Your Daily Phil: Boosting Israel gap year accessibility + Denver’s early Jewish education model

Good Wednesday morning!

SAPIR, a new journal from the Maimonides Fund and Bret Stephens, launches today. 

The Jewish Funders Network (JFN) will announce today a partnership with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), a nonprofit organization that provides data and tools to improve foundation performance. The two organizations will do joint webinars, promote each other’s resources and share information about their activities to identify opportunities to collaborate.

“By building out our partnerships, both with CEP and other philanthropy-serving organizations, we are able to offer more resources to our members, without reinventing the wheel,” JFN CEO Andres Spokoiny told eJewishPhilanthropy.

The American Jewish Committee released an expanded version of its illustrated guide to 40 antisemitic terms and expressions yesterday. It also offers guidance for reporting hate speech encountered online or in-person.

Billionaire philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon wrote in a Bloomberg opinion piece yesterday that Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg LP and Goldman Sachs are joining forces to motivate the private sector to recognize the commercial opportunities in the global effort to lower greenhouse emissions.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will expand its research and policy work, which is aimed at creating the market conditions to scale up clean-energy industries. “The challenge of climate change is too large for national governments to tackle alone,” they wrote.


An Atlanta foundation bets big on the Israel gap year

Masa Israel Journey

As the number of American students in Israel on gap-year programs between high school and college began to jump during the pandemic, a Atlanta foundation was taking careful note. Now, the Zalik Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta are trying to sustain that “COVID bump” by making the gap year experience more affordable. “It’s basically a fifth year of college,” Kelly Cohen, until recently the director of JumpSpark, the Atlanta federation’s center for teen programming, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

A longstanding practice: Religiously observant communities in North America have long made a practice of sending high school graduates to spend a year studying at a yeshiva or seminary, but the practice was less common outside them, said Sheryl Korelitz, director of gap year recruitment at Masa Israel Journey, which supports providers of long-term Israel trips for people ages 18-30 and is funded by the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency. In the 2019-2020 academic year, about 3,000 North American teens studied in religious settings, while 634 participated in other kinds of programs, such as the Young Judaea Year Course, which offers classroom study and volunteer experience, or the Nativ Leadership Program, offered by the Conservative movement.

The pandemic changes minds: Familiarity with the concept extended beyond the relatively small group of families that participated, however, said Korelitz, who was working at the time as a guidance counselor for Farber Hebrew Day School-Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield, Mich. When incoming freshmen realized last spring that they would be starting their college careers on Zoom, the idea of spending the year in Israel instead started to gain broader appeal. “People started scrambling,” she said, and the number of students from North America participating in the 30 non-religious gap-year programs Masa offers jumped by about 40%, to 1,100.

Read the full article here.


Investing early in the Jewish community

eJP archives

“Jewish early childhood education (ECE) centers are the heartbeat of the metro Denver Jewish community, as they are throughout North America. They provide quality early learning experiences for young children, employ hundreds of educators and staff, and lift up the institutions at which they are housed. For many families, they represent a critical entry point to the broader Jewish community,” write Vanessa Bernier, Kelli Pfaff and Cathy M. Rolland in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

The Denver model: “In response to ECE centers’ emerging needs, The Efshar Project – a non-denominational organization committed to improving quality and access to Jewish early childhood learning in Denver and Boulder – and Rose Community Foundation – a foundation with deep roots in the region’s Jewish and early childhood communities – joined forces late last year to support 11 Jewish ECE centers as they responded to the pandemic’s varied impacts. Our approach aimed to address the unique demands of 2020 while laying a foundation for long-term sustainability.

Read the full piece here.


Working at a summer camp can launch your career (and your life)

Camp Tawonga

“This spring, as young people work to secure summer jobs in the hopes that life soon will return to ‘normal’ and the COVID-19 pandemic finally will be behind us, we have some potentially life-changing advice: Consider working at a summer camp,” write Jamie Simon and Casey Cohen in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Personal growth: “While working at camp, young people grow in extraordinary, multi-faceted ways—learning to be leaders and role models, for example, as well as how to be creative and help others bridge culture gaps and other divides. Such skills boost the odds they’ll succeed in school, work, relationships and life. What’s more, within camp’s safe environment, they’ll cultivate skills related to safety, security, and specialized curricula—all of which can be hard to pick up in real-world scenarios.”

Professional gain: “We’ve also heard firsthand from former summer staff, now in all types of professional roles, about how being responsible for 12 campers, navigating parents’ and campers’ expectations, planning menus for hundreds of people, and so much else they did at camp gave them valuable on-the-job training. They’ve harnessed the confidence they gained learning on-the-go: to engage more actively in the classroom, the office, or wherever they work, as well as to pursue leadership opportunities and excel in those roles.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Outside Income: The largest human services organization in central Oregon, St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, generates half its income from a recycling business, and its executive director has formed a separate group to help others do the same, reports Michael Anft in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The new organization, Cascade Alliance, asks its 16 members nationwide to commit to generating revenue from non-grant sources, and to be more mindful of the environment in exchange for training and technical assistance. “Cascade Alliance’s expertise and resources allow us to help the environment, maintain our operations, and hire people who often have a hard time finding jobs — a triple bottom line,” says Adrienne Farrar Houël, leader of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, the alliance’s first member. [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

