Your Daily Phil: An $18K award to retain Jewish professionals + Rabbis as healers

Good Wednesday morning!

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we cover a new cash prize that aims to keep people in the Jewish nonprofit sector and feature an op-ed by Aleph’s Rabbi Darren Kleinberg on facing new challenges. Also in this newsletter: the Brandeis Center’s Ken Marcus, Pamela Paresky, the ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt and his predecessor, Abe Foxman, Heather McPherson, Tanya Shadoan, Rebecca Randall, Colette Avital and Rabbi ??Yisrael Meir Lau. We’ll start with a gala that paid tribute to a jarring change.

Annual dinners sometimes present an opportunity for an organization to announce a change in direction. But last night, at the gala dinner of the Tikva Children’s Home of Odessa, Ukraine, the script was flipped: The event marked how much the organization had changed over the past year — but it wasn’t a change Tikva had sought.

Instead, much of the event focused on how, in the early moments of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Orthodox Jewish children’s home managed to evacuate approximately 1,000 children across the border with Romania — driving more than 1,000 miles through the night and even on Shabbat, often through harrowing and life-threatening circumstances.

“The decision to leave our home was difficult but obvious,” Tikva’s executive director, Arielle Setton, said in a speech at the gala. “The evacuation was treacherous, with so much unknown.”

The children’s home, which for more than two decades before the invasion had served as a residence and community for 300 children, and a school for three times that number, has fully reconstituted itself in Romania and now also acts as a humanitarian aid agency. Since the start of the war more than eight months ago, Tikva has evacuated more than 4,000 people from Ukraine and now provides meals and a home for more than 1,000 refugees in Romania, in addition to supporting several hundred in Ukraine.

The dinner, held in the Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca, had the trappings of a gala — attendees in cocktail attire noshing on finger food before eating a catered dinner; a silent auction with prizes including a golf foursome plus lunch at a Trump country club and a dog leash by Stella McCartney; some musical accompaniment as the crowd dined. It raised about $1.5 million and recognized major donors including Oren Eisner and Stan Kleger. But reminders of the war were everywhere, from pictures of the evacuated children flashing on projection screens to the calls for donations that would feed families left with next to nothing.

The honoree of the night was real estate developer Russ Krivor, who was born in Odessa and emigrated with his family as a child in 1989.

“I thought it would be a beautiful family trip once a year, I’d write a check, I would meet the children,” Krivor said regarding his expectations of being a Tikva trustee. “I had no idea what our community would face in the year ahead… I felt a responsibility and I realized that our kids were most likely going to be in harm’s way. There are many children in Ukraine, but these I could at least do something about.”

Following scrutiny of its educational programs in Fox News, the Anti-Defamation League announced a four-person panel that would review the group’s curricular materials and anti-bias programs “to ensure engagement with ideologically diverse audiences and to maximize effectiveness of these initiatives.”

The Fox News storypublished in September, said that the ADL’s materials “included concepts from critical race theory as well as far-left ideas within its education wing.” At the time, the ADL responded, “We do not teach Critical Race Theory, period.”

“These programs and related resources continue to be extremely effective, but as we grow and scale them it is important to ensure they are still meeting the mark and in line with our historic mission to fight antisemitism and hate,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. The group also announced that it would append a note to its book recommendations saying that it does not necessarily agree with the authors’ personal views. It also removed books by authors credibly accused of sexual harassment.

The panel includes diversity consultant Carol Fulp; Nealin Parker, executive director of Common Ground USA, a conflict resolution organization; and psychology scholar and academic freedom advocate Pamela Paresky. Most notably, it also includes Kenneth Marcus, assistant secretary of education for civil rights under former President Donald Trump. The ADL has been a frequent and fierce critic of Trump.

“It takes courage and character to reach out like this, admitting that you could use the assistance of sister organizations” in the Jewish world, Marcus, who founded the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which advocates for Jewish and pro-Israel college students, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “I don’t go into the program with preconceptions. ADL’s programs are both widely used and influential, so it’s important that they be well-crafted, bias-free and generally excellent.”

