Your Daily Phil: Celebrate Israel Parade preparations + Pardes fetes 50th anniversary

Good Friday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and a potential first test of the White House’s antisemitism strategy, and feature op-eds from Steven Windmueller and Erica Brown. We’ll start with preparations for Sunday’s Celebrate Israel Parade in New York.

For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent Jewish Insider, eJewishPhilanthropy and The Circuit stories, including: Neera Tanden’s past clashes with left over Israel shape her tenure as domestic policy advisor; ‘Jewish culture, cuisine, peoplehood’: Inside Lehrhaus, Boston’s new ‘tavern and house of learning’; and Barbara Leaf downplays reports of imminent Saudi-Israeli normalization.Print the latest edition here.

Sunday’s Celebrate Israel Parade will be “noisy and chaotic” in light of the current debates happening in and about Israel, its principal organizer told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross, but will intentionally focus on what unites the participants rather than the contentious issues that divide them.

“It will probably be noisy and chaotic, but then again, the Jewish people are noisy and chaotic, and Israel is noisy and chaotic. So we’re just encouraging people to be there, to participate, and to come together and walk together,” Gideon Taylor, executive vice president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, told eJP.

Organizers anticipated this would be the largest Celebrate Israel Parade in the event’s 58-year history, with tens of thousands of participants. The annual parade, which marches down New York’s iconic Fifth Avenue, is always a massive logistical undertaking, requiring nine months of preparations and consultations with the mayor’s office, NYPD and other local government bodies. This year’s event comes with additional political considerations in light of ongoing protests in Israel and worldwide over the Israeli government’s proposed judicial overhaul, Taylor said. Up to 14 members of the governing coalition were expected to take part in the event.

In recent months, expat Israelis and concerned American Jews have taken to protesting practically anywhere that Israeli ministers and Knesset members from the governing coalition have appeared in the U.S., raising questions if similar demonstrations would be held alongside Sunday’s parade, in addition to the protests against Israel that are often organized by pro-Palestinian demonstrators and members of Neturei Karta.

At least one organization, the Labor Zionist movement’s Ameinu, has said that it plans to include a demonstration in its march, giving its marchers T-shirts emblazoned with the slogans “Zionism Equals Democracy” on the front and “Marching for Democracy” on the back, the group said.

Shany Granot-Lubaton, an Israeli citizen currently studying in New York who has emerged as a leader of the protest movement in the U.S., said members of her organization – known as UnXeptable – will not be protesting against the parade but will be taking part in it, marching with Ameinu and participating in the organization’s approved demonstration. “We don’t — heaven forbid — support the ministers [who will be attending], but we’re not giving up on celebrating Israel. It’s ours as much as it is theirs,” she told eJP.

Read the full story here.

House of study

People take part in a dedication ceremony for a new Torah scroll for Pardes’s future home in Jerusalem, in an undated photograph. (Aviv Naveh)

WhenRabbaYaffa Epstein arrived at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem in 2003 as a member of its kollel, the institute’s advanced study program, and discovered a unique trifecta, she told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther Kustanowitz. “The students love the teachers, the teachers love the students and both the students and teachers love Torah,” she said, adding that at Pardes “all Jews are really invited into learning and into claiming their own place in Jewish tradition and in the chain of Jewish learning for all generations… Everything that I do in the classroom I learned at Pardes.”

50 years: Pardes was founded in fall of 1972 by American emigre Michael Swirsky, with the mission of creating a space that provided access to Jewish learning for Jewish learning’s sake. Initially supported by the World Zionist Organization, Pardes became independent in 1987, blooming into a central, diverse, nondenominational, pluralistic institution of Jewish text study. The institute is now headquartered in a nondescript industrial-style building on Pierre Koenig Street in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood.

More than double: In its next phase, Pardes is centered on starting and completing its new building and growth, both of which are detailed in a newly released strategic plan. The strategic plan identifies a goal of more than doubling the organization’s overall activities by 2025. In Israel, this means 30% growth in its immersive programs and 75% growth in its short-term programs; and in North America, it means 275% growth for both in-person and digital programs, increasing reach from 8,000 participants in 2022 to a projected 30,000 in 2025.

Read the full story here.

Practical applications

Biden’s antisemitism strategy faces early test amid CUNY controversy

Just a week after the Biden administration unveiled a sweeping national strategy for combating antisemitism, its proposed plan for handling alleged incidents of anti-Jewish prejudice on college campuses is facing a key early test, reports Matthew Kassel for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.

Not the first time: The City University of New York drew an outcry this week when its law school released video of an incendiary address in which a student-selected speaker, Fatima Mohammed, accused Israel of “indiscriminate” killings and called for a “fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism around the world.” Mohammed also claimed that CUNY was “committed to its donors, not to its students,” among other statements echoing anti-Jewish tropes. The speech, which was widely condemned as antisemitic, marked the second instance in two years that a CUNY Law School commencement speaker had singled out the Jewish state for condemnation.

