Your Daily Phil: Carrying on the legacy of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks + Leading Edge’s new employee experience report

Good Tuesday morning!

Today is Giving Tuesday, recognized globally as the day to give to charity, created in 2012 by by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation.

The fifth annual employee experience survey from Leading Edge, which helps Jewish organizations improve their workplace culture, found that some aspects of teamwork that were most directly affected by the pandemic either stayed the same or improved between 2019 and 2021.

The survey, conducted every year since 2016 — with the exception of 2020, due to the pandemic — was conducted in May 2021. More than 11,600 people from 221 organizations took the survey, bringing the total to 35,000 people at 316 organizations. Leading Edge estimates that the Jewish nonprofit sector employs 73,000 people.

Employees felt more positive about collaboration,communication and their own effectiveness in 2021 compared with 2019, according to the survey, agreeing at higher rates to such statements as “My manager keeps me informed,” “At my organization there is open and honest two-way communication” and “I have enough autonomy to do my job effectively.”

Almost 40% of the participating organizations reported that they conducted furloughs or layoffs during the pandemic, while 47% said that they didn’t and 14% didn’t answer the question.

The survey aims to provide organizations and managers with information about whether employees feel proud, motivated and desirous of remaining at their workplace. The 2021 survey found for the first time that employees tend to stay at organizations they deem concerned about their well-being, and tend to leave those that don’t do so.


The Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust visits the United States

Wikimedia Commons

A year after his death, relatives of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks are ensuring that the former U.K. chief rabbi’s teachings carry on, in the form of an international trust that will collect and translate his writings and, in the case of audio and video, transcribe them for a global audience. “Rabbi Sacks was the leading world voice trying to address the issues of why we should be proud to be Jewish regardless of what our affiliation might be,” Alan Sacks, the rabbi’s brother, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff. “Rabbi Sacks isn’t here to do that anymore, and our mission is to make sure his message isn’t lost.”

A dedicated team: Based in the U.K., Sacks and Elliott Goldstein, the rabbi’s son-in-law, as well as the Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust’s chief executive, Joanna Benarroch, are in the United States to introduce the initiative and its vision to potential supporters. Debby Ifield, Rabbi Sacks’s former office manager, and Dan Sacker, his former communications strategist, will also be employed by the trust. Central to that mission: conveying the rabbi’s conviction that a person can be both completely committed to Judaism, and completely engaged in the world, Alan Sacks said: “He was a deeply learned scholar who managed to see the entire modern world through his scholarly lens without blocking out any of that world.”

Global vision: The trust, which is partnering with Yeshiva University in the recently announced Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership, aims to reach people in the United States; British Commonwealth countries such as the U.K., Canada, South Africa and Australia; Israel; Russia; and South America. In the U.S., the trust will operate as the Covenant & Conversation Corporation, a 501c3, whose trustees are Alan Sacks, Goldstein and philanthropist Naomi Hass-Perlman. Educators will turn materials into curriculum in the hope of infusing the rabbi’s thought throughout the Jewish world via its teachers. In Israel, the trust’s goal is to create a think tank where new leaders can be developed and trained to tackle critical social and political issues, such as climate change, and to offer curricula to teachers. 

Read more here.

bright future

The rededication of an institution — a modern-day Hanukkah tale


“Each year as I celebrate Hanukkah with my family and enjoy the warmth and light of the season, I reflect with gratitude on the passing of another Gregorian year, and I luxuriate in an abundance of latkes and sufganiyot — an indulgence before the inevitable New Year’s commitment to salads and stationary bikes,” writes Misha Galperin, CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy

Mission-focused: “This year, like every year, I am also reflecting on the Hanukkah story itself — that of the ancient struggle to keep the stories and culture of the Jewish people alive. At the National Museum of American Jewish History we challenge ourselves every day to best execute on our dual mission of engaging Jews more deeply with their heritage, culture and history while striving to engage all Americans (and foreign visitors) with the richness and diversity of the American Jewish story. But the tale of Hanukkah resonates even more deeply and feels even more poignant to me this year.”

New name, new gift: “On Dec. 6, the final day of Hanukkah 5782, we will officially announce a new name for the museum, in recognition of an extraordinary new gift from an extraordinary old friend: genius designer, fearless entrepreneur, successful businessman, generous philanthropist and real mensch, Stuart Weitzman. NMAJH will now be known as the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. Stuart has also made a meaningful gift to establish the Stuart Weitzman Endowment Fund, which will help support future exhibitions and other activities of the museum.”

Read the full piece here.


Jewish foundations and nonprofits: Align your investments with your philanthropic goals


“Endowment investments are the lifeblood of private and community foundations, providing the financial returns that enable foundations to make grants to nonprofits. Unfortunately, these investments are often managed in a way that actually undermines the foundation’s philanthropic work,” writes Michael Lustig, author of A Guide to Jewish Impact Investing, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Common practice: “Endowment investment managers, usually appointed by the foundation’s board, tend to focus solely on maximizing financial returns and in doing so rarely make the active choice of screening out investments that are entirely antithetical to the foundation’s mission, or to consider investing in for-profit enterprises that help further the foundation’s goals. Guiding this behavior has been the assumption that unconstrained investing leads to higher returns, which then allows for more grantmaking. This assumption is not always accurate, and it comes at the expense of potentially schizophrenic inconsistency, such as when a public health-minded foundation invests in Big Tobacco or an environmental funder owns shares in the very oil companies its grantees are fighting.”

