Masculinizing American Jewish Philanthropy
Philanthropy has long been a cornerstone of Jewish identity in the United States. By the nineteenth century, charitable activity had increasingly become identified as the province of women—both Jewish and non-Jewish—because they were considered to possess an innate nurturing character particularly suited to benevolence. But in the late nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century, as Jewish organizations became larger and more sophisticated, Jewish men began to redefine communal philanthropy in ways that distanced it from female models of benevolence. Stressing organization and efficiency and emphasizing philanthropy as an expression of civic duty, Jewish men reimagined Jewish philanthropic activity as a masculine endeavor.
Sponsored by: The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies