Your Daily Phil: Fundraisers staying nimble and sensitive post-Oct. 7

Good Friday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the Anti-Defamation League’s Los Angeles gala and interview Dan Senor about his new book on Israeli grit. We feature an opinion piece from Elana Heideman about the Blue and White Unity campaign. Also in this newsletter: Mark CubanStuart Eizenstat and Tony Blinken. We’ll start with how U.S.-based nonprofits are changing their fundraising efforts in light of the war in Israel.

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 eJewishPhilanthropyJewish Insider and The Circuit stories, including: Biden administration pledges plan to combat rising antisemitism on campuses within 2 weeks; Campus safety now a top priority for Jewish students choosing colleges; Israel learns the hard way that Russia, China are not its friends; Former Israeli national security advisor: ‘Israel doesn’t have the time it thinks it has to fight this war.’ Print the latest edition here.

Since the Oct. 7 massacres, Jews across the Diaspora have stepped up their donations for aid to Israel. In less than a month, the Jewish Federation of North America said it alone had raised over $600 million. But even as American Jews give additional donations to Israel, the needs remain the same for Jewish communities across the United States, reports Jay Deitcher for eJewishPhilanthropy.

“Nonprofits receive at least 40 to 50% of their revenue from fundraising during the last quarter of the year,” Reuben D. Rotman, president and CEO of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “So the timing of this war is really complicated… If this trend continues into November and into December, we are very concerned with what the impact will be on local fundraising.”

At the same time, he said, “everybody is very sensitive to the need to ensure that Israel gets the support and the resources it needs, because Israel is at war right now and the priority must be to ensure safety for Israel and its citizens.”

Because of this, some NJHSA-connected agencies are delaying appeals. Others are rephrasing appeals to explain the ways the conflict abroad is affecting programs in America. “You don’t want to be fundraising in a manner that appears tone deaf to what’s going on in the community at the time,” Rotman said. “But you also don’t want to not send your appeal.”

Read the full report here.


Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL, speaks at a fundraising gala for the organization on Nov. 1, 2023. Photo by Jordan Strauss/Shutterstock

The ballroom at the Beverly Hilton was dimly lit and crowded on Wednesday night at the Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles’ annual gala, but not so much that attendees couldn’t see their neighbors wiping away tears when ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt spoke of his heartbreak watching footage of the grisly attacks, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz from the event.

J’Accuse: In a fiery 30-minute keynote address, he told the audience of some 700 people that he was “haunted by these videos,” “broken by the pictures” and “shattered by these stories, because what we witnessed, what we are working through, is beyond words.” Greenblatt offered staunch criticism of American universities for failing to prevent or denounce antisemitism, of organizations that were silent about the Oct. 7 attacks and, perhaps most of all, of reporters. “These journalists — and the sanctimonious activists who they seem to cater to when Jews are maimed and murdered — they equivocate, they hesitate, they suddenly struggle to find their spines. It isn’t evil, they tell us. It’s understandable. It isn’t wicked, it’s justified. It isn’t rape. It’s resistance,” Greenblatt said.

Cooperation needed: ADL officials stressed the need to work with additional organizations in order to more effectively combat antisemitism. “It’s critically important for us to get together as partners,” Larry Mead, the L.A. federation’s new vice president of the Community Security Initiative, told eJP during the cocktail hour. “Sharing information, that’s a whole lot better because now we can get a wider picture of what’s going on in L.A. County and keep the Jewish community safe.” In his speech, ADL Los Angeles regional director Jeffrey Abrams also highlighted the need to branch out and find new groups to partner with, saying, “We cannot work in silos anymore in confronting antisemitism.”

Read the full report here.


BOOKSHELF Dan Senor talks about his new book on the ties that bind Israelis

Dor Malka

Israeli grit is the theme of Dan Senor’s new book, co-authored with Saul Singer, The Genius of Israel: The Surprising Resilience of a Divided Nation in a Turbulent World, which was written before the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and hits bookshelves on Tuesday. This week, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen spoke with Senor for Jewish Insider about his new book and how Israel’s “genius” has been revealed in recent weeks.

Coming together: “We didn’t anticipate the Hamas invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, but what we are seeing as a result of the Hamas invasion is those building blocks at work. Those societal shock absorbers clicked in right away. The story of Oct. 7 is obviously horrific and Israel’s security will likely never be the same again, but in terms of Israeli society, we are seeing the best – the solidarity, the coming together, the sense of the country as one big family. You’re seeing this incredible flourishing over the last few weeks.”

Read the full interview here.


For a nation known by its colors, blue and white bring unity

Illustration by zoom-zoom/Getty Images

“If Hamas thought they could destroy our resolve, they have totally failed, for we stand proudly in blue and white,” writes Elana Heideman, executive director of The Israel Forever Foundation, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Deeper significance: “Just wearing blue and white may seem meaningless, but this small act is a silent testament to the vibrant spirit of the Jewish people and the colors that have always been a part of our cultural and historical identity: from our tallitot and tzitzit, to our synagogues and community brands, to the flags hanging in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and throughout the land of Zion. Wearing blue and white is also something people can do if they are wary of going to rallies or raising an Israeli flag in public that will still help them feel the pride of our blue and white strength that has carried us through the generations.”

