Noam Zion has written a grand survey of Jewish giving in three separate stand-alone books. One, on society and poverty; second, on sensitivity to the shame and dignity of the poor; third, on the motivation of the giver — Jewish and Christian. Order the print version, and get the electronic version for free!
From Each According to
Duties to Poor People
from the Bible to the
Welfare State and Tikkun Olam
by Noam Zion
Download an excerpt for free
Tzedakah as the Defining Social Marker of Jewish Identity
The End of Begging and the Gated Community
- Introduction: Tzedakah as the Defining Social Marker of Jewish Identity
A. The Test of a True Jew: Check the Pocketbook.
B. Maimonides: Appealing to Jewish Genes — The Perfect “Pitch.”
- Part One: Biblical Justice, Love and Empathy for the Needy
Chapter 1: Israel’s Vocation for Social Justice: Biblical Tzedakah uMishpat.
Chapter 2: The Prophets’ Calling: Pathos and the Poor.
Chapter 3: Israel’s Memory and Love of the Stranger: The Exodus and Historical Lessons of Empathy.
- Part Two: The Sacred Economy:
Living on God's Land and from God’s Hand — Maintenance and Redemption
Chapter 4: Maintenance of the Poor: Agricultural Entitlements via Tithes, Peah, Gleaning and Shared Festival Meals.
Chapter 5: The Jubilee and the Redemption of Debtors/Slaves: God and Your Brother as Redeemer (Geulah) “Proclaim Liberty in the Land to All the Inhabitants” (Lev. 25:10).
Chapter 6: Paradoxes of Generosity: Ancient Israel’s Free Loan Society and the Sabbatical Amnesty on Debts.
Chapter 7: The Triple Shabbat and its Implications for Poverty, Accumulation of Wealth, and Human Freedom.
- Part Three: The Birth of the Social Welfare Society:
Greek Philanthropy (Euergesia) versus Rabbinic Tzedakah (Kuppah)
Chapter 8: Giving to the Public: The Greek Polis and the Culture of Euergesia (Philanthropy).
Chapter 9: Supporting Torah Study or the Poor? The Education of the Jewish Philanthropist and the Founding of the Muslim Waqf.
Chapter 10: The Rabbinic City of Social Welfare: The Invention of the Tzedakah Fund.
Chapter 11: The Western Welfare State or Welfare Society: The End of Charity or the Return to Private Philanthropy?
Chapter 12: Concepts of Justice: Tzedakah, Distributive Justice and Social Justice.
- Part Four: Tikkun Olam: The Jewish Mandate to Fix the World
Chapter 13: Tikkun Olam: A New Terminology for Social and Economic Reform and its Biblical, Rabbinic and Mystical Roots.
Chapter 14: Appendix: Back to the Cave! Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's Dilemma: Torah or Tikkun Olam?
To Each According to
One’s Social Needs:
The Dignity of the Needy
from Talmudic Tzedakah
to Human Rights
by Noam Zion
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Modern Jewish Discourses of Philanthropy: “No More Charity”
Family Welfare and Community Responsibility In Loco Parentis
- Part One: The Hierarchy of Needs
Chapter 1: Meeting Needs in a World of Scarcity: Rehabilitating the Orphan as a Paradigm for Tzedakah.
Chapter 2: Self-Respect and Hillel’s Horse: Attending to the “Outrageous Needs” of the Formerly Rich.
Chapter 3: To Pamper or Not to Pamper? Nehemia’s Lentils — A Menu of Life and Death.
Chapter 4: “I am Entitled!”: The Tale of Rava and the Moral Responsibility of the Poor to the Community.
Chapter 5: Shame, Shamelessness and Paternalism in Welfare: Loans or Gifts to Reluctant Recipients and Stingy Applicants.
Chapter 6: Secret Beneficence or Personal Giving? Mar Ukba in the Fiery Furnace: The Hero of Anonymous Donors.
Chapter 7: Feminine Tzedakah: Ms. Ukba’s Home Oven and Mar Ukba’s Toasty Toes.
Chapter 8: Welfare Abuse and Mar Ukba’s Bequest: “Beware, Charlatans” or “In Praise of Charlatans”?
Chapter 9: Downgrading One’s Lifestyle and the Poverty Line:“How Shall We Dine Today — with Gold or Silver Utensils?”
- Part Two: Work, Welfare and Parasitism — Forced Labor or Employment Opportunities? Medieval and Early Modern Attitudes Transformed
Chapter 10: Maimonides’ Highest Level of Tzedakah: Loans, Jobs and Business Partnerships.