Not kosher investments: “Not only do few foundations and endowment-holding nonprofits work to align their investments with their philanthropic goals, some actively discourage doing so. A number of years ago, when I attempted to steer a mission-aligned Israeli investment to a large Jewish nonprofit on whose board I served, I was told outright that the asset managers had been instructed not to give consideration to Israel-related investments… The organization was spending considerable resources in Israel, doing an enormous amount of good there and achieving meaningful impact in a multitude of areas, yet its investing was completely segregated from its grantmaking work. Essentially the endowment was meat while the allocations were milk, and the organization wanted to maintain a very strict level of kashrut by keeping them entirely separate.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Famous Last Words: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who is resigning from his position as CEO, recently said that he planned to leave the company to focus on cryptocurrency and philanthropy, write Kate Conger and Lauren Hirsch in The New York Times. Last April, Dorsey donated $1 billion to coronavirus relief and other philanthropic efforts, and he is also a supporter of guaranteed-income projects, in which the needy receive cash instead of other benefits. “I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it,” Dorsey wrote in a letter to Twitter employees. “I’m really sad… yet really happy.” [NYTimes]

Survivor Support: There are over 350,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide, and despite the widespread misconception that reparations cover their basic needs, a third of them live below the poverty line and almost 80% struggle to perform activities like cooking, washing and dressing, reports Connie Matthiesen in an Inside Philanthropy profile of The Blue Card, a survivor support organization. The organization was created in Germany in 1934 to help Jewish people facing discrimination in the early Nazi period, and today it is backed by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and others, but is still largely unknown. “We are told all the time that people haven’t heard of The Blue Card, and that is something we’re working on changing,” said the group’s executive director, Masha Pearl. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

Lead. Apply for the 2022 cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership, presented by Spertus Institute in partnership with Northwestern University.

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

Word on the Street

The Melbourne-based Gandel Foundation won Philanthropy Australia’s 2021 Bolder Philanthropy Award for the second year in a row for its philanthropic investment in “social risk capital”… Herzl Camp named Josh Levine executive director, effective in January… Four women have filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court of New Jersey against Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the Orthodox Union and the National Conference of Synagogue Youth over past abuse by Lanner, convicted in 2002 of sexually abusing teenage students under his supervision… With the support of a $3 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, researchers at three universities in Maryland will study why there are so few women and people of color in leadership roles at universities… McGill University received gifts totaling $13 million from alumnus Gerald Rimer and his family for a major renovation of the University’s Leacock Building and for a future Institute for Indigenous Research and Knowledges… The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee launched “A Great Miracle Happened Here,” a new event series highlighting Jewish communities from around the world… Organizers of speaking events in the U.K., including a group representing more than 300 Jewish civil servants, have been informed they must now review invited speakers’ social media to avoid any prospect of compromising government neutrality by giving platforms to activists and commentators deemed to be biased… The Jewish Women’s Archive is hosting a series of online history courses beginning Dec, 2 on “The Hidden History of Jews and Reproductive Rights in America”…

Pic of the Day

Haim Zach, Government Press Office

Participants in UJA-Federation of New York’s mission to Israel and the United Arab Emirates, led by the group’s president, Amy Bressman, and Itzik Shmuli, director-general of UJA’s Israel office, met yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem to discuss issues including American Jewry and Israel’s relationship and cooperation with Arab countries.


Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Tony Award- and Emmy Award-winning actor, tenor and comedian, Mandel Bruce “Mandy” Patinkin

DC-based real estate developer, Douglas Jemal… Film producer, Ellen Letty Konigsberg Aronson… Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter and film director, David Mamet… Former U.S. treasury secretary (1999-2001) and then president of Harvard University (2001-2006), Larry Summers… Historian and author of nine books, Michael Beschloss… National security correspondent for Thomson Reuters, Jonathan S. Landay… U.S. senator (R-NC), Richard Burr… Award-winning author, journalist and co-founder of Berkeleyside, Frances Dinkelspiel… Film and television producer, Stacey Sher… CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, William C. Daroff…  Rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom of Teaneck, N.J., and chair of the department of Talmud and rabbinics at SAR High School, Nathaniel Helfgot… Actor, comedian and filmmaker, Ben Stiller… Editor-in-chief at The ForwardJodi Rudoren… Member of the Knesset for the Labor party, he is also the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, Gilad Kariv… Former actress, Tziporah Atarah Malkah… Screenwriter, director and producer, Jeremy Garelick… CNN reporter covering federal law enforcement and courts in New York, Erica Orden… Retired basketball player, he won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and played for two seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Jordan Farmar… Israeli tennis player, Evgenia Linetskaya… Student activist against gun violence, Ryan Deitsch… Steve Albert…

Email to have your birthday included.