Chairman: Keren Hayesod must evolve to survive

Multinational Zionist fund-raising organization now operates in a very different world than it did a generation ago.

(photo credit: KEREN HAYESOD)
Organizations like Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal must “evolve if they are going to survive,” newly installed board chair David Koschitzky told The Jerusalem Post. The multinational Zionist fund-raising organization now operates in a very different world than it did a generation ago, Koschitzky explained.
A former federation official in Chicago, Koschitzky is a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency and chair of the Canadian Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs. The Canadian businessman was elected during Keren Hayesod’s annual world conference in June.
“You can’t be the same as time goes on. I think that if I look at my father’s generation, when it came to dealing with Jewish interests he had four portals that he went to in the course of a lifetime: the school he sent his kids to, the synagogue he belonged to, Israel Bonds, UJA.
“If you look at my son’s generation, in a month’s time there are 250 Jewish portals that are coming to him and asking for his help, to help different Jewish causes. So that’s a completely different landscape. KH has to adapt to that. That is the primary voice of the organized Jewish communities and it needs to adapt so that it is relevant for the next generation,” he said.
Using the metaphor of a global village, Koschitzky said that “most leaders in KH don’t recognize or have enough contact with their partners around the world.
It’s important for the campaign in Australia know those in Canada, know those in France, know those in Latin America.”
It is also important to build up Keren Hayesod’s brand with teenagers and young adults, he continued, stating that “the days of my father’s generation, when the only gift you gave was to the KH or the UJA, those days are gone.”
Despite the proliferation of Jewish organizations, each focusing on its own specific sector and interest, there remains a need for large, broad-based organizations, Koschitzky asserted.
During this summer’s war with Hamas, Koschitzky said that Keren Hayesod was able to raise significant funds because people knew it as an address that they could trust and that would funnel the money where it was needed.
“KH was extremely successful in that time, because in times of need people said I need an organization that I know will help. We bought bomb shelters and programs to take children out of the South.”