Select guide to end of year charitable giving

American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science
(312) 641-5700 

Since its establishment in 1934 in Rehovot, Israel, the Weizmann Institute of Science has grown into one of the foremost centers of multidisciplinary research and graduate study in the world. With a 3,800-strong scientific community, it fulfills Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s vision that it be a place of peace, collaboration, and scientific excellence. Weizmann scientists focus on improving health and medicine; fighting cancer; protecting our planet; advancing technology; improving education; and exploring the physical world.

The Institute’s fundamental research has led to discoveries and practical applications with a major impact on the quality of life of millions of people worldwide. This commitment to basic science provides Weizmann researchers with freedom to explore the unknown, in an environment where curiosity and collaboration flourish. The Weizmann Institute’s commitment to innovation and collaboration benefits Israel in many ways. Institute alumni are prominent at leading universities, laboratories, and corporations in Israel and numerous other countries, contributing to the globalization of scientific knowledge. The Institute is responsible for much of Israel’s widely admired success in education, helping create a science-literate society and ensuring that new generations of scientists will be nurtured. Weizmann advances are responsible for creating dozens of Israeli companies and thousands of new jobs. Products resulting from Weizmann research contribute billions of dollars per year to Israel’s economy.

The Ark
(773) 973-1000

This time of year, it’s easy to find deals on almost everything, from art supplies to zebra-striped socks. Many of us take advantage of Black Friday and seasonal sales to get things we want or need: new clothes, phones, toys, books…but there are many things that won’t be on sale, but that people actually can’t do without. Things like insulin (never goes on sale), or essentials like diapers and or toilet paper. In fact (according to a recent article in the Washington Post), low-income families pay more for essentials like toilet paper than most other people. Here’s why:

Toilet paper, like many other household items, is non­perishable, and steadily consumed. (You can’t go without it, but you also don’t use more just because you happen to have more in the house). If you’re looking to save money, you buy when the price is right, and wait when the price isn’t. But low-income families on tight budgets often don’t have that luxury. When toilet paper is on sale, they can’t afford to stock up. They’d have to pay more up front—say, $24 for a 30­pack instead of $5 for a four­pack—to get the savings. Then, because they can’t stock up, they can’t afford to wait until the next sale comes around; when they run out, they have to buy another small quantity, at whatever it costs in that moment. Because they can’t use one money­saving strategy (stocking up), they can’t use the other (waiting for a sale), either.

And there are other obstacles as well. A family without a car, or an elderly couple who can no longer drive, have no way to transport home 30 rolls of toilet paper. (If they live in a small apartment, they may not even have space to store those 30 rolls.) And for young families, buying diapers in bulk can require an outlay of hundreds of dollars at a time.

There are countless opportunities to save money — if you just have enough money to access them. In other words, it’s expensive to be poor.

The ARK recognizes this, and helps families reverse this cycle, by providing food (and toilet paper); filling prescriptions for vital medications (like insulin); providing financial counseling; and much, much more.

For forty-six years, The ARK has been the Chicagoland Jewish community’s main address for caring, supportive, personalized help for whatever is needed. The ARK relies on the support of the community for the resources to provide this vital help. No matter the nature or size of the need, The ARK steps in to cover the gaps by helping with the electric or gas bill; providing medical and dental care, eyeglasses, and prescription medications; food, clothing, diapers and baby formula; mental health counseling; shelter and transitional housing for people who lose their homes; holiday meals; and a caring community. All services are provided free of charge, within a framework of Jewish values and laws.

The ARK offers services at two locations in Chicago and Northbrook. For more information about services for yourself or someone you know, contact Dr. Vicki Hass, Clinical Director, at (773) 681-8962 or All inquiries are strictly confidential.

The ARK relies upon thousands of volunteers—from physicians, dentists and lawyers to retirees and schoolchildren—to provide all kinds of help. For more information about volunteering, please contact Sophia Zisook, Director of Volunteers and Outreach, at (773) 681-8982 or

The ARK’s life-saving services are funded primarily through the generosity of individuals in the local Jewish community, with additional grants from JUF, foundations, and corporations.  To help us continue to help your Chicagoland Jewish neighbors in need, or for general information, visit The ARK’s website at

Create a Jewish Legacy/Chicago
(312) 357-4853

Endowments can keep giving forever. And so do the lessons learned through the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Create a Jewish Legacy program. In just its first two cohorts, the effort has raised more than $28 million for participating organizations.

