Your Daily Phil: Foundation to Combat Antisemitism launches new ad campaign + European Jewish leaders gather in Berlin

Good Monday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report from the scene of this week’s Summit of European Jewish Leaders in Berlin and hear about an IsraAid-AJC humanitarian effort in Malawi. We also feature an op-ed from the staffs of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education and Keshet. We’ll start with a new major ad campaign by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.

With a new $25 million ad campaign launching Monday, the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism is looking to turn the blue square emoji into the symbol for Jewish solidarity and opposition to Jew-hatred, the organization told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross. Over the next six weeks, FCAS, funded by the Kraft Family Foundation and based in Boston, will roll out four TV commercials, which will air nationwide, and run a social media campaign, which will encourage people to use the blue square emoji and the hashtag #StandUpToJewishHate, the group said.

“This is a real passion project for the Kraft family and for Robert Kraft personally. He sees this as his legacy,” FCAS Executive Director Matthew Berger told eJP on Sunday night, just before the launch of the campaign. According to Berger, who took over as executive director of FCAS last year, the campaign was driven in large part by findings of a recent survey that showed that roughly half of Americans don’t believe that antisemitism is a problem and most of the rest believe that it is a problem that Jews can solve alone. “Our goal is to increase the number of people who see antisemitism as a problem and to get people to be ‘upstanders’ against antisemitism,” Berger told eJP.

For that reason, the commercials are all “focused on the role of the non-Jewish person,” he explained. In one, a neighbor paints over a swastika that had been drawn on a Jewish family’s home. In another, a father chastises his son for posting antisemitic comments online. “We’re not looking to wag a finger at anyone. We’re looking to bring people on board,” Berger said.

The campaign will launch on Monday night on NBC during “The Voice.” Shortly before a commercial break, a small blue box will appear on screen. The show’s host, Carson Daly, will draw the viewer’s attention to the box, noting that it takes up 2.4% of the screen, the same percentage as Jews make up of the population of the United States. That will lead into the first commercial of the campaign, which introduces the blue square as being “synonymous with standing up against antisemitism and Jew-hatred,” Berger said, comparing it to the rainbow flag signifying support for the LGBTQ community.

Read the full story here.

Aiding Africa

People walk through Blantyre after it was hit by cyclone Freddy earlier in the month, on Mar. 14, 2023.

An IsraAid delegation set out for Malawi this week with a grant from the American Jewish Committee to assist the landlocked African nation that is currently grappling with the aftereffects of a devastating cyclone and a severe cholera outbreak, the two organizations told eJewishPhilanthropy‘s Judah Ari Gross.

Devastation: Two weeks ago, Cyclone Freddy dumped the equivalent of six months of rain onto Malawi in five days, causing massive flooding and widespread destruction that displaced over half a million people and killed more than 500, with another 500 people still missing. The storm came as the country, one of the world’s least developed nations, was already in the midst of one of the worst cholera outbreaks in its history. “About half of the country has been affected, including the economic heart of the country. There are entire villages that have literally been buried by… landslides,” Wayne Sussman, director of AJC’s Africa Institute, told eJP.

Just getting started: AJC has so far issued a $50,000 grant to IsraAid to assist Malawi, but Sussman said some members of AJC will likely make their own, private donations to aid efforts and the organization is considering further grants as needed. “We are speaking to more people in the American community. We hope to make additional grants in the coming days,” Sussman said over the weekend.

Water and hygiene: The IsraAid grant will go specifically toward water purification and hygiene efforts in the country, which are even more critical in light of the cholera outbreak. “We are looking to help people get clean and safe drinking water. Lack of clean water is the main spreader of cholera,” Sita Cacioppe, the head of IsraAid’s Health Sector, told eJP.

Read the full article here.

Diaspora affairs

Israel turmoil, Russian invasion loom large at Summit of European Jewish Leaders

Protesters demonstrate outside the Summit of European Jewish Leaders in Berlin on Mar. 26, 2023.

