Your Daily Phil: A new Ukrainian resettlement grant initiative + Nonprofit security grant money inches forward

Good Friday morning! 

The Jewish Federations of North America is allocating $1 million to a new Ukrainian Resettlement Grant Initiative, which will match the funding individual federations give to local Jewish Family Services agencies in support of refugee resettlement. The Shapiro Foundation and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston are lead funders for the initiative.

The matching grants are to help local JFS’ hire two staff positions: a Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking caseworker to work with families, and a volunteer coordinator to manage broader assistance to refugees with Jewish and interfaith partners. JFNA expects those roles to support welcome circles – groups of people privately sponsoring resettlement – but is flexible with how communities choose to use the funding.

“It’s based on…the unique goals of that community and the skills and expertise of the local agency,” Darcy Hirsh, managing director of public affairs at JFNA, told eJewishPhilanthropy. The funding “provides flexibility for the local community to support Ukrainians in the way that makes the most sense for them.”

Though colloquially referred to as refugees, most Ukrainians resettling in the U.S. don’t have that status under U.S. law. Refugee applications take years to approve, so to speed up the process of bringing Ukrainians to safety, they are in the U.S. as humanitarian parolees, which allows non-citizens to temporarily live here for “urgent humanitarian reasons.”

The parolee program trades speed for security. Ukrainians – much like Afghans airlifted to the U.S. in August 2021 when the Taliban took over Afghanistan – can only stay in the U.S. for two years; have no pathway to citizenship without congressional approval; and can’t access the established network of federal refugee resettlement aid.

As a result, “the responsibility is really falling on our local communities, nonprofits, [and] private citizens to step up and support [Ukrainians] that are coming,” Hirsh said. In helping Ukrainian parolees, the JFNA is applying lessons from a similar grant program for Afghan resettlement from earlier this year, where matching grants to 15 local federations helped resettle roughly 1,000 Afghans. 

Interfaith partnerships were essential to the resettlement, Hirsh said. Federations were able “to support synagogues, working with churches and mosques and other faith partners, to band together to provide a welcome circle…It’s those same partnerships that we’re leaning on to support Ukrainians as well.”

The grant program is revamping a long-dormant aspect of JFS’ work with private, rather than public, funding. Though historically JFS resettled Jewish refugees, many local agencies stopped resettlement efforts once the wave of Soviet Jewish immigration dwindled in the late 1990s. 

“Part of the issue with resettling those fleeing from the former Soviet Union was that as the numbers went down, the levels of government assistance went down,” Hirsh said. “So those agencies weren’t able to keep the same number of staff because there wasn’t that need. This program is quite different…from the get-go, the agencies are not receiving a lot of government funding, because it is a private sponsorship program.”


Senate Appropriations proposes $360 million for nonprofit security grants

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

In another step forward for Jewish groups that have spent years pushing for increased funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, Senate Democrats proposed providing $360 million for the program in their 2023 government funding bills released Thursday, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.

Cautious optimism: This is the first time the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee has matched the long-standing funding request from Jewish groups and nonprofits for the grant program that provides funding for religious institutions and nonprofits to improve their security. The funding level is far from locked in at this stage — the bill must still pass the Senate Appropriations Committee and both the House and Senate must concur on the funding level in their final negotiated 2023 funding package.

Congressional priority: “Protecting our nonprofit community spaces, like our JCCs, synagogues, mosques, churches and more has unfortunately demanded more help at the federal level as the threats have increased,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement to JI. “I have continuously secured increases in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, including $250 million for the program this year… These funds are to help lessen the unease across [New York City] in the places where we worship, pray and learn.”

Help for survivors: Senate Democrats concurred with the House in proposing increasing funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, to $10 million, up from $6 million the year prior. There has been a significant behind-the-scenes push for increased funding in both the House and Senate. The program provides support to aging Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as victims of other traumatic events.

Read the full story here.


