Your Daily Phil: Elie Wiesel Foundation funds Uyghur activism + A hotel for women after pregnancy loss

Good Friday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the State of California’s funding for nonprofit security grants, profile an innovative recuperation hotel for women who have experienced pregnancy loss and feature an opinion piece from Erica Brown. Also in this newsletter: Dame Helen Mirren, Fran Drescher and Jessica Elisheva Emerson. We’ll start with the Elie Wiesel Foundation selecting Uyghur activists as the recipients for some of its first grants.

For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent Jewish Insider, eJewishPhilanthropy and The Circuit stories, including: Jake Tapper channels the raucous ’70s in his new novel. Remember Evel Knievel?; Big Ten Conference chief of staff Adam Neuman returns to his flock; A new excavation of an ancient Jerusalem road expected to draw modern-day pilgrims. Print the latest edition here.

How can Americans urge political leaders to do more to oppose the Chinese government’s genocide of ethnic Uyghurs? That’s been among the central concerns of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity since it launched a grant-making program in October 2022. On Monday, the foundation, which was founded in 1986, announced the first beneficiaries of its inaugural grant-making cycle, selected based on their commitment to advocating for the Uyghur community, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.

The grantees in Uyghur advocacy include World Uyghur Congress, Uyghur Human Rights Project, World Jewish Watch ($250,000) and Ana Care & Education ($50,000). Elisha Wiesel, the chairman of the foundation and son of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, the foundation’s namesake, spoke to eJP about why he’s devoted himself to crises half a world away from Auschwitz.

Haley Cohen: What was the rationale for selecting groups working on behalf of the Uyghurs?

Elisha Wiesel: The attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to erase Uyghur culture represent the largest genocide occurring on the planet today. More than a million Uyghurs are being detained for their ethnicity and faith. Reports of torture have made their way to the West through survivors who have made it out. It is hard to listen to the stories of these survivors without feeling highly motivated to act and amplify their story. Against seemingly impossible odds, my father faced the biggest bully on the planet during the Cold War — the Soviet Union — and over a 25-year period helped build the Soviet Jewry movement. I believe we honor his memory by challenging the Chinese Communist Party to end their mistreatment of the Uyghurs.

HC: What are your thoughts about the criticism in some quarters of the Jewish community for “universalizing” the lessons of the Holocaust — in other words, using those lessons to shed light on a situation like the Uyghurs?

EW: My father believed that surviving the Holocaust left him with a mission not only to testify about the genocide that occurred to the Jewish people but also to do what he could to prevent future genocides. We are capable of being morally activated in the present without trivializing or minimizing the past. The detainment and mistreatment of a peaceful population, which poses no threat to China rightly deserves the international attention, which the Uyghur community are asking for.

Read the full interview here.

rest and recognition

The new recuperation hotel opened by the Yad Sarah medical nonprofit in Jerusalem. (Courtesy)

The loss of a pregnancy, through miscarriage or stillbirth, can be one of the most traumatic events that a person can experience, on par with going to war, according to recent studies. This week, Israel’s Yad Sarah medical nonprofit launched a new initiative to help the hundreds of Israeli women who experience pregnancy loss each year, creating a specially designed recuperation hotel for them in Jerusalem where they can find support, relaxation and – most critically – validation that they’ve been through a traumatic event, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Filling a need: On Sunday, the organization began spreading information about this new initiative, without a press release or an ad campaign, solely through word of mouth. “Within an hour, the number of people who responded – I don’t remember a thing like that in the 30 years that I’ve been at Yad Sarah,” the nonprofit’s CEO Moshe Cohen told eJP. Rivka Benedict, a Yad Sarah volunteer who is running the hotel, said the organization did not realize how desperately this type of initiative was needed. “We didn’t know how important it was until we started. The phone doesn’t stop ringing. It’s a flood,” she said.

Space for recognition: The idea for the initiative — along with a portion of the funding — comes from an organization known as Nitzotzot Inbar, Sparks of Inbar, which is named for the founder’s daughter who died in utero at nine months. The CEO of the organization, Yael Binenfeld, told eJP that this type of recuperation facility had long been a goal for the organization. “We wanted to provide a place that recognizes their loss,” Binenfeld said. “Many don’t want to stay in the hospital, surrounded by the sounds of babies and other couples, but going home is also not easy.”

