Your Daily Phil: Chabad’s 6,500-person dinner + Impact lending in the Bay Area

Good Monday morning!

In today’s Your Daily Phil we report from perhaps the largest Jewish dinner in the world, and feature an op-ed by Joy Sisisky about impactful lending. Also in this newsletter: Ronald and Leonard Lauder, Michael Milken, Dr. Jill and Dr. Herschel Rosenzweig and Henry Rosovsky. We’ll start with a look at Jews and Israelis at the Middle East’s first World Cup.

The World Cup opened yesterday in Qatar, and it has led to both celebration and consternation among Jews.

Israel will once again not be playing in the global soccer tournament, which is being held in the Middle East for the first time. But Israelis will, for the first time ever, be able to fly directly from Tel Aviv to Doha, which does not have any diplomatic ties with Israel, to attend the games. In addition, the U.S. team includes two Jewish players — keeper Matt Turner and defender DeAndre Yedlin — and Telemundo’s Andrés Cantor (famous for his exuberant “¡Goooooooool!”) will be calling the games.

More than 10,000 Israelis are expected to attend, and Israel has set up a temporary diplomatic mission in the country for the duration of the competition. The mission’s main concerns, reports Jewish Insider, will be to respond to any emergencies among Israeli attendees — and urge them to abide by the rules and mores of the conservative Muslim nation.

Their dining options, however, may be limited: While an upstart kosher kitchen will sell cold sandwiches, Qatar has reportedly banned the sale of hot kosher food as well as public Jewish prayer during the tournament. It isn’t the only alimentary controversy to hit Qatar, which banned beer sales at stadiums shortly before the tournament.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said in a statement that for religious Jewish attendees, the ban on Jewish prayer and hot kosher food “effectively makes their attendance impossible. The World Cup should serve as a unifying event for all sports fans, regardless of religious affiliation.”

shluchim shindig

Attendees at the dinner of the International Conference of Shluchim
Attendees at the dinner of the International Conference of Shluchim

In the chill of Sunday night in Edison, N.J., a crowd of bearded men in black fedoras embarked on a 15-minute walk through a seemingly endless parking lot, a field of dirt and then down an asphalt road, past buses, police patrol cars with sirens flashing, a row of portable toilets and finally along the gravel walk that took them around and then into a huge convention center where they could hear the pounding music of the Shluchim conference, the annual gathering of Chabad’s global network of more than 5,600 emissaries, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.

The scene: While many galas draw hundreds of people to numbered tables in tony banquet halls, the Shluchim conference’s tables had to be organized by a combined index of letters and numbers, allowing enough space for the 6,500 attendees at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center. Several journalists were seated at M20. In practice, the room, which was filled almost entirely by men, looked like a never-ending sea of black hats in the haze of spotlights, with most eyes directed toward enormous television screens lining the hall. A parallel women’s conference is held annually and will take place in February.

The focus: Officially, the night had two themes: a celebration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the movement’s late leader popularly known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe; and a tribute to the Jewish commandment of hakhel, a gathering of the Jewish people intended to take place once every seven years.

Conflict zone: The night was also punctuated by references to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chabad’s network of 177 emissary families in Ukraine has taken a central role in providing aid during the invasion and ensuing humanitarian crisis. In addition, it has made life more difficult for the hundreds of Chabadniks in Russia. Last month, a Russian official called Chabad a “neo-pagan cult” striving for supremacy; his superior later apologized. But Chabad’s enthusiasm for being in Russia hasn’t dimmed; When Russia was called out during a country-by-country roll call of the movement’s emissaries, the room erupted in dancing to a traditional Russian Jewish melody.

Read the full story here.

making an impact

Impact lending: How philanthropic capital can do good before it’s distributed in grants

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) speaks during annual Jerusalem Post conference at Gotham Hall.

“How can Jewish funders amplify our impact on the world? At the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, we challenged ourselves three years ago to think beyond our traditional model of providing grants to Jewish and other nonprofit organizations. Most of all, we wanted to leverage our potential to affect our entire community in new and different ways.  We see and feel the needs of people every day trying to make ends meet, to overcome hardships, to support their families. Luckily, we live in a region where smart, passionate and dedicated people come together to experiment, problem-solve and overcome challenges to help improve lives,” writes Joy Sisisky, CEO of the Bay Area-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Innately innovative: “In fact, there are few places in the world that speak to Jewish culture the way the Bay Area does, with its long history of openness, acceptance and innovation. People from around the globe and from all walks of life come here to find and express their true selves and to pursue their dreams. With Jewish tradition celebrating every day as a chance to start anew, you could say innovation is part of our DNA. The federation is guided by the Jewish values of building community; taking care of the needy; pursuing justice; and repairing the world. Looking to act on these values, and armed with fresh ideas, we as a pipeline of visionary leaders and passionate philanthropists set out to complement our traditional grantmaking with a way for people to loan money from their donor-advised funds. We call this impact lending, and it is another way we are addressing many of the same issues our donors prioritize in their grantmaking portfolios.”

