Your Daily Phil: Chabad’s new mental health arm + Chicago Federation head urges Jewish community to match federal child care credit


 Good Friday morning!

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles will require employees to supply proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they can return to the office, CEO Jay Sanderson told eJewishPhilanthropy on Thursday. The federation, which employs about 160 people in its Wilshire Boulevard office, will limit occupancy to 50% until at least 2022. The entire staff will come back to the building starting in August, but will do so in teams, and no more than two days a week.

“People who work for us, they have children who are vulnerable, they have grandparents who are vulnerable. We took the most conservative approach that we could,” he said, adding that office life is an important part of productivity: “You don’t have the same creativity on a Zoom screen that you do when you’re in a room together.”

Repair the World, the Jewish service organization that announced a $7 million grant from MacKenzie Scott on Tuesday, will use the funds to expand from its current locations in 13 cities to the 20 cities with the largest number of Jewish young adults, Repair the World CEO Cindy Greenberg told eJewishPhilanthropy. The organization will also grow its partnership with Hillel International, the student life organization.

Scott’s donation is unusual for Repair the World both in size — it doubles the organization’s budget — and source. Most investment in Repair the World comes from Jewish donors, although secular community foundations have also contributed funds, Greenberg said. With Scott’s imprimatur, Repair the World plans to pursue more non-Jewish support, Greenberg said.


Chabad’s Wellness Institute has big ambitions

The Wellness Institute

The Wellness Institute, a new mental health organization created by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and focused on young people, became a critical supplier of training and materials to the Jewish community during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with the need for such services still in high demand, it plans to produce more materials and help to set up local clinical boards, Rabbi Efraim Mintz, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute’s executive director, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

A growing mission: Launched in December 2019 with a focus on providing in-person training and expert support for professionals who work with children, the institute is a division of JLI. The pandemic intensified the need for its services, which both enabled the organization to expand its reach and inspired it to broaden its mission, said Rabbi Zalman Abraham, the institute’s director. “People are open for some disruption that will change the way that we think about mental health and services,” Abraham said.

Course catalogue: JLI was created about 20 years ago to create an educational component for Chabad-Lubavitch’s network of university Chabad houses, which were known at the time more for holiday parties and Shabbat dinners, said Mintz. It now offers hundreds of courses on such topics as Jewish ritual, history and spirituality, in addition to legal and medical ethics and psychology classes accredited by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and many state bar associations that can be counted toward continuing education requirements. The Wellness Institute was an outgrowth of JLI’s offerings for psychologists and other mental health professionals, through which JLI became involved in issues of youth and mental health.

Search for meaning: The pandemic exacerbated young people’s health problems, said Abraham, citing research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that mental health-related pediatric emergency room visits in 2020 increased by 24% among children ages 5-11 and 31% among children ages 12-17 compared with 2019. The institute now aims both to upgrade the Jewish community’s suicide prevention mechanisms and to help the community think about youth and mental health in a more expansive way that it hopes will lessen the need for crisis intervention. “This is not only about suicide prevention,” Mintz said. “It’s about meaning, about a healthy sense of purpose.”

Read the full story here.


The Jewish community should match the federal child care tax credit


“Beginning July 15, approximately 39 million American families will begin to receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for children between 6 and 17 years of age,” writes Dr. Steven Nasatir, executive vice chairman, Jewish United Fund of Chicago, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Proposal: “What if the Jewish community committed to create an additional matching fund of communal resources? Coupled with smart marketing, these federal resources multiplied by Jewish communal generosity—both nationally and locally—can be leveraged, as we emerge from COVID, to more fully engage the next generation in Jewish life.”

End game: “This would result in increased enrollment in Jewish early childhood education, Jewish day schools, Jewish camps, synagogue and other after-school Jewish education programs, trips to Israel, and other organized Jewish experiences. And we know that, through high-quality Jewish learning experiences for children, there is a domino effect of positive impact; they further frame parental Jewish engagement and behavior, catalyze further Jewish connections for those children, and lead to a whole host of Jewish identity-based outcomes and behaviors.”