Paresky told eJP that “it speaks to the seriousness with which they take [their mission] that they are interested in hearing perspectives they might not get without looking outside the organization.”

making it pay

Philip and Phyllis Margolius

During her decades as a lay leader in the Washington, D.C., Jewish community, the late Phyllis Margolius prized her relationships with the employees of nonprofits. Now, an award in her memory aims to keep talented Jewish nonprofit professionals in the sector, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.

Incentive: PhilipMargolius, her husband, hopes that the award will spur top talent in the local D.C. Jewish nonprofit sector to make their careers in the Jewish world, rather than leaving after several years for higher-paying jobs. A former senior partner at the law firm Margolius Mallios, he compared the situation of Jewish nonprofit professionals to first-year law associates who have a huge workload.

Dropping out: “What we’re finding is that people are dropping out,” Margolius told eJP, adding that one local Jewish organizational executive told him that “he has a terrible time maintaining people in the field. He gets smart people, and after four or five years, they leave and go to higher-paying jobs or they go to more respected jobs… So he’s saying, anything we can do to keep people in the field” would be welcome.

Target audience: Professionals must have five years of experience in the Jewish communal world and live in the D.C. area. Margolius said the award is targeted not at the CEOs of large organizations, but rather at the heads of smaller groups, or at mid-level managers in larger agencies. While he said he knows many effective CEOs of large organizations, he believes there should be more pay parity across the sector.

Read the full story here.

spiritual soothing

Renewing the rabbinate as a healing corps

This long-exposure picture taken early on July 21, 2022, shows a girl pointing towards the Milky Way galaxy in the sky above the cedar forest reserve, also known as the Cedars of God, near the Lebanese town of Bcharre.

“Earlier this year, a clumsy comment about the images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) by an astrophysicist gave fuel to creationists and science deniers. Based on her comment, they claimed that the findings from the JWST disproved the Big Bang theory. In response, the astrophysicist clarified what she meant by her statement and the science deniers were swiftly denied. Unfortunately, their claims have now been disseminated on the internet and thus will continue to do their nefarious work,” writes Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, dean of the Aleph Ordination Program at Aleph: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

It all started with a Big Bang: “While following this minor story it occurred to me that, although I am firmly with the scientists on this one, neither the creationists nor the scientists have much of value to offer us. What is clear is that the origin of our universe remains a mystery to us. Sure, the Big Bang theory describes events going back as far as 13.8 billion years. And yes, the Hebrew Bible opens with a description of ‘the beginnings of God’s creation’ (Gen. 1:1). But neither offers any insight regarding how it actually all began. And, if I were a gambling man, I would confidently wager that that will forever remain in the realm of the unknown.”

Heed the call to help: “Herein lies the great critique of science and religion: What justification can there be for the scientific community spending $10 billion on a telescope (the price of the JWST) that takes pictures of space when millions of human beings are dying every day from hunger and preventable illness? And what value is there in a sacred book if its followers are engaged in unresolvable debates about the distant past rather than heeding its call to help those in need now?”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Sign of the Times Hire: The New York Times’ James Barron spotlights the recent decision by the 92nd Street Y to hire Rabbi David Ingber as senior director of Jewish life, a decision made in part by the recent uptick in antisemitism. “‘This is not a fundamental change in who we are,’ [CEO Seth Pinsky] said, ‘but a recalibration of how we manifest who we are and how troubling are the times.’ He added that the 92nd Street Y was ‘well advantaged to create a bridge’ to those Jews ‘who are entirely disconnected from traditional Jewish institutions.’ At the same time the 92nd Street Y is raising money for a $15 million fund named for Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, the director of Jewish community at the 92nd Street Y and its Bronfman Center for Jewish Life from 2014 until earlier this year. Rabbi Ingber will take on those responsibilities, with Rabbi Rubinstein as the emeritus director.” [NYT]