Enfranchising grief: Danny Horesh of Bar-Ilan University, one of the top Israeli researchers looking into the psychological effects of stillbirth on the mothers, told eJP that the fact that such an initiative exists is itself an important achievement and a boon to women who have experienced pregnancy loss. “The first condition for recovering from trauma is someone telling you, ‘I know you’ve had a traumatic experience,'” said Horesh, who was not involved in the creation of the hotel. “Stillbirth is still the kind of traumatic event that is not discussed enough. It’s considered taboo. We call it ‘disenfranchised grief’ — suffering that goes unrecognized,” he said. “Opening a center that helps women who have had pregnancy loss that itself gives recognition, and that is something therapeutic in its own right. It gives them that acknowledgment and validation, which general society doesn’t always offer.”

Read the full story here.

budget bill

Newsom, facing pressure from Jewish lawmakers, signs budget funding nonprofit security grant program

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California on May 2, 2023. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)

With antisemitic incidents spiking in California, Jewish advocates for increased funding for the state’s nonprofit security grant program were bracing for the worst, given the state’s $30 billion budget deficit. But when Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had cut the program in his original budget proposal, signed the state’s annual budget bill on Monday, Jewish leaders were guardedly optimistic at the outcome, reports Gabby Deutch for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.

Better than nothing: The 2024 budget commits $20 million to the state’s nonprofit security grant program — nearly $30 million less than last year’s funding level, and far below the $80 million sought by Jewish community activists during their advocacy day in Sacramento in May. “Would I have preferred to have $50 million again? Of course I would. But given the real budgetary constraints that we were facing this year, I think this is a good outcome,” California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat who chairs the Legislative Jewish Caucus, told JI, noting that “a lot of programs were completely zeroed out.” 

Not over yet: The state awarded grants totaling nearly $50 million to nonprofit organizations seeking funding for security systems last year. Only 38% of applicants received funding, according to the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California, which advocates on behalf of the state’s Jewish federations. “There will be a lot of organizations that there won’t be funding for,” said JPAC’s executive director, David Bocarsly. “We will continue to advocate for funding to be able to help other organizations in future years.”

Read the full story here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.

The Torah of Leadership

Leadership of the Land: Thoughts on Parshat Mattot-Masei


“This week’s double Torah reading, Mattot-Masei, contains one of the strangest laws of the entire Torah: a detailed description of the city of refuge as a place where an accidental murderer can live to escape capital punishment. The accidental murderer is consigned to an interstitial space – a place not of his own choosing that signifies his removal from society for murder while, simultaneously, acknowledging his innocence. It is a difficult place to be, a place of guilt and limbo, but a place of life, nonetheless. Someone has died. Someone is responsible for that death even if it was unintended,” writes Erica Brown, vice provost for values and leadership at Yeshiva University and director of its Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center, in her weekly column for eJewishPhilanthropy, “The Torah of Leadership.”

Free to be vulnerable: “We have no modern-day equivalent of the city of refuge. The most we can do is create environments that feel both safe and accepting and also inspire personal and communal growth. In her 2022 Harvard Business Review article, ‘The Best Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Be Vulnerable,’ Janice Omadeke asks, ‘How do you create a culture where your team feels empowered to be honest, share without fear of retribution, and ask for what they need?’ She observes that: ‘The perception of what it means to be vulnerable has shifted from the grand gesture to the small act of bravery.’ Leaders have to model that bravery to ‘open the door for people with less formalized power to safely emulate your behavior.’”

Making a haven: “No one can live free of sin and without regrets. The city of refuge was a place where those guilty of manslaughter could continue to live despite sin and regret and be accepted and productive. One role of leaders today is to create similar environments of shelter and psychological refuge so that others may live. What step can you take as a leader in creating a spiritual city of refuge for yourself and others?”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

It’s the Economy, Stupid: In Sarasota, Fla.’s Observer news publication, James Peter reports on a $3.2 million donation to a local synagogue to reduce membership fees in an effort to get more families engaged in the community. “In February, [Temple Emanu-El Senior Rabbi Brenner] Glickman was sharing a meal with local and national Jewish community leaders, along with some Temple Emanu-El members. The topic of conversation? What can be done to grow Jewish congregations, keep young Jewish families in the synagogue and encourage them to enroll their children in formal Jewish education. Big ideas were tossed about — the guests around the table suggested programs from San Francisco and New York as models… Lower the barrier to temple membership, Glickman said. Make it more affordable for young families to be a part of the congregation and pursue formal religious school for their children… And that was that for a few weeks. Then Glickman got the call. A synagogue member. He was at that dinner in February. Let’s do it, he said. Let’s lower the barrier to entry — for every family with school-age children in the congregation and for the many more who might want to join.” [Observer]

