Your Daily Phil: Confronting abuse in Jewish orgs + Leaving a funding commitment

Good Friday morning!

The final panel of the Safety, Respect, Equity (SRE) Network’s annual conference this week featured a challenge: What more should members of the network be doing to combat sexual discrimination and misconduct?

“What we really haven’t addressed… is, the institutions that belong to this network, what are they in fact doing to change?” asked Nancy Levy Torres, a survivor of abuse by a rabbi, during the panel. “How are they educating people to look at themselves — meaning, rabbis, teachers…what are they teaching?”

More than 300 participants gathered virtually for the conference, SRE’s fifth, which took place on Wednesday and Thursday. The agenda addressed a range of hot-button issues facing nonprofits, from workplace culture shifts in the wake of the pandemic to gender and racial equity in Jewish nonprofit spaces and sexual harassment and abuse in the Jewish community. Many of the speakers were also members of SRE’s  network of more than 150 Jewish organizations that have committed to the organization’s mission.

Sara Shapiro-Plevan, CEO and founder of the Gender Equity in Hiring Project, told eJewishPhilanthropy that the conference provided attendees “the chance to refocus and reset.”

“We’re all struggling to redefine what ‘work’ and our ‘workplaces’ look like,” she told eJP. “This is the communal reminder to recall that policy, procedure and protocol matter. We need this challenge right now: to step into this space and ask the hard questions about how we’ll change our work and practice in the months ahead.”

Jenny Camhi, chief talent officer at the Leichtag Foundation, told eJP that she appreciated the sustained focus on SRE’s mission, as opposed to one “session or track on organizational culture.” She called the conference “a necessary dedication of time and resources for our organizations.”

In her keynote address, Jennifer Freyd, founder and president of the Center for Institutional Courage, discussed ways institutions can undermine and betray victims of misconduct, and spoke about “institutional courage,” which she defined as “an institution’s commitment to speak the truth and engage in moral action, despite unpleasantness, risk and short-term costs.”

In the final panel, titled “Stories of Courage,” Rabbi Mary Zamore, executive director of the Reform movement’s Women’s Rabbinic Network, said that one could see the world as “a dark, scary place” with danger everywhere, or as “an unmatched opportunity for not only leaders but participants to step forward and say, ‘We want a different path forward.’”

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, senior rabbi at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue, and Levy Torres, an educator and one of the synagogue’s congregants, sat side-by-side in the same Zoom box, sharing their stories. Levy Torres talked about her traumatic experience and Buchdahl spoke about how Central reacted to learning of sexual abuse by its former senior rabbi, Sheldon Zimmerman. Buchdahl said that Levy Torres’ experience “robbed her of her trust in her own Judaism and her faith community.”

Zamore added that communities must “look deeply into our own institutions and say, Have we been a safe place? What have we been doing right? What have we been doing wrong? And how can we, together, by listening deeply to people interacting with our community, directly make substantial structural change?”


This Israeli national service nonprofit enlists 18-year-olds to develop apps for social good

Shachar Kopolovich

When 18-year-old Nati Dereje approached his draft date for the Israeli army last year, he says he was offered a variety of “logistical jobs” — desk work, maybe a little driving — that didn’t entice him. Instead, he opted to serve his country from in front of a computer screen, enlisting in two years of national service with a nonprofit called Hilma, which teaches young Israelis to create tech products that benefit marginalized groups and charitable causes, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.

Altruistic alternative: Dereje is one of more than 100 Israelis to take part in Hilma, which bills itself as a socially conscious alternative to the hyper-competitive professional market that drives Israel’s tech industry. At a time of rising concern over the ethical implications of Israel’s outsize tech prowess, Hilma hopes to convince its participants that they can develop programs that will allow them to make a difference.

National service: Hilma has an annual budget of approximately $2 million. Thirty people enter the program each year out of 250 who apply. And Dereje, a Christian Ethiopian-Israeli, is an outlier; of Hilma’s graduates and current participants, 85% are religious young women. The more than 60 apps they have created have attracted more than a million total users.