Tzedakah Strategy: How do people decide what causes deserve their charitable support? Letty Cottin Pogrebin writes about her own philanthropic approach in Moment Magazine. “Rather than give all our charitable dollars to one organization — which might earn us a plaque or a testimonial lunch — I give small checks to a wide array of projects on the theory that increasing their cadre of givers will add clout to their lobbying efforts. For women’s groups, I’ve come to understand that, as a founding editor of Ms. magazine, I might actually help them raise more money by being on their donor list. Generally, I give to groups, foundations and publications that advance the agendas of the mainstream women’s movement, Jewish feminism, a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and projects that further equality and democracy in Israel and Palestine… From the evidence in my checkbook, I realized that I give to what makes me hope: Groups that struggle for justice. People who change other people’s lives for the better.” [Moment]

Around the Web

The Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC) in Los Angeles hired Heather McPherson as executive director. She was previously director of advancement at Children’s Community School…

San Francisco’s Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund has appointed Tanya Shadoan as its COO and Rebecca Randall as its chief philanthropy officer…

In commemoration of Kristallnacht, which took place 84 years ago today, the Claims Conference recorded videos of noted Holocaust survivors, including Abe Foxman, Colette Avital and Rabbi ??Yisrael Meir Lau, discussing how the Holocaust “started with words.”…

Banking scion Evelyn de Rothschild, who was instrumental in helping former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher privatize state-owned industries, and whose philanthropy focused on development in India and medical research, died at 91…

Pic of the Day

Skylar Haas, Julia Friedman and Rose Osburn make get-out-the-vote calls for Repair the World’s Repair the Vote Campaign yesterday, during the midterm elections.

Skylar Haas, Julia Friedman and Rose Osburn make get-out-the-vote calls during yesterday’s midterm elections for Repair the World’s “Repair the Vote Campaign.”


(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Founding CEO of OneTable, Aliza Kline

Israeli novelist and playwright, she is the mother of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Shulamit Lapid… British businessman and philanthropist, formerly chairman of Lloyds Bank, Sir Maurice Victor Blank… Professional baseball manager in the minor leagues and college, he managed Team Israel in 2016 and 2017, Jerry Weinstein… Israeli war hero and long-time member of the Knesset, Zevulun Orlev… Principal of Los Angeles-based PR and public affairs firm Cerrell Associates, Hal Dash… President at Franchise Network Group, Daniel Ajzen… Mitchell Bedell… Former deputy national security advisor for President Trump, Charles Martin Kupperman… U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)… Senior producer at NBC Nightly News, Joel Seidman… Political consultant and fundraiser, she founded the bipartisan group No Labels in 2010, Nancy Jacobson… Executive director of Los Angeles-based Remember Us: The Holocaust Bnai Mitzvah Project, Samara Hutman… Professor of journalism and media studies at Fordham University, Amy Beth Aronson, Ph.D…. Partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, Douglas C. Gessner… Partner at Covington & Burling specializing in export controls and sanctions, he was previously the assistant secretary of commerce for export administration during the Bush 43 administration, Peter Lichtenbaum… Chairman and CEO of Sky Harbour, he is an American-born Israeli fighter pilot and author of a 2018 book on the future of Judaism, Tal Keinan…  Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court since 2015, despite being legally blind since birth as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, Richard H. Bernstein… Journalist and podcaster, he is the creator and host of “How I Built This” and “Wisdom from the Top,” Guy Raz… Israeli singer and actress, Maya Bouskilla… Co-founder and executive director of Future Now, he was elected the youngest member of the New York State Senate in 2008, Daniel Squadron… COO at BerlinRosen, David Levine… Singer, songwriter and rapper, Ari Benjamin Lesser… Chess grandmaster, Daniel Naroditsky… Incoming Army JAG officer, Matthew Adam McCoy

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