From Boston to Los Angeles: In Inside Philanthropy, Wendy Paris profiles Boston’s Jewish Arts Collaborative, which is making waves far outside Beantown. “Many Jewish arts organizations and artists faced a shrinking funding pool before the pandemic, as we’ve written. JArts is a hopeful sign of a growing resurgence… JArts is also the latest example of place-based arts funders supporting creative ecosystems in ways that challenge old funding paradigms, critical at a time when so many artists and institutions are still reeling post-COVID… [Local funder Howard] Cohen, who is still on the board, said that JArts has strengthened the local Jewish art community… ‘The huge insight that Laura [Mandel, JArts’ executive director] had is that there are a lot of artists right here. We should look internally and develop that community. These are the artists who don’t go home at night.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Around the Web

After two hours of deliberation, a Pittsburgh jury unanimously decided that Robert Bowers is eligible for the death penalty for the deadly 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting

Israeli and Jewish leaders expressed outrage after Swedish police gave permission to an activist to burn a copy of the Jewish Bible outside Israel’s Embassy in Stockholm tomorrow…

Haley Schulman is rejoining the Pardes Institute next month as director of North American programs and education. Schulman has spent the past two years at Hadar

Oscar-winning British actress Dame Helen Mirrenarrived in Israel yesterday for the launch of the 40th annual Jerusalem Film Festival, which screened the historical biopic, “Golda,” that she stars in as Golda Meir

Jessica Elisheva Emerson was hired by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation as the director of engagement for its PJ Library initiative…

Fran Drescher, president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, announced yesterday that the union was joining the Writers Guild of America on strike after it failed to secure a new contract with the major Hollywood studios. This is only the second time that the two unions have been on strike at the same time in over 60 years…

Rachel Felberwas hired as the next executive director of Kent State University Hillel beginning the middle of next month. She succeeds Adam Hirsh, who left the role earlier this year…

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board takesPresident Joe Biden to task over his administration’s recent criticism of the Israeli government, which the newspaper says constitutes “piling on,” and contrasts the administration’s critical tone on Israel with its softer rhetoric around Iran… 

The Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland and Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theologyheld an annual interfaith lecture series this week, focusing on immigrants and refugees and religion’s responsibility toward them…

The administrators of five Historically Black Colleges and Universitiesvisited Israel this week as part of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s second annual mission to the Jewish state, looking to boost ties between their institutions and Israeli universities… 

Pic of the Day


The Moroccan delegation to this month’s JCC Maccabi Games in Israel poses for a photograph this week during the event. This is the first time that Morocco has sent athletes – soccer and tennis players this year – to the games. This comes after the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, which reestablished formal ties between the kingdom and Israel.


Nimrod Gluckman/JFNA

Board chair of The Jewish Federations of North America, Julie Beren Platt, celebrates her birthday on Saturday…

FRIDAY: Architect and urban designer, he is most identified with Habitat 67, a housing complex built in conjunction with Expo 67 (the 1967 Montreal World’s Fair), Moshe Safdie… MLB pitcher for 11 seasons, now a sportscaster and author, he won the Cy Young Award and was an MLB All Star in 1980, Steve Stone… Los Angeles resident, Susan Farrell… Film producer, best known for the “Lethal Weapon” series, the first two “Die Hard” movies and the “Matrix” trilogy, Joel Silver… Co-founder and managing director of Beverly Hills Private Wealth, Scott Shagrin… Chairman and CEO of both Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners, Howard Lutnick… Venture capitalist at Breyer Capital, James W. Breyer… Former media columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Phil Rosenthal… U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council, she is the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Ambassador Michèle Taylor… Principal at Oakland-based Full Court Press Communications, Daniel Eli Cohen… Member of the Washington State Senate until earlier this year, David S. Frockt.. President and CEO at the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Renee Wizig-Barrios… Rapper and record producer from Brooklyn known as “Ill Bill,” he is the producer, founder and CEO of Uncle Howie Records, William “Bill” Braunstein… Professor in the department of genetics at the Harvard Medical School, David Emil Reich, Ph.D…. Fashion designer and cast member on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Dorit Kemsley… Retired mixed martial artist, now a life coach, Emily Peters-Kagan… Editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, Eliana Yael Johnson… Interior designer and owner of Tribe By Design, Tehillah Braun… Professional golfer with four tournament wins in the Asian and European tours, David Lipsky… Founder at Bashert Group, Daniel B. Jeydel… Program officer at Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago, Rachel Giattino… Reporter covering housing and the home building industry for The Wall Street Journal, Nicole Friedman… Director of Chabad Georgetown, Rabbi Menachem Shemtov… Creator of the Instagram account Second Date Shadchan, Elizabeth Morgan (Lizzy) Brenner

