Your Daily Phil: Connecting Ukrainian refugees with Israeli tech sector + New L.A. community study data
Good Thursday morning!
In today’s Your Daily Phil, we cover how newly arrived Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking refugees are being welcomed in Israel’s high-tech industry. Below, we share a peek at the newest reports from the Los Angeles Jewish community study.
How many Jewish Angelenos have received some Jewish education? What factors encourage someone to show up to a Jewish event? How do Jews of color feel in Jewish institutions in Los Angeles? The answers to these questions are presented in four new reports released this week by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
The reports are part of the 2022 “Study of Jewish Los Angeles,” the first part of which was released in July. The demographic survey is the first comprehensive study of Jewish Los Angeles since 1997.
“‘The Study of Jewish LA’ and these new reports have been inspired by a desire to help our federation and our partners understand the wonderful diversity and complex identities that make up our Jewish community,” the federation’s president and CEO, Rabbi Noah Farkas, told eJewishPhilanthropy.
These new reports focus on four areas: Jewish Community Connections, which examines what makes L.A. Jews feel like they are welcomed or belong; Jewish Education, which looks at all aspects of children’s participation in local Jewish life; Jewish Congregations, which provides insight on how the community participates in rituals and religious services; and Jewish Engagement, which explores the nuances of what “engagement in Jewish life” means in today’s local landscape.
“Many understand engagement by looking at how people affiliate, what denomination they identify with, etc,” Shira Rosenblatt, the federation’s associate chief program officer, said in a statement. “These boxes no longer accurately reflect our Jewish identities, which are more complex, less attached to specific labels, and more nuanced.”
For instance, the level of interest in programs and community is illustrated across five categories of involvement: Ritual, Immersed, Minimally Involved, Holiday and Communal.
While the “Immersed” (17%) might celebrate all holidays, mark Shabbat weekly, attend Jewish programs, donate to Jewish causes and read Jewish publications, and most are members of a synagogue or other spiritual community, the “Holiday” Jews (27% in the sample) might attend a Passover Seder, light Hanukkah candles and occasionally mark Shabbat.
REFUGEES AT WORK
Volunteer group wants Israeli high-tech to hire thousands displaced by Ukraine war
Artem Minaev had a lot of fears about moving to Israel with his wife and two children from Belarus, after they decided to quickly leave their home following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He worried about fitting in, finding a place to live, learning the language. But one thing was taken care of, even before their arduous 28-hour journey from Minsk to Tel Aviv: Minaev’s job. Minaev was the first person displaced by the war in Ukraine to land a job through The Reboot Startup Nation, a volunteer-run database connecting Russian-speaking new immigrants and Israeli high-tech companies, reports Melanie Lidman for eJewishPhilanthropy.
New partnership: “We really believe that the high-tech sector has the ability to absorb so many people from so many different backgrounds, not just programmers,” Sophia Tupolev-Luz, one of the volunteer co-founders of Reboot, told eJP. Last week, Reboot announced a partnership with itworks, a 16-year-old Israeli organization that helps place people from marginalized communities in the tech sector. Itworks has placed more than 5,000 single mothers, people from the Arab sector and people with disabilities with tech companies over the years.
Growing workforce: In the past six months, 37,000 new arrivals from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus have poured into Israel, according to the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. Nearly 18,000 are new citizens, and 19,000 have open claims to become citizens under Israel’s Law of Return. Around half of the new arrivals are between 22 and 50, considered prime age for looking for a new job. Tupolev-Luz and her team estimate at least 20% of the new arrivals are qualified to work in tech, not just in programming, but also in adjacent fields such as marketing, communication and human resources.
New financial model breaks barriers to community, engagement and education
“In my own experience with Judaism, I have noticed that Jewish texts teach us that community is not an option but an obligation, so it makes sense that when I was growing up in the 1980s, Jewish families joined synagogues. It is just what they did,” writes Holly Krakow, executive director of Makom Solel Lakeside in Highland Park, Ill., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
The synagogue community: “This was how families built community and made lifelong friends. In addition to being a place of prayer, the synagogue is the place to celebrate lifecycle events and simchas, celebrations. The community that formed within the synagogue cared for its members and often took on the role of family, providing a sense of belonging, purpose, connection and security… Today, there is an assumption that people are only willing to join a synagogue when they have a life-cycle event and/or need the services of a spiritual leader, a rabbi and cantor. I believe this assumption is only an assumption.”
Sense of belonging: “People, today more than ever, are craving meaningful experiences where they are accepted and cared for, they want to feel they belong. We still want and need community, that will never change. What is changing is the mindset of how we are building community within our synagogues and how we meet members of our community where they are. Choosing to join a synagogue, paying dues, like it was in the 1980s when I was a child, isn’t the answer anymore. I would suggest that we start the process of connection and forming relationships to build community first by creating a sense of belonging, and the financial commitment to the synagogue community follows.”
New model: “More relevant to Makom Solel Lakeside, the past dues model no longer reflected our values of transparency and empathy or goal for simplicity. By removing these barriers, we have seen an uprise in affiliation, in specific, younger families.”