Read the full piece here.


Summer harvest: On the joy we need

Shiraz Schilman, Pinemere Camp

“Many of us have been waiting for summer to start for a long time. But, when does summer start?,” asks Rabbi Avi Orlow, vice president at Foundation for Jewish Camp, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

First Shabbat: “For many, summer does not really start until they get off that bus or get out of their car and find themselves running across a field to embrace that friend they have not seen in 11 (or in this case 22 or 23) months. Still there is an argument that summer does not really start until that first Shabbat at camp. Everyone shows up as their best and cleanest self. We feel special and unique and lose ourselves in a sea of Shabbat whites. Amidst this calm, we take a moment to take a picture with people we love or pause to smell the fragrance of freshly cut grass. And who can deny the inviting waft of chicken soup as we enter the dining hall.”

Blurring of time and space: “Each of these moments are surely special, worthy of note, and are reasonable markers for the start of summer. And still, not the experience I have been yearning for. For me, this summer will start when the camp comes together after the first Shabbat dinner to sing Shir HaMaalot before Birkat HaMazon, grace after the meal. Weaving their voices together in devotion as one sacred community, blurring of time and space. In this, the community will step beyond the two dimensional world of zoom and into a joyful, uplifting celebration of multidimensional connection to one another, to Jewish tradition, to holiness.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

? Role Model: In the wake of billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s announcement of a third round of donations, Elizabeth J. Dale writes in The Conversation that Scott’s giving models several best practices even though the size of her contributions — which now total $8.5 billion — makes her philanthropy unique. Scott’s unrestricted gifts model a trust in her grantees that others should emulate, Dale says, as does her willingness to support small organizations that don’t have much name recognition outside their communities. “And like the many women donors I’ve interviewed and studied, she is using her position to amplify the voices of the leaders and groups she supports,” Dale concludes. [Conversation]

Hidden Opportunity: An investment approach that emphasizes ESG values — environment, social and governance — in addition to the traditional goal of shareholder return is becoming more widely accepted among both money managers and high-net-worth investors (HNWI), writes Rebecca Baldridge in Robb Report. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, has stated that ESG principles are “core to long-term value creation” for clients, and the 2020 World Wealth Report showed that more than a quarter of HNWIs are directing capital into ESG investing products: “Some say that ESG investing is just a fad, but we face growing challenges, particularly climate change, that have deep ramifications for the global economy and our way of life,” Baldridge states. “ESG practitioners argue that these obstacles offer rich opportunities for savvy investors.” [RobbReport]

Time To Dream: In Fast Company, Johnnie Moore challenges the conventional wisdom that prizes brainstorming sessions as the optimal way to solve problems and develop ideas. Managers have good reason for defaulting to this approach, he acknowledges, because it provides quick solutions developed in a collaborative way; however, experts have shown that it actually leads to participants suppressing potentially valuable thoughts as the group’s consensus builds. “Strange as it might seem, providing the time and space to turn away from a direct focus on hitting targets and achieving goals — letting the mind drift and play — may be a more fruitful way of achieving our objectives than trying to force a path forward,” concludes Moore. [FastCompany]

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Word on the Street

Dr. Shuki Friedman has been appointed vice president of the Jewish People Policy Institute… HaMaqom | The Place, a Jewish education center in Berkeley and a hub for adult enrichment programs for 47 years, announced yesterday it will close at the end of the summer… Jewish Helping Hands is accepting applications for the 2022 cycle… A new report published by the U.K. umbrella body Bond found that nine out of 10 aid sector staff do not think their organization is committed to diversity, equality and inclusion… Amazon announced a $300 million commitment in support of affordable housing in Washington State’s Puget Sound region, as well as in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee…

Pic of the Day


The creative network Reboot will launch a digital project “What Would You Bring?” on Sunday in honor of World Refugee Day. The project collects short films and illustrated essays depicting the stories of refugees, such as Aurora Zinder’s family, who immigrated from Ukraine to New York City in the late 1970s with a suitcase of heirloom teacups.


