Put Your Money Where Your Soul Is

Jewish Wisdom to Transform Your Investments for Good

by Rabbi Jacob Siegel

$24.95

In stock (can be backordered)

About this book

“Business as usual” is leading us down a path of rising economic suffering, societal division, and climate crisis. A new approach promises socially responsible investing by looking at “environmental, social, and governance (ESG)” concerns. Amid the new buzzwords and their ensuing controversy, the question remains: where should you invest your retirement savings, your pension plan, or your organization’s endowment?

In Put Your Money Where Your Soul Is, Rabbi Jacob Siegel turns to an unexpected source: millennia-old Jewish teachings. Rabbi Siegel makes these teachings accessible for the modern investor, drawing on what Jewish scholars call the “economics of enough” and the ancient Sages’ insistence that we must seek to do good while doing well. Rabbi Siegel brings Jewish wisdom directly to bear across asset classes and issues, including investing in a livable climate, racial justice, and more.

Through practical analysis, actionable guidance, and stories and case studies, Rabbi Siegel cuts through the noise, helping the modern investor harness ancient wisdom to leverage your investments for good.

“A tour de force that will make a serious difference in the world!”
Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org and Third Act

“A truly remarkable book.”
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Founding President, CLAL

“Will inspire each one of us on our journeys to repair the world.”
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Executive Vice President, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

“A powerful argument grounded in Jewish sources for why our ethics and values must inform our financial and business decisions.”
Moses Pava, Alvin Einbender Professor of Business Ethics, Yeshiva University

“Whether you are an individual investor or chair of an investment committee, I hope you will pick up this book and seriously consider the implications it has for how we invest.”
Beth Sirull, President and CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

Advance Praise

“This book is a model example of how to think through the deepest problems of our time—it proceeds from a coherent ethical code to strong but plausible action, and it combines the necessary analytical calm with the even more necessary conviction that we are in a difficult place where much is demanded from those of us who can give it. A tour de force that will make a serious difference in the world!”
Bill McKibben, founder, 350.org and Third Act

“This is a truly remarkable book. I recommend it as a must-read to people who would like to invest more ethically…This book is an intellectual delight. It offers a cornucopia of good ideas, institutions, and advisers. These can ease the transition for institutions and individuals from pure profit nature investing to deploying one’s capital to repair the world, lift up the poor, and aid the needy and vulnerable. The sources alone—ranging from the Bible, Talmud, and codes to contemporary economics and sophisticated financial reporting—are worth the price of admission.”
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, founding president, CLAL and author, The Jewish Way

“A powerful argument grounded in Jewish sources for why our ethics and values must inform our financial and business decisions. A joy to read! Timely and provocative.”
Moses Pava, former dean, Sy Syms School of Business; Alvin Einbender Professor of Business Ethics, Yeshiva University

“As the CEO of a Jewish institution with over $700 million in investment capital, I highly recommend Put Your Money Where Your Soul Is. It is vital that we take the next step to align our investments with our values, and Rabbi Siegel has provided an invaluable resource to guide us in doing so. Rabbi Siegel guides us on a journey through Jewish texts and the modern investment arena, making Jewish wisdom accessible and relevant to our investment decisions. Whether you are an individual investor or chair of an investment committee, I hope you will pick up this book and seriously consider the implications it has for how we invest.”
Beth Sirull, president and CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

“Faith-based investors were pioneers in using their investments as a way to hold the world’s most powerful companies accountable for their impacts on our planet and on all people who live on earth. This book helps translate that message—that we must do justice, tzedek, with our money, not just give tzedakah—to Jewish audiences, both individuals and Jewish institutions trying to live out their most sacred values.  Interwoven are models for action, the people and organizations whose stories of financial protest will inspire each one of us on our journeys to repair the world.”
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, executive vice president, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

“This significant book is both erudite and very readable—the perfect combination to convey the many important messages that the author is invoking. Rabbi Jacob Siegel mixes deep rabbinic scholarship, historical context, and extensive financial data, dissecting the issues surrounding endowments, asset management, corporate action, and personal investing, all while drawing on source material from ancient to modern times. He is a knowledgeable and helpful guide in applying our values while making investment choices, utilizing contemporary/real-world examples to bring the commentaries/approaches of our sages into modern applications. This book will prove invaluable to the Jewish impact investor seeking to understand the underpinnings of their investment philosophy, and it stands as a universal roadmap for anyone who is considering an ethical approach to investing.”
Michael P. Lustig, impact investor, Adjunct Professor of Finance at NYU|Stern School of Business, and author of the Jewish Funders Network’s “Greenbook: A Guide to Jewish Impact Investing”

“This book is like the Hebrew Bible, rooted in Jewish wisdom but a vital text for all who care for this world and its people and all life on earth. It takes us on a journey into insights deep within the Hebrew Bible, but which have such immediate pertinence for the world of today. It shares teachings, stories, and lessons learned the hard way through the centuries but always told with a sense of fun, delight, or depth which is rare to find anywhere else.
“This is a book of spiritual and practical wisdom for the modern perplexed, like the famous Guide by Maimonides in another time of financial, social, and political turmoil. If you want to know how to put your money where your soul is, this is the book and here is the Guide.”
Martin Palmer, founder and CEO, FaithInvest

“This is a book for right now, rooted in Jewish values from historical antiquity and the great stories of the mythic past. In Put Your Money Where Your Soul Is, Rabbi Siegel shows us a new paradigm of being smart about money, wherein Judaism as ‘a religion of protest’ guides us morally to counter ‘disaster capitalism’ through impact investing. Whether we are seasoned investors or have never bought a single share, we all need to learn the lessons Rabbi Siegel teaches and work through the practical exercises he provides. Rabbi Siegel does what a rabbi should do: he makes the serious discussion of challenging topics both safe and accessible. He demonstrates compassion and inspires hope. Smoothly interweaving ancient ethical teaching with contemporary economic theory and relatable personal anecdotes, Rabbi Siegel is a trustworthy expert and an appealing storyteller. Invest in this book!”
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, commissioner, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

“In Put Your Money Where Your Soul Is, Rabbi Siegel masterfully interfaces Jewish texts with our responsibility to the larger world…a refreshing original thinker…an important, important read.”
Rabbi Avi Weiss, rabbi emeritus, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and author, Spiritual Activism

Contents

Introduction

1. The Story of Impact Investing
2. Jewish Money Ethics1
3. Financial Return
4. Institutional Capital and Social Change
5. Negative Screens and Stumbling Blocks

Asset Classes

6. Getting Started: Asset Classes and Investment Advisors
7. Public Equities
8. Debt: Free Loans and Shared Risk
9. Private Equity and Debt: Local Investing

Issue Areas

10. Changing Climates
11. Centering Racial Justice
12. Investing in Israel
13. Investing in Peacebuilding

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

Glossary of Jewish Terms
Glossary of Investing Terms
References
Notes
Index

About the Author

Rabbi Jacob Siegel has spent years working with individuals and institutions across North America to bring Jewish values and wisdom to bear on investment decisions and to invest in a climate-smart future. He received rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and earned his undergraduate in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. He lives in Eugene, Oregon with his family, where he serves on the board of his local Jewish Federation and his local credit union.