Your Daily Phil: Creating a spiritual space for millennials + Who is missing from the Jewish family?

Good Friday morning!

Birthright, the largest Israel travel provider, is communicating with the Ministry of Health about the new requirement that Americans entering the country on or after Aug. 11 quarantine for 14 days with the option to shorten to seven. “We are in close contact with the ministry to see if Birthright Israel groups touring the country will be exempt from isolation or receive a different entrance requirement,” a spokesperson told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Members of the Israel Travel Alliance, a group of trip providers and foundations convened by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), are coordinating with the Israeli government regarding specific trips and missions, a JFNA spokesperson said.

“We are grateful to our partners at The Jewish Agency for Israel who have been determined advocates with the Government of Israel to ensure that every effort is made to resume trips in line with safety and health regulations throughout the pandemic,” said JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut.

The 4,500 students who are touring Israel this summer with financial help from RootOne, the travel program funded by the Marcus Foundation, will not be affected by the new policy because the last trips will enter the country before the new policy takes effect, a spokesperson said.


The rabbi behind a unique spiritual space for millennials

Den Collective

Katie Berland describes her childhood self as “the prodigal Catholic daughter.” Today, she’s an active participant in a Jewish learning circle that pores over the ethical tradition of Musar and a pillar of the Den Collective, an organization in the Washington, D.C., area whose mission is to help people in their 20s and 30s build Jewish community, she told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.
A complete community: Berland’s spiritual quest began when she was 13, with the loss of her father and godfather, but it was supercharged by an encounter with Rabbi Aderet Drucker and the Den. “It totally changed my life. The Den takes the time to understand people’s yearnings,” she said. Founded in 2016, the collective aims to help millennials who haven’t yet found their spiritual home, in synagogue or other settings, create their own spiritual community, complete with Torah learning, a rabbi, holiday celebrations and support at important life-cycle moments.
Small gatherings: Most of the Den’s members live and work in Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County, Md. During the pandemic, they gathered online, and prior to its onset, they met across the area, often in each other’s homes or in cafes, restaurants and public spaces. Drucker has held classes in the atrium of the National Portrait Gallery. There have been many hikes in Rock Creek Park. Pre-pandemic, the Den’s programming was designed to be intimate — “cozy” is the word  the website uses.
A spiritual counselor: “These are rich spiritual communities where people are known to each other, and show up for each other,” Drucker said, noting that she had just officiated at a circumcision. The boy’s mother had taken a theology class; his father a Torah study class. About 200 people are on a list to send them meals as they adjust to life with their newborn. These features give the Den some of the feel of a chavurah, or prayer circle — but those don’t usually come with someone who can officiate at a circumcision or offer pastoral counseling, as Drucker does. “The people in the collective come to understand that they can go to the rabbi for stuff other than — God forbid — their grandmother has died,” Drucker said.
Read the full story here.


On being a parent of a third-generation camper


“I cried when I dropped my son off at camp. Oddly enough, it was not because I would miss him and not because I thought he might miss me, or even that we’d just spent the last 16 months together. I cried out of gratitude for my kid’s camp, because they did everything in their capacity to make it possible for him to have this precious time with his friends and to recapture some semblance of adolescence that he’s missed over the last year,” writes Sara Shapiro-Plevan, member of a three-generation camp family, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Multi-gen experiences: “When I see my kid run off to meet his friends with glee and only a glimmer of sadness, that is a deep win. I’ll take the tears, and every single COVID test and mask and set of instructions and precautions… There is so much to explore about the value of this experience as it is handed down from parent to child and even grandchild – how the decisions to select a summer camp is rooted in our own camping experiences (for good and for bad) and how that our children’s appreciation of their time at camp and their sense of self as Jews.”
The bubble: “This year, more than ever, we have come to recognize that what is perhaps most valuable about camp is ‘the bubble.’ In previous years, this referred to the bubble where community members of all ages co-create an idealized Jewish life – a scenario difficult if not impossible to replicate outside of camp, no matter how hard we tried. This year, we appreciate ‘the bubble’ differently, the one that keeps our children safe from COVID, helps them to regain their sense of community, renew their commitment to friendship, and refresh their identities away from their families. It is in this sacred space that they are truly safe as they emerge from a pandemic year that has been like no other. If there was ever a time to invest in camp and make sure that these bubbles can hold our children, it is now.”
Read the full piece here.


