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Assimilation, Intermarriage May Dry Up Donations to Israel

Assimilation, Intermarriage May Dry Up Donations to Israel

Judy Siegel - The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215330966371&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The shrinking value of the dollar is seriously pinching philanthropic organizations, which raise funds spent in shekels, but this short-term problem pales in comparison to long-term threats facing the Diaspora that threaten to shrink the number of Jewish donors in the future.

That concern was voiced at a reception and lavish kosher buffet dinner at the Beverly Hills mansion of Parviz and Pouran Nazarian honoring nearly 200 major donors ($100,000 a year and up) to the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America, which raises funds for the development of Israel's Hadassah Medical Organization and other educational and social projects.

The Nazarians, Jews who left Iran with the rise of the Muslim regime, are generous donors to Jewish causes, including Hadassah. They hosted the reception in their tasteful and luxurious mansion, complete with a private waterfall in the back garden, antiques, exquisite paintings and sculptures.

The Nazarians were surprised last year in Israel by their children, who arranged for a celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary at a four-day party in the Judean Desert for families and friends, who were housed in Persian-style tents hung with expensive chandeliers. Pouran was seated on a golden throne.

Led by Hadassah national president Nancy Falchuk and Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the guests were told by Baltimore Jewish donor Stewart Greenebaum that the Diaspora Jewish "voices in the choir" who praise Israel, donate and solicit donations for Israeli causes from philanthropists are dangerously decreasing in number. "I don't know whether when we are no longer here, our children and grandchildren will take our places" in donating to Jewish charities, Greenebaum said.

While he did not advocate a halt of philanthropy by wealthy US Jews to general civic causes, Greenebaum was concerned that sources were going to dry up. He urged that those who remain speak to a "larger audience" and solicit donations from others, including non-Jewish groups who "can be told what Hadassah does" and persuaded to contribute to these important causes.

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