Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Never Ending Ask

Now more than ever, even the smallest amounts help, your tax-deductible donation will ensure that you will get email from now until eternity. Both personally and on behalf of the entire organization, I thank you for reading and then deleting our message without making a donation.

My Non-profit friends,

Tis’ the season of the never ending ask. I know, you got to pay the bills. I know that the economy has hurt you.

The reality of the situation is you are better off not showering your limited donor pool with a million emails (and in some cases a hard copy letter) asking for money. Most people make their donations at the end of the year to help out with taxes and the like. But that doesn’t mean most of us don’t have a pretty good idea where we want to make our donations.

I received a message the day after I made a not huge but still not small donation to one particular organization asking me for money. I also got two copies of the exact same ask from another org sent from different people; they used a different email html frame so we wouldn’t notice…I noticed.

To paraphrase the Oscar award winning song:
You know it is hard out here for a non-profit.
When it tryin to get this money for the rent.
For the computers and the electric bill
Because you will have a whole lot of board members talkin about downsizing
Will have a whole lot of board members talkin downsizing…

There is no question that non-profits, especially larger ones with limited relevance in our current world, had a really bad year. With the Dow nose diving, particular individuals running particular “investment vehicles” that turned out not to be anything at all and corporations closing up their charitable checkbooks, it was far from a banner year.

But please stop with all the emails. Pay attention to who is sending you money especially if you say any amount will help, prove it and stop sending further solicitations to those who have supported the cause. Also don’t make the “we are understaffed and over worked” excuse. I know how hard you work. I also know that shot gun blast emails are lazy and can be better targeted with limited work.

I hope you do meet your fundraising goals as well as your organizational ones.

A happy New Year to you all,


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Where naughty is nice

I'm just a Jew, a lonely Jew, on Christmas...

But on Christmas eve I will be enjoying some Heebonism! Last year's party was great (see me at 1:56) and I hope this year's will be a little less great.

Come on down:
105 Eldridge Street
New York, NY 10002
8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Best Gift of All

My friend Saint Tigerlily paid me a very big compliment today: She called me the only true male feminist she knows. While I am sure she knows quite a few true males, ones of the feministic variety are truly hard to come by these days.

But there are those who try. And especially in this season of giving and joy, it would make sense that people want to look out for one another. We want to show that we care, that men can be in touch with both their feminine side and still take care of their responsibilities. The good folks at CBS Cares wanted to prove that there are just a few men out there who understand, who get it.

Yup that is right; men know when it is best for “their women” to get lady tests done.

Here are the main reasons I was paid this compliment; in our conversation about this unreal video I brought these points:
1. If a woman delivered this message, saying something to the effect of “give yourself a gift of good health this Chanukah and schedule your lady test” it would have been fine and a very smart PSA.
2. The fact that a man is using the possessive —“your woman” — to describe your wife, girlfriend or partner (whatever you may call that person in your life) is as if he was saying: “At this time of year it is good to check your anti-freeze, your smoke detector batteries and your woman’s good parts, because CBS Cares.”

Come on folks! Aren’t we past this kind of pejorative sexist crap? I suppose the entire point is to get men to the point that they would be comfortable speaking to “their women” about female health issues such as cervical cancer. But this isn’t the way to go about it.

Women should have control of their bodies. Men should not tell women what to do with their bodies. (Yeah I am I am talking about that too but we are going to stick to busting on the YouTube thing and leave abortion for another day.)

In the end I suppose more people are talking about cervical cancer, but they aren’t having bagels with shmear anytime soon.

(H/T Jewschool)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Religiosity of Equality

This letter was sent to Senator Diaz’s office yesterday on behalf of the The Reform Jewish Voice (RJV) of New York State. I wrote it as a member of the Steering Committee and boy oh boy was I miffed about Senator Diaz's comment.

Dear Senator Diaz,

You were quoted in the New York Times saying that, “Not only the evangelicals, not only the Jews, not only the Muslims, not only the Catholics, but also the people oppose it.” “It” of course is marriage equality.

Now I cannot speak for all evangelicals, Muslims, Catholics, Jews or any other group you would like to unfairly type-cast as monolithic regressive ideologues. However, I can speak for a significant population of the Jewish community of this state. The Reform Jewish Movement, the largest synagogue movement in North America, has a long history of supporting civil marriage equality and I am offended by your statement.

I am a proud, practicing and religious Reform Jew. I was taught and believe that every human being was created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. This means that all of us, as perfect or flawed as we may be, are entitled to respect and equality. Let this be in the embrace of our community or the eyes of the law.

But even as our tradition embraces same-sex couples as full members of our religious community, we are cognizant that other faith traditions hold differing views on this issue. That is why it is essential that civil marriage laws are not rooted in theology, but in the principle of equal rights. Today, you allowed your generalizations of many faith traditions to rationalize your actions.

Your vote against and vocal opposition of equal rights and protections for thousands of New Yorkers is shameful. But what is worse, is that you assumed the voice of millions of religious people who vehemently disagree with your position.

Senator Diaz, as one religious person to another, please do not speak for me on the religiosity of equality, on the Jewish tradition’s idea of marriage or on how I build a family according to my faith.