May 22, 2020
Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. American Jewish philanthropy has long been celebrated for its virtues, extending from the local to the global, the Jewish to the non-Jewish, and modest donations to vast endowments. In her book, The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex, and in her discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, LILA CORWIN BERMAN argues that the history of American Jewish philanthropy reveals a complicated reality of changing and uneasy relationships among philanthropy, democracy, and capitalism. Jewish philanthropy grew to have a tight relationship with the governing forces of American life, reinforcing and even transforming the nation’s laws and policies. Berman also discusses the challenges of critically examining money, power, and Jewish institutions in a period of rising anti-Semitic hatred. Berman is Director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University.