The Bishop and the Rabbi

Today the New York branch of the Jewish Funders Network hosted a talk by Matthew about how the rich can save the world. He shared a panel with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who talked about how the rich can save Judaism. All that was needed was an actress, and we would have had the perfect ingredients for an after dinner joke.

Matthew began with a reference to the story we tell in the book about the efforts of Noosheen Hashemi, an Iranian-American, to create through the Parsa Foundation, a culture of philanthropy among the Iranian diaspora. She investigated, and found that Jewish philanthropists were by far the best at the four forms of diaspora giving: to help the community where you now live, to promote the culture of the diaspora in the community where you now live, to help the members of the diaspora community, and to help the people back where the diaspora came from (remittances).

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach turns out to be something of a celebrity – check out his website – as you would expect of the author of the million-plus seller, “Kosher Sex”. In January, he will publish “The Kosher Sutra”. (Where is that actress when you need her?) He is also close to Cory Booker, the reforming Christian African-American Mayor of Newark, whose philanthropic strategy we mention in the book.

A regular on the Oprah & Friends network, he is working with the media billionairess and philanthrocapitalist Oprah Winfrey to rebuild American families, through an initiative called “Turn Friday into Family Night”, which encourages families to eat together, provides them with a curriculum for conversation, and encourages the practice of hospitality by suggesting that two guests are invited to join the fun. This seems an excellent idea – an example of “celanthropy” in action.