‘We aren’t leading’: “The time has come for Israel to be on the map of social-impact tech, tech for good,” founder Yossi Tsuria told eJP. “Israel leads the world in many areas in tech…. But in tech for the elderly, tech for youth on the autism spectrum, tech for youth with disabilities, we aren’t leading.”

Read the full story here.


Levites, Nazarites, funders and grantees

Getty Images

“In the philanthropic world, one of the most challenging and rewarding relationships is between grantee and funder. Many foundations and philanthropists aim to create a bi-directional relationship with grantees. Nevertheless, the relationship can often be experienced as top-down due to the inherent structure of one party having funds in abundance [and] funneling [those funds] to grantees, who seek funding to support their operation, growth or expansion. Another challenge in the relationship is that at some point, that relationship is going to end, which can potentially create a sense of instability or anxiety within both parties,” writes Naomi Less, the co-founder, ritual leader and associate director of Lab/Shul in New York City, in this week’s Parsha Phil column for eJewishPhilanthropy

Navigating separation: “Over the course of my Jewish professional life, I’ve served in both capacities, as funder and grantee — witnessing the dynamics of exiting a funding commitment. Some endings happened with grace and ease, others with discomfort and disappointment. And although we know that relationships and priorities run their course over time, navigating separation is still a challenge. What, if anything, can we learn from the ancients?”

Types of service: “In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Naso, we encounter two models of committed service: the three clans within the tribe of Levi, who by birth were responsible for packing and moving the Tabernacle; and the Nazarites, who opted into devoted service and commitment that came along with various behavioral practices.”

Read the full piece here

Worthy Reads

The Art of Equity: Increased use of technology, commitment to disability arts, new funding models and rethinking how museums do their work are among six trends in arts and culture that philanthropists should look out for, Rocío Aranda-Alvarado and Lane Harwell write in InsidePhilanthropy: “Funders should follow these artist disruptors and commit to radical experimentation in their grantmaking. These trends — developed in a time of extreme change — reaffirm our belief in the power and promise of artists to help us process world events, imagine ways forward, and take meaningful action. Arts and culture funders should redouble their commitment to artists through sustained and flexible support. It is critical that we give resources and decision-making power to those most impacted by inequality. We can also add value beyond dollars. Through research, partnership and an emphasis on inclusion and equity, we can help shape the more just and impactful arts ecosystem that creatives are seeking.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

The Natan Fund has launched a Confronting Poverty Committee, which will be charged with reviewing proposals from organizations that are addressing poverty and food insecurity in their communities across the United States. It will award grants of $30,000 to $35,000 to up to five organizations…

Beth David Reform Congregation in Gladwyne, Pa., announced that Rabbi Elisa Koppel will become the synagogue’s director of education starting July 1. She is currently interim education director at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, N.C…. 

Lawrence Bacow, president of Harvard University, will step down in June 2023…

Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem made the list of the most expensive cities in the world, according to a report by the consulting firm ECA International…

A  study conducted by the Nonprofit Finance Fund finds that the vast majority (88%) of nonprofit officials said they developed new or different ways of working during the pandemic that led to positive outcomes…

The United Health Foundation announced a 10-year, $100 million commitment to advance health equity by supporting workforce development programs designed to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the healthcare field…

Google[dot]org is providing a five-year, $300 million commitment in support of programs across Latin America focused on digital skills training for women and young people…

Pic of the Day

© Vatican Media/communicated by the Yad Vashem spokesperson

Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan had a private audience on Thursday with Pope Francis in the Vatican. The purpose of the meeting was to bolster collaborative activities between Yad Vashem and the Vatican surrounding Holocaust remembrance, education and documentation, and to discuss efforts to fight antisemitism and racism worldwide.


Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for AAFA American Image Awards

Columbus, Ohio-based retail executive and philanthropist, chairman of American Eagle Outfitters, Value City Department Stores, DSW and others, Jay Schottenstein (left), celebrates his birthday on Saturday…

FRIDAY: Author of award-winning books about her experiences before, during and after the Holocaust, Aranka Davidowitz Siegal… TV journalist Jeff Greenfield… Physical therapist at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Andrea Sachs… Cathy Farbstein Miller… Senior director of communications for Encore[dot]org, Stefanie Weiss… Former attorney general and governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer… Director of business development at Evergreen Benefits Group, Avi H. Goldfeder… Blogger and columnist for the Chicago Sun-TimesNeil Steinberg… Film, television and stage actress, Gina Gershon… Actress and the older sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman… Israeli film and TV actress, Avital Abergel… Veteran of nine NFL seasons as an offensive tackle, Mike Rosenthal… AVP of strategic partnerships at the Birthright Israel Foundation and director of community education at NYC’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Rabbi Daniel Kraus… Associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, Yascha Mounk… Anchorman at Israel’s Channel 10 News, Matan Hodorov… Publisher of the New York SunDovid Efune… CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, Tyler Gregory… Singer-songwriter Simcha Leiner… Belgian singer and songwriter, known as “Blanche,” Ellie Blanche Delvaux… Executive director of Encounter, Yona Shem-Tov

SATURDAY: Heir to the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, former minister in two British governments under Prime Ministers Major and Thatcher, Sir Timothy Alan Davan Sainsbury… Executive director of Citizens Union, Elisabeth A. “Betsy” Gotbaum… Member of the Knesset for the Agudat Yisrael faction of the United Torah Judaism party, Meir Porush… Hedge fund manager and owner of the New York Mets, Steven A. Cohen… Past president and national board member of AIPAC, Lee Rosenberg… Member of the Knesset for the Shas party, Yoav Ben-Tzur… New Windsor, N.Y., attorney, Barry Wolf Friedman… Activist and former Illinois state representative, Lauren Beth Gash… VP of public affairs and government relations for Duke University, Michael J. Schoenfeld… President of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami… Deputy director of the CIA, David S. Cohen… Senior advisor at the DC-based crisis management firm Quadrant Strategies, Matt Nosanchuk… Founder of Shabbat[dot]com, Rabbi Benzion Zvi Klatzko… Dean of TheYeshiva[dot]net and noted public speaker, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (YY) Jacobson… Budget director at the city council of the District of Columbia, Jennifer Budoff… Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, Nicol Raidman… Director of communications and programming at Academic Engagement Network, Raeefa Shams… Actor, performance artist and filmmaker, Shia LaBeouf… Olympic medalist in canoe slalom in London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Jessica Esther “Jess” Fox… Israeli attorney and CEO of Dualis Social Venture Fund, Dana Naor… Jennifer Rubin…

SUNDAY: Senior counsel at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Martin Edelman… Recently retired sportscaster for NBA games on TNT, Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig)… Senior partner at Gibson Dunn and former solicitor of labor in the Nixon and Ford administrations, William J. Kilberg… Israeli statesman and scholar, Yosef “Yossi” Beilin… Rabbi emeritus at Temple Beth El in Santa Cruz County, Calif., Richard Litvak… British Conservative Party member of Parliament, Michael Fabricant… Dental consultant and recruiter, Kenneth Nussen… Peruvian banker and politician, José Chlimper Ackerman… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Hava Eti Atiya… CEO of Showtime Networks, David Nevins… EVP of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), Rabbi Levi Shemtov… Rosslyn, Va.-based editor of PoliticoCarrie Budoff Brown… Founder of Singularity Communications, Eli Zupnick… Founder and managing partner of the investment firm Thrive Capital and the co-founder of Oscar Health, Joshua Kushner… Partner at Enso Collaborative, Hanna Siegel… Co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, Blake Aaron Ross… Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality and venture capitalist, Michele Romanow… Health counsel at the House Ways and Means Committee, Zachary Louis Baron… Consultant at MediaLink, Alexis Rose Levinson… Multimodal transportation coordinator in the planning department of Montgomery County, Md., Eli Glazier… Photographer and Instagram influencer, Tessa Nesis… Associate director at Alums for Campus Fairness, Joel Bond

Email to have your birthday included.