Your Daily Phil: Chelsea FC’s fight against antisemitism crosses the pond + Nonprofit Security Grant Program gets a boost
Good Friday morning!
The Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies (NJHSA) and the European Council of Jewish Communities are conducting a series of joint trainings prompted by the realization that the online delivery of human services by social workers and case managers that started during the pandemic is here to stay, Tamara Rebick, the organizational consultant directing the sessions, told eJewishPhilanthropy.
“The pandemic ripped off a Band-Aid,” said Rebick. “There has been a need for a conversation about how technology can lower barriers, not raise them.” NJHSA CEO Reuben Rotman expects 50 participants, more than half from North America. The two agencies started training together during the pandemic.
Continued vaccine hesitancy and fear of COVID-19 is one reason the agencies decided the training was needed, Rebick said. They also want to reach people who are homebound or face other logistical challenges in accessing those services.
Rebick was hired to teach social workers how to improve the Zoom experience. The goal is to help them use the technology to build a relationship with their clients instead of engaging in a transaction in which a service is given and taken. Zoom users can combat Zoom fatigue and instead draw energy from meetings on the platform if they frame the meeting meaningfully; pay careful attention to social cues; and use tools to enrich the experience, such as playing music and occasionally not using video.
Soccer team Chelsea FC to expand its ‘Say No to Antisemitism’ campaign in the United States
Chelsea FC: It’s an iconic soccer club in London, more than a century old, known for its stadium (Stamford Bridge), best-ever midfielder (Frank Lampard) and rivalries with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Yet the club, owned since 2003 by Russian-Israeli billionaire philanthropist Roman Abramovich, also makes headlines outside the sports pages for the charitable activities of its foundation. The team is increasingly working on the issue of antisemitism, Bruce Buck, the American-born team chairman, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff in an interview about Chelsea’s plans to bring its “Say No to Antisemitism” program to the United States, in a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League that was announced in July.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
Helen Chernikoff: Can you tell us the origin story of the “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign?
Bruce Buck: The Chelsea Foundation does all kinds of community activities from helping the elderly to fighting poverty. We try to leverage football — you call it soccer — for the good of society. So over the years, we’ve done all kinds of anti-discrimination activities. In terms of “Say No to Antisemitism,” the campaign started about four years ago. We’re lucky in that we have an owner who is quite willing to support, financially and with his enthusiasm, all of our anti-discrimination activities, and particularly antisemitism, because he’s Jewish.
HC: Was there some kind of turning point that motivated the antisemitism campaign in particular?
BB: The impetus for that was the rise in antisemitic activity. There was the attack on the supermarket in Paris, on the synagogue in Pittsburgh. Antisemitism was growing on social media. We said, ‘We have to try to do something about it. Can we just figure out a way to move the needle?’ We have a very unique asset with this football club. Clubs like ours really get people’s attention. They get a lot of media focus. They get a lot of fan focus. Once we have their attention, it’s up to us to utilize it in the right way. We hosted a Holocaust survivor at a fan club, and it was a really meaningful event.
HC: Does your general anti-discrimination work and your campaign against antisemitism have any connection to racist incidents among soccer fans?
BB: There are these problems in football stadia all over Europe. The number of those problems has gone way down since the 1980s, but they still exist. We try to deal with them, of course, but the 40,000 people in our football stadium are just reflective of society. Yes, we have this problem, but so does the society. We used to ban a fan who misbehaved, whether it was antisemitism or another form of discrimination. We could ban them from the stadium for three months, or six months, or life. We came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the right way to approach things. If you ban them for life, you probably confirm that they’re an antisemite for life. Now we’re focused on education. We have a diversity officer, and if the fan can meet with the officer, and come to grips with the fact that they’ve done something wrong, and do some education, they can come back. That’s been well-received by both the person and the fans who saw the incident. This was developed with the Holocaust Educational Trust in the U.K.
