Your Daily Phil: Coexistence funders take stock + The Pew number that matters

Good Wednesday morning!

Eight Jewish organizations are calling for a “day of action” against antisemitism on May 27. Backed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Anti-Defamation League, Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish Federations of North America and the organizations of the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform movements, the event will feature an online rally and strategy session.

The event follows a letter to President Joe Biden signed by several of the groups that expressed grave concerns over a surge in antisemitism that scapegoats Jews for violence in Israel. AJC also launched a social media campaign, #wherestheoutrage, which aims to encourage people to speak out against physical and online attacks against Jews.

The World Jewish Congress re-elected Ronald Lauder as its president yesterday on the last day of its gathering, which happens every four years and took place this year online. 

A billionaire philanthropist and former ambassador to Austria under President Ronald Reagan, Lauder highlighted a global rise in antisemitism in his keynote speech, and pledged to foster unity across the Jewish world. The congress elected David de Rothschild as chair of its governing board, Chella Safra as treasurer and Moshe Kantor and Robert Goot as co-chairs of the policy council.


American funders of Israeli civil society efforts try to take stock

Getty Images

Donors who back Arab-Jewish coexistence efforts in Israel are working to understand the complexities of the situation on the ground after an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas triggered rioting in East Jerusalem and in several mixed towns, such as Lod and Akko, said philanthropists and activists interviewed by eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Funder cooperation: “There is progress that has been made over the last 20 years,” said Joshua Arnow, co-chair of the Jewish Funder’s Network’s Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society, a 21-member collaborative that includes both individuals like Arnow, foundations such as the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and the Morningstar Foundation, as well as several local federations. “I’ve been told by people in the Arab community who are in NGO [non-governmental organization] leadership roles that there is a foundation of shared society work that has not crumbled,” Arnow added.

Need for repair: That progress, however, is under stress, he noted. In some places, it has been undermined. “We were in a very different place two weeks ago,” said Avital Blonder, CEO of Jindas, which works to promote social mobility in Lod, a mixed Jewish and Arab city of about 80,000 people near Tel Aviv that was the site of intense rioting, by developing affordable housing and social services. “We went back 10 years in creating a shared society.”

Read the full article here.

Texas tussle

Jewish community


Jaynie Schultz and Barry Wernick belong to the same Orthodox synagogue in Dallas, Texas. Growing up, Wernick earned a scholarship from the Schultz family that helped fund his Jewish education. A few years ago, Schultz invested in a horror film Wernick was producing. Their kids go to the same Jewish day school. Now, they are running against each other for a spot on the Dallas City Council in an unexpectedly contentious race that will be decided in a run-off election on June 5 — after Wernick won 38% of the vote and Schultz 36% in the first round. Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch spoke to both candidates as well as a range of community figures about the race that threatens to fracture Dallas’s close-knit Jewish community.

Pillar of the community: Schultz is well-known in the area for her involvement with both local and national Jewish organizations, including area day schools, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federations of North America. Her connection to the Dallas Jewish community came naturally. “My family, which has been a very prominent philanthropic family here in Dallas, has been investing in the local community, through the day schools, through the creation of programs,” she explained. “One’s called Schultz Fellows, that takes local Jewish educators and religious schools and day schools — and now this newest cohort will be youth leaders — to Israel.” She was also an inaugural board member for Moishe House.

Fiery fliers: Wernick’s campaign has sent mailers criticizing Schultz, using language and imagery that she says misrepresents her beliefs. “When rioters burned down cities in America, and some looters destroyed small businesses in Dallas, some ‘leaders’ justified the violence,” said one Wernick campaign mailer, which featured an image of a convenience store on fire. It included a screenshot of a post on Schultz’s Facebook page that said “No justice, no peace.” She said the image was photoshopped to exclude the rest of the post, which she had shared from Moishe House. “These mailers are making people feel like they ought to be scared, and there’s no reason for them to be scared,” Schultz said. 

Read the full feature story here.


We begin again: A Shehecheyanu moment


“There is no replacing the impact of in-person gatherings,” writes Ruben Arquilevich, vice president of URJ camps, NFTY and immersives, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Begin again: “While camps and other immersive programs have continued to engage and support our communities through virtual experiences, there is no replacing the impact of in-person gatherings. While technology and virtual connections have provided new gifts, in-person gatherings touch on all our senses, expanding, deepening our experiences. The familiar scents of our cabins, dining halls, program spaces, and nature; tasting our favorite meals; hearing music, laughter, and prayer; feeling the presence of a friend or mentor; the ability to dry each other’s tears; being alone in a sacred space; breathing in the intangibles.”

Kol HaKavod: “In special recognition to all the camp directors and their teams, absolute heroes in our communities, as well as all the summer staff of 2021 – while this year will stretch our leadership abilities in new ways as we provide a safe and joyful summer amidst a pandemic, it will also be a legacy leadership moment of a lifetime and your name will forever be inscribed in a new book of life of the time when you lent your hand and heart to children, teens, and each other in a new way to begin again.”

Read the full piece here.


The Pew number that matters: 72%


“Interfaith families will not feel that they belong in a community that conveys messages that their relationship is sub-optimal,” writes Ed Case, the founder of InterfaithFamily (now 18Doors), in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

The number isn’t going down: “It’s beyond doubt that interfaith marriage will continue at high rates. There will be more children of interfaith marriages – they currently represent 46% of Jewish adults ages 18 to 29 – and they are even more likely to intermarry – 82% currently do. Moreover, because the couples rate of intermarriage is higher than individual rate, as the report itself explains, probably three quarters, if not 80% or more, of new Jewish households being formed are interfaith households.”