Trust, transparency and good intentions

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“Every relationship is built upon trust. Between people. Between citizens and their leaders. Between communities and their institutions. Trust is what allows us to cooperate and collaborate. Yet it withers under the stress of our proclivity toward assuming malintent. Our texts provide an illustrative example,” writes Rabbi David Singer, in this week’s Parsha Phil column for eJewishPhilanthropy

A selfish request?: “The leaders of Gad and Reuben approach Moses with a striking request: ‘The land that the Lord has conquered for the community of Israel is cattle country, and your servants have cattle. It would be a favor to us… if this land were given to your servants as a holding; do not move us across the Jordan’ (Num. 32:4-5). Having spent 40 years preparing to enter the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad are quite happy to stay put in Moab, where the land would benefit their livestock. Moses chastises the tribes for their request, and midrash reflects on this episode by maligning the two groups, castigating them as selfish and more concerned with their material wealth than the well-being of their fellow Israelites. The rabbis conclude, ‘they loved their possessions more than [human] souls’ (Bamidbar Rabbah 22). Ouch.”

Judgment without consideration: “Now, it is entirely fair to criticize Reuben and Gad’s desire to remain outside of the Land. Their decision seems to come in complete contrast to the essence of the Jewish People’s destiny and the work that the Israelites had endeavored since leaving Egypt. It suggests that they care more about their livelihood than the essence of the lives they would build. The optics are terrible. But the rush to conclusions about why Reuben and Gad were so interested in this option are problematic, as well. Without investigating Reuben and Gad’s motivations directly, judgments are unfair, premature and unwise.”

Read the full piece here.


The beauty of camp

Courtesy of Camp Hess Kramer

“Every opening day of camp, I cry. The moment the campers step off the buses and into camp is somewhat of a holy moment for me, and I find myself moved to tears,” writes Jen Shankman, director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Building relationships: “The beauty of camp is that, from year to year, it is different and beautiful in its own way. Why? Because each year, the members of our community change. And each member of our community contributes in a deep and meaningful way, just by being their authentic selves. My greatest honor today was watching our kids begin to build relationships with one another with open hearts and helping hands (and so much laughter). As they unpacked their suitcases, they worked together to set up their cabin environments.  As they ran around at evening programs, they participated in activities that would help their cabin build a foundation.”

Being intentional: “The mission of Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps is to develop and deepen personal Jewish identities, to create sacred spaces and to enable all who come to experience community, growth, friendship and joy, and further their understanding of their place and purpose in the world. We further this mission by following our values: Fun, empathy, courage, community, pride, role modeling and curiosity. These core values hang in our teatron where we pray each night. There they hang to remind us to be intentional in our work, and to remind our campers of what defines and guides us as a camp.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Prophets of Profit: Billionaire philanthropists like Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are  approaching philanthropy with the lens of a 52-year-old theory from Milton Friedman that “argues that the primary social responsibility of any business is to make a profit,” Tima Bansal writes in Forbes. “These wealthy men are using their business investments to meet their personal goals, and they use their personal philanthropy to repair the business issues that their companies, in part, create. They, and their companies, are generating enormous wealth and wielding enormous power over every facet of human life. If they only act within the rules of the game set by government, and government is unable or unwilling to set rules that protect society, then they are generating wealth at the cost of society. If these billionaires do sincerely believe in society, it’s time for them to recognize the incredible impact that they have, not just in their personal philanthropy, but through the corporations they run. They can no longer hide behind Friedman’s antiquated doctrine. Mr. Buffett can lead the way in his remaining years by truly acting in a way that makes the world better for the 99%.” [Forbes]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

At the preliminary court hearing on Thursday in Moscow concerning The Jewish Agency’s operations in Russia, a judge set Aug. 19 as a trial date…

The Organization of American States and the American Jewish Committee have co-published a Spanish-language handbook for the practical use of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. The publication offers clear guidance and examples of how the definition is being used by law enforcement, the judiciary, educational institutions and civil society…

