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March 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

A Spirituality of Fundraising

I recently experienced an unexpected benefit of sharing space with the Journey. Last week, I picked up a pamphlet The Journey had extra copies of entitled “A Spirituality of Fundraising,” by 20th century Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen.

Nouwen writes with Christian vocabulary, but the wisdom is universal. “Fundraising isn’t a response to a crisis. Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry [or outreach, as Jews might say]. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission,” he says.

And that’s exactly what so many of the meetings I’ve had with people have been about. I’ve had the opportunity to share my and our vision and excitement about this project and Kol Rinah’s future, and so many people have had the opportunity to join us in this mission.

Nouwen continues, “Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging. When we seek to raise funds we are not saying, ‘Please, could you help us out because it’s been hard.’ Rather, we are declaring, ‘We have a vision that is amazing and exciting. We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources that God has given you—your energy, your prayers, and your money—in this work to which God has called us.”

“Building & Growing Together: A Campaign for Kol Rinah” is a dramatic, ambitious and future-oriented vision of what we might create together, of what Jewish life and community could be.

Our vision includes intimate, communal prayer experiences in spaces conducive to introspection, inspiration and music—singing and hearing each other. Our vision includes useful and beautiful outdoor greenspaces that bring us in touch with nature and the urban community around us. Our vision includes a state-of-the-art early childhood center that is immersively Jewish for kids and families, helping to raise and engage a new Jewish generation of children and parents. And our vision includes a facility that is open to and used by the wider Jewish and secular communities for meetings, performances, gatherings and celebrations—a space that is the beating heart of community.

“Fundraising must always aim to create new, lasting relationships,” observes Nouwen. And through this campaign, I’ve had to develop new relationships with people I didn’t know, and deepen my relationship with many more people. For that reason alone, it’s been a blessing for me, to know more people, and to know more people more deeply.

If we haven’t had the opportunity to connect yet, or recently, let’s make some time to do so, whether in my office or for a cup of coffee. Give me a call (314.727.1747) or send me an e-mail ( and let’s get together and share together some time, some conversation, and some vision!
Sat, August 15 2020 25 Av 5780