Times up: “It’s beyond time to respond to interfaith marriage in a positive, productive way, to start the hard work of changing negative attitudes and policies that discourage and restrict participation by interfaith families and partners from different faith backgrounds, and to prioritize programmatic efforts aimed at engaging them.”

Read the full piece here.

The need to touch

Are we hugging?


“The pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate who we are and who we wish to be,” writes Dr. Betsy Stone in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Touch is complicated: “As the world opens and I see friends in person for the first time in over a year, I start every conversation this way. I am profoundly aware of the need to touch, and of the parallel need to feel safe. I’m double vaccinated, as are most of the people in my life, but the question of touch is one I ask over and over again.”

Decisions: I think we need intentional scripts about touch. Are we hugging? Could be yes; could be not yet; could be no. We need to teach ourselves and our kids that we have rights over our bodies, that we can decide and redecide what kinds of contact we want. We have the right to assert control.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Two Minds: In an opinion piece in The New York Times, Linsey McGoey questions the widespread assumption that Melinda Gates has a different worldview from her ex-husband, Bill Gates, whose philanthropy has been criticized as needing  a more qualitative approach to temper an excessive emphasis on data. The former couple is in fact much more alike than different when it comes to their worldview, which relies too much on the capitalist economy as the solution to social problems, in McGoey’s estimation. “The best thing to come out of a sad event like this divorce is recognition that today’s global problems are ours to tackle, we the people — interdependent, global members of the public — through solidarity and shared science. We can’t relinquish this task to unaccountable philanthropists.” [NYTimes]

Rate Of Return: Sam Marks, the CEO of FJC: A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, discusses the advantages to both donors and grantees of “revolving funds,” a variation on donor-advised funds, in a blog post on the website of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Such funds are essentially no-interest loans in which grantees invest and then return the money to the donor, who can then loan it out again. Sometimes, the funds do not come back, but the rate of success is high enough that the practice is worth implementing more widely, Marks writes: “Revolving funds may not necessarily have the potential to grow their assets, but they enable savvy donors to recycle the same philanthropic grant dollars multiple times for multiple projects.” [CEP]

Tax And Spend: A bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) that would tax the largest endowments of private colleges and use the revenue to support apprenticeship programs is generating a a policy debate about job training and nonprofits’ tax-exempt status, reports Alexis Gravely in Inside Higher Ed. Some experts acknowledge that apprenticeship programs need more support, but say that the colleges targeted by the bill already make education more accessible to low-income students, while others say the bill is good policy because it doesn’t harm anyone, and would help people who need it. “Our wealthiest colleges and universities have amassed billions of dollars, virtually tax-free, all while indoctrinating our youth with un-American ideas,” said Cotton. [InsideHigherEd]

Life Lessons: In the Insights newsletter from Indiana University’s Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, Meredith McNabb reflects on the difficulty of instilling the value of generosity in children, young people and even other adults when the act of giving is becoming less visible as both philanthropy and worship services move online. The good news is that generosity is a learned character trait, but that means those who would teach it must make active efforts to do so, whether that’s at Vacation Bible School or through Honeycomb, a Jewish teen giving circle that works with the Lake Institute. Families and teachers are looking for guidance in how to go deeper in helping young people grow in generosity, and faith communities can step into the gap to bring generosity to life for everyone, from preschoolers on up, drawing adults and children alike into the joy of giving. [Insights]

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Word on the Street

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, z”l, has been awarded an honorary degree from Yale University in recognition of his “wise and steadfast moral leadership”… Rose Community Foundation has released a “Racial Justice and Equity Giving Guide”… A new digital exhibit, part of a UCLA-led mapping Jewish L.A. project, explores Jewish history in Boyle Heights… In the Jewish Funders Network latest “What Gives?” podcast, Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) talks about why and how she got into politics and her tumultuous first month in office… Beginning this Sunday, thirty dance troupes from 11 countries will join hundreds of dancers in Mexico City to celebrate Festival Aviv

Pic of the Day

Foundation for Jewish Camp

After COVID-19 closed overnight camps last summer, staff and campers are looking forward to returning to spectacular waterfront sunsets at Camp Pembroke in Massachusetts.


Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

NYC real estate developer and chair of The Charles H. Revson Foundation and a former commissioner on the NYC Planning Commission, Cheryl Cohen Effron… 
Political cartoonist and journalist, Ranan Lurie… Public speaker, teacher and author, Richard Lederer… Journalist and educator, the mother of Susan (CEO of YouTube), Janet (a Fulbright-winning anthropologist) and Anne (co-founder of 23andMe), Esther Hochman Wojcicki… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999 (D-IL-9), Janice Danoff “Jan” Schakowsky… Former SVP of News at NPR, Michael Oreskes... Co-founder and CEO of Mobileye, he became an SVP of Intel after Intel acquired Mobileye in 2017, Amnon Shashua… Former Brigadier General in the IDF, she has been a member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2009 and now serves as Minister of Transportation, Miriam “Miri” Regev… Counsel in the government affairs practice in the DC office of Paul Hastings, Dina Ellis Rochkind… Photographer Naomi Harris… South Florida entrepreneur, Sholom Zeines… Former minor league baseball player, he has become one of the leading agents for NBA players with four contracts of over $100 million each, Jason Glushon… Tel Aviv-based freelance journalist, Yardena Schwartz… Special counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, Mark Goldfeder… Deputy Washington director of Bend the Arc, Arielle Gingold… Program officer for media and communications at the Maimonides Fund, Rebecca Friedman… Litigation associate in the Washington office of Covington & Burling LLP, Benjamin L. Cavataro… Toronto-born Israeli actress and singer, best known as the protagonist of the television series “Split,” Melissa Amit Farkash… Program associate at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Morgan A. Jacobs… Catcher in the Houston Astros organization, Garrett Patrick Stubbs
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