Your Daily Phil: Breast, ovarian cancer nonprofit Sharshet expands to Israel

Good Thursday morning.  

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on a new study of American Jewish poverty by the Jewish Federations of North America, and feature an opinion piece by David Bryfman about the responsibility (and opportunity) of teaching during a watershed moment in Jewish history. Also in this newsletter: Jon Gray, Josh Kraft and Rabbi Yoni Wieder. We’ll start with Sharsheret’s expansion to Israel.

Sharsheret, the American Jewish breast and ovarian cancer nonprofit, is expanding its operations to Israel, providing educational programs, counseling and support to women affected by these cancers and their families. The organization marked the expansion with a launch event in the central Israeli town of Ra’anana on Wednesday night, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross reports from the gathering.

Elana Silber, the CEO of Sharsheret, told eJP ahead of the launch party that the organization had been considering an expansion into Israel for several years. Initial plans were waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in 2022 the organization returned to the idea. “We started the conversations, and it turned into reality,” Silber said. “And then we were set to launch on Oct. 18, 2023.”

After the Oct. 7 terror attacks, “everything was put on hold,” she said.

In January, the organization decided to press ahead with the expansion. “The need for Sharsheret was greater than ever despite the war, maybe even because of the war,” Silber said. 

Sharsheret will focus on Israel’s English-speaking population, women who have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, survivors of the diseases and those carrying the BRCA gene mutations or are otherwise at a far higher risk of developing them. 

It will offer a smaller suite of services than it does in the United States, focusing on offering one-on-one support and counseling, developing a peer support network, providing kits before and after surgery to improve quality of life and creating education programs. Unlike in the U.S., Sharsheret’s Israel initiative will not offer financial assistance, though Silber said it will direct women to other Israeli organizations that do.

The organization, which has roughly 40 employees in the United States, will have two staff members in Israel: Liora Tannenbaum and Pnina Mor. The Israel initiative also has its own medical advisory board and community advisory board.

Tannenbaum, an art therapist by training who is herself a BRCA1 carrier, will focus on the emotional and mental health support. Mor, a certified nurse midwife at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center with an expertise in BRCA gene mutations, will focus on providing medical counseling and education. 

Sharsheret anticipates that it will help between 100 and 150 women and their families in the first year. 

“There’s tremendous, tremendous interest, probably more than we expected, which is good, but also hard. We have to meet that expectation,” Silber said. “And it’s a hard year. It’s a very, very hard year… But we have a very dedicated team, very passionate and really just ready to do good work. So I’m excited for it.”

Read the full report here.


Nearly 20% of U.S. Jewish households struggle to make ends meet, JFNA study finds

Teens from across the country celebrate Opening Session of USY International Convention in Orlando, Fla. with teens from the Metropolitan New York area.
Courtesy/Met Council

Nearly 20% of Jewish households in the U.S. struggle to make ends meet, according to a Jewish Federations of North America survey released on Tuesday that looked at 12 communities around the country, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen reports.

Myth busted: The report — a collaboration with the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation — found that while 2% of households say that they are unable to make ends meet, another 17% say that they are just managing to make ends meet. Jon Hornstein, program director leading the Weinberg Foundation’s grantmaking focused on the Jewish community, said the report “breaks the myth that poverty is not a Jewish problem.” Data shows that 11% of Jewish households fall below 250% of the federal poverty line, which in 2023 equated to $62,150 for a family of three, according to the report. 

Who’s at risk: The report, called “Analysis of Financial Well-being Using the CMJS Combined Dataset,” found that within the Jewish community, households most at risk of poverty include those with children, people with a disability or chronic health issue, single parents, Orthodox households (due to women in that community typically having children at a young age), people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals and Russian-speaking Jews.

Call to action: Jessica Mehlman, JFNA’s associate vice president of impact and planning, expressed hope that the findings will lead to solutions for families in poverty or close to it. “We know that day schools and Jewish family services are among the top three collective recipients of local Jewish federations, and we look forward to working with them on incorporating these latest findings into the work they do every day to support Jewish life in our communities.” Hornstein added that the report “should serve as a call to action for how funders, direct service agencies, and federations can work together to better serve individuals and families in our communities who are struggling financially.” 