Build Back Better bill includes $100 million boost for Nonprofit Security Grant Program
Tucked within Democrats’ $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” budget proposal announced on Thursday is an additional $100 million boost for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), a partial victory for lawmakers and community activists who have called current funding levels insufficient, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
In the bill: Both the House and Senate have proposed holding funding 2022 for the NSGP — which provides grants for nonprofits and religious institutions to upgrade their security — steady at its 2021 level of $180 million, despite a spike in hate crimes and a significant 2021 shortfall. If passed, the new budget would bring the total for 2022 funding up to $280 million. That’s still $80 million short of the $360 million funding level that Jewish community organizations and the program’s most vocal backers on Capitol Hill have said is necessary, but represents progress for NSGP’s supporters.
Behind the scenes: Some lawmakers had been working to include a $180 million boost to the NSGP in the Build Back Better bill, a source familiar with the matter told JI. Negotiations settled on the $100 million level some time ago, the individual added. JIhas learned that Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) spearheaded the negotiations for the NSGP boost in the bill, first raising the proposal in a letter to Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chair Gary Peters (D-MI) in August, which was obtained by JI.
Quotable: “I’m pleased that the new framework for the reconciliation package includes my request to allocate significantly increased resources for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program,” Rosen said in a statement to JI. “The alarming uptick in antisemitic incidents has highlighted a clear and urgent need to provide vulnerable Jewish institutions with physical security enhancements, and that’s exactly what this robust investment of an additional $100 million for the program will do.”
Not done yet: Advocates are not yet calling it quits on pushing for the full $360 million funding level. While neither the House nor Senate offered increased funding for the NSGP in their proposed appropriations bills, activists remain hopeful that could change. “The appropriations bills are still yet to [be finalized],” a source told JI. “If we end up in this bill getting the full amount, then we won’t need to do it in the appropriations bill. But that’s going to be another opportunity.”
8 Lessons of Leadership from Rabbi Sacks z”l
“It’s hard to believe that one year has now passed since one of the greatest leaders of our generation, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, left us. While his ideas on a vast array of issues inspired millions around the world, Rabbi Sacks devoted a great deal of energy to the subject of leadership. However, Rabbi Sacks didn’t just write and teach about leadership, he lived these ideas,” writes Rabbi Dr. Benji Levy, founding partner of Israel Impact Partners and former dean of Moriah College in Sydney, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Humility: “I had the honor of accompanying Rabbi Sacks when he visited Australia, and I was surprised when in multiple synagogues he sat among us rather than in the special area reserved for the rabbi. Like Moses, his humility was real. He truly saw himself as a mere messenger of a greater message. He quoted C.S. Lewis, who defined humility not as thinking less of yourself but as thinking of yourself less. Rabbi Sacks was so occupied with thinking about others that he thought of himself less. And through this he was a true servant of the Lord and a servant of the people.”
Taking responsibility: “His theology was one of practice and he did not shy away from dealing with issues of the day, openly defending Israel’s right to defend herself and calling out antisemitism for what it is, fighting those that hated any group, broadening his defense of the defenseless and indeed calling on all of humanity to make space for one another. He publicly debated some of his greatest philosophical detractors like Richard Dawkins and took on those that presented a real danger like prime ministerial candidate Jeremy Corbyn.”
The hardest part of the pandemic is right now
“In truth, as a synagogue rabbi, the hardest part of the pandemic was not March of 2020, nor our first High Holy Days last year, nor any other point in our first COVID year. The hardest part of the pandemic is right now,” writes Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein of Congregation Shir Shalom in Buffalo, N.Y., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Not OK: “Unclear mask mandates, vaccine hesitancy and the Delta strain raging across the country have made decision-making a perilous proposition. A year and a half of COVID protocols have worn all of us down and do not appear to be easing up any time soon. Overall, we are all exhausted. Rabbi Emily Cohen put it best. In a Sept. 5, 2021 article for JTA: ‘My brain is mush. My heart is broken. And I know I’m not the only one. The truth is that, after this year, not a single one of us is really OK.’”