After five years apart: The Summit of European Jewish Leaders opened on Sunday in Berlin, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Dan Brown reports. Hosted jointly by the European Council of Jewish Communities and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, it was the first in-person gathering for the summit since 2018, and with 410 attendees it was also the largest. Participants hailed from across Europe, with a small number of attendees from Israel and a handful from the United States. There was a noticeable presence of individuals from Ukraine and even a delegation from the JCC in Minsk. Representatives from Russian organizations were also in attendance, though it was not clear if they currently lived in the country.

Politics gets in: The room erupted in applause when it was announced that Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs, Amichai Chikli, would not be attending the conference on Sunday night. Though Chikli’s office blamed his lack of attendance on a delayed flight, some at the conference were incredulous. Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside the hotel, fliers were placed on every table calling him “dishonorable,” and there was a general atmosphere at the event of opposition to the current Israeli government and its proposed judicial overhaul. Some of the participants, however, criticized the cheers for Chikli’s cancellation on the grounds that the summit should be a place of unity and not division.

Because we’re Jews: The conference program includes all the topics one would expect in a 21st-century gathering of Jewish leaders – antisemitism, community security, humanitarian needs, fundraising and Jewish education, to name a few – but the realities of the Russian-Ukrainian war were ever-present. In her welcoming address, Ursula Von Leyden, president of the European Commission, recognized – as did many others did – that it was the Jewish communities who were on the front line as refugees, of all religions, flooded into multiple Western European countries. Alex Budnitskiy, executive director and CEO, of the Marks JCH of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, summed the day up best when, referring to the work with Ukrainian refugees, he told eJP: “We are doing this because we are Jewish, not because they are.”

Read the full article here.

Change work

Planet One Images/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“We believe that cross-sector partnerships like ours can be invaluable as a means for bringing new insights and perspectives into each organization and finding new opportunities for collaboration,” write the staffs of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education and Keshet, an LGBTQ advocacy group, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Different path: “It’s a challenging time to be doing change work. Each day we confront an all-too-familiar tragedy: one more harmful anti-LGBTQ+ law is proposed, another celebrity spews antisemitic rhetoric and more disabled people are disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. When the landscape is so formidable and the stakes so high, organizations like ours could be inclined to double down and focus on our specific missions. We, however, are charting a different path.”

Multiplied impact: “In the spring of 2022, both Keshet and Gateways participated in UpStart’s Collaboratory, joining nearly 300 other Jewish nonprofits. Our partnership, with UpStart’s support, grew from a key takeaway of those discussions: that when unlikely partners come together across sectors, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. As each organization contributes unique expertise and perspective, and receives the other’s in return, our creativity can be stimulated, our work strengthened and our impact multiplied.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Sharing the ‘Why’: If you’re trying to explain what you do to a potential supporter, Claire Axelrad writes in NonProfitPRO, shift your focus from your “category” of organization or what tasks you are involved in to why you do it. “Don’t tell me you’re a hospital foundation, a comprehensive human services agency, a symphony, a food bank, an education foundation, an animal shelter or a maritime museum. That’s an empty structure, a category. Instead, tell me something specific and meaningful that calls you to this mission… People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. This is so important, regardless of whether you’re applying it to your personal or professional life. It stems from your beliefs. It requires you to examine your beliefs. And your passions… Your donor’s passion is expressed the same way. Match your passion to your donor’s passion. Fan the flames of passion by inviting folks on a transformative journey — one that will stoke donor fires and meaningfully fulfill the desires of both you and your investors.” [NonProfitPRO]

