AVI CHAI is a private foundation established in 1984 which functions in the United States and in Israel. Eventually AVI CHAI intends to function in all regions with major Jewish populations. Whereas we are committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the centrality of the State of Israel to the Jewish people, the objectives of AVI CHAI are simply stated:
- To encourage those of the Jewish faith towards greater commitment to Jewish observance and lifestyle by increasing their understanding, appreciation and practice of Jewish traditions, customs and laws.
- To encourage mutual understanding and sensitivity among Jews of different religious backgrounds and commitments to observance.
These objectives are rooted in the two most sacred of Biblical covenants: as to the first objective, God’s covenant with Israel through Moses; as to the second objective, God’s covenant with Abraham.
AVI CHAI adheres to the philosophy of Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook zt’l, Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1921 – 1935, in interpreting these covenants and in drawing guidance concerning criteria for projects designed to further AVI CHAI’s objectives.
God’s covenant through Moses was with a nation, the expression of which was a communal commitment to commandments, to the performance of 613 mitzvot. Rav Kook says that this Sinai covenant is an aspect of free will. The observance of the commandments involves a voluntary decision of adherence. The covenant with Abraham is a covenant based on a family, a tribe, an ethnic identity and legacy. Abraham was the originator of that family, the patriarch. Rav Kook says that anyone who is Jewish and feels linked to the Jewish people through a common fate is included. That is enough to qualify for the ethnic solidarity which is encompassed by the covenant with Abraham.
With the foregoing as background, AVI CHAI has adopted the following guidelines for its own operations:
Priority will be given to projects which further both objectives. In no case will a project be funded which furthers one objective at the expense of another.
AVI CHAI will work within the full spectrum of the Jewish people in the interest of furthering its dual objectives.
Support will only be given to programs or institutions which express a positive attitude towards the State of Israel and which do not reject the value of secular education.
The Foundation will only sponsor projects which rely on teaching and enlightenment.
Funding will be provided mainly to innovative programs which AVI CHAI develops itself or in concert with others.
The Foundation will not fund deficits nor will it fund capital projects except through loans to Jewish day schools and Jewish summer camps.
Grant requests will only be considered in response to a proposal submitted at our initiative.
Allocations will be made as grants which conform with the guidelines for tax-exemption under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.