Rubber meets road: The policies laid out in the strategy are “directly relevant here,” William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told JI on Wednesday, citing language from the plan stating that “too many” Jewish students and educators feel insecure “because of their actual or perceived views on Israel.” “CUNY Law’s graduation created just the sense of insecurity that the Biden plan seeks to address,” Daroff said. The Biden administration “is serious about tackling antisemitism,” he added. “The CUNY situation is a perfect place for his administration to make a difference.”

Read the full story here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.

Managing our future

AI: The revolution is upon us

Shutthiphong Chandaeng

“AI will profoundly impact the Jewish communal system, leading to some fundamental restructuring in such areas as how information will be managed, which communal professional positions will be redefined or eliminated and what data can be obtained when managing fundraising prospects,” writes Steven Windmueller, emeritus professor of Jewish communal studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Changing job needs: “The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report estimates that in just a few years (by 2025), we could see as many as 85 million jobs displaced due to a shift in the division of labor because of these technologies. However, even more new roles (97 million) will likely emerge as the landscape adapts to the new shift of labor division between humans and machines and algorithms.”

AI isn’t always better or faster: “Doing something with AI doesn’t always mean the results are superior to other ways of achieving the same outcome. Take, for example, the identification of major donors. There are many ways that AI can be used to help identify major donors: improving wealth screening, predicting the best means of making an ask, predicting which contacts look most like current major donors. However, there are other ways to accomplish each of these tasks besides AI, and without the hassle and expense of employing this technology.”

Read the full piece here.

The Torah of Leadership

To be a blessing: Thoughts on Parshat Naso


“I was recently in a small store and overheard the clerk speaking Hebrew to a man at the register. The customer bought nothing. But he then gave the clerk a lengthy blessing for long life, good health, happiness with his family and financial success. I asked in Hebrew if this came with every purchase and how I could get this special blessing for myself. When the customer left, the clerk turned to me and said, ‘This man has lost everything and came to ask me for work. I try my best to help him.’ When I asked about the blessing, he responded softly, ‘He is a kohen [a priest]. The only thing I could give him today was the opportunity to bless me so that he can help me,’” writes Erica Brown, vice provost for values and leadership at Yeshiva University and director of its Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center, in her weekly column for eJewishPhilanthropy, “The Torah of Leadership.”

The power of a blessing: “I felt tears welling up. This clerk understood how to equalize a relationship of charitable giver and receiver by giving this man a sense of dignity through the instrument of a blessing. It was a magnificently tender moment of grace, one that made me think about the power of giving a blessing. How wonderful it would be if every time we felt blessed, we blessed others. And here, this unfortunate man who did not feel blessed was, nevertheless, willing to bless someone else.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

But Her Sister’s a Rabbi: In The New Yorker, Carrie Battan interviews comedian Sarah Silverman about the recent loss of her parents, her latest stand-up special and her relationship with Dave Chappelle, whose recent “Saturday Night Live” opening monologue Silverman said was antisemitic in parts. “In the three-plus decades since Silverman began performing onstage, she’s become an icon of standup comedy, an accomplished film and voice actress, a writer of an Off-Broadway show, a best-selling author, a sharp political pundit, an honorary late-night-television host, an executive producer, and one of the world’s finest purveyors of potty humor. More recently, she’s also become a fount of Zen-like wisdom. On ‘The Sarah Silverman Podcast,’ she counsels callers on whatever issue might be nagging them that day, whether it’s a failed relationship or attitudes toward French kissing. Usually, the advice boils down to something like: It’s not as bad as you think. ‘Everything always works out,’ Silverman told me calmly last week.” [NewYorker]

Around the Web

The Simons Foundation, which was formed by Jewish hedge fund manager Jim Simons, donated $500 million to New York’s Stony Brook University, which triggered a matching $200 million donation by New York State. Simons taught math at Stony Brook and his wife, Marilyn, received her bachelor’s degree at the school…

London’s Jewish Museum will close its doors by the end of the month due to budgetary woes, with the hope of reopening in a new location in the next few years…

Gratz College outside Philadelphia received a $300,000 donation – $150,000 from the estate of former board member Daniel Cohen, which was matched by another alum, Gene R. Hoffman – to expand its adult learning program…

The American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Friends of Israel opened a new Italian chapter yesterday with the goal of strengthening ties between Europe, North America and Israel…

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who cut ties between her city and Tel Aviv in protest of Israel, lost her reelection bid to her right-wing opponent Xavier Trias from the Junts party…

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council gathered in New York yesterday for a conference, which was attended by AJC CEO Ted Deutch and Imam Mohamed Magid

Pic of the Day

Ilia yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people march with placards and flags yesterday during the annual Jerusalem Pride parade in the Israeli capital.


Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

Aerospace engineer and a former NASA astronaut, he flew on three shuttle missions, Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour and took along a memento from the U.S. Holocaust Museum into space, Mark L. Polansky

FRIDAY: Former member of the British Parliament from Manchester and then a member of European Parliament, David Anthony Gerald Sumberg… Co-founder of ReelAbilities, a film festival by, or about, people with disabilities, Anita Altman… Israeli entrepreneur and inventor, founder of Indigo Digital Press and known as the father of commercial digital printing, Benny Landa… Johns Hopkins University professor and a pioneer in the field of cancer genomics, Dr. Bert Vogelstein… Writer-at-large for New York magazine since 2011, following a 31-year career at The New York Times, Frank Rich… Chief development officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jordan E. Tannenbaum… Commissioner of the National Hockey League since 1993, Gary Bettman… Carla Beth Sanchez… Holiday and weekend cantor at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for The Aged, Ben Zion Kogen… Former board chair of Sapir Academic College in the western Negev, he was one of Israel’s senior peace negotiators at the Camp David summit in 2000, Gilead Sher… Founder of Newark-based IDT Corp and numerous affiliates and spinoffs including an energy exploration company, Genie Energy, Howard S. JonasDinorah Cecilia Baroody… General manager of Harmonie Club, Davina Weinstein… Radio and television talk show host, Andy Cohen… President of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer for Marvel Comics, Marvel Television and Marvel Animation, Kevin Feige… Special counsel focused on land use and zoning at NYC-based law firm Goldstein Hall, Jessica Ashenberg Loeser… SVP of EnTrust Global, Jordan David Kaplan… Director of technology at Santa Monica-based Action Network, Jason S. Rosenbaum… Grandmaster chess player, she won the 2004 Israel Women’s Chess Championship, Bella Igla Gesser… Equestrian show jumper, she represented Israel at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Danielle “Dani” Goldstein Waldman… Owner of The Six Bells in Brooklyn, Audrey H. Gelman… Director of growth at Phantom Auto, Jared R. Fleitman… Deputy director for policy implementation in the New York State Office of cannabis management, Benjamin G. Sheridan… Theatre, television and film actor best known for his lead role in “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical,” Ethan Slater… Israeli K-Pop singer, Ella-Lee Lahav … Peter S. Levi…

SATURDAY: Richard J. Munitz… Alice Heyman… Attorney and author, Jan Schneider 6… Tel Aviv-based attorney who serves as an overseas representative to the French parliament representing the southern Mediterranean region, Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou… First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden… Retired director for legislative strategy, policy and government affairs at AIPAC, Ester Kurz… Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he heads its program in Judezmo (or Ladino) studies, David Monson Bunis… Former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric S. Rosengren… Chief cantor of Vienna, Austria’s Israelitische Kultusgemeinde since 1992, Shmuel Barzilai… Senior rabbi at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, Steve Leder… Member of the British Parliament for the Conservative Party since 2001, Jonathan Djanogly… U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York, Judge Ronnie Abrams… CEO of Ridgeback Communications, Andrew Samuel Weinstein… Executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, Jason Moss… Actress and model, Arianne Zucker… Los Angeles-based PR consultant at Winning Progressive, Eric M. Schmeltzer… Assistant director of development at San Francisco Friends School, Lauren Becker… Senior director of experiential marketing at the International Rescue Committee, Sophie Oreck… Chief political officer at the Israel on Campus Coalition, Brandon Beigler… DC-based reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Hackman

SUNDAY: Survivor of the Holocaust via the Kindertransport, sniper for the Haganah and renowned sex therapist, Ruth Westheimer (“Dr. Ruth”)… Co-founder of Boston Properties and owner of U.S. News & World Report, Mort Zuckerman… Emeritus professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, David Kristol… Professor of organic chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science and winner of the 2012 Israel Prize, David Milstein… Retired chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Stephen J. Markman… Judge on the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia since 2018, he was the longest tenured member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mark B. Cohen… Lineman for the Miami Dolphins for 11 seasons, which included 3 Super Bowl appearances and 4 Pro Bowls, then a judge on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida (Miami-Dade County), Ed Newman… British journalist and author, Melanie Phillips… First-ever Jewish governor of Hawaii for 8 years and then chief operating officer of Illinois, Linda Lingle… President and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC until he retires later this month, Daniel H. Weiss… Co-founder of Ripco Real Estate and a partner in Sagamore Hill, Todd Cooper… Chair in Human Cancer Genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Matthew Langer Meyerson, MD… U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)… Actor, best known for his role on the television series ER, Noah Wyle… French-Israeli entrepreneur, angel investor in over 360 start-ups, Jeremie Berrebi… Stand-up comedian and actor, T.J. Miller… D.C.-based photographer and founder of Revamped Media, Daniel Swartz… Israeli supermodel, Bar Refaeli… Reporter for the Washington Post covering Congress, campaigns, health policy and Pennsylvania politics, Colby Itkowitz… Senior planning analyst at Con Edison, Adam E. Soclof… Director at Dentons Global Advisors, Jason Hillel Attermann… News editor at eJewishPhilanthropy, Judah Ari Gross… Gena Wolfson… Political coordinating producer for NBC, Emily Gold… Ken Moss…