Your Daily Phil: ADL chief on Biden’s antisemitism strategy + Jewish camps face rising costs
Good Friday morning!
Ed. Note: In celebration of the upcoming July 4th holiday, the next issue of Your Daily Phil will arrive on Wednesday, July 5. Shabbat shalom!
In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on Jewish groups’ responses to a Supreme Court ruling requiring workplaces to accommodate religious observances and interview ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt about the rollout of the White House’s National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism. We also feature an op-ed from Erica Brown. We’ll start with a new survey of Jewish summer camps from JCamp 180.
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 Jewish Insider, eJewishPhilanthropy and The Circuit stories, including: A big tent at the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s tent; In rollout of antisemitism strategy, White House steers clear of the Jewish state; Montana Senate race to test influence of GOP establishment in key battleground state. Print the latest edition here.
Rising operating expenses are the most significant challenge facing summer camps this year in light of growing inflation and high insurance rates, according to a new study by JCamp 180, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.
The report, which was sent to the camps who participated in the survey, but has not been released publicly until now, surveyed 177 individuals from 99 camps and camping organizations, asking them to rank the significance of 25 different trends on a scale from one to five, and answer a number of open-ended questions about issues related to camping.
Rising operating costs garnered an average score of 4.4, followed closely by “high levels of anxiety and mental health challenges amongst campers” and “pressure on young adults to earn income and build their resumes,” which each received a 4.3, and “high levels of anxiety and mental health challenges amongst summer staff,” which received a 4.2.
“Camps have been really hit by four major cost areas: Insurance has really increased a lot; food prices have really increased; transportation has increased; and there are a lot of pressures to increase compensation for staff. Plus, of course, general inflation,” Michael Miloff, a consultant at JCamp, told eJP.
Lisa Wertheim, chief development officer for California’s Camp Tawonga, said that her camp has particularly been hit by high insurance fees.
“We have had exorbitant insurance due to being at a camp in California that has wildfire threats,” she said. “Just in the past couple of years, it has tripled the cost [of insurance],” she said.
The face of anti-antisemitism
ADL chief: WH hesitation to call out anti-Zionism in antisemitism strategy rollout ‘a miss’
In the exclusive environs of elite conferences such as the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., or the Milken Institute Global Forum in Beverly Hills, Calif., Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has become a mainstay alongside the business executives and philanthropists who frequent the events. In a recent interview between speaking engagements at Aspen, Greenblatt talked to Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch for eJewishPhilanthropy about why business leaders should take antisemitism and extremism seriously, and why he thinks it’s a “miss” that the White House isn’t talking about Israel in its rollout of its National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Gabby Deutch: We reported this week in Jewish Insider about the way that the White House has avoided talking about that issue. It’s something you have been talking about for a long time. What do you make of the White House not really talking about it since the national antisemitism strategy was released? Why do you think that is? And is it something that concerns you?
Jonathan Greenblatt: Look, I think the vice president alluded to it at the event the Israeli Embassy hosted in Washington, D.C., around Yom Ha’atzmaut. But I will tell you, I don’t get it. I think it is addressed in the strategy, and I think the administration needs to continue, when they talk about the issue of antisemitism, [to] acknowledge that it’s a multidirectional threat, that it comes from all sides. There is so much that is meaningful and historic in the strategy…. It elevates antisemitism to a national priority. I think what’s important is that when the administration then talks about it, as they implement policies around the recommendations in the strategy, as they continue to maintain the sort of balance here they did in the paper, which is, again, antisemitism, whether it’s directed against the Jewish people, or to the Jewish state, needs to be countered, forcefully and firmly and without hesitation, and so hesitating to call it out, I think it’s a miss.
Ain’t gonna work on Saturday
Jewish groups hail court ruling requiring religious accommodations in workplaces
Leading Jewish organizations from across the political and denominational spectrum welcomed the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling Thursday in the Groff v. DeJoy case in favor of a former mailman and evangelical Christian who refused to work on Sundays in observance of the Sabbath, a decision that significantly expands the scope of religious accommodations that employers are required to provide, reports Marc Rod for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.