Double Down on Digital: Ramping up your newsletter, taking advantage of opportunities through Google for nonprofits and maximizing your SEO (search engine optimization) are ways to strengthen your digital presence during a donation downturn, Courtney Rambo writes in NonProfitPRO: “How can you generate more content — whether it is via blogs, evergreen content, testimonials or case studies from partnering organizations or direct recipients? More mentions, more consistency and more co-marketing mean maximizing your search engine optimization (SEO). Who do you work or partner with that can link to your site? Consider board members, donation recipients and government or educational institutions in your network. The more quality sites that point to yours, the more relevant your site is and more likely to be shown in search results. How can you leverage social media channels? In your partner outreach, see if they’d be willing to share your site on social media, join your newsletter, give you a testimonial, etc. The goal is to create as many contact points back to your site from relevant sources.” [NonProfitPRO]
Donor Drive: Learning more about big donors is important for nonprofit fundraisers, Ken Wells writes in NonProfitPRO, sharing the work of author Tom Corley, who divided donors into categories like Dreamer-Entrepreneur and the more cautious Saver-Investor: “The biggest takeaway for nonprofits may be that people with wealth don’t just want to give money. Three-quarters of them volunteer at least five hours a month, and more than half serve on at least one board. The biggest mistake you can make is to treat someone with capacity like an ATM. They may fund you but they want to be engaged. They want to see that their involvement made a difference.” [NonProfitPRO]
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Word on the Street
Of the 33,000 Ukrainians who fled to Israel after Russia’s invasion six months ago, nearly half have since left, according to figures published on Wednesday from Israel’s Welfare Ministry. Among those who arrived, 4,200 were covered by the Law of Return, which allows anyone who has a Jewish parent or grandparent to receive Israeli citizenship. Of the rest, 14,000 have left for other countries…
MacKenzie Scott has given nearly $12.7 billion in charitable gifts since 2020, including 11 donations totaling $303.4 million that have been publicized since the beginning of April…
Paul Newman‘s daughters, Susan Kendall Newman and Nell Newman, have sued the Newman’s Own Foundation, alleging the foundation has improperly cut its mandated contributions to their own charities from $400,000 each per year to $200,000 each annually…
The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which has been working to regain credibility by giving back tainted objects in its collection, returned a handwritten gospel that is more than 1,000 years old to the Greek Orthodox Churchon Tuesday after determining that it had been looted from a Greek monastery during World War I…
The New York City-based Helen Frankenthaler Foundation announced grants totaling $3 million in support of efforts to advance energy efficiency and clean energy projects at visual arts institutions across the United States. Among the grants is funding to support preservation and conservation projects at the Center for Jewish History in New York City…
Rebekah Dickinson has been named senior vice president of the Israel Healthcare Foundation. Most recently she served as Southeast regional director for major gifts at Hadassah…
San Francisco entrepreneur and philanthropist Maurice Kanbar died at 93. He was an early lead donor of the JCC in San Francisco and supported numerous projects in both the U.S. and Israel…
Joanne Koch, who led Lincoln Center’s Film Society, died at 92…
Pic of the Day
JCC Chicago celebrated summer coming to a close last week at Gallagher Way, outside of iconic Wrigley Field in Chicago. With live music, arts and crafts, a movie night and loads of gaga, families enjoyed the beautiful summer weather before the new school year begins.
British novelist, he is known for writing comic novels that revolve around the dilemmas of Jewish characters, and has been described as the “Jewish Jane Austen,” Howard Jacobson turns 80…
Phoenix-based award-winning journalist and writer, Leni Reiss… Boston resident, Nancy Faneuil King… Retired after a lengthy career in hotel sales and marketing, Harley Mayersohn… Bass guitarist and co-lead singer of Kiss, Gene Simmons(his birth name is Chaim Witz)… Chairman of the board emeritus at the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Lorin M. Fife… Minister of intelligence and a member of the Knesset for the Blue and White party, Elazar Stern… Former program director at the St. Paul, Minn. JCC, Manfred “Fred” Haeusler… Former Trump fixer, Michael D. Cohen… Former Canadian MP, now VP for external affairs and general counsel at Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Richard Marceau… Founder of NYC-based 5W Public Relations, Ronn D. Torossian… Regional marketing director at UJA-Federation of New York, Suzanne Schneider… National program and communications director at the American Zionist Movement, Alicia Post… Actress and musician best known for playing Melanie “MelRose” Rosen on the Netflix series “Glow,” Jaclyn Tohn… National development manager at American Friends of Beit Issie Shapiro, Sarah Schreiber… Founder at Commonweal Ventures, Nathaniel Loewentheil… Director of state and local government relations at multinational conglomerate Philips, Evan Hoffman… Canadian actress, Stacey Farber… SVP in the D.C. office of SKDK, Daniel Barash… Manager of business operations at LinkedIn, Sam Michelman… Partnerships manager at Polygon Technology, Ryan Kuhel… Founder and CEO at the Center for Intimacy Justice, Jackie Rotman… Senior director of audience development at Semafor, Neal Rothschild… Jane Wasserman… J.D. candidate at Georgetown Law, Jenna Lifhits… Talmudic scholar Adam Aryeh Friedman… Israeli singer-songwriter, Eden Hason… Carina Grossmann…
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