Your Daily Phil: Doron Krakow steps down as CEO of JCC Association

Good Monday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the Israel Educational Travel Alliance gathering looking at post-Oct. 7 trips to Israel, and feature two opinion pieces: one by Dan Elbaum on how to advocate for Israel; and a second by Judy Enteles about the dangerous precedent set by those silent on Israeli victims of sexual violence. Also in this issue: Michael Oren, Suzanne Galblum Dicken and Rena Krakowski-Riger. We’ll start with Doron Krakow stepping down as head of the JCC Association of North America.

Doron Krakow, who has served as president and CEO of the JCC Association of North America for the past seven years, will step down from his position at the end of this month, the organization exclusively told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross. Executive Vice President Jennifer Mamlet will assume the role of acting president and CEO beginning April 1 as the association launches a search for a permanent replacement.

Krakow has spent most of the past five months in Israel, helping his daughter-in-law and infant grandson after his son, Aaron, was called up to reserve duty after the Oct. 7 terror attacks. During that time, he continued working at the JCC Association, occasionally traveling to the United States for meetings, and fully returned to the United States in January as his son was, at least temporarily, getting out of reserve duty.

“I went back to the intensive, evolving work of the JCC field, contending with its latest crisis, which is the post-Oct. 7 rise in antisemitism and the challenges of running a big-tent Jewish communal entity,” Krakow told eJP on the sidelines of this week’s Jewish Funders Network conference in Tel Aviv. “I threw myself back into the work but began feeling that my heart is here. That even though my son is at this point not on active duty, my desire for my wife and I to be more supportive of him and his family at this time felt increasingly significant. And though I continue to love the work and love the JCC field and feel as if we’ve made remarkable progress as an agency and a movement over the last seven years, the time had come for me to be able to devote myself more completely to Israel.”

Shortly after the JFN conference, Krakow will return to the U.S. for final meetings with JCC Association leadership as he hands the reins — in an acting capacity — to Mamlet, who is also his top choice as his full-time successor. “I have never worked with a more formidable or more capable partner than I have with her,” he said, adding that he would select her “in a heartbeat.”

Asked if she was interested in the position, Mamlet said she couldn’t comment. “At this stage what I will say — respecting that we will be in a confidential search process — that I will keep that confidential,” she told eJP.

Mamlet said that throughout the search process she will strive to “build on the momentum, to continue the work of our movement.”

“I don’t want us to fall back during the search,” she said. “It is an important period of time to engage our critical stakeholders — really make sure that we are listening to what they hope to see for our movement.”

Read the full story here.


JFNA gathers Israel trip providers to discuss what visits look like post-Oct. 7

The Israel Educational Travel Alliance gathers in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 28, 2024.
The Israel Educational Travel Alliance gathers in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 28, 2024.

When the Israel Educational Travel Alliance was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it served as a way to build and grow Israel educational travel during lockdowns. Some four years later, the group is now navigating an entirely different crisis. The group held its inaugural convening Feb. 28-March 1 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of Israel educational travel following the Oct. 7 attacks — at a moment when “majority of organizations have not been able to bring participants to Israel,” according to Tal Gozani, executive director of IETA, which is housed within the Jewish Federations of North America, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.

Volunteering yes, teens no: Panels covered various types of Israel tourism, including trips for federation professionals, non-Jewish participant trips, philanthropic community visits, teen tours, university-based trips and trips for young adults. “It’s important to highlight that there have been trips happening… there’s an outpouring of opportunity for volunteer programs,” Gozani said, noting that teen trips have taken the biggest hit. “For understandable reasons, parents are concerned about sending their teens to Israel, but that being said, a lot of teens are still going on gap-year or semester programs,” she said.

Do it respectfully: Also addressed at the conference was tourism designed specifically to bear witness at the sites of Hamas’ massacres — a concept that some say invades the privacy of victims. “The question mark around trauma tourism looms,” Gozani told eJP. “People are being thoughtful and sensitive about the topic… There’s a strong need to try to be supportive and understand what happened and with that comes all the concern about the tourism aspect of it… There’s talk about how that gets integrated into an Israel experience.”

Read the full report here.