Good for the Jews: The justices rejected a standard for evaluating religious accommodations — that they may be rejected if they pose more than a “de minimis” cost to the employer — set out in the 1977 case TWA v. Hardison, ruling instead that employers “must show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.” Jewish groups had argued that the Hardison standard disadvantaged religious minorities, especially observant Jews, and potentially provided cover for workplace antisemitism. Tuesday’s ruling prompted plaudits from a wide range of Jewish groups.
Back to the drawing board: Representatives from leading Jewish communal organizations said that the case would prompt reevaluations by both employers and religious employees of how they approach religious accommodations requests. “I think that there’ll be a realization now [that] employers have real responsibilities and employees have real rights. I think we’ll see a difference in the outcome of cases and we’ll see the difference in how the community decides to assert their rights,” Rabbi Abba Cohen, vice president of government affairs for Agudath Israel of America, told JI.
The Torah of Leadership
What the eye can’t see: Thoughts on Parshat Balak
“As we open our Torah reading for the week, we are introduced to an unusual agreement. King Balak of Moab paid Bilaam, an accomplished soothsayer, to curse the Israelites who would be passing through on their way to the Promised Land. This, Balak believed, would diminish their military might… It’s an intriguing story. Bilaam’s donkey, it turns out, was far more interesting than its rider. The donkey, in contrast to Bilaam, could see the angel blocking the narrow path forward and refused to move,” writes Erica Brown, vice provost for values and leadership at Yeshiva University and director of its Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center, in her weekly column for eJewishPhilanthropy, “The Torah of Leadership.”
The magical donkey: “As readers, we might be surprised that Bilaam actually talked back to his magical donkey and explained his actions: ‘You have made a mockery of me! If I had a sword with me, I’d kill you.’ (Numbers 22:29). Bilaam was humiliated that he was out on a royal mission, and his insignificant donkey did not obey him. But the donkey, whose wisdom no longer astonishes us, pushed back.”
Leadership questions: “To understand this week’s sedra and its compelling message about leadership, we need to answer three questions: How is it that this supposed visionary, who is even called a prophet in the [Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15b], could not see what was right in front of him? How can it be that a man tasked with controlling the future could not even control his own simple beast? What is the function of this small, strange conversation when so much else of political and spiritual consequence was happening?”
A Complicated History: In eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider, Marc Rod looks at the responses from Jewish organizations to the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday barring the use of race in university admissions. “The Supreme Court effectively disrupted the college admissions process across the nation on Thursday with its 6-3 decision that colleges and universities cannot use race as an admission criteria, outlawing affirmative action programs as they have existed for decades. The Jewish community’s history with racial preferences is complicated. Decades ago, when the use of explicit racial quotas in a university’s admissions process was first challenged at the Supreme Court in 1978 (California v. Bakke), several major American Jewish groups were united and vocal in their opposition to such policies. A result of that ruling led to the practice of affirmative action, which allowed for race to be considered as one of many factors in the admissions process. Now, some of the same groups that led the charge against quotas are lamenting affirmative action’s demise.” [JewishInsider]
What’s Next for the Funders?: In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Alex Daniels explores how foundations – on the right and the left – will respond to the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling. “While the case deals directly with the role race can play in accepting applicants to colleges, some foundations are bracing for lawsuits challenging their diversity efforts… Conservative philanthropy observers cheered the decision and suggested its impact on philanthropy will be lasting… [Michael Hartmann, senior fellow at the Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that focuses on philanthropy] said the ruling is a sign that the judiciary no longer treats higher education with special deference. Philanthropy, he said, should take notice…. In response to the ruling, more than 52 foundations and organizations that represent grant makers issued a joint statement condemning the ruling and vowing to do all they can to help colleges deal with the impact of the Court’s action.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]