Create a Jewish Legacy strengthens the Jewish community by training and supporting Jewish agencies, day schools and synagogues in legacy giving, planned giving and endowments. The program teaches leaders the ins and outs of structuring, operating and securing legacy gifts for endowments, which will provide a steady and potentially growing stream of dollars to sustain them for generations to come.

JUF’s Create a Jewish Legacy is part of a national program created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to preserve vibrant Jewish life for future generations by ensuring the long-term financial health of Jewish community organizations. JUF’s program also is supported by the Crown Family.

The first cohort of Create a Jewish Legacy currently includes Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation, Chicago Jewish Day School, CJE SeniorLife, Hebrew Theological College, Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, Jewish Child & Family Services, North Shore Congregation Israel, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago and Temple Jeremiah.

The second cohort includes Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, Arie Crown Hebrew Day School, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom, Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Jewish Community Center of Chicago, Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago, SHALVA, Sinai Health System, Temple Beth-El, Temple Chai and Temple Sholom of Chicago.

To learn more, contact Tamar Wolf at (312) 357-4963, or

Friends of the Israel
Defense Forces

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors,  to provide for education and wellbeing of the men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as well as the families of fallen soldiers by offering educational, cultural, recreational, and social services programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose, and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide.

The strength of the IDF, which has been guarding the State of Israel since it declared independence in 1948, derives from the selfless determination and great capabilities of the young men and women who form it. At the tender age of 18, all Israelis are drafted into the IDF. Those who serve commit to uphold the difficult tasks of defending Israel’s borders and guaranteeing the safety of its people. 

The Israeli government is responsible for training IDF soldiers and providing them with the necessary tools for their service. FIDF is committed to providing these soldiers with love, support, and care in an effort to ease the burden they carry on behalf of the Jewish community worldwide.

Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.

Israel Cancer Research Fund
(847) 914-9120

Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) is a nationwide charitable organization that receives its total income from private donations. ICRF was founded in 1975 by a group of American and Canadian researchers, oncologists, and lay people determined to harness Israel’s educational and scientific resources in the fight against cancer. Its initial purpose was to stem the “brain drain” of Israeli researchers by providing funds for postdoctoral fellowships for young Ph.D.’s. ICRF is the only U.S.-based charity solely devoted to supporting cancer research in Israel.

Since its inception, ICRF has provided more than $64 million to support innovative studies by Israeli scientists. Our awardees are selected through a rigorous peer-review process that is conducted by a world-class scientific panel. We support individuals at all of the major research institutions in Israel. ICRF-funded researchers have been making significant progress and have been able to develop improved chemotherapies, advanced techniques in bone marrow transplantation, and an enhanced understanding of tumor suppressor genes.

By continuing to support cancer research in Israel for the benefit of all mankind, the ICRF:

  • makes it possible for scientists to utilize Israel’s unique population of diverse ethnic groups which afford unequalled opportunities to study genetic and environmental data that contribute to cancer;
  • places a strong emphasis on young scientists pioneering in new directions with fresh approaches to areas of research that have challenged the experts;
  • respects and draws upon Israel’s unparalleled convergence of some of the finest scientists and physicians in the free world – a resource that must not be lured to conduct research outside Israel.

Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago
(847) 674-3224

For more than 100 years, Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago has been serving our community.  We purchase kosher holiday food (no food is donated) for Passover and Rosh Hashanah.  Volunteers pack and distribute this food which enables 15,000 Jewish people each holiday, including elderly, children, homebound, those with special needs, and others who are perhaps the most vulnerable in our community to celebrate the holidays in a traditional and dignified manner. 

Maot Chitim provides a unique opportunity for the entire Chicago Jewish community to perform a great mitzvah by supporting those less fortunate than ourselves.  Families come together, along with individuals from all segments of the community; they gather and unite to work in the spirit of Judaism, realizing how necessary we all are to one another. 

It is more important than ever that Maot Chitim is able to help all those that need our help, especially during these challenging economic times. Maot Chitim’s ability to make it possible for the community to perform this great mitzvah is dependent upon the generosity of those who support us both financially and by volunteering to help pack and deliver the holiday food.

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