Read the full report here.


Creating Jewish memory

bestdesigns/Getty Images

“Jewish educators have always known that it’s part of their responsibility to teach history. But think about it for a moment: Today we are teaching history while living history,” writes David Bryfman, CEO of the Jewish Education Project, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy

Our obligation: “And yet, it’s not history that we’re actually teaching. As legendary Jewish educator Avraham Infeld says, ‘Jews don’t have history; they have memory.’ What Jewish educators — and dare I suggest nearly all of us — are doing is creating Jewish memory. What happens on campuses now, what is being said in classrooms, what is being daubed on sidewalks — we will teach our children and students how to respond to these vile and disheartening events. Our overwhelming obligation is to instill in our youth and all of the Jewish people a confidence and pride, a wisdom and a love of what it means to be Jewish, with Israel integral in our individual and collective identities.”

Necessary changes: “We can’t simply pursue this obligation in the ways we did previously. Why? Because those ways only worked to varying degrees of success and because young Jews live in a new reality defined both by the brutal acts of Oct. 7 and the subsequent reactions to it by many of their non-Jewish peers. The moment demands a new approach to Jewish education… The question, and indeed the challenge in front of all of us here and beyond, is: Are we ready to make the changes to Jewish education that we know are necessary?”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Teamwork Works: In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Emily Haynes looks at how six immigration-rights nonprofits decided to fundraise collectively toward a common cause and what other organizations can learn from it. “In December 2023, the settlement of Ms. L v. ICE, a lawsuit over the family-separation policy, granted review of asylum claims for most separated families and gave them until December 2025 to apply for it… With the deadline in mind, six immigration-rights nonprofits started talking to each other and decided to take an unorthodox approach: raise money together to provide legal support for families. Their reasoning: Winning asylum isn’t easy. In the 2022 financial year, just 22 percent of all asylum claims were granted… ‘The clock is ticking,’ says [Hannah] Chotiner-Gardner [chief development officer at Kids In Need of Defense.] ‘We’re going to be far more effective if we pool our resources and work together’… While unusual, the collaborative approach has impressed grant makers, representatives at the nonprofits say… The Chronicle spoke to representatives at five of the six groups about how to successfully plan and execute a collaborative fundraising campaign. Here’s what they say their peers need to know. Structure your campaign… create a unified communications strategy… pick your moments and partners carefully.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Around the Web

Eighth graders enrolled in New York City’s public school system will have the opportunity to participate in a citywide field trip to the city’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, part of a $2.5 million public-private initiative with the city and the foundation of Blackstone’s Jon Gray… 

Josh Kraft, the younger son of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraftis rumored to be considering a run for mayor of Boston next year…

Rabbi Yoni Wieder was appointed the chief rabbi of Ireland, a position that has been vacant since 2008. In his inauguration speech, Wieder said that the Jews of Ireland “feel deeply isolated”…

The families of five female Israeli hostages who were taken hostage from a base near Israel’s border with Gaza on Oct. 7 released an extended video showing the girls bloody and abused by Hamas terrorists before being taken to the enclave…

Yeshiva University will award its Presidential Medallion to Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) at its upcoming commencement ceremony…

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia for more than a year, was named the recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2024 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism…  

Dan Gilbert, the co-founder of Rocket Mortgage and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his wife, Jennifer, announced $21 million in donations through 18 grants to advance efforts to find a cure for neurofibromatosis type one…

A majority of New Yorkers support peaceful protests “in support of those suffering in Gaza,” but believe the anti-Israel protests on campus “went too far” and crossed the line into antisemitism and warranted police intervention…

The New York Times examines how Zionism has become a new “social litmus test” for Jewish students on college campuses… 

