Tuesday, February 11, 2014

If I Were a Rich Man…

Philanthropist Mark Zuckerberg
I know it’s a fantasy. But the thought occurred to be that if Mark Zuckerberg would have directed his nearly 1 billion dollars in charitable contributions last year to Jewish education, what a difference that would make. It should be noted that he is at the top of the list in charitable contributions for 2013.

For those who have just have just arrived here from Mars, 29 year old Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook, perhaps the most popular medium for social interaction on the internet. He is today worth an estimated  28 billion dollars.

I suppose by Halachic standards, he should have given away almost 3 times as much as he did. Halacha tells us that one must give away 10% of one’s income.   But, a billion dollars is a hefty piece of change, and if he were to give it to one of my personal charities, I woudn’t quibble.

The chances of Mark giving any money to Jewish education are twofold: Slim and none. That’s not because Mark isn’t Jewish. He is. But because he is an atheist. (Not being Jewish does not prevent non Jews from donating to Jewish charities. There are some very generous non Jewish philanthropists that have given money to Jewish educational institutions. But somehow I don't think an atheist is interested in supporting educating Jews to believe in God.)

How sad it is that a man of Jewish heritage that is so wealthy with such an obviously good heart has little to no chance of funneling at least some of his contributions to Jewish education.

Maybe next year??? Nah… Not gonna happen. But I can dream… can’t I?


  1. 10% of income is not the same as 10% of net worth.

  2. OK. But still... he can afford to let go of another couple of billion. He'll still have 26 billion left.

  3. Michael Steinhardt co-founded birthright even though he's personally an atheist.

  4. Well... he ought to be a role model for Mr. Zuckerberg, then.

    1. Steinhardt identifies as Jewish though. That's the difference.

  5. Did you edit your work?

  6. Did anybody ever try approaching him and asking him to donate to Jewish Education?

    Where are all our brilliant sales-men?