SATURDAY: President and chairman of the board of the Annenberg Foundation, Wallis Annenberg… Member of the British House of Lords, he is a professor, medical doctor, scientist, television anchor and Labour Party politician, Baron Robert Maurice Lipson Winston… Professional sports bettor and poker player, he is a four-time winner of the World Series of Poker, Mickey Appleman… Physician and life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. David H. Lippman… Dean of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, Rabbi Dovid Schustal… Congresswoman from Florida for 30 years, during her last two years she served as chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen… EVP at the Aspen Institute responsible for its policy and public programs, Elliot Gerson… Calif.-based appellate attorney, Feris M. Greenberger… Executive director of Friends of OU (Orthodox Union) Israel, Miriam Baron (Mimi) Jankovits… Professor at the UCLA School of Law, Richard Harold Steinberg… Political news director at Bloomberg, Jodi Schneider… Member of Congress until earlier this year (D-RI), David Nicola Cicilline… Anchorage-based attorney, a member of the Alaska House of Representatives since 2012, Andrew Lewis “Andy” Josephson… Former U.K. Labour party MP including three years as secretary of state for foreign affairs, now CEO of NYC-based International Rescue Committee, David Miliband… Co-founder and chief investment officer of Toronto-based EdgeStone Capital Partners, one of Canada’s leading private equity firms, Gilbert S. Palter… Israeli actress and singer, Dafna Rechter… Senior advisor at investment bank Greif & Co., he is also the CFO of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, David S. Felman… Senior business development executive at Gravyty, Sam Kalmowicz… Rabbi, blogger and attorney, he served for almost seven years at the Shul on the Beach in Venice, Calif., Eliyahu Fink… Senior correspondent at New York Magazine and a CNN contributor, she is a co-author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Irin Carmon… Israeli actor, he played Boaz in Season 1 of “Fauda,” Tomer Kapon… Managing editor of the U.S. deals team at Bloomberg, Liana Balinsky-Baker… SVP of the Milwaukee Bucks and a past candidate for the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin, Alexander Lasry… Associate VP at Hillel International, Jonathan Steven (“Jon”) Falk… Senior editor at Southern California Public Radio, Ariel Zirulnick… Senior NFL reporter at Yahoo Sports, she is also the author of a biography of a Holocaust survivor, Jori Epstein

SUNDAY: Former State Department official under JFK and LBJ, later VP of Continental Airlines, and then managing editor of The New York Times, James L. Greenfield… Former member of Knesset, winner of the Israel Prize, real estate developer and philanthropist, Ze’ev Stef Wertheimer… One of the three co-founders of Comcast Corporation, he served as its chief financial officer and vice chairman, Julian A. Brodsky… Senior U.S. district court judge for the Southern District of New York, Judge Sidney H. Stein… World-renowned violinist, violist and conductor, Pinchas Zukerman… Co-creator of the first-ever spreadsheet program (VisiCalc), he currently serves as the chief technology officer of Alpha Software, Daniel Singer “Dan” Bricklin… Former high-ranking civilian official in the Pentagon during the Bush 43 administration, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Douglas J. Feith… Senior rabbi since 1997 at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton Centre, Mass., Rabbi Keith Stern… Los Angeles-based attorney, she is the president emerita of the LA chapter of the Jewish National Fund, Alyse Golden Berkley… Past vice chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, Cynthia D. Shapira… British solicitor, he represented Princess Diana in her divorce and Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt in a libel case, Anthony Julius… Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner… Former U.S. ambassador to the EU and a witness at the Ukraine impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, Gordon David Sondland… Former airline executive at Northwest and Delta, Andrea Fischer Newman… Former president of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, Douglas Alan Herzog… Businessman and philanthropist, Matthew Bronfman… Canadian journalist, he worked for CNN International for 30 years, Jonathan Mann… Asheville, N.C.-based chiropractor and acupuncturist, Brian Scott Gross… Former Israeli minister of science and technology, now a venture capitalist, Yizhar Nitzan Shai… Chief of staff of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Jim Rosenberg… Chicago-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, Victoria Rivka Zell… Former NFL offensive lineman, he is now the president of 8Z Mortgage in Boulder, Colo., Ariel Mace Solomon… Israeli former professional tennis player, noted for her fitting last name for a tennis player, in 2003 she was ranked 15th in the world, Anna Smashnova… Founder of Pinkitzel, a cupcake cafe, candy boutique and gift store located in four Oklahoma cities, Jonathan Jantz… National political reporter for The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher… Co-founder of Los Angeles-based Meteorite Social Impact Advisors and director of Civic Alliance, Steven Max Levine… White House liaison to the Jewish community in the Bush 43 administration, now managing partner at Arogeti Endeavors, Scott Raymond Arogeti… Features reporter for Jewish Insider, Matthew Kassel… Founder and managing partner at Vine Ventures, Eric M. Reiner… Lactation consultant, Chantal Low Katz