Chapter 11: Doing Business with the Poor: Repayable Loans or Tzedakah?
Chapter 12: Praising Work and Condemning Parasites: Changing Images of the Poor and the Early Modern Reformation of Welfare — From Poor Relief to Moral Improvement.
Chapter 13: Changing Jewish Attitudes to Labor and to Torah Study: From the Bible to Contemporary Ultra-Orthodox (Haredim).
- Part Three: Modern Jewish Discourses of Philanthropy: “No More Charity!”
The Revolt against “Traditional” Tzedakah and Christian Charity
Chapter 14: New Types of Jewish Philanthropists — Maimonides Revisited.
- Part Four: Dignity Redeemed: Religious Discourses of Human Rights
Chapter 15: The Welfare State: Entitlements and the Avoidance of Shame.
Chapter 16: Human Dignity and Economic Entitlements: The Divine Image and the Religious Narratives of Human Rights.
Chapter 17: Jewish Roots of Human Dignity: The Divine Image (Tzelem Elohim) and the Divine Creature (Kevod HaBriyot).
Chapter 18: Human Dignity: Rights, Duties or Opportunities?
Chapter 19: The Dignity of the “Self-Made Man” and the Contributing Member of Society.
- Part Five: The Indignity of Inequality or the Dignity of Individual Difference?
Chapter 20: Indignation at Social Difference: In Praise of Equality — Modern Perspectives.
Chapter 21: The Jewish Critique of Social Honor: Egalitarian Trends in Biblical and Rabbinic Culture.
Chapter 22: The Legacy of Talmudic Tzedakah: The Rabbinic Image of God and Sensitivity to the Unique Social Needs of Each Individual.
For the Love of God:
Motivations for Giving.
and Lovingkindness (Hesed)
by Noam Zion
- Part One: Diverging Narratives: “Who is my Neighbor?”
Greek Citizens, Christian Sinners or Rabbinic Brothers
Chapter 1: Excluding or Including the Poor? Greco-Roman Stratification or Christian Spiritual Brotherhood?
Chapter 2: Christian Altruism and the Good Samaritan: “Who is my Neighbor, Rabbi?” (Luke 10:29)
Chapter 3: The Rabbis on “Love your Neighbor” (Leviticus 19:17): Neighbors as Covenantal Brothers.
Chapter 4: Rabbinic Priorities: “Me and My Family First!”
- Part Two: Diverging Narratives of Giving: Love or Duty?
Chapter 5: Paul’s Self-Sacrificial Agape and Martin Luther’s Love as Service to One’s Neighbor.
Chapter 6: Paul versus Maimonides: Loving Giver or Dutiful Donor? Renewing the Disputation between Love and Justice.
- Part Three: Converging Tales of Calculating Charity and Prudent Tzedakah: Economic Metaphors for Managing Funds for the Needy
Chapter 7: Banking with God: Giving and the Salvation of the Donor/Investor.
Chapter 8: Stewardship and Sharing the Surplus.
Chapter 9: The Reciprocity of Hesed: Giving and Being For-Given, Showing Human Mercy and Evoking Divine Mercy.
- Part Four: The Character Traits of the Giver
Maimonides on Lovingkindness (Hesed)
Chapter 10: The Emotional Component of Tzedakah: Beyond Anonymity and Duty, Towards Relationship.
Chapter 11: The Piety of Giving: The Generosity of the Hasid.
Chapter 12: From Love of God to Love of Humanity: Maimonides’ Shift from Theology to Politics and Ethics in The Guide to the Perplexed.
- A Retrospective Review
Chapter 13: Types of Giving in Review: Touching the Emotional Bases.
A. Empathy, Righteous Indignation and the Exodus.
B. Self-Perfecting Therapeutic Giving versus World-Perfecting Tikkun Olam.
C. Philanthropic Civic Pride.
D. Respect for Human Dignity.
E. Gratitude, An Opportunity to Give Back, and the Faithfulness of a Steward.
F. Mercy, Rakhmanut, Compassion.
G. Brotherhood, Solidarity, Reciprocity and Mutual Responsibility.
H. Redemption: Empowering Tzedakah and Enabling Love.
I. Prudent Giving: Investing in One’s Future.
J. David Hartman: Mature Love with Respect for Frailty and Acceptance of Interdependence.
K. Edgar Kahn’s Time Bank: A This-Worldly Bank for Depositing the Gifts of Rich and Poor Alike.