How should Canadian Jewish organizations balance their domestic philanthropic needs with those of Israel?

(Photo courtesy of JNF)

It’s a well-known fact that Israel is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Far from being the struggling Jewish state of the 1950s and 1960s, when it needed allies from developed nations to build a safe haven for Jews around the world, Israel now generally ranks among the top countries in GDP per capita by any metric—often scoring in the top 20, often above Canada.

It forces the question: Why are Canadian Jewish organizations still sending money to Israel? Especially with smaller communities struggling to offer social services and meet the needs of their residents, what percentage of funds raised—if any—makes sense to send abroad?

This is the third question asked by Dan Brotman and Yaron Deckel, hosts and sponsors of The CJN Studios podcast Five Questions About Israel. For answers and opinions, they turn to Mathew Frieberg, a real estate developer and co-chair of UJA Toronto’s annual campaign in 2021-22; Joanna Mirski Wexler, a Halifax-based accountant and Hebrew teacher who represents Atlantic Canada on the national CIJA board; and Miriam Goldstein-Cedroni, a theatre worker and board member of the Windsor Jewish Federation.