Four things to do when defending Israel

Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

“There is an old lawyers’ expression: ‘If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have the law on your side, pound the law; if you don’t have the facts or the law, pound the table,’” writes Dan Elbaum, head of North America at The Jewish Agency for Israel and the president and CEO of Jewish Agency International Development, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

For your consideration: “Since Oct. 7, despite Israel having both the facts and the law on its side in the war against Hamas, I have seen too many defenders of Israel, both lay and professional, ‘pounding the table’ in anger and frustration as Israel is accused of all manner of crimes. I would like to offer four pieces of advice for a more measured, effective response that applies to social media postings, speeches and even casual conversations with friends.”

‘On a human level’: “[W]hile Israel needs experts to argue its cause, it also needs character witnesses. Talk about the Israeli person you know, and what they are confronting, on a human level. Talk about fundamentally good people who are trying to do their best to survive in a thriving democracy against enemies surrounding them who glorify death. Ask your listener what they would do to defend their homes in the face of such a threat. And, at the right moment, it’s not the worst thing if you pound on the table a few times, too.”

Read the full piece here.


Et tu, #MeToo

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“There is a moral laziness in not being able to empathize with the Israeli victims of sexual assault because of a political position,” writes Judy Enteles, a member of Women of Reform Judaism’s board of directors, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Underwhelming response: “The United Nations finally broke its silence earlier this month, albeit with more of a whisper than a roar, when it released a report about Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks in Israel… It is noteworthy that the U.N. report did not hold any individuals or groups accountable, even though videos were released by perpetrators themselves and PTSD experts warn that releasing these types of videos is a purposeful and deliberate action designed to continue the punishment and humiliation of victims and their families.”

Big picture: “We have to ask those who have been so vociferous about #MeToo if their deafening silence about Oct. 7 sexual assault victims helps or hurts their greater cause. A Pew poll of Americans released in late 2022 found that support of the #MeToo movement is hardly universal; only 49% of American adults who have heard about it support it, with support dropping in older age cohorts. A significant number of people who vote, sit on juries and could be your or your child’s next boss do not support #MeToo. Will the silence of movement leaders in response to Hamas’ atrocities add others to the ranks of the doubters?… As the world observes Women’s History Month, we hope that all feminists and #MeToo advocates will raise their voices to address the horrors of the Oct. 7 sexual assaults perpetrated by Hamas and reject the concept of conditional support based on nationality, religion or ideology. Failure to do so not only imperils Israeli women, but all women.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Beyond Politics: In The Jerusalem Post, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren shares his impressions after wrapping up a nine-week speaking tour across North America. “Liberal audiences, I learned, are liable to interpret as pro-Trump any attempt to challenge the Biden Administration’s criticism of Israel. Conversely, failure to contrast that criticism with the previous president’s support for Israel can, in more conservative settings, evoke anger. The mere mention of the name Benjamin Netanyahu elicits powerful emotions both for and against. Such reactions can prove frustrating for a speaker, even one who is not an American citizen, who’s striving to remain neutral in the presidential race and representative of the people of Israel rather than its government. My only recourse is to stress the depth and durability of the U.S.-Israel alliance under successive administrations, and defend the policies espoused by virtually all Israelis, irrespective of their politics. These distinctions may or may not have proven persuasive to individuals on the political fringe, but the bulk of American Jewry, I found, place their commitment to Israel above the partisan fray. They stand with us in Israel and alongside one another in combating antisemitism, countering anti-Zionism, and upholding Israel’s right to defend itself and exist as the Jewish state.” [JPost]

Giving as Gimmick, Or Not?: In Inside Philanthropy, Michael Kavate explores what made the philanthropic model espoused by WeWork founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann — at least until Adam was forced out as CEO and WeWork’s parent company filed for bankruptcy late last year — unusual in the tech world. “In a 220-page filing for an initial public offering [in 2019], the couple said they would donate $1 billion to charity in the decade after the company went public. If they failed to do so, their voting power in the company would be halved… It’s possible to review Adam and Rebekah Neumann’s record and see a couple who truly cared about giving back, and were even pushing tech industry philanthropy into a whole new sphere. Instead of pledging to CNN’s cameras (see Jeff Bezos) or in a New York Times interview (Laurene Powell Jobs), they committed to giving away $1 billion as part of an IPO, essentially building charitable giving directly into any hypothetical fortune they’d amass if their company went public. That’s remarkably different from the tech donors of old, who started foundations decades after they found success in business, or from more recent industry winners, who embarked on philanthropy while perched atop newly minted fortunes. The Neumanns were pledging in anticipation of a presumed jackpot — albeit one that never materialized thanks to the implosion of said IPO… Perhaps the Neumanns were eager to set a new model of what giving back by tech billionaires could look like, but WeWork’s collapse led them to reconsider their very public approach… The Neumanns still have decades to show that the philanthropic intentions they once signaled reflected their true values and desire to give back, not just bluster that was discarded when things went south.”  [InsidePhilanthropy]

