Your Daily Phil: A new funding model for Israel + A Holocaust lawsuit in Arizona
Ed. note: In honor of July Fourth, Your Daily Phil will not be publishing next week, and will return on Monday, July 11. Happy Independence Day!
Good Friday morning!
For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent eJewishPhilanthropy, Jewish Insider and The Circuit stories, including: Meet Israel’s next prime minister; How the top U.S. Nazi hunter intends to bring Russian war criminals to justice; Bill de Blasio says he no longer supports AIPAC and wishes Nina Turner was in Congress; Entrée’s Eyal pushed startups to raise cash quickly, slash expenses; An Emirati ‘majlis’ spreads out on the National Mall in Washington; Second annual Holocaust Survivor Day aims to show appreciation for a dwindling population; As cost of living rises, Israel’s latest tent protests fizzle out amid political chaos; and Aspen Ideas Festival convenes again, with philanthropy on the agenda. Print the latest edition here.
Israel officially has a new prime minister. Yair Lapid, chair of the centrist Yesh Atid party, became the acting head of Israel’s government at midnight Israel time, after the current governing coalition dissolved and, per their agreement, outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett handed over the reins. Lapid has been a champion of issues, including advocacy for religious pluralism, that have resonated with many non-Orthodox American Jewish leaders.
Lapid will remain acting prime minister as well as foreign minister until a government is formed following the Nov. 1 election, Israel’s fifth vote since 2019. Lapid is currently trailing in the polls, but the caretaker role could last a long time. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent more than a year leading a caretaker government between 2019 and 2020 as Israel cycled through a series of elections, with no party able to pull together a majority coalition.
Lapid is a former news anchor and occasional actor, has been in politics for a decade and is Israel’s first premier from a centrist party since early 2009. While prime ministers typically begin their tenure with a visit to the Western Wall, Lapid kicked off his term by visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, in tribute to his late father, Holocaust survivor and politician Yosef “Tommy” Lapid.
At the same time that Lapid was at Yad Vashem, the museum also hosted a conference of hundreds of Haredi educators. But if Lapid stopped by the conference, he was unlikely to find political allies there: One of his signature issues has been liberalization of Israeli religious policy, which has historically been run by the Haredi-led Chief Rabbinate. He was a regular attendee at a Reform synagogue in Tel Aviv and has also pushed to implement a plan that would expand the non-Orthodox prayer section at the Western Wall.
That advocacy has made Lapid a darling of sorts to the set of American Jewish leaders who have pushed for Israel to afford greater recognition to non-Orthodox Jews. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, posted an ebullient Twitter thread about Lapid, along with a selfie, calling Lapid “just the leader we need.” The American Jewish Committee called Lapid a “longtime friend.” In its congratulatory message, The Jewish Federations of North American noted its “longstanding relationship” with Lapid.
“Our new prime minister deeply values all expressions of Judaism: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and cultural,” Jacobs wrote. “He has earned our trust.”
ACROSS THE SPECTRUM
A new model for funding Israel emphasizes diversity
How do established Jewish organizations bridge what feels like a growing gap between American Jews and Israel? It’s a question that has loomed over Jewish groups for years. Now, Washington, D.C.’s Jewish federation is putting $800,000 toward addressing it and, its leadership hopes, narrowing that gap, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.
A range of groups: The money will be allocated in a series of one-year grants to 21 groups that are meant to showcase the diversity of Israeli society — from Aguda, a group for LGBTQ Israelis; to Hand in Hand, a network of Jewish-Arab schools; to Encounter, which brings American Jews on trips to Palestinian areas of the West Bank; to Tech Careers, which provides job training to Ethiopian-Israeli women.
Focusing on people: “That was a big part of where the task force came out — around building relationships, and how to connect American Jews in a deeper way not only with Israel as a country, but Israelis as a people,” Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, told eJP of the group formed to choose the grantees. “That’s how you change this dynamic that a lot of people are struggling with, which is an increasing gap between American Jews and Israel, particularly among young people.”
Running the gamut: To select the groups, the federation assembled a task force of clergy, community members and professionals that came up with three areas of focus — immersive experiences, dialogue and innovation — and then solicited applications from nonprofits. It held a “Shark Tank”-style pitch process for the 40 applicants. The task force spanned the political and religious spectrum of the pro-Israel community. “We didn’t search for Kahanists [and] we didn’t search for non-Zionists,” Preuss said.
going to court
Challenging Arizona’s use of Zyklon B
As part of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix’s community bridge-building work, we help organize a Phoenix Black-Jewish Cohort program to connect young Jewish and African American leaders,” writes Paul Rockower, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropoy.
Field trip: “In May, the cohort went on an educational field trip to Washington, D.C., visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. As a group, we took a guided tour through the Holocaust Museum. We learned about the stages of barbarity of the Nazi regime, and the horrors that it meted out upon the Jewish people and other vulnerable communities.”
Zyklon B: “Sifting through horror and memory, we waded through the different exhibitions and through the replica of the gates of Auschwitz that chillingly declared Arbeit Macht Frei… Seeing an exhibit chronicling the horrors of the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the models of the infamous gas chambers, I stumbled upon a cylinder of Zyklon B.”
Lawsuit: “Trying to master my emotions, I shared quietly but forcefully with our guide and surrounding visitors how we at the JCRC, and myself in my own personal capacity, were suing the State of Arizona to prevent the continued usage of this infamous chemical in the state’s execution process.”