Who is missing in the Jewish family?


“As we read from our many perspectives: educator, parent, and grandparent, who care deeply about family involvement, we felt that something was missing from ‘The Parenting Conundrum in Jewish Day Schools.’ The article suggests many strategies for deep home-school partnership, and in an ideal world where parents and educators aren’t juggling a few too many balls, any or all of these ideas would be a great place to start. At the same time, these suggestions come on the tails of one of the most stressful and exhausting years for both groups, and add stress rather than create relationships,” write Sharon Goldman, Ruth Nemzoff and Diana Ganger in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Multi-tasking adults: “In many households, especially those that pay day school tuition, both parents are working. At the same time, educators are managing Zoom and in-person teaching, accommodations for the ever-growing body of students with special rights, and state testing standards that haven’t gotten the memo that we are teaching and learning in a pandemic.”

Challenge: “So now what? Do we throw in the ‘relationship towel,’ hoping that one day the world’s stresses will lighten until we have emotional space to create the community so vital to energizing schools and the people’s lives it touches? Not yet.”

Grandfriends and others: “Perhaps we just have a small view of what the word family means. Perhaps we can expand the family circle to include the grandparents, other grandfriends, aunts and uncles? While not all ‘grands’ are free and interested in doing so, those who are available and interested in becoming invested in the school community could be a wonderful resource (and not just financial)!”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Tiny But Mighty: In Philanthropy Daily, Nathan Washatka reviews Anand Giriharadas’ book Winners Take All, in which Giriharadas makes the valid — although not new — critique of philanthropy that ultra-wealthy donors don’t advocate for real change because it would threaten their power and status. The weakness in the book is Giriharadas’ argument that the federal government is the solution to this problem, but the power of government has grown alongside the power of the superrich, according to Washatka. He recommends a more realistic focus for reform: “It is difficult to change the world. It’s not so hard to love a place (your street, your town, a patch of nature) or a practice (baseball, reading science fiction, gardening), and to take actions that will preserve and extend those places and practices.” [PhilanthropyDaily]

Breaking Through: Katalin Karikó, whose work on mRNA helped make COVID vaccines possible, did not come from a privileged background, write Gino Cattani and Simone Ferriani in a Harvard Business Review article that shares their research into why some outsiders are able to penetrate elite spheres and do essential work within them. Cattani and Ferriani’s research shows that such figures need an insider who will vouch for them, and also that “fracture points” — moments of change that put stress on a system or organization — help open it up to new thinkers. “Often, extraordinary outsiders’ primary problem is not their ideas but selling those ideas, precisely because of their disruptive implications,” conclude Cattani and Ferriani. [HBR]

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Word on the Street

President Biden appointed Chanan Weissman to serve as his administration’s liaison to the Jewish community… BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s new national philanthropic study reveals how donors can better utilize charitable giving and how nonprofits can navigate the threat of underwater gifts… With a $3 million gift, Avi and Becky Katz have established a multi-year national initiative with NCSY to support the OU’s national Jewish Student Union program… United Hatzalah was ordered to pay 250,000 NIS (approx $78,000) after a court found three of its officials had defamed Magen David Adom in public remarks and the media… Florida International University will begin offering a course focused on Israeli entrepreneurship and innovation… Makom Community, a Jewish enrichment center for children, will host its second annual conference from Aug. 8-10 to lead training in their pedagogy of Jewish placemaking… A new traveling outdoor exhibition about the history of Polish Jews is making its way through five cities in Poland following a successful showing in Croatia and Norway…

Pic of the Day

KKL-JNF Archive

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), recognized Israel’s success in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games by sharing a thank you note from its archive. In the letter, the first Israeli Olympic delegation, which competed in 1952 in Helsinki, thanks KKL-JNF for its financial support.


Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

TKMLB catcher since 2011, he batted .350 with two home runs for Team Israel at the recently concluded 2020 Olympics, Ryan Lavarnwaycelebrates Saturday…

FRIDAY: Century City-based partner at the Jaffe Family Law Group, Daniel J. Jaffe… E-sports executive and casino owner, he is a three time winner of the World Series of Poker, former executive of Wilsons Leather and Rainforest Cafe, Lyle Berman… Founder and spiritual leader of The Elijah Minyan in San Diego, Rabbi Wayne Dosick… Professor emerita and former dean at Bar Ilan University, Malka Elisheva Schaps… Austrian businessman and investor, Martin Schlaff… Former State Treasurer of Virginia and then Virginia Secretary of Finance, Jody Moses Wagner… Senior career coach at George Washington University’s School of International Affairs, she was formerly Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Tara D. Sonenshine… Professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center, Alan J. Lipman, Ph.D…. Israeli diplomat, he previously served as Israel’s consul general in NYC, Alon Pinkas… NASA astronaut who spent 198 days on the International Space Station in 2008, Gregory Chamitoff… Famed computer hacker, now a computer security consultant, Kevin Mitnick… VP of public affairs and strategic communications at the American Council on Education, Jonathan Riskind… SVP of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, Melanie Roth Gorelick… Vice chair of the board of directors at the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Susie Sorkin… Television and radio sports anchor on ESPN and ABC, Mike Greenberg… VP for labor markets at The Conference Board, Gad Levanon Ph.D…. Boxing commentator and co-host of ESPN’s First Take, Yiddish speaking Max Kellerman… Co-founder and former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick… CEO at workforce cooperative Climb Hire, Nitzan Pelman… Actress, director and screenwriter, Soleil Moon Frye… PR consultant, Jeffrey Lerner… Chief creative and culture officer at The Design Culturalist, Rachel Gogel… Winner of two gold medals in swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Garrett Weber-Gale… Legislative director for Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Corey A. Jacobson… Senior producer at 10% Happier, Jessica I. Goldberg… Reporter at the Ouray County Plaindealer in Ridgway, Colorado, Elizabeth Teitz… School safety activist and former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Hunter Pollack

SATURDAY: Rabbi in Monsey, New York, he is both a senior Rosh Yeshiva and professor of biology at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Moshe David Tendler… Brooklyn resident, Esther Holler… Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown, he was previously the U.S. Trade Representative and later U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Michael “Mickey” Kantor… Co-founder of the world-wide chain of Hard Rock Café, his father founded the Morton’s Steakhouse chain, Peter Morton… Retired Lieutenant General in the Israeli Air Force, he also served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, Dan Halutz… Former PR director for the New York Yankees, television executive producer, and author of more than 20 books, Marty Appel… President of private equity firm Palisades Associates, former chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council and CEO of Empire Kosher Poultry, Greg Rosenbaum… Former U.S. intelligence analyst, he pled guilty to espionage in 1987 and was released from prison in 2015 and moved to Israel in 2020, Jonathan Pollard… Spiritual leader of Agudas Israel of St. Louis since 1986, Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt… Founder and CEO of the Cayton Children’s Museum in Santa Monica, Esther Netter… Interim CEO at Capital Camps & Retreat Center, Havi Arbeter Goldscher… Australian born journalist, he is a national political reporter at Axios and covers both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Jonathan Swan… Public address announcer for MLB’s Oakland Athletics, Amelia Schimmel… Co-founder and CEO of ShopDrop and product manager at Cerebral, Estee Goldschmidt… Goalkeeper for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer, he played for the U.S. in the 2009 Maccabiah Games in Israel, Zac MacMath… Founder of Love for the Elderly, Jacob Cramer

SUNDAY: Chair emerita of the Drug Free America Foundation, Betty Sembler... Actor and director, Dustin Hoffman… Arlington Heights, Illinois resident, Elizabeth Gordon… Dutch diplomat and politician, Frans Weisglas… Florida resident, Roy D. Pulliam… Former US Ambassador to Israel, David Melech Friedman… Former CEO of BusinessGhost, he has completed more than a dozen triathlons since 2002, Michael Graubart Levin… White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain… Film director whose works include 9 Disney films, Jon Turteltaub… Founder and former CEO of DC-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger… Blogger and book editor of the Jewish Actionmagazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student… Former MLB pitcher, now assistant general manager for the Chicago Cubs, Craig Breslow… Director at Fundamental Advisors, Bara Lane… Senior director at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel… Founder and managing partner at Avid Ventures, Addie Lerner… Development director for the JNF’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel, Zachary Pellish… Senior manager of content development at Omaze, Morgan Furlong… Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jen Selter… 

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