provide assistance in a systematic and organized way.
It shares the same root as tzedek, the Hebrew word for justice. As a biblical commandment, or mitzvah, tzedakah is considered "equal in importance to all the other commandments combined" (Babylonian Talmud).
"As a torch is not diminished though it kindles a million candles, so will he not lose who gives to a good cause."
In the modern era, a tzedakah box can still be found in many Jewish homes, symbolizing a family's philanthropic commitment to repairing the world (tikkun olam). And it's still customary to celebrate a simchah, or happy event-be it a birth, bar or bat mitzvah, wedding or Jewish holiday - with a charitable gift.
Here in Los Angeles, the Jewish Community Foundation has been a trusted partner in philanthropy since 1954.
As a community foundation, we don't ask you to give to a particular cause. Rather, we ask how we can help you support the causes you care about, whether in the Jewish community or the community at large.
We currently serve more than 1,200 donors and oversee nearly $1 billion in charitable assets, for the benefit of our own and future generations.