Your Daily Phil: Boosting Black-Jewish ties at NAACP + How Jewish nonprofits embraced hip-hop

Good Monday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we profile the use of hip-hop by Jewish nonprofits to mark the musical genre’s 50th anniversary, and feature an opinion piece from Erica Hruby. Also in this newsletter: Eileen Heisman, Rabbi Mendel Danow and George Kaiser. We’ll start with a panel on Black-Jewish cooperation at the NAACP national convention.

Billionaire philanthropist Robert Kraft, Harvard University historian Henry Louis Gates, rapper and activist Meek Mill and NAACP President Derrick Johnson stressed the need for Black-Jewish solidarity last night in the face of growing white nationalism in the United States during a panel discussion at the NAACP national convention in Boston, reports eJewishPhilanthropy‘s Judah Ari Gross.

“People are trying to put boulders between the Black community and the Jewish community,” Kraft said onstage. “We’ve always been uniquely tied together. And I want us to continue that in any way we can build those ties. I’d like to be part of that.”

During the segment, which was moderated by Fox Sports reporter Joy Taylor, the panelists discussed the history of Black-Jewish cooperation in the United States, as well as the current need for it. Gates quoted the Black, French West Indies-born thinker Frantz Fanon, who wrote in 1952 that “the antisemite is inevitably a negrophobe.”

Kraft said this requires all minority groups to work together in a common struggle. “Professor Gates is right. It starts with the Jewish people, [but] it’ll go to every other minority group. We have to stand together and stand proud and push back on this to keep the vibrancy of this country,” Kraft said.

Gates said he is working on a new documentary series for PBS about Black-Jewish cooperation throughout American history, which he said is meant to show “that we need to reforge our alliance to protect our communities from the white supremacists that are coming after both of us.” Gates added that “the first person to make a donation for the funds we needed to make that series was my man, Robert Kraft.”

Read the full story here.

Happy 50th Birthday

Rapper Nissim Black performs a concert for a Jewish organization. (Courtesy/Dovi Green)

Nissim Black was born into hip-hop royalty, but he gave it all up when he began his Jewish conversion process in 2011. “For me to take my Judaism serious, I left [hip-hop] behind as one of the things that I sacrificed for my own life,” he told Jay Deitcher for eJewishPhilanthropy. But friends encouraged him to pick up the mic again. Rabbis encouraged him, too, and in 2012, he stumbled upon a broken microphone and saw it as a sign. “I was inspired by God to use my hip-hop [background] to give back to the community.” Now 80% of his concerts are run by Jewish nonprofits, he said.

Back in the Bronx: For more than two decades, Jewish organizations – nonprofits, youth groups, Jewish federations –  have used hip-hop to engage a younger generation and to serve as a bridge between cultures. Hip-hop was born almost exactly 50 years ago when DJ Kool Herc first looped together records in his family’s Bronx apartment in the summer of 1973. Since then, hip-hop has blossomed into an international phenomenon, which includes MCing, DJing, breakdancing, graffiti, fashion and more. Rapping especially is a language that speaks to people from all backgrounds, allowing wordsmiths to translate their experiences into rhymes.

Bringing people together: Hip-hop is “sample culture,” artist BournRich said. It’s innovation and mixing genres and using old beats and art to uplift yourself and your community. “It’s finding a song, maybe an old Jewish tune that no one ever knew, and slowing it down and changing reverb, making it a sample and then making a song out of it.” And if a nonprofit can use hip-hop for good, they should, he said. “Why wouldn’t you use it?”

Read the full story here.

teens needs

What three weeks in Israel staffing a Jewish teen trip taught me


“Over the last two summers, I spent over 1,400 hours traveling throughout Israel with Jewish teens from all over the U.S. as a Jewish educator with BBYO’s Passport program. My experience as a parent of two (now adult) daughters, dean of students at a Jewish boarding school director of a Hebrew high school and a BBYO region, teacher in formal and informal Jewish learning environments, and the myriad of other roles that I’ve played in the lives of teens, provided me with the perfect foundation for these immersive overseas travel experiences,” writes Erica Hruby, an education consultant, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Top tips: “Be present and listen carefully during conversations… Social connections are everything and more… Teens want to be appreciated for their talents, kindness, knowledge and for being great human beings… Be proactive with communication about behavioral expectations, schedules and what is needed… Surprise gifts (especially food) are wonderfully fun and appreciated… One earphone in their ear isn’t necessarily a sign of disrespect or not paying attention… When a teen’s behavior doesn’t meet the set expectations, implement swift, appropriate and impactful consequences… Say what you mean, mean what you say and follow through… Move on from issues quickly and completely… Don’t tell them something is going to happen if you can’t guarantee it.”