Fourteen students graduated from Moscow’s yeshivas Tomchei Temimim rabbinical ordination program and will be joining more than 100 alumni who serve as rabbis, kashrut supervisors, teachers and spiritual activists, assisting Jews throughout Russia and the FSU countries…

Dylan Waguespack has been promoted from chief policy officer to CEO of True Colors United, an organization co-founded by the singer Cyndi Lauper to prevent homelessness and offer an array of other support services for LGBTQ youths…

International nonprofit design studio named Shauna Carey as its chief executive officer. A social scientist as well as a design leader, Carey has worked on programs that advance health equity, criminal justice reform, refugee rights and gender equality. She has been with the organization for nearly nine years…

The E.A. Michelson Philanthropy of Minneapolis will provide more than $2 million to nine museums, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to support “creative aging” programs…

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced a three-year, $3.9 million grant to NYC Health + Hospitals in support of virtual behavioral health services…

The Ford, Kresge and Rockefeller foundations have joined in the Biden-Harris administration’s Economic Opportunity Coalition, which aims to catalyze and align public/private investments to address economic disparities and accelerate economic opportunities in underserved communities across the country…  

The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey, a giving circle of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest N.J., awarded $75,000 in competitive grants to three local nonprofit organizations working to impact women and girls…

Seventeen Israeli producers and a host of talent and writers will participate in September’s inaugural Scripted Israel event in Los Angeles; the event is aimed at uniting Israeli talent and producers with major U.S. entertainment execs…

Eli Evans, the first president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, and author of multiple books about Southern Jews, died at 85…

Pic of the Day

Courtesy of World ORT

A group of students from ORT’s Jewish school in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, used the school’s 3D printers to design and produce tourniquets for victims in the  war with Russia. Their improvised bandages have already been used by civilians suffering from heavy bleeding.


Darren Gerrish/Darren Gerrish/WireImage

Shoe designer, entrepreneur and founder of an eponymous shoe company, Stuart A. Weitzman… 

FRIDAY: Chairman of BOK Financial Corporation in Tulsa, Okla., George Kaiser… Author and newspaper columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Meir Shalev… Denver-based trial lawyer, film producer and author, Kenneth Eichner… Deputy health and science editor at The Washington PostCarol Eisenberg… Global economics correspondent for The New York TimesPeter S. Goodman… Twin brothers, Los Angeles based philanthropists and businessmen, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz and Yisroel Zev Rechnitz… Actor, filmmaker and musician, he is best known for his role in the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” Joshua Radnor… Scottsdale, Ariz.-based VP of community engagement at BBYO, Jayme David… Director of the Straus Center at Yeshiva University, he is also the rabbi of NYC’s Congregation Shearith Israel(often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue), Rabbi Meir Soloveichik… Data journalist focused on elections for The Associated PressAaron Kessler… Former member of the Canadian Parliament, David de Burgh Graham… Iraq war veteran, political and communications strategist, now serving as an adjunct professor at Duke University, Allison Jaslow… Rabbi, writer, educator and physician assistant, Rabbi Levi Welton… Senior advisor for communications for VPOTUS Kamala Harris, Herbie Ziskend… Onboarding specialist at The Phoenix, Adrienne Potter Yoe… and her twin sister, Moira Yoe Bauer, who works as director of ESG and social impact at Guidewire Software… SVP in the Los Angeles office of Edelman, Jason Levin… Graduate in the 2021 class at Georgetown Law, Danny Vinik… Tony Award-winning actor, Ari’el Stachel… Uriel Wassner… Director of creative and broadcasting at Chicago State University, Sam Brief

SATURDAY: Commissioner emeritus of Major League Baseball, his 2019 memoir is For the Good of the Game, Allan Huber “Bud” Selig… Retired attorney from the firm of Hatton, Petrie & Stackler in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Ronald E. Stackler… Long-time owner and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, he was chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation for 12 years, Martin H. “Marty” Peretz… The first woman justice on the Nebraska Supreme Court (1998-present), as a teen she won two gold medals and a silver medal as a swimmer at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, Justice Lindsey Miller-Lerman… Actor, director and producer, Ken Olin… Businessman, philanthropist and investor, of Uzbek Bukhari background, known as the “King of Diamonds,” Lev Leviev… Former mayor of Arad and then a member of the Knesset for the Kulanu and Likud parties, Tali Ploskov… President of C&M Transcontinental, he served as COO for the Trump campaign in 2020, Michael Glassner… Emmy Award-winning actress, comedian and producer, Lisa Kudrow… Best-selling nonfiction author, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazines, he is a co-creator of the HBO series “Vinyl,” Rich Cohen… District director for House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold L. Nadler (D-NY-10), Robert Gottheim… Assistant attorney general for antitrust at USDOJ, Jonathan Seth Kanter… Motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, he served as a law clerk in 2008 for Supreme Court Justices O’Connor and Ginsburg, the only blind person to clerk for the high court, Isaac Lidsky… SVP at CNN, Rebecca M. Kutler… Senior producer at Vox and adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School, Avishay Artsy… President and founder in 2013 of Dallas-based ECA Strategies, Eric Chaim Axel… Clinical therapist in Pittsburgh, Lewis Sohinki… Author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered: One Woman’s Year in the Heart of the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem, Sarah Tuttle-Singer… Former director of policy and public affairs for the Jewish Community of Denmark, Jonas Herzberg Karpantschof… Head of new media at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Tamar Schwarzbard… Director of business development at Israel’s economic mission to the south and midwest U.S., Joshua Weintraub… Winner of the Miss Israel pageant in 2014, she is now an international businesswoman, Mor Maman

SUNDAY: Actress, who went on to become CEO of Paramount Pictures and president of production at 20th Century Fox, Sherry Lansing… Nobel laureate in economics in 1997, known for his quantitative analysis of options pricing, long-time professor at both Harvard and MIT, Robert C. Merton… Scholar, professor, rabbi, writer and filmmaker, who specializes in the study of the Holocaust, Michael Berenbaum… Founder of Apollo Global Management, in 2015 he bought a 16th-century copy of the Babylonian Talmud for $9.3 million, Leon David Black… Author of 35 best-selling mystery novels, many with Jewish themes, Faye Kellerman… Software entrepreneur, he is president of Ameinu and serves on the board of governors of The Jewish Agency, Kenneth Bob… Manhattan-based criminal defense and civil rights lawyer, radio talk show host and television commentator, Ronald L. Kuby… Owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, he has been a “shark” investor on the ABC reality program “Shark Tank” since 2011, Mark Cuban… CEO at Leenie Productions, she serves on the board of the Northbrook, Ill.-based Haym Salomon Center, Helene Miller-Walsh… Israeli libertarian politician and activist, Moshe Zalman Feiglin… Professor at USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine, he was the director of the Los Angeles office of the American Jewish Committee, Dan Schnur… Born into a practicing Catholic family in Nazareth, Israel, billionaire investor and owner of the Detroit Pistons, Tom Gores… President at Ellicott City, Md.’s Old Town Construction LLC, Jared Spahn… Manager of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, he was an MLB outfielder (1998-2010), the first player known as the “Hebrew Hammer,” Gabe Kapler… Founder and creative director at Wide Eye Creative, Ben Ostrower… Political activist and the founder and president of Stand Up America, he is also the president of Hudson River Ventures, Sean Simcha Eldridge... Manager of global policy communications at WhatsApp, Danielle Meister… Director of sales operations at Ayyeka Technologies, an industrial IoT firm, Aryeh Samet Canter… Adam Rosenberg… David Goldenberg… Richard Rosenstein…

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