Your Daily Phil: ADL rolls out site to track national antisemitism strategy

Good Thursday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on new grants by the Chicago-based Walder Foundation focused on Israeli causes in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks, and feature an opinion piece by Hadassah Shemtov about the importance of Torah study. Also in this issue: Rabbi Matisyahu SalomonRick Matros and Lisa LongWe’ll start with a new online resource by the Anti-Defamation League to track the White House’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.

The Anti-Defamation League launched a new online resource to track the White House’s implementation of its National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism to ensure the plan reaches its key objectives and milestones as required, the organization told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross exclusively before the website went live today.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said this was particularly necessary now in light of growing antisemitism across the country in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel.

“Since the attacks on Oct. 7 opened the floodgates to antisemitism in the United States and around the world, now more than ever we need to ensure there’s accountability from our leaders and to make sure that the key objectives and milestones contained within the U.S. National Strategy are advancing as outlined in the plan,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “We created this new resource to provide a one-stop resource to members of Congress, administration officials and the public so that everyone can see how the strategy is progressing in real time.”

The website includes an updating timeline of relevant events,  actions taken by Congress or the executive branch, statements by local and national leaders, activities hosted by the ADL and other organizations — as well as links to resources that have been made available by the U.S. government as part of the strategy. The page also features a list of concrete steps that are either part of the White House’s strategy and have specific deadlines or that the ADL is calling on the federal government, Congress or the “whole of society” to take to combat antisemitism.

“We hope this website will serve as a useful tool as Congress and the Administration continue to work to ensure the White House meets their commitments to fight antisemitism,” the ADL said.

EMERGENCY GRANTS

Walder Foundation commits $3.6 million to Israeli causes, focusing on mental health, religion and security

Volunteers and evacuees from southern Israel visit an acting school in Jerusalem, which has been converted into a volunteer center.

The Chicago-based Walder Foundation has committed $3.6 million in grants to Israeli causes following the Oct. 7 terror attacks and ongoing war with Hamas, focusing on mental health, security and religious initiatives, as well as general needs, and with plans to continue making donations going forward, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Spread it around: A tenth of the emergency grants — $360,000  — will go to the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago for its Israel Emergency Fund to support Israeli groups on the ground, including Leket Israel, Latet Humanitarian Aid, and HIAS. The Walder Foundation has also issued grants to the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Israeli Center for Addiction, American Friends of Magen David Adom, American Friends of Migdal Ohr and Bring Hersh Home, an initiative by the family of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who was kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7. The foundation, which cites its founders’ “Orthodox Jewish faith” as a driver of its activities, has also specifically funded a number of religious organizations in Israel, including Aish Global, Colel Chabad, Ohr Torah Stone, Nishmat and Atida, a group that recruits and trains Haredi women as data science engineers, specifically in the security field.

More to come: “We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and are focusing our Israel emergency grantmaking on mental health and security — areas in which we already fund at the local level and have close partners,” Elizabeth Walder, president and executive director of the Walder Foundation, said in a statement. “We’re looking to pace ourselves over time because the needs will be evolving and emerging over time. We will stay the course.”

Read the full report here.

VALUE JUDGEMENT

Torah is more than a career path

Women engaging in Torah learning at the Batsheva Learning Center’s beit midrash in Brooklyn, N.Y. Courtesy/Batsheva Learning Center/Facebook

“Offering college credits for Torah study is certainly useful, and training women to take on various educational and leadership roles is immensely valuable, but I wonder why we feel the need to justify women’s Torah learning by attaching it to a career goal,” writes Hadassah Shemtov, co-founder and director of the Batsheva Learning Center, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

For its own sake: “Millions of dollars are raised yearly to support men who devote their lives exclusively to Torah study, without any career path attached. It is ingrained in their communal psyche that Torah study is a value in and of itself that is critical to the life of the community and requires no further justification. Yet, in an age when formal opportunities for advanced Torah study are finally opening up for women, it is hard to find anyone willing to fund women’s Torah study if there is no end goal in mind. Is this trend to orient Torah education for women around job training a step forward in the movement to advance women’s learning, or is it a step back?”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Left Behind: In Politico, Matthew Kaminski interviews French Reform Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur about the tectonic shifts on the left following the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel. “‘If I had been given one dollar for each time someone told me that ‘the antisemitism you experience in France would never happen in America,’ I would be super rich now.’ Delphine Horvilleur stops — ‘not that Jews care about money…,’ she starts to say — and laughs wearily. She resumes her argument: The Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and Israeli war in Gaza have brought out on American campuses and in public debates what she recognizes from France’s recent history… She is politically a woman of the left, a not shy critic of Israel’s government and a feminist. But now she finds herself sounding like her ideological sparring partners when it comes to Israel and the threat of antisemitism… Portraying Israeli soldiers ‘as modern-day demons thirsty for children’s blood,’ she says, could be ‘in competition with the worst antisemitism of the Middle Ages.’ In France, she feels as if she has been ‘Kosherized,’ and ‘suddenly’ for some people who admired her before, ‘I became too Jewish.’ ‘I didn’t change. The world changed. It’s as if the plates moved under my feet.’” [Politico]