Silver lining: “In several emergency Zoom meetings, we tried to thread the needle between the anti-vaxxers who were threatening to leave if we made vaccination mandatory, and our health professionals who were insisting on a more aggressive approach. We decided on a detailed letter which encouraged vulnerable congregants to stay home… The letter worked like a charm, cutting our expected attendance per service in half. Hundreds more joined us virtually. All in all, it was not a perfect plan, but it was the right one for us. Our congregants felt listened to and cared for… This fact has been the silver lining in all the chaos of the pandemic.”
Renaissance Man: Brandeis University has installed a sculpture by philanthropist and businessman Harold Grinspoon on its campus in Waltham, Mass., reports Jacklyn Goloborodsky in The Justice, the school’s student newspaper. Born in the nearby suburb of Newton, Grinspoon is well-known for such programs as the PJ Library, which gives free Jewish books to children, and his support for Jewish camping. About seven years ago, he became a sculptor, using dead trees as his material, after being inspired by a tornado that caused a tree to fall in his backyard: “Art has ultimately been the gift that unlocked more understanding than I could have imagined.” [Justice]
Faster Philanthropy: On “Bitcoin Magazine Podcast,” Alex McShane interviews Bill Pulte, an heir to the homebuilding company PulteGroup, who has built a philanthropic network on Twitter, about why he’s embraced Bitcoin and how it might reshape philanthropy. Pulte notes that even in the past two years, the percentage of charitable recipients on Twitter willing to accept Bitcoin has risen from 20% to 80%, and looks forward to a time when Bitcoin will make philanthropic intermediaries like himself, houses of worship and organizations less essential in the process of getting help to people who need it. “I try to focus on the poverty angle, and what Bitcoin will do to poverty,” he said. “Bitcoin is going to enable us to seamlessly transact in real time.” [BitcoinMagazinePodcast]
Ticking Clock: The “billionaires tax” on 700 of the wealthiest Americans would enable the Democrats to pay for their expansive domestic plans for infrastructure, workforce development and climate technology, but it’s unlikely to pass because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is opposed to the way it targets individuals, writes Philip Rojc in an Inside Philanthropy opinion piece. Rojc advocates reforming excessive wealth accumulation through either progressive taxation or new laws mandating increased payouts by philanthropy. “According to one estimate, Elon Musk would owe $50 billion under the proposed tax plan, while Jeff Bezos would owe $44 billion and Mark Zuckerberg would owe $29 billion,” Rojc concludes. “If they actually gave away that much to the charities of their choice over the next five years, maybe Manchin’s point would stand.” [InsidePhilanthropy]
Word on the Street
A new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers finds donors are likely to contribute more online over the long term if they’re encouraged to share their opinions about a campaign and become emotionally engaged before being solicited… The Jerusalem College of Technology launched Cyber Elite 2.0, a program that provides Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox graduates degrees in software engineering and computer science with cybersecurity training… California synagogues, Jewish day schools, JCCs and other Jewish nonprofits have until Nov. 19 to conduct a security assessment and apply for a grant from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services…. The New York-based Jewish Communal Fund distributed $520 million in grants during the 2021 fiscal year, a 13% increase over 2020… Marc and Lynne Benioff announced $200 million in new climate investments toward reforestation and restoration efforts — establishing the first-of-its-kind $100 million Benioff TIME Tree Fund and committing $100 million in investments from TIME Ventures, the Benioffs’ investment fund…
Pic of the Day
A group of more than 70 cyclists gathered on Oct. 24 to launch a three-day bike ride on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in support of ALYN Hospital, Israel’s pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation center.