Around the Web

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s just published “Philanthropy Outlook 2024-2025” estimates that charitable giving will grow by 4.2% this year and another 3.9% next year owing to stock market gains, higher personal income and greater net worth among the population…

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that Cpt. Daniel Perez, the son of World Mizrahi Executive Chairman Rabbi Doron Perez, was killed on Oct. 7 and his body was taken into Gaza…

Danny Cohen, executive producer of “The Zone of Interest,” said he “just fundamentally disagree[s]” with director Jonathan Glazer’s controversial remarks at last week’s Oscars linking the Israel-Hamas war to the Holocaust…

The Israeli government approved Ofir Akunis as Israel’s next consul general in New York…

The Times of Israel spotlights the Australian Jewish community, which is overwhelmingly made up of Holocaust survivors and their offspring, and how it is coping with rising antisemitism following the Oct. 7 terror attacks…

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Kan., hired Suzanne Galblum Dicken as its new director of philanthropy…

The online publication northjersey[dot]com examines the legal battles and controversies around real estate events in New Jersey marketing properties in Israel and the West Bank, which anti-Israel activists have sought to disrupt…

Gary Dembs, who helped nonprofits hire candidates for senior leadership roles through his firm Non-Profit Personnel Networkis merging with Mondo Unlimited and will offer consulting services to nonprofits…

Sky News examines rising antisemitism in Belgium and the plans of some members of the Jewish community to leave the country…

Judith Flacks has been named the new chair of trustees of the British Jewish refugee nonprofit HIAS+JCORE

J. The Jewish News of Northern California interviews UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ about allegations of antisemitism at the school…

Rena Krakowski-Riger was named the Diaspora affairs adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The British Jewish nonprofit Camp Simcha, which supports children with serious illnesses and their families, has created a new network just for the fathers of such children…

Pic of the Day

Over 50,000 people attend the traditional Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City today, during Chol Hamoed (the intermediary days) of Sukkot.
Raanan Cohen/IFCJ

Workers install one of 123 bomb shelters being paid for and placed next to bus stops in northern Israel by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. 

The 5.5 million shekel ($1.5 million) initiative, announced March 13, will fund the placement of shelters alongside bus stops serving 42 northern communities, ensuring that all public bus stops located within nine kilometers (5.5 miles) of Israel’s border with Lebanon will now be provided with protected spaces. The initiative was developed in coordination with the local municipalities and the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command.


Annie Liebovitz smiles
Noam Galai/Getty Images

U.S. special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, Ambassador Deborah Esther Lipstadt

Screenwriter, actor, comedian and film executive, he is best known for co-writing the screenplay for “Jaws” and its first two sequels, Carl Gottlieb… National columnist with Creators Syndicate and contributor to CNN Opinion, Froma Harrop… One-half of the eponymous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Bennett “Ben” Cohen… Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Howard E. Gendelman, MD… French businessman, he is the CEO and chairman of Électricité de France, Jean-Bernard Lévy… Former crisis response team manager for the City of Los Angeles and now a consultant for nonprofit organizations, Jeffrey Zimerman, MSW… Head coach of the Auburn Tigers men’s basketball team, his Hebrew name is Mordechai as he was born during the week of Purim, Bruce Pearl… Head of school at Golda Och Academy in West Orange, N.J., Rabbi Daniel S. Nevins… Filmmaker, writer and stand-up comedian, Jake David Shapiro… Identical twin brothers and former yeshiva students, both singers and songwriters who recorded as “Evan and Jaron,” Evan Lowenstein and Jaron Lowenstein… Lead vocalist for the pop rock band Maroon 5, Adam Levine… Actor, comedian and writer, Adam Pally… COO at Roofmart, Ariel Koschitzky… Actor known for his roles in “24” and “House of Sand and Fog,” Jonathan Ahdout… Chief of staff and communications director at the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Samuel Crystal… Senior business transformation consultant at EY, Michael Schapiro… Actor and television producer, best known for his role on the Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black,” Alan Aisenberg