Your Daily Phil: Challah for Hunger is now Nazun + Stuart Weitzman’s itrek match

Good Tuesday morning!

Grassroots campus-based hunger-relief organization Challah for Hunger has rebranded as Nazun – “we will nourish” in Hebrew – to more accurately align with the group’s efforts to eradicate food insecurity on campus and beyond.

Since its founding in 2004, the organization has encouraged college students to engage in leadership development and advocacy opportunities on more than 60 college campuses. The new name “represents the basic need for all people to be fed while also capturing the nourishing work the organization does to cultivate leadership and advocacy and philanthropy in thousands of young adults around the country,” the group said.

The name was selected by the board after an extensive process, Nazun Executive Director Rebecca Bar told eJP, involving input from current and former staff, student board representatives, alumni and advisors, as well as someone representing the Challah for Hunger participants who identify as “other than Jewish” — who account for roughly 25 percent of participants. “It was important [for the name] to be rooted in Jewish content and value and be accessible enough so that people who weren’t native Hebrew speakers could pronounce it,” Bar explained. The launch of the new name this week was timed to the beginning of a new semester when students returned to campus.

“Our tagline is ‘cultivating leaders, nourishing communities,’” Bar said, adding that in addition to making and selling challah on campus to raise funds to alleviate food insecurity, over the last several years the organization has prioritized leadership development.


Stuart Weitzman offers to double itrek gift

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The Weitzman Family Foundation issued an endowment challenge to itrek, a trip operator that brings graduate students to Israel. The foundation is making a base contribution of $2 million to the organization, with up to an additional $2 million available if itrek can raise $3 million.

Weighing in: “Anyone who’s been to Israel knows that itrek’s goals are unique and extremely successful,” said Weitzman. “I’m proud to support their innovative model for bringing the Israel experience to tomorrow’s leaders. My hope is that this gift will help itrek solidify their future as they move into their second decade of opening the eyes, hearts and minds of thousands of young men and women who might not have ever had that opportunity.”

Background: itrek was founded in 2011 and has brought nearly 20,000 students to Israel over the last decade. Despite travel limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has convened participants for events in the U.S. At a November 2021 gathering in Arizona for more than 100 trek leaders, former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the group to discuss his decades-long career in politics.


Thriving during the pandemic


“While we all know humans — and all primates for that matter — thrive in familial and group settings, we also understand that there are times where such settings are not possible. It seems counterintuitive to suggest that we might thrive in social isolation but at times (such as during a pandemic) that is exactly what we are asked to do,” writes Atty Garfinkel, director of the Hillel of Northern Nevada, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Closed campus, open campus: “In March of 2020, the Nevada System of Higher Education and the University of Nevada in Reno closed campuses due to COVID-19… The fall semester of 2021 was fully in person, and we were all so very grateful! … My primary campus mandated vaccinations for all in-person classes, which kept our on-campus infection rate relatively low. My Hillel had a successful semester and as I began to consider my professional development and continuing professional education, I realized how much I missed my solopro women’s cohort. My organizational conference was scheduled for December, in person in Dallas – and then it was shifted to be online. I cannot say I was surprised, as the idea of over a thousand student-facing professionals in one place during a pandemic is a potentially dangerous situation. Nonetheless, the email came and felt like a blow to my soul.”

Always “on”: “Jewish community is required for religious practice. We need 10 adults to conduct full services, we need pairs to study in chevruta, we need each other because we are a people, not only a religious group (technically a multiracial ethno-religious group). And we as Jews working in Jewish communal services are not alone. We who work with emerging adults are in a kind of leadership role in their lives, not only as community participants. Leadership is taxing and being an introvert or an extrovert really is irrelevant; leadership is taxing for everyone. Leadership is a space where we transmit cultural norms, social or technical skills, values and the ability to persist. Leaders are always ‘on.’ Even when we do a great job of setting personal boundaries, engaging in wellness habits, and taking personal time — we are still ‘on.’ But the ability to step out of leadership and into a community of our own is critical to the survival of leaders.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Funding Music: Music gets more philanthropic support than other performing arts, most of it going to opera companies and orchestras, the IP staff writes in a piece rounding up music philanthropy in Inside Philanthropy. “With audiences dwindling, most American orchestras and opera companies are not covering their expenses with ticket sales, and philanthropy fills the gaps… But given these organizations’ traditionally Eurocentric programming and the fact that American orchestras are still overwhelmingly white, classical music groups have some work to do to address long-standing inequities, and funders can play a role in advancing change.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics will eliminate the category of “others” — up to 4.6% of the population — in official publications on demographics. The new “extended Jewish population,” which comprises some 400,000 people, will include any citizen who is not Arab and not Jewish according to Jewish law, and consists largely of Russian immigrants who made aliyah during the 1990s and their offspring … 

The department of Hebrew and culture of the World Zionist Organization and Bar-Ilan University have formed a new project partnership — the International Hebrew Exam — the aim of which is to enrich Hebrew language and culture studies for Jewish high school students worldwide…

The University of Haifa received a $16 million gift from the Kadas Family Charitable Fund to support the creation of an international faculty initiative of global climate change…

Jewish Communal Fund fundholders granted $520.7 million during fiscal year 2021, 22% of their charitable assets; nearly one-third of funds distributed 50% or more of their fund balance…

The Sackler Trust, a London-based philanthropy funded by the family that owns Purdue Pharma, gave more than £14.5 million ($19.67 million) to British nonprofits in 2020…

Georgetown University received a $10.5 million gift from an alumna and her husband who wish to remain anonymous in support of the university’s Technology & Society Initiative, ethics lab and an endowed scholarship… 

American Jewish University launched Maven, a new digital platform that features live events, online classes and an on-demand library of Jewish content…

Carl Bennett, who transformed an $8,000 investment in a second-floor Walk-Up-&-Save store in Port Chester, N.Y., in 1951 into Caldor, the regional discount chain that he sold three decades later for $313 million, died at 101…

Pic of the Day


On Tu B’Shevat, the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities will launch a project to renew and maintain the Jewish cemetery in Bahrain for perpetuity. The burial ground is located in the capital city of Manama.


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Actress and star of the 2000 comedy film “The Whole Nine Yards,” she wrote a book about a Jewish girl during the Christmas season, Amanda Peet… 

Retired judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Richard Posner… Violinist and music teacher, Shmuel Ashkenasi… Film and TV director Stephen Needleman… Economist and professor of banking at Columbia University, Frederic Stanley “Rick” Mishkin… Noted gardener and florist, Lynn Blitzer… Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of experimental medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Jerome E. Groopman… Former member of the Canadian House of Commons, Susan Kadis… Former director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Avi Gil… CEO of Sense Education, Seth Haberman… Attorney, author and activist, Brian Cuban… VP at Republic National Distributing Company and a former president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Alan Franco… Rabbi at Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto (BAYT), Rabbi Daniel Korobkin… Socialite and television personality, Kyle Richards… Defensive tackle in the Canadian Football League for 12 seasons, he is a co-owner at Vera’s Burger Shack based in Vancouver, B.C., Noah Cantor… Former goaltender with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, Josh Tordjman… Member of the Knesset for the Labor party, Naama Lazimi… VP and head of strategic partnerships at Penzer Family Office, Mickey Penzer… French-American actress, Flora Cross… Founder of Nannies by Noa, Noa Mintz

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