Five Food Funders: Five San Francisco Bay Area food businesses, including the vegan kosher eatery Boichik Bagels, are donating funds to various causes supporting reproductive rights, Alix Wall reports in J.: The Jewish News of Northern California: “Che Fico, the San Francisco Italian restaurant run by Jewish chef and owner David Nayfeld, donated 10% of its weekend profits, around $7,500, to Arc Southeast, which provides abortion care to women in six states in the South. ‘It is frightening to see our rights being stripped away and it’s difficult not to wonder, what’s next?’ Che Fico’s Instagram post said.” [J.]
Life, with an American Accent: For millennials in the U.K., including Jews, the U.S. is a major influence that helps them curate their social, cultural and even political lives, Josh Kaplan writes in The Jewish Chronicle: “Millenials [sic] live our lives downstream of America. One consequence is that we import so many of our political protests from across the pond. The fact that most people left-of-centre were calling for increased public funding for services (including police) for over 10 years, was instantly forgotten in the summer of 2020, when a laughable cry of ‘defund the police’ rang out around Westminster…US Jewish culture always seems more exciting, more vibrant, more joyful than ours, and now the walls have come down, we can all enjoy it as easily as if we lived on Long Island…” [TheJC]
Word on the Street
Beit Tefilah Israeli, an egalitarian prayer group that hosts Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Tel Aviv Port, is expanding to the coastal city of Caesarea, on the site of an ancient synagogue. Services will be held in both Tel Aviv and Caesarea tonight through the end of August…
The Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for the organized Jewish community in North America, published an introduction to Judaism guide for law enforcement…
Israeli serial entrepreneur Ori Allon donated nearly $600,000 to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Tel Aviv University. The gift will be used to launch three new projects and “will enable the university to expand the activities of the center, with an emphasis on making it accessible to researchers and students from all disciplines on campus”…
Monika Kalra Varma has been named the next president and CEO of BoardSource, effective in August…
Aisha Benson will become CEO and president of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, effective Aug. 8…
Pic of the Day
An artist’s rendering of East Jerusalem’s first-ever community sports and swimming project in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Construction on the building, a joint initiative of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation, with the support of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, began on Tuesday.
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, Martin Indyk…
FRIDAY: Former U.S. assistant secretary of education, Diane Silvers Ravitch… Nobel laureate in economics for 1997 and co-creator of the Black-Scholes model for valuing options and other derivatives, Myron Scholes… Noted British art dealer and founder of an eponymous London art gallery, Victoria Marion Miro… Born in a DP camp to her Holocaust survivor parents, she was the first Jewish woman to serve on the Canadian Supreme Court, Rosalie Silberman Abella… Partner in the Century City, Calif.-based law firm of Greenberg Glusker, Douglas E. Mirell… Hall of Fame player and coach in the Women’s National Basketball Association and now an NBA broadcaster, Nancy Lieberman… Attorney and longtime Democratic activist in Pittsburgh, Steven Irwin… National editor at The Forward, Rob Eshman… President of the Orthodox Union and a partner at Ropes & Gray, Mark Irwin “Moishe” Bane… Under secretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Jane Nuland (family name was Nudelman)… Journalist, filmmaker and educator, he is the co-founder of Aish[dot]com, Shraga Simmons… Professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew University, Benjamin Brown… Member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Marcus Bertram Simon… U.S. Sen. (R-IA) Joni Ernst… Screenwriter, producer and film director, Marc Silverstein… Los Angeles resident Adam B. Siegel… NASA astronaut, on her 2019 trip to the International Space Station she took socks with Stars of David and menorahs, Jessica Meir… Co-founder of Edgeline Films, Elyse Steinberg…
SATURDAY: Former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress and professor at York University (Toronto) specializing in the history of the Jews in Canada, Irving Abella… Director of Hebrew Studies (emerita) at HUC-JIR, Rivka Dori… Nobel laureate in medicine in 2004, he is a professor at Columbia University and a molecular biologist, Richard Axel… Co-creator of the “Seinfeld” television series and creator of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” comedian and producer Larry David… Swedish author and screenwriter, she wrote a novel about Jewish children who escaped the Holocaust, Annika Thor… Former CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, she also served as the state department’s special envoy on antisemitism, Hannah Rosenthal… Montclair, N.J.-based philanthropic consultant, Aaron Issar Back… Israeli Druze politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Kulanu and Kadima parties, Akram Hasson… Member of the Knesset for the United Torah Judaism alliance, Ya’akov Asher… Chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, Peter E. Baker… Reading specialist at Wayne Thomas School in Highland Park, Ill., Stephanie Rubin… Co-founder and rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar in Manhattan, Shai Held… Global industry editor for health and pharma at Thomson Reuters, Michele Gershberg… Motivational speaker, media personality and CEO at The Ayven Group, Charlie Harary… Author of fiction and nonfiction on a variety of Jewish topics, Elisa Albert… Israeli journalist, TV anchor and popular lecturer, Sivan Rahav-Meir… Actress, singer and producer, Ashley Tisdale… Actress and internet personality, Barbara Dunkelman…
SUNDAY: Civil rights attorney Gloria Allred (born Gloria Rachel Bloom)… Winner of the Israel Prize in 1998, professor of mathematics at both Hebrew U and Rutgers, Saharon Shelah… Founder of an eponymous charitable foundation, Barbara Fish Lee… Lead educator at March of the Living, Leon Weissberg… Psychologist and board member of many nonprofit organizations, Gail Bendheim… Regional sales manager at AIPAC, Suzanne Greene… Pini Herman…
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