Long-haul Community Investing: While systems change is “arduous and complex work,” foundations can lead the way in community change if they change how they do business, David Fukuzawa and Nancy O. Andrews write in Inside Philanthropy. “Foundations should develop an investment mindset, reimagine community investments with longer time horizons, and adopt an approach that is developmental, adaptive, systemic, and focuses on the whole community… This means investing in leadership rather than special projects designed to meet foundation priorities, and giving organizations the freedom to manage their own affairs. It also means letting go of short-term definitions of success and failure and committing for the long haul…Organizations become stronger when we continue to invest in them, and organizations with consistent, long-term funding are better equipped to tackle our most deeply rooted challenges, like racial equity.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Around the Web

Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, plans to step down when Knight finds a replacement. With about $3 billion in assets, Knight is among the 50 wealthiest foundations, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Israel’s consul general in New York, Asaf Zamir, resigned in protest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant

HIAS and the U.K.’s Jewish Council For Racial Equality (JCORE) are launching a new joint operation in London on Tuesday to “enhance the Jewish response to issues of asylum, refugees, and racial equality”…

Katherine Bergeron, president of Connecticut College, announced she will step down at the end of the semester, following student protests stemming from a fundraiser she had planned to attend at a golf club with a reportedly racist and antisemitic history…

The Association of Jewish Refugees, together with the U.K. government and the German embassy, will hold a Holocaust testimony forum in London on April 19-20…

Training began Thursday for the nearly 1,500 summer camp shlichim (emissaries) the Jewish Agency will be sending to various summer camps in North America…

The JewQ International Jewish knowledge championship, an initiative of Chabad Children’s Network, was held Sunday in Stamford, Conn. The event tested third- to fifth-graders on Jewish trivia…

Pic of the Day

Tamara Leigh

At last Thursday’s opening of the Holocaust Museum LA’s new exhibit, “Who Will Tell Our Stories,” exhibit steward Zuzana Riemer Landres (left); Slovak survivor Renata Landres; Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States Radovan Javor?ík; Slovak survivor and artist Gabriella Karin; and Jordanna Gessler, vice president of education and exhibits, pose for a photograph. The exhibit,  commemorating Slovak female victims of the Holocaust, includes artifacts from Landres and a sculpture by Karin. The first deportation of Jewish women and girls to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Slovakia marked its 81st anniversary this past weekend.


Israel’s Blake Gailen looks on during the national anthem before a game between Israel and the Netherlands at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on March 13, 2017. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Hitting coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, he starred for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Blake Shane Gailen… 

Dean of Yeshiva Ateres Yisrael in Modi’in Illit, Rabbi Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi… Composer and violinist, Malcolm Goldstein… Former longtime technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Walter S. Mossberg… Executive director at Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue Club mental health center, Rachel Forman… Chairman and CEO of First International Resources in Fort Lee, N.J., Zev Furst… Member of the Knesset since 2011 representing the United Torah Judaism party, Yisrael Eichler… Sports agent who has represented the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft eight times, he is widely reputed to be the real-life inspiration of the sports agent in the film “Jerry Maguire” in 1996, Leigh Steinberg… Retired host of the “Matty in the Morning Show” which ran for over forty years in Massachusetts on KISS 108, Matt Siegel… Deputy director of leadership giving at Baruch College, Linda Altshuler… Moral philosopher, she is the director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany, Susan Neiman… Former NFL linebacker and captain of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, now president of Performance Coaching training real estate agents, Steven Mark Shull… Economist and banker in Latvia, Valerijs Kargins… Smooth jazz saxophonist, he has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dave Koz… Managing director of the Maimonides Fund, Daniel Gamulka… CEO of BBYO since 2004, Matthew Grossman… President of NYC’s Tenement Museum, Dr. Annie Polland… Founder and CEO of the Movement Vision Lab a grassroots think tank, Sally Kohn… Associate professor at Columbia University School of the Arts, Dorothea Lasky… Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, Jacob Hirsch Soboroff… Hitting coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, he starred for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Blake Shane Gailen… Former associate director in the NYC area for AIPAC, Adam B. Engel… Former producer at ABC’s “The View,” Daniella Greenbaum Davis… Assistant principal at Silver Spring International Middle School, Kayla Gross