Tzedakah, Sadaqa: In the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Insights Newsletter, Muhi Khwaja uses the holiday of Ramadan, occuring this year between April 12 and May 12, to review the work of several Muslim charities. Khwaja shares that the American Muslim Community Foundation that he launched in 2016 has helped start 115 donor-advised funds, and also highlights the work of smaller organizations, such as the Bay Area Giving Collective, which will distribute $105,000 during Ramadan to provide meals to families in need. “So this Ramadan, I invite you to learn more about Muslim-led philanthropy in your community, and check out the incredible organizations that Muslims are supporting in their zakat and sadaqa.” [InsightsNewsletter]

Free Time: Governance of, by and for the people is hard work, but philanthropy can make it easier by helping nonprofit organizations create more time in their work for relationship-building with people who disagree with them, suggests Eric K. Ward in a post on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s website. As the executive director of Western States Center, Ward asked his board to permit the group’s staff to hold internal meetings on only four days of the work week, and to use the fifth learning, thinking or connecting with other people. “Building trust is about relationships. Relationships take time. Time is something that is rarely funded,” Ward concludes. [CenterEffectivePhilanthropy]

Good Run: In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Gretchen McKay profiles Derek Long, a high school English teacher and basketball coach who, at the urging of his wife, entered a half-marathon raising money for college scholarships about a decade ago and hasn’t stopped running since. Long has participated in every Pittsburgh full marathon except one since 2011, raising thousands of dollars for nonprofit causes including the Pittsburgh Project, a provider of afterschool and summer programs. This year the virtual race won’t provide the boost of a cheering crowd, but Long is still participating: “You have to run your own race and trust your training,” he said. [PittsburghPostGazette]

Community Comms

Apply: The Jewish Council of the Emirates Community Centre seeks a Dubai-based Executive Director

Apply: The Kirsh Foundation seeks a full-time NY-based Program and Special Initiatives Coordinator.

Apply! Want to join the team at Jewish Insider/eJewish Philanthropy? We’re looking for a top-notch philanthropy editor. Learn more here.

Be featured: Email us to inform the eJP readership of your upcoming event, job opening, or other communication.

Word on the Street

A group of students and alumni filed a lawsuit yesterday in New York County Supreme Court against Yeshiva University for discrimination, claiming that the university violated New York City’s human rights law when it refused to recognize an LGBTQ student club… Jewish and Asian communities in the U.K. have united in support of an emergency appeal amid the coronavirus crisis in India… Hadassah Hospital researchers report that neither coronavirus vaccines or COVID-19 harm ovary function… Social impact-focused SaaS company Resilia has launched a nonprofit platform to tackle the problem of making capacity-building support available to nonprofits, on-demand and in a cost-effective manner… New research from the U.K.’s Beacon Collaborative found that wealthy individuals 35 and younger often feel disconnected from charities…

Pic of the Day


The Yale University Fortunoff Archive released Cry, My Heart, Cry, an album of songs drawn from Holocaust testimonies, this week. It features singer Sasha Lurje, contrabass player Dmitry Ishenko, both pictured, as well as accordion player Josha Camp, violinist Craig Judelman and D. Zisl Slepovitch, who also composed, arranged and produced the work, on woodwinds. The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Carnegie Hall will present a concert today on Zoom to celebrate the release.



Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Elena Kagan… 

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. from 1990-1993 and later 1998-2000, Zalman Shoval… White House Chief of Staff for Presidents Reagan and Bush 41, also Secretary of the Treasury (1985-1988) and Secretary of State (1989-1992), James Baker… Retired judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, Judge Irma Steinberg Raker… Art collector and co-founder of Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts, Elaine Wynn… Retired four-star United States Marine Corps general, Robert Magnus… COO of IPRO and former President of the Bronx/Riverdale YM-YWHA and the Riverdale Jewish Center, Harry M. Feder… Cantor of Congregation Beth Jacob of Galveston, Sharon Colbert… Criminal defense attorney, Abbe David Lowell… Director of congregational engagement at Temple Beth Sholom of Miami Beach, Mark Baranek… American-born Israeli writer and translator, David Hazony… Associate judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, Karen Chaya Friedman… Retired soccer player, she played for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team from 1997 to 2000, Sara Whalen Hess… Executive editor and senior director of content at The Points Guy, Scott Mayerowitz… Actress and film critic, she is the writer and star of the CBC comedy series Workin’ Moms, Catherine Reitman… Arena co-founder, Ravi Gupta… Senior editor of investigations and enterprise at Sports IllustratedJason Schwartz… Congressional editor at PoliticoBenjamin Isaac Weyl… President of Saratoga Strategies, Joshua Schwerin… Israeli artist and photographer, Neta Cones… Director of communications and marketing at Jewish World Watch, Jeffrey Hensiek… Associate in the corporate department of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Robert S. Murstein… Cybersecurity reporter at PoliticoEric J. Geller… News junkie, Ahron Fragin