Every year in April, Americans complete their taxes, which include for many, lists of donations to tax-exempt charitable organizations. As an American Jew, my wife and I know and support great charities for Israel, such as AFMDA (American Friends of Magen David Adom) and FIDF (Friends of the IDF.) But I had often wondered, what about the other excellent charities in Israel that are virtually unknown in the U.S.? How do they survive and how can we support them?
How many American Jews have ever heard of Shai Asher (Milton’s Gift), an Israeli charity that provides meaningful employment and career training for people with disabilities?
I doubt if many Americans were aware of Jeremy’s Circle in Tel Aviv, an organization that supports children living with cancer in the family, or Sulam L’Atid, a charitable organization in Jerusalem that helps impoverished Israeli high school students advance to higher education by giving them free tutorials along with economic support for their families. How do these outstanding charitable organizations in Israel survive?
Many American Jews would like to support Israel’s charitable organizations, but few know them and, until now, had no easy way to contribute. Large foundations and federations are great, but they simply can’t represent everyone’s values and their ideals for Israel.
Now there is internet technology to help us do better. Today, there is Cause:Isreal, which lets each person or family have a chance to support Israel in one’s own way. You can now donate every month to any of dozens of outstanding Israeli charities.
Cause:Israel allows you to pick the organization you want, and it only includes organizations in Israel that have been thoroughly vetted by known, respected and trusted organizations such as Midot, the Good People Fund or the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. It has developed a unique algorithm that takes into account your preferred causes and the history of your picks, and checks out what’s trending within the Cause:Israel community. Based on these factors, it chooses three organizations to send you every month. Then you pick the one that receives your tax-deductible contribution.
You can click to see more than the top three nonprofits for that month and pick a different organization that speaks to you. You can also go into your preferences and change the types of causes you care about, such as poverty and the needy, security and IDF or education, and then the system will recalculate the best picks for you. If you aren’t able to find an organization you want to support, you can contact email@example.com.
Cause:Israel is the brainchild of Dr. Amir Give’on, who developed the Jewish crowdfunding site, Jewcer. Give’on is a mechanical and aerospace engineer, a professional geek who is driven to search for new ideas to benefit the Jewish people and Israel. His drive stems from his passion for Israel advocacy and connecting Israelis with Jewish Americans.
My wife and I have been donating to Cause:Israel’s various charities for the last year, and it takes less than a few minutes each month to choose an excellent cause in Israel. I have learned so much about what’s needed in Israel since signing up. In the last year, IsraAID, Beit Hayeled and Rescuers without Borders are some of the organizations I had never heard of that my family has supported.
Trusted Organizations And Taxes Made Easy
One of the things that makes Cause:Israel so simple and effective: 100 percent of your donation is tax deductible. It does not take any fees from donors. You will get a receipt after each donation is processed, and one report and receipt at the end of the year for all the contributions you made.
Tikkun olam has never been as easy because of causeisrael.org. If you care about the people of Israel and want a wonderful way to support great Israeli charities, sign up at Cause:Israel. This can become your own personal tzedakah box, helping Israel and its so many needs one gift of giving at a time.
Arnie Goldman is a resident of Farmington Hills.