Actor, best known for his portrayal of “The Fonz” in the “Happy Days” sitcom, Henry Winkler celebrates his birthday Saturday…
FRIDAY: Haifa-born director and screenwriter of films including “The Lord of the Rings,” Ralph Bakshi… Dean emeritus of the Yale School of Management, Jeffrey E. Garten… Academy Award-winning actor, he played Yoni Netanyahu in the 1976 film “Victory at Entebbe,” Richard Dreyfuss… CEO of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of its namesake foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, Dimitri Simes… Director of the social justice organizing program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Mordechai E. Liebling… Pulitzer Prize-winning author and editor of The New Yorker since 1998, David Remnick… Bernard Greenberg… Rabbi of Phoenix’s Temple Beth Shalom, Dana Evan Kaplan… Author, satirist and public speaker, Evan Sayet… Classical pianist, Susan Merdinger… Sports agent who has negotiated over $7 billion of player contracts, Drew Rosenhaus… Actor who appeared in 612 episodes of daytime soap opera “As the World Turns,” Grayson McCouch… Screenwriter and film director based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Andrea Dorfman… Mathematician, cryptologist and computer programmer, Daniel J. Bernstein… Emmy Award-winning television producer, writer and actor, Michael Schur… VP for strategic communications and business development at Anchorage-based Northern Compass Group, Rachel Barinbaum… Leigh Shirvan Helfenbein… Senior manager at Audible, Inc., Samantha Zeldin… Regional communications director at The White House, Seth Schuster… Senior educational consultant at Hermiona Education, now a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, Leora Eisenberg… Editorial producer at CNN, David Siegel…
SATURDAY: Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Caro… Former president of the University of Minnesota (1997-02), chancellor of the University of Texas System (2002-08) and president of the University of California (2008-13), Mark Yudof…… NBC’s anchor, reporter and commentator, Andrea Mitchell… Israeli violinist, violist and conductor, Shlomo Mintz… Meatpacking executive whose 27-year prison sentence for fraud was commuted in 2017, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin… Former CEO of Qualcomm, he is a co-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Paul E. Jacobs… Partner in the DC office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, former attorney general of Maryland, Douglas F. “Doug” Gansler… Partner and co-founder of the Irvine, Calif., law firm of Wolfe & Wyman, Stuart B. Wolfe… Global head of public policy at Apollo Global Management, David Krone… White House correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN, Maggie Haberman… President of The Gold Standard, LLC., Jeremy Seth Gold… Partner in the LA and DC offices of Crowell & Moring, Paul M. Rosen… Communications officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, Joshua Eric Rosenblum… Ivanka Yael Trump… Founding director at Tech Tribe and director of social media for Chabad, Mordechai Lightstone… Politico reporter covering U.S. House races, Ally Mutnick… Director at DC-based Targeted Victory, Rebecca Schieber…
SUNDAY: Actor Ron Rifkin… British historian, born in Baghdad, emeritus professor of International Relations at Oxford, Avraham “Avi” Shlaim… Author, historian and writer-at-large for the UK-based Prospect Magazine, Sam Tanenhaus… Staff writer for The New Yorker, Susan Orlean… Owner of both the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and professional soccer team Real Mallorca, Robert Sarver… Managing partner of Arel Capital, Richard G. Leibovitch… National director for progressive engagement at AIPAC, Marilyn Rosenthal… British lawyer who previously served as CEO of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marc Jonathan “Jon” Benjamin… Founding partner at Lanx Management, former president of AIPAC and past chairman of the Orthodox Union, Howard E. Tzvi Friedman… Director of development for Foundation for Jewish Camp, Corey Cutler… Chief innovation officer of Ralph Lauren, David Lauren… Member of the California State Assembly, Marc Berman… Entrepreneur, best-selling author and the founder of Pencils of Promise, Adam Braun… Rabbi-in-residence at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, she is the founder of Midrash Manicures, combining Jewish education and creative nail art, Yael Buechler… Senior manager for insights, analytics and global thought leadership at PwC, Spencer Herbst… Director of institutional advancement at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, Masha Shollar…
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