A global event: “In a unique effort to build unity and pride in this difficult time, The Israel Forever Foundation has launched the Blue and White Unity campaign as a way to honor the shloshim, the 30th day of mourning, since the Simchat Torah massacre carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7. Beginning on Sunday, Nov. 5, communities, families, groups and organizations will show their solidarity by wearing Israel’s national colors however and whenever possible, creating a wave of national unity that defies the divisions and distance between us.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

United We Stand: In the Forward, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove argues that American Jews need to harness their newfound cohesion for the betterment of the community. “Jews have been gathering with unusual intensity and frequency because we are traumatized, and want to feel connected to others who empathize. In some ways, the Jewish people have transformed into a global shiva house of support and presence… The awakening is rooted in the antisemitism we are feeling, antisemitism that seems both more widespread and more virulent than we had realized… This antisemitism is happening in our own front yards, in the academic institutions of which we are proud alumni or parents, among our friends on Facebook, in the nonprofit groups where we sit on the board or make donations… We must harness our newfound internal solidarity toward meeting the urgent needs of the hour… Our faith and community that has been taken for granted is more important than ever.” [Forward]

Horrible Homecoming: In The Times of Israel, Adele Raemer, who has for years written and spoken in English about living along the Gaza border, describes her first visit to her home in Kibbutz Nirim since last month’s massacres. “I went home yesterday. Correction: I went back to what HAD been my home for almost 48 years, until October 7, 2023. I got a ride from our temporary refuge in Eilat, from another Nirim member, who left me off at the entrance to Kibbutz Tze’elim, where I switched cars. That’s when I stopped breathing. I continued the final 20 minutes of the journey in a car with a team from the BBC who, aside from filming and telling our story, also helped me empty my fridge, throw out the garbage – they even washed the dust off my car and jump-started it… I took the crew to see the sections of the kibbutz that had been hit the hardest: the burnt house where Uriel, Amy, baby Kai and his grandmother escaped with their lives through the fire-licked window, and the house where Doron z”l and Mor z”l weren’t as lucky. We saw the charcoaled skeletons of cars, the collapsed porches where, a mere few  hours prior to the attack, people had been celebrating in their sukkot. We saw the blood stained floor where my heroic son-in-law saved the lives of my granddaughters.” [TOI]

In Flux: Representing at least $500 million in environmental funding, multiple U.S.-based grantmakers focused on climate change are undergoing changes of their own at a time when critical decisions and investments in solutions should be happening, reports Inside Philanthropy. “Some of the field’s biggest funders are going through leadership transitions; others are rethinking or concluding strategies… The turmoil comes amid a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage federal investment for the climate emergency, with four bills — the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act — authorizing trillions of dollars in spending that is available in communities across the country… It also comes after a summer in which the crisis seemed to accelerate even faster than foreseen. July brought the hottest day on record, and then broke that record in each of the next three days… In other words, this moment would seem likely to inspire ballooning climate philanthropy and full-throated dedication to the cause. Even if these shifts do not amount to an overall drop in funding, it’s understandable that those on the ground are feeling anxious.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Around the Web

The Jewish Federations of North America has raised more than $602 million for its Israel Emergency Fund and has allocated nearly $148 million…

Evan R. Bernstein, who has served as CEO and national director of Community Security Service, was hired as the next vice president for community relations at the Jewish Federations of North America

A group of Conservative rabbis and cantors arrived in Israel this week, visiting areas hit by the Oct. 7 attacks and meeting with families of hostages and displaced Israelis. “We were broken to see what we saw,” one participant said…

Nearly 750 North American rabbis of all denominations have signed an “expression of unity,” reaffirming support for Israel and its war against Hamas…

Jewish students from Yale, Cornell and Brown Universities wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times, arguing that Jewish students are facing “mob harassment” and threats, not protected free speech, on campus…

Scott Bok, chairman of University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees, is reportedly facing a possible no-confidence vote over the school’s response to antisemitism on campus, which has prompted criticism from donors…

J. The Jewish News of Northern California profiled giving circles organized by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund in San Francisco… 

Two dozen runners in the New York City Marathon will wear shirts bearing the faces of people being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza during the race on Sunday…

Hillel International and Chabad on Campus held a virtual rally for Israel last night, featuring Mayim Bialik and Mark Cuban, among other speakers. “There’s always going to be people who hate us… and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. But our lives, who we are, is not defined by who hates us, it’s defined by who loves us and who we love,” Cuban told the students…

Stuart Eizenstat, the State Department’s special adviser on Holocaust issues, said the Oct. 7 attacks has given “new momentum” to the effort to deliver restitution to Holocaust survivors and their descendants…

Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent highlighted the Memorial Scrolls Trust, a nonprofit that restores and distributes Torah scrolls that survived the Holocaust…

Magen David Adom has provided over 159 gallons of breast milk to premature babies and babies whose mothers have been killed, abducted, or injured, or who have been called up to military duty since Oct. 7…

The Justice Department charged a Florida man with making death threats to the World Jewish Congress

Nearly 1,000 people have offered to volunteer with the British Community Security Trust, which offers protection to synagogues, amid rising antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom in recent weeks…

Sam Bankman-Fried, the poster child of so-called “effective altruism,” was convicted of all seven counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in a New York court…

The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation donated $200,000 to the Center for Jewish History to mark the 25th anniversary of the center’s founding and the 60th anniversary of the passing of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Law…

Pic of the Day

Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Jack Lew, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Israel (left), shakes hands with Secretary of State Tony Blinken upon their arrival today at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv.