Ernest Rady, a Canadian banker and philanthropist, sent a letter harshly criticizing an anti-Israel speech made by the valedictorian of the University of Manitoba’s medical school, which is named for his father, Max, after Rady made a $30 million donation to the university in 2016. In the letter, Rady also chastised the university for sharing a video of the speech, which he said “not only dishonoured the memory of my father, but also disrespected and disparaged Jewish people as a whole”…

Georgetown University hired Rabbi Ilana Zietman as its next director for Jewish life, beginning Aug. 1…

The Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center on Long Island raised more than $1.55 million for scholarships and funds for community members in need at its annual “Eat. Bid. Laugh!” event…

The Jewish American Insurance & Legal Professionals Association launched as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit dedicated to combating antisemitism…

Bloomberg Philanthropies is expanding its Bloomberg Arts Internship for rising public high school seniors, offering more than 1,700 paid seven-weeklong summer internships at more than 250 cultural organizations…

Pic of the Day

Bender JCC of Greater Washington/Facebook

More than 100 members from nine Greater Washington-area Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Jewish volunteer groups gathered earlier this month at the Bender JCC in Rockville, Md., for an Interfaith Playhouse Build to support Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland (HHMM). The eight cedar playhouses they built will be delivered to the yards of HHMM homeowners to provide a safe place where their children can play.

“It was especially meaningful to bring these faith communities together around a shared purpose during these complicated times,” Joshua Bender, CEO of the JCC, wrote in a LinkedIn post about the event.


Jonathan S. Lavine, co-managing partner and chief investment officer of Bain Capital Credit
Araya Doheny/Getty Images

Actor, comedian, writer, producer and musician, H. Jon Benjamin… 

Professor emeritus of physics and the history of science at Harvard, Gerald James Holton… Businessman and attorney, he acquired and rebuilt The Forge, an iconic restaurant in Miami Beach, Alvin Malnik… Businessman, optometrist, inventor and philanthropist, Dr. Herbert A. Wertheim … Former dean of the Yale School of Architecture and founder of an eponymous architecture firm, Robert A. M. Stern… Founder and chairman of law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, leading D.C. super-lobbyist based in Denver, longtime proponent of the U.S.-Israel relationship and national board member of AIPAC, Norman Brownstein… British fashion retailer and promoter of tennis in Israel, he is the founder, chairman and CEO of three international clothing lines including the French Connection, Great Plains and Toast brands, Stephen Marks… Special counsel at Cozen O’Connor, focused on election law, he was in the inaugural class of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Jerry H. Goldfeder… Award-winning television writer and playwright, Stephanie Liss… Israeli diplomat, he served as Israel’s ambassador to Nigeria and as consul general of Israel to Philadelphia, Uriel Palti… Editor-in-chief of a book on end-of-life stories, Catherine Zacks Gildenhorn… Israeli businessman with holdings in real estate, construction, energy, hotels and media, Ofer Nimrodi… President of Newton, Mass.-based Liberty Companies, Andrew M. Cable… Best-selling author and journalist, whose works include Tuesdays with Morrie, he has sold over 40 million books, Mitch Albom… Resident scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Reuel Marc Gerecht… Chairman of the board of the Irvine, California-based Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook… Former ski instructor, ordained by HUC-JIR in 1998, now rabbi of the Community Synagogue of Rye (N.Y.), Daniel B. Gropper… Film and television director, Nanette Burstein… Australian cosmetics entrepreneur, now living in NYC, she is known as the “Lipstick Queen,” Poppy Cybele King… Prominent NYC matrimonial law attorney, Casey Greenfield… Member of the Knesset for the New Hope party, she served as Israel’s minister of education in the prior government, Yifat Shasha-Biton… Retired attorney, now a YouTuber with 607,000 followers and 176 million views, David Freiheit… President of the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust until six months ago, Dylan Tatz… Tech, cyber and disinformation reporter for HaaretzOmer Benjakob… Professional golfer on the LPGA Tour, she turned pro at age 17 and is the youngest-ever winner of a modern LPGA major championship, Morgan Pressel… Senior manager of brand and product strategy at GLG, Andrea M. Hiller Tenenboym