Stay cool: “Keep your emotions in check. When adults are regulated, it helps teens regulate too. Teens are emotional beings and often their inability to self-regulate takes those around them down with them. They depend on adults to show them that the world is on ‘steady footing’ even when they are not. When you don’t self-regulate, they will react against you as opposed to the situation at hand. The problem then becomes fractured into multiple problems.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Cash is King, but Complex Assets Are OK: In Forbes, Eileen Heisman, president and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, encourages nonprofits to consider how they can receive donations besides cash and other simple financial vehicles. “Increasingly, donors are looking beyond their checkbooks to offer charitable support, and complex assets (non-cash assets and assets that are not traded publicly) can be hugely impactful for donors and charities alike… Be aware of what your organization can and cannot accept directly. Not all charities are alike, and for some, accepting a specific asset may be beyond the capabilities of your current infrastructure… Complex assets can create significant tax liability when a donor sells them before contributing the proceeds to a nonprofit. If, instead, they gift them directly to a nonprofit organization or to a charitable giving vehicle, it can provide a tax advantage that preserves funds for charitable giving.” [Forbes]

Make Falafel, Not War: In The Times of Israel, Zak Jeffay eulogizes David Leitner, a gregarious Holocaust survivor made famous by starting a tradition of eating falafel as a sign of victory over Nazism. “Sadly, Dugo — or David Leitner to use his full name — is in the news because he passed away on July 27, aged 93. As a Holocaust educator, I cherish the time I can spend with survivors, and feel an intense sense of loss at Dugo’s death. He was a commanding personality, always at the center of a crowd and always cracking a joke… They say that there is no explanation for who survived and who did not, but you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that Dugo’s intuition and charisma must have played its part. Who else would inspire people to commemorate his survival of the Holocaust with a sandwich? But that’s what he did; eating falafel with Israel’s presidents was to become an annual demonstration of Dugo’s personal victory.” [TOI]

Around the Web

X, the social media service formerly known as Twitter, reinstated the account of the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who had been banned for posting antisemitic content. Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League, have denounced the move…

Adidas announced it is partnering with Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism in the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign “to fight all forms of hate”…

The Holocaust Museum LA announced it will give its “Award of Courage” to actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a ceremony later this year…

Judge Colleen McMahon approved the release of three of the “Newburgh Four,” a group of four men charged with plotting to blow up a New York synagogue in 2009. In her ruling, McMahon wrote that the man had been manipulated by the FBI and that the U.S. government was the “real lead conspirator”…

Simon Johnson has been named the chair of the board of trustees of the United Kingdom’s Camp Simcha. He will succeed Julian Taylor, who has served in the role for nearly 13 years…

The Tulsa World publication marked the 81st birthday of local Jewish philanthropist George Kaiser on Saturday by looking at the businessmen’s notable donations and investments over the years…

Alan Schwartz, a Detroit-area lawyer who served on the boards of local charities, including the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, died last week at 97…

Pic of the Day

Courtesy/Rabbi Mendel Danow

A brick, covered in antisemitic graffiti, that was thrown through a window at the Chabad Jewish Center in Pensacola, Fla., earlier this month. The head of the community, Rabbi Mendel Danow, said the brick will be used as the cornerstone in the renovation of a new building once it is scrubbed clean.

“The brick that was thrown, which was intended to bring hate and negativity and division and so on, we will use that brick as the cornerstone,” Danow told The Washington Post.


Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Holocaust scholar, professor, rabbi, writer and filmmaker, Michael Berenbaum

Film producer, Stanley Richard Jaffe… British judge and barrister, he served as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, John Anthony Dyson… Nobel laureate in economics in 1997, longtime professor at both Harvard and MIT, Robert C. Merton… Actress, who went on to become CEO of Paramount Pictures and president of production at 20th Century Fox, Sherry Lansing… Author of 36 best-selling mystery novels, 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, 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, previously a member of the Knesset, Moshe Zalman Feiglin… Professor at USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine, Dan Schnur… Born in Nazareth, investor and owner of the Detroit Pistons, Tom Gores… President at Old Town Construction LLC, Jared Spahn… Manager of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, he was an MLB outfielder for 13 seasons, the first player known as the “Hebrew Hammer,” Gabe Kapler… Author, actor and comedian, Benjamin Joseph (BJ) Novak… Founder and creative director at Wide Eye Creative, Ben Ostrower… Founder and president of Stand Up America, also the president of Hudson River Ventures, Sean Simcha Eldridge… Director of global communications at Zipline, Danielle Meister… Director of sales operations at Ayyeka Technologies, Aryeh Samet Canter… Member of Sinai Temple’s Board of Directors in Los Angeles, Rebecca Kekst… Adam Rosenberg… David Goldenberg… Richard Rosenstein…