Bearing the Weight:The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir writes the obituary of Sir Ben Helfgott, a Holocaust survivor-turned-Olympic weightlifter, who died earlier this month. “At 15, after surviving three Nazi camps, Mr. Helfgott was one of 301 child survivors, most of them boys, who had been freed from concentration camps and introduced to new lives. They were flown by the Central British Fund for German Jewry (now World Jewish Relief) in August 1945 to Britain’s mountainous Lake District in the northwestern part of England… He was the longtime chairman of the ’45 Aid Society, a charitable organization set up by the Boys in 1963 to support themselves and their families. He was the honorary president of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which leads the commemoration of the Holocaust in Britain every year on Jan. 27. He was also part of the group that brought a permanent Holocaust exhibition to the Imperial War Museum in London in 2021, as well as an active member of the Claims Conference, which secures compensation for Holocaust survivors.” [NYT]
Around the Web
A new survey by Candid found that after two years of significantly increased grantmaking, foundations are planning to scale back their giving in the coming year…
Jewish Federations of North America hailed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he was removing a portion of his coalition’s proposed judicial overhaul, which would have allowed the government to overturn Supreme Court rulings…
A New York City intersection was renamed after Jewish LGBTQ activist Edie Windsor and her wife, Thea Spyer, whose demand for state recognition of their marriage contributed to the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage…
Dan Shapiro, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel and current director of the N7 Initiative, was appointed the State Department’s senior advisor for regional integration, a newly created position that will focus on deepening and expanding the Abraham Accords. Ed Husain will replace Shapiro as head of N7, an Atlantic Council program sponsored by the Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation that seeks to further normalization in the Middle East…
A poll by the Better Business Bureau’s Give[dot]org found that nearly half of Americans believe that wealthier people should give to charity instead of them…
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog hosted an LGBTQ Pride event at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., last night, honoring U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Dr. Rachel L. Levine and Israel’s 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai…
Beatty Orwell, the oldest member of the British Labour Party and mainstay of London’s Brenner Stepney Jewish Community Center, died this week at 105…
Pic of the Day
A group of Haredi children pose for a photograph as they take part in a technology competition on Tuesday at the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem. The event was organized by the museum and Babada, a nonprofit that promotes STEM education for Haredi youth.
Journalist for The Wall Street Journal, now unlawfully detained in a Russian prison, Evan Gershkovich…
FRIDAY: Rapid City, S.D., resident, Leedel Chittim Williamson… Palm Beach Gardens podiatrist, Dr. David Peter Bartos… Executive coach to nonprofit leaders, he was the founding director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, David Altshuler… Former New York State Assemblyman for 36 years, Dov Hikind… Former Harvard professor and author of books on the Holocaust and antisemitism, Daniel Goldhagen… Staff writer at The Atlantic and author of ten books, David Frum… Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Stuart Jeff Rabner… Professor of astrophysics at McGill University, Victoria Michelle Kaspi… Founding executive director and now a senior advisor at JOIN for Justice, Karla Van Praag… Professor at Penn State University, he is the co-editor of a handbook on 25 different Jewish languages, Aaron David Rubin… Columnist, author, poet and screenwriter, Matthew “Matthue” Roth… Sports business analyst and reporter who works for The Action Network, Darren Rovell… Reggae and alternative rock musician, known by stage name Matisyahu, Matthew Paul Miller… Partner in OnMessage Public Strategies, Kyle Justin Plotkin… Actress Elizabeth Anne Caplan… Senior software engineer at Bloomberg LP, Noam Lustiger… Chief operating officer at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Stephanie Hausner… Head coach of the men’s lacrosse program at Long Island University, Jordan Levine… Rhythmic gymnast who represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games, Julie Ashley Zetlin… English teacher in Tel Aviv, Michal Adar… Area director for the North Shore of Long Island at AIPAC, Abbey Taub…
SATURDAY: Applied mathematician, statistician and physicist, professor emeritus at Harvard, Herman Chernoff… 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… Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, Martin Indyk… Partner in the Century City-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… CEO of the A-Mark Foundation, Rob Eshman… President emeritus of the Orthodox Union and a retired 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. Senator (R-Iowa), 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… Hasidic musician mixing elements of dancehall, reggae, hip hop and R&B, known by his stage name DeScribe, Shneur Hasofer…
SUNDAY: 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 a State Department’s Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal… Montclair, New Jersey based philanthropic consultant, Aaron Issar Back, Ph.D…. Israeli Druze politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Kulanu and Kadima parties, Akram Hasson… Maryland State Senator since 2015, Cheryl C. Kagan… 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, Illinois, Stephanie Rubin… Co-founder and dean at Mechon Hadar in Manhattan, Shai Held, Ph.D…. 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 non-fiction 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…