JDOV via eJP Archives

Executive of the UK real estate firm William Pears Group, Sir Trevor Steven Pears (family name was Schleicher) celebrates today…
Friday: Chicago-based attorney and former Alderman on the Chicago City Council, Solomon Gutstein… Former Washington Post editor and reporter, Fred Barbash… IT management advisor at Next Stage, Steven Shlomo Nezer… Former Minister of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship in the Croatian government, Davor Stern… Rabbi at Or Hamidbar in Palm Springs, CA, Rabbi David James Lazar… Best-selling author and journalist, Joanne Lipman… Professor of English at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Helene Meyers… Global head of sustainability and inclusive growth at Goldman Sachs and former Deputy National Security Advisor, Dina Powell McCormick… Principal of the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies and former White House official in the Trump admin, Reed Saunders Cordish… Film director and screenwriter, Jonathan A. Levine… Television producer and writer, Jeremy Bronson… Music manager and media mogul, he owns two record labels and represents musical artists including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, Scott Samuel “Scooter” Braun… Baseball pitcher for Team Israel at the upcoming Summer Olympics, he is also an analytics staffer for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jeremy Bleich… Associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Esther Lifshitz… Private equity associate at Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, Jacob E. Best… 

Saturday: Journalist, academic and former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands (1978-1981) in the Carter administration, Geri M. Joseph… Binnie Stein… Attorney, investment banker and former deputy mayor of NYC, Kenneth Lipper… Rabbi emeritus of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rabbi Bennett F. Miller… Owner at Wenkert Healthcare Services, Harry E. Wenkert… President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jay Sanderson… Broker at Morgan Stanley, Inna N. Zalevsky… Overland Park, Kansas resident, Kathi Shaivitz Rosenberg… Director of communications for New York State Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz, Adrienne M. Knoll… Former EVP of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Valery Engel, Ph.D…. OB-GYN physician specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Jessica Rosenberg Brown, MD… Co-founder of boutique investment bank Centerview Partners, Blair Effron… Singer-songwriter and television personality, Paula Abdul… Former member of Knesset for the Zionist Union party, Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin… Serial entrepreneur, Andrew Perlman… Staff writer at the New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner… Director of affinities and global experiences at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Tslil Shtulsaft… Founder of JSwipe dating app, David Austin Yarus… Founder of Kahal: Your Jewish Home Abroad, he is now in the pharmaceutical cannabis industry, Alex Jakubowski… Finance director at M/O Strategies, Cydney Couch

SUNDAY: Weston, Florida resident Harold Kurte… Author of 72 books, Dan Greenburg… Former member of Knesset for the Ratz party and then the Meretz party, Ran Cohen… Owner of Schulman Small Business Services, Alan Schulman… Detroit-based pawnbroker and reality TV star, Leslie “Les” Gold... Co-host of public radio’s On the Media from WNYC until last month, Bob Garfield… Former assistant managing editor for politics at NBC News and adjunct professor at CUNY’s Baruch College, Gregg Birnbaum… Founder of Brilliant Detroit (helping children out of poverty) and of Riverstone Communities (it owns and operates over 70 manufactured housing communities in 12 states), James Bellinson… EVP of the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Moshe Hauer… Senior legal affairs contributor at Politico, Josh Gerstein… Attorney General of Pennsylvania since 2017, Josh Shapiro… Journalist and EMT in NYC, Maggie Shnayerson… Director of brand strategy and digital innovation at Kivvit, Pearl Gabel… Photographer, producer and digital strategist, Sara Pearl Kenigsberg… Chief campus officer at Hillel Ontario, Beverley Shimansky

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