Impact first: “Because the federation expects to be repaid, often with some interest, these loans are considered investments. However, they are investments focused on ‘impact first,’ rather than maximizing financial return. Leading with impact enables our significant philanthropic capital to do good – in the form of providing fair, affordable credit to those who need it – while it is waiting to be given out in grants. We source ‘impact-first deals’ that serve marginalized communities by bringing low-rate loan capital to ‘financial deserts,’ in which only unaffordable, inflexible predatory lending options exist. Access to capital is critical for communities to thrive because it enables small businesses to start and grow, which in turn provides essential goods and services as well as local jobs.”

Read more here.

Worthy Reads

Lapsed Donors, Where Art Thou?: You can learn a lot from donors who have stopped contributing to your organization, Sue Citro writes in NonProfitPRO, by asking them what drew them to your cause to begin with. “Maybe we told a story that resonated because it was happening close to where they live or because the pet finding a new home looked like their childhood dog. Was it because we come with high charity ratings or are endorsed by a favorite celebrity? There are many reasons that exist, and all are valid. Usually though, I find the story that grabbed them was a good story. It didn’t overplay on their emotions and wasn’t hard to follow — the impact was clear and the story ended on a positive note. The stories that tend to resonate most with donors are the ones that demonstrate the social proof of making a difference and feel aligned with the commitment your donors want to make to your cause.” [NonProfitPRO]

A Purposeful Plan: 
Creating a strategic plan should be compelling and engaging, Brandon Emerson writes in NonProfitPRO, to help leadership stay focused, create consensus, build accountability and push the organization’s boundaries. “Before you begin drawing a new or revised strategic plan, spend some time defining why it is needed and what problems it will address. Centering the process on this purpose will help cut through the noise and offer a tangible concept around which to prioritize your work…Starting with your goals in mind is critical. If you cannot define why your organization exists, you cannot begin to define the change that has occurred — or will occur — from your work. The best laid strategic plans take this a step further by also defining what metrics will demonstrate successful completion of those goals and integrate formal processes on how to measure the work.” [NonProfitPRO]

Around the Web

Leonard Lauder made a $52 million donation to New York City’s Hunter College, the largest gift ever given to the school, to establish the Evelyn Lauder Community Care Nurse Practitioner Program…

The Jewish Endowment Foundation in New Orleans honored three local leaders at its annual gala: Betty Meyers received the Tzedakah Award; Jim M. Spiro received the Young Family Award for Professional Excellence; and Wendy Goldberg received the Helen A. Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award…

Tucson Hebrew Academy’s annual Tikkun Olam fundraiser honored the late Dr. Jill Rosenzweig and Dr. Herschel Rosenzweig, and their many contributions to the school, the Jewish community and the greater Tucson, Ariz., area…

The Prostate Cancer Foundation, founded in 1993 by financier and philanthropist Michael Milkenraised $4 million for its research programs during its 26th annual New York dinner…

Henry Rosovsky, an economist who spent nearly his entire career at Harvard, died at age 95. After escaping the Nazis through France, Portugal, Spain and Belgium, he volunteered for the U.S. Army in World War II and also served in the Korean War. At Harvard, he led a committee charged with improving conditions for Black students, and shepherded the growth of Jewish life on campus…

Pic of the Day

Rabbi A. James Rudin (right) received the medal of the Papal Knighthood of the Order of St. Gregory from Bishop Mark O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, yesterday at Saint Leo University in Florida. Rudin, a former longtime executive at the American Jewish Committee, has spent his career advancing Jewish-Catholic relations. Read our interview with him here.


Stanley Kalms, chairman of Dixons Group plc hands out strawberries to customers at their Oxford Street Store in London to celebrate the company’s 60th birthday. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

British entrepreneur and philanthropist, Baron Harold Stanley Kalms

Director-general of the Mossad from 1982 to 1989, Nahum Admoni… Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)… Academy Award-winning actress, director, producer and occasional singer, she founded The Hawn Foundation to help underprivileged children, Goldie Hawn… Founder, chairman and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, currently holding these same positions at Generation Tux, George Zimmer… U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)… Beverly Hills resident, Julie Shuer… U.S. district judge for the Northern District of California, Judge Beth Labson Freeman… Chairman of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Thomas Rothman… Israeli media personality, Avri Gilad… Business development officer at the San Francisco office of Taylor Frigon Capital Management, Jonathan Wornick… VP of planned giving and endowments at UJA-Federation of New York, William Samers… CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan A. Greenblatt… Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times columnist and editor-in-chief of SapirBret Stephens… Founder and publisher of the business magazine The Real Deal, Amir Korangy… Former NFL running back for the Raiders and Rams, he is now a real estate entrepreneur, Chad Levitt… Political director of ABC News, Rick Klein… Director of global government relations at the Hershey Company, she was previously a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Joanna Liberman Turner… Consul general of the U.S. in Quebec, Danielle Hana Monosson… Reporter at Bloomberg NewsMax Abelson… Member of the New York City Council from the Bronx, Eric Dinowitz… MLB pitcher in five organizations, now playing for the Doosan Bears in South Korea, Robert Stock… Associate director of social media at the American Jewish Committee, Alexander Freeman… Judy Brilliant… Ruth Shapiro…

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