This is Blinken’s third visit to Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks and the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. His trip is expected to focus on efforts to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians through “humanitarian pauses.” Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday morning.


Annie Liebovitz smiles
Courtesy/The Jewish Education Project

Board member of Jewish Funders Network and a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency, Dorothy Tananbaum… 

FRIDAY: Chancellor emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also served as a professor of Jewish history, Ismar Schorsch, Ph.D.… Senior U.S. district judge in California, he is the younger brother of retired SCOTUS Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Charles Breyer… MLB pitcher with more career victories (174) than any other Jewish pitcher (including Sandy Koufax included with 165), Ken Holtzman… U.S. senator (D-HI), Mazie K. Hirono… Resident of Great Barrington, Mass., and a part-time researcher at UC Berkeley, Barbara Zheutlin… Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine, professor at Yale University, James Rothman… Rabbi emeritus at Temple Anshe Sholom in Olympia Fields, Ill., Paul Caplan… Actress, comedian, writer and television producer, Roseanne Barr … Comedian, talk show host and commentator, Dennis Miller… Manuscript editor and lecturer, author of books on the stigma of childlessness and on the Balfour Declaration, Elliot Jager… Award-winning Israeli photographer, Naomi Leshem… Regional director of development for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Jeanne Epstein… Co-founder and former CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, now CEO of Dreamhaven, Michael Morhaime… Entrepreneur-in-residence at Loeb Enterprises II, Edward Stelzer… VP for federal affairs at CVS Health, Amy Rosenbaum… Founder of AKM Consulting, Amie Kershner… Partner at political consulting firm GDA Wins, Gabby Adler… Agent at Creative Artists Agency, Rachel Elizabeth Adler… Actress who won three Daytime Emmy Awards for her role on ABC’s “General Hospital,” Julie Berman… Director of corporate responsibility, communications and engagement at Southern Company Gas, Robin Levy Gray… Managing director at Guggenheim Partners, Rowan Morris… General manager of NJ/NY Gotham FC, Yael Averbuch West… Former captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, he is a co-founder of D.C.-based Compass Coffee, Michael Haft… New York state senator, Michelle Hinchey… Director for China on the White House’s National Security Council, Julian Baird Gewirtz… MBA candidate in the 2024 class at The Wharton School, Ben Kirshner… MBA candidate in the 2024 class at The Wharton School, Caroline Michelman… Founder of NSA Creatives, Noy Assraf Arzan… Actress and model, Diana Silvers… Stu Rosenberg… 

SATURDAY: Vice-chairman emeritus of AllianceBernstein, he is a former chairman of the Tikvah Fund, Roger Hertog… Political scientist who has published works on grand strategy, military history and international relations, Edward Luttwak… Member of Congress and chair of the House Budget Committee until earlier this year, he was Kentucky’s first Jewish congressman, John Yarmuth… Former chief of the general staff of the IDF, then minister of defense and member of Knesset for Kadima, Shaul Mofaz… Uruguayan biologist, he served as mayor of Montevideo and then as a national cabinet minister, Ricardo Ehrlich… Professor of medicine at England’s University of Birmingham and a leading British authority on organ donation and transplantation, James M. Neuberger… Marketing and communications consultant focused on Israel advocacy and the Jewish community, Robert L. Kern… Professor at UCSF and winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine, David Jay Julius… U.K. politician who served as a Conservative party MP and cabinet minister, he was chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Baron Richard Irwin Harrington… Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 2013, Kenneth I. Gordon… Retired president and CEO of the Hudson Institute where he is now the Japan chair, Kenneth R. “Ken” Weinstein… Author of five books, comedic actress and television host, Annabelle Gurwitch… Professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University, Claire Elise Katz… Israeli screenwriter and film director, Eran Kolirin… Partner at Paragon Strategic Insights, Jeremy Chwat… Co-founder of Semafor, Benjamin Eli “Ben” Smith… Global director of strategic communications at McKinsey & Company, Max Gleischman… Opinion columnist at the Washington Post, she is also a commentator for CNN and a correspondent for “PBS NewsHour,” Catherine Rampell… Founder and CEO at Denver-based Fresh Tape Media, Jared Kleinstein… Founder and CEO of a health organization working for early detection and prevention of cancer, Yael Cohen Braun… Deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Addar Weintraub Levi… Former White House special representative for international negotiations, Avraham (“Avi”) Berkowitz… Recording artist, songