Your Daily Phil: Adidas drops Kanye + Creating safe boardrooms
Good Tuesday morning!
In today’s Your Daily Phil, we look at the impact of Jewish relief efforts in hurricane-lashed Florida and Puerto Rico, and feature op-eds by JFNA’s Shira Hutt on the upcoming General Assembly, and by SRE’s Elana Wien on working with nonprofit boards on safety issues. Also in this newsletter: Rabbi Harvey Belovski and Vicki Belovski, Manny Waks andPablo Eisenberg. We’ll start with a major development in the Adidas-Kanye West controversy.
Adidas has ended its partnership with Kanye West due to West’s repeated antisemitic statements, the company announced Tuesday morning.
The sportswear giant’s decision to terminate the partnership with West’s fashion label, Yeezy, which was worth $2 billion annually, came following a pressure campaign from the Anti-Defamation League and a growing list of celebrities. A petition to that effect from the U.K.’s Campaign Against Antisemitism garnered nearly 175,000 signatures.
Earlier this month, Adidas had placed the partnership with West, who goes by the name Ye, under review. The company said that it would lose roughly $250 million in 2022 net income alone due to the decision to end the partnership. Its stock has fallen 20% this month.
“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”
West had also stirred controversy by wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at a Paris Fashion Week show, and had disparaged Adidas executives on social media. Last week, he said he could make antisemitic statements and Adidas “can’t drop me.”
Creative Artists Agency, the prominent talent agency, also dropped West, as did the studio MRC and other companies. After a neo-Nazi group praised West’s statements on banners above a Los Angeles freeway, a growing list of celebrities condemned antisemitism.
Adidas’ decision “illustrates that antisemitism is unacceptable and creates consequences,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “Without a doubt, Adidas has done the right thing by cutting ties with Ye after his vicious antisemitic rants.
In a statement referencing Adidas’ predecessor company, the Campaign Against Antisemitism said, “A company with a Nazi past must be at the forefront, not the rearguard, of fighting antisemitism. But better late than never. No company should profit from antisemitism.”
How Jewish aid groups helped Florida and Puerto Rico after the hurricanes
Just before Rosh Hashana began, psychotrauma therapist Gaby Hilkowitz Rurka left her home in Israel, headed for Puerto Rico as part of a United Hatzalah team providing an emergency response to Hurricane Fiona. One day when it started to pour, she recalls a young boy approached her and said, “This is exactly what makes me so scared and nervous. This reminds me of the hurricane,” Hilkowitz Rurka recalled to eJewishPhilanthropy’s Daniela Cohen.
Body and mind: When disaster response teams arrived in Puerto Rico and the west coast of Florida in September and October, shortly after Fiona and Hurricane Ian, respectively, made landfall, they were focused on meeting immediate needs — extricating those who were trapped and providing food, shelter and medical care. But during the little more than a week when its teams were in each location, Hatzalah, a nonprofit headquartered in Jerusalem, also attended to what it says is an important, if sometimes neglected, aspect of disaster relief: providing tools for people to cope mentally and emotionally in the aftermath of trauma.
Still helping: Local Jewish community leaders have continued relief efforts after the disaster response organizations have left, and are also caring for their neighbors’ mental health. Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, which took a direct hit from Ian, told eJP that nearly a month after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Florida, he is focused on providing his community with moral support. Going door-to-door in his neighborhood, he said the devastation is tangible.
Fortifying our shared future at the General Assembly
“The General Assembly, which is hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America, and will gather in Chicago at the end of this month after two years of virtual conferences, webinars and nonstop Zoom meetings, will be a testament to the remarkable resilience of our community. Since we last gathered, we have weathered massive threats that no one could have predicted — not just the pandemic, but the war in Ukraine and its impact on Jewish life across Europe and beyond, along with the perilous surge in antisemitism and anti-Zionism throughout the world,” writes Shira Hutt, executive vice president of the Jewish Federations of North America, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
The need to focus here at home: “Yet as much as we have been obliged to work collectively to relieve the suffering of both Jews and non-Jews abroad, including paving the way for tens of thousands of Jews to make aliyah from Ukraine, Russia and Ethiopia, we must not lose our focus on the equally important need to create flourishing Jewish communities here at home — communities that are healthy, safe, caring, welcoming and inclusive, educated and engaged and deeply involved in the broader society in which we live.”
Perpetual crisis: “Our communities should not need to be in a mode of perpetual crisis in order to get the resources and attention that they need to thrive. To get to that place, we must come together to learn, discuss, share ideas, innovate and set courses of action to fortify our community once again. That is what The General Assembly is all about.”
Together we can make more positive culture change this year. Here’s how.
Now that we have entered the Jewish New Year of 5783, how can we support one another in creating workplaces and communal spaces that are safer, more respectful and more equitable than last year? What steps can we take to ensure workplaces and communal spaces are free from harassment and discrimination, where we can all thrive?” writes Elana Wien, executive director of SRE Network, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
The board and donor problem: “When we first launched SRE [Safety, Respect, Equity] Network in 2018, we heard from colleagues, ‘Well, you know where we really have an issue…? But we aren’t ready for it.’ What were organizational leaders not feeling ready for? Ensuring that the SRE policies, procedures and practices they were implementing among their staff teams were also addressing the behaviors and conduct of nonprofit board members and donors.”
Powerful stakeholders: “Nonprofit board members and donors are among the most powerful stakeholders in the nonprofit orbit. As organizational leaders, we place tremendous trust and value in the important role these stakeholders play to guide and support our mission-driven work and community priorities. And the best boards and funders understand that the key to their effectiveness is upholding the same community standards that we ask of our paid professionals.”
Saving Democracy with Philanthropy: Funders who support democracy must dramatically step up their giving and widen their lens on “pointing American democracy in a brighter direction,” Mike Berkowitz and Rachel Kleinberg write in Inside Philanthropy. The authors share five strategies, including addressing the “status loss” that drives illiberalism on the right from those who “feel they are losing status in a zero-sum social hierarchy. Rural America needs particular focus. Solid working-class jobs and the dignity they bring have been decimated, while business owners feel bossed around by regulations unsuited to rural life, and many families are breaking under the opioid epidemic and endemic loneliness…Philanthropy has long treated these problems as economic issues to be solved by strategies like providing healthcare and child care. But these policies are often divisive in the communities they are intended to help, because the issue is not simple economics, but a sense of status that involves multiple identities. So philanthropy needs to think in terms of bolstering positive identities.” [InsidePhilanthropy]
Funding available for inaugural cohort. New Spertus Institute certificate program equips communal executives to combat rising antisemitism. Application deadline is November 1. Find out more.
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Word on the Street
The Central United Talmudical Academy in Brooklyn, which operates the largest all-boys yeshiva in New York State, acknowledged illegally diverting money from federal food aid and other programs. The school agreed to pay $5 million in fines in addition to the more than $3 million it had already paid in restitution as part of the deal to avoid prosecution.…
Yeshiva University announced Monday a new undergraduate club “grounded in Halacha and Torah values to support its LGBTQ undergraduates.” The announcement comes in the midst of the school’s ongoing court battle to avoid recognizing the Pride Alliance, a student LGBTQ organization. In response to the announcement, the Pride Alliance said, “The YU sham is not a club as it was not formed by students, is not led by students, and does not have members.”
Rabbi Harvey Belovski and Vicki Belovski are stepping down as rabbi and rebbetzin of Golders Green Synagogue in London, after more than two decades…
Manny Waks announced he will step down as CEO of the Israel-based VoiCSA (Voice against Child Sex Abuse) around the end of March 2023, following the conclusion of the Malka Leifer trial in Melbourne, Australia…
Pablo Eisenberg, a social justice advocate considered a giant in the philanthropic world, who was a senior fellow at Georgetown Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, died at 90. Eisenberg, an accomplished tennis player, played in Wimbledon five times, making the quarterfinals once, and won a gold medal at the 1953 Maccabiah Games in Israel…
Pic of the Day
American Judaica artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren (second from left) unveils the “Hanukkah Forever” postage stamp last week at Temple Emanu El in Orange Village, Ohio. The stamp was created for the U.S. Postal Service based on one of Kuvin Oren’s art works.
Singer and songwriter who competed in the ninth season of “American Idol,” Vered “Didi” Benami…
Senior U.S. District Court judge based in Brooklyn, appointed by President Reagan, Judge Edward R. Korman… Chief policy and strategy officer of Oscar Insurance, following stints as a Supreme Court clerk, White House counsel, chancellor of the NYC schools and EVP at News Corporation, Joel Klein… Board chair of the Israel Policy Forum and board member of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, Susie Gelman… President of Dallas-based SPR Ventures, he serves on the boards of Texas Capital Bancshares and Cinemark, Steven Rosenberg… U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Jane Nuland… Television personality and author of 16 books, Bruce Feiler… Voice actress and singer, best known for voicing Asajj Ventress in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Nika Futterman… Actor, he is currently starring opposite Queen Latifah on the CBS show “The Equalizer,” Adam Charles Goldberg… Television screenwriter, showrunner, executive producer and director, best known for running the television medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” Krista Vernoff… Actress, she has appeared as various characters on the FX anthology series “American Horror Story,” Leslie Erin Grossman… Physician, author and public speaker on health issues, Dr. Michael Herschel Greger… Sharon Iancu… Rapper and songwriter, known professionally as The Alchemist, Daniel Alan Maman… Director of the Chabad House at Princeton University, Rabbi Eitan Yaakov Webb… Singer and model, she has released three albums and toured internationally, Hannah Cohen… Program officer at San Francisco’s Koret Foundation, Rachel Elana Schonwetter… Director of community relations at the Baltimore Jewish Council, Josh Sherman… Musician, known professionally by the mononym “Grandson,” Jordan Edward Benjamin…
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