Third Sector, Help the Fourth Estate: In The Times of Israel, Julie Sandorf, the president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, and Alona Vinograd, CEO of the Israeli journalism nonprofit Shomrim, call on philanthropists to invest in Israeli media in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks. “Israel’s journalists, photographers, videographers, and sound technicians were among the first to arrive on the scene on October 7th. Without hesitation, these men and women carried out their essential duty to report the facts on the ground and tell the terrible truths of that day. They are part of Israel’s singularly robust and politically diverse news ecosystem. Their work documents truths that the international press seems reluctant to report, like the sexual assaults committed by Hamas on October 7, while also holding the Israeli government accountable… Among Jewish philanthropies in the US, there has been much discussion and focus on ‘strategic media’ as a way of countering the staggering volume of misinformation, bias and antisemitic rhetoric promoted on social media and college campuses… But it is also critical that we support a vibrant Israeli press already in the business of collecting the facts that rebut misinformation with accurate reporting informed by  experience, expertise and understanding of historical context.” [TOI]

Deafening Silence: In eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider, Ruth Marks Eglash interviews author and former Israeli First Lady Lihi Lapid about the inaction of many women’s groups against the sexual violence against Israeli women by Hamas on Oct. 7. “Despite the reports – including clear visual evidence suggesting what took place – there has been no mass movement or broad global condemnation of the sexual crimes Israeli women suffered at the hands of Hamas terrorists… ‘I expect every woman who supported the #MeToo movement to be a part of the fight to bring our hostages back home, especially the young women,’ stated Lapid. ‘You can’t say you want to protect women because they are women and then say this is a different struggle’…  Lapid said she expected prominent celebrities and activists for women’s rights, such as Oprah Winfrey and former First Lady Michelle Obama, to speak out on behalf of the remaining female hostages and demand their immediate release. There are fears among some in Israel that those women still being held by Hamas might have become impregnated – another reason for Hamas’ refusal to release them. ‘I mean, all those actresses who joined every #MeToo petition, where are they?’ asked Lapid. ‘I thought everybody would join in [and call for the release of the hostages].’” [JewishInsider]

Around the Web

Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral of Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, the mashgiach ruchani of the Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, N.J., yesterday. Salomon, who was widely regarded in the Jewish world, was also mourned by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

Rick Matros was named the next board chair of IsraAid U.S. and James Cohen, the outgoing chief development officer, will serve as its next executive director. Both began their positions on Jan. 1. Matros succeeds Sherry Weinman, who chaired the board for eight years…

Maryland Del. Dalya Attar, a Democrat from Baltimore, said the state’s legislature was working to remove CAIR from the Maryland Hate Crimes Commission after the organization’s state director, Zainab Chaudry, was found to have glorified Hamas and compared Israel to Nazi Germany. Chaudry was suspended from the commission in November but was reinstated after Maryland’s attorney general determined he lacked the legal power to remove her…

A group of Utah rabbis was forced to take down signs declaring, “I’m a Jew and I’m proud,” during a Monday night basketball game between the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks. The signs were meant as a critique of the Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving, who was suspended from the Brooklyn Nets for tweeting a link to an antisemitic movie…

In The Wall Street JournalNatan Sharansky and Bassem Eid call for Western and Arab countries to play an active role in developing moderate Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip once the war is over to allow for the possibility of peace, though they say Israel will need to retain security control for an initial “transitional period”…

The Eisner Foundation issued $1,475,000 in grants to six Southern California-based nonprofits, including $300,000 over two years to Bet Tzedek for its Kinship Care Project, which supports multigenerational families with free legal services…

Yaël Eisenstat, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology and Society, is resigning from the organization, along with three other members of the center, over CEO Jonathan Greenblatt’s praise of Elon Musk

Elaine Finger donated $2 million to the University of Houston, from which she graduated in 1992, to establish an endowed chair that will “advance education, research and innovation in business and health care”…

Berlin police are investigating the defacement of a local memorial to the Kindertransports, in which the Dome of the Rock was spray painted on the statues…

Jewish-owned grocery store was vandalized and set on fire in York, Canada. Police are investigating it as a hate crime…

Following the resignation of Claudine Gay as the president of Harvard University, investor Bill Ackman is now calling for the removal of Harvard Corporation Chair Penny Pritzker (she has rebuffed calls for her resignation), and an overhaul of the rest of its board, as well as a dismantling of the school’s Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

In The New York TimesGay addressed her departure from the university, acknowledging errors in her handling of antisemitism on the campus…

Hinge, a dating app, is donating $1 million to nonprofits and fiscally sponsored groups that help young people connect in real life, and not just romantically, to combat the loneliness epidemic

The California legislature’s Jewish Caucus called on the full body to address the fallout in the state from the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks…

The Mike and Sofia Segal Foundation committed $6.7 million to the Ehlers-Danlos Society, which advances research into the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and other hypermobility disorders…

Lisa Long will succeed Andrew Lipkin as the next CEO of the Youngstown, Ohio, Area Jewish Federation. Lipkin has served in the role since 2015 and will retire at the end of this year. Long now serves as the federation’s financial resource development director…

Eight students from the Torah Academy of Bergen County (N.J.) recently traveled to Israel on an Orthodox Union relief mission, making them some of the first high school students to participate in such a solidarity trip following the Oct. 7 attacks…

Some 30 University of Pennsylvania professors landed in Israel this week on their own solidarity mission, the first such mission by an Ivy League university since the massacres…

Jewish Boston interviewed the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston’s Dan Osborn about his new role tackling antisemitism in K-12 schools in the area…

Bernie Marcus’ family foundation donated $3 million to Baylor College of Medicine’s Eberlin Lab for Medical Mass Spectrometry

Singer Alanis Morissette discovered that her grandfather, whom she learned was Jewish when she was an adult, escaped Hungary during the Holocaust in a new episode of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots”…

Sallie Kochin Abelson, an entrepreneur who served as the development director at the University of Michigan Hilleldied last month at 78…

Pic of the Day

Dana McKim/Facebook

A sign outside the entrance to the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, Poland, says “Welcome” in Ukrainian. Almost two years after the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the JCC continues to assist about 200 Ukrainian refugees per day with food, clothing, housing, language skills, job access and education. 

Birthdays

Annie Liebovitz smiles
Brian Bedder/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Author of the satirical Borowitz Report, he is a comedian, actor and New York Times best-selling author, known for creating “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Andy Borowitz

English celebrity chef, restaurateur and television star, Rick Stein… Founder and president emeritus of the Alliance for Justice, Nan Aron… Retired major general in the IDF and a former member of the Knesset for Likud, he is a nephew of Moshe Dayan, Uzi Dayan… Television producer for CBS and co-author of three novels, Karen Mack Goldsmith… CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, the advocacy organization for investor-owned hospitals, Charles N. (“Chip”) Kahn III… Former member of the Knesset for 17 years, she was born in Vilna, Lithuania, as Zehava Schnipitzky, Zehava Gal-On… Author of 35 best-selling mystery novels and thrillers with over 80 million copies in print, Harlan Coben… Senior health care editor at AxiosAdriel Bettelheim… Professor of Jewish history at both the University of Munich and the American University in DC, Michael Brenner… Founder of AnyDate (personalized gifts), ShareSomeFriends (referral tool) and Upstart Ideas, Michael Eglash… Television and film actor, Josh Stamberg… Professor of management at UCSD, Yuval Rottenstreich… SVP in the Austin office of public strategy firm Mercury, he was the first Jewish liaison in the Bush 43 administration, Adam Blair Goldman… American living in Uzbekistan where he promotes business development among the five Central Asian countries, Daniel Zaretsky… White House senior aide for energy and investment, Amos J. Hochstein… Historian and NYT best-selling author, he is a contributing editor at Politico MagazineJoshua Michael Zeitz… Film and television actor, Aaron Schwartz… Founder of Darshan Yeshiva and spiritual leader of Kehillah, a Jewish community in Richmond, Va., Patrick Beaulier… Senior broadcast producer at NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Ben Mayer… Alex Band… Bookkeeper at her family-owned The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass., Shawnee Tannenbaum… Partner at DC-based public affairs firm The Herald Group, Marc Brumer… Chief of staff for Stacey Abrams, Samantha Slosberg… Center fielder for six MLB teams, he played for Team Israel at the World Baseball Classic in 2023, Kevin Pillar… Senior director of development at Wavelength Productions, Emily Tess Katz… National politics reporter for Time MagazineEric James Cortellessa… Judicial law clerk at the U.S. District Court in Minnesota, Alexander Abraham Langer… Administrator of legacies and endowments at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Judah Gavant… The youngest member of Maryland House of Delegates, he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives to succeed David Trone, Joseph Vogel… D.C. correspondent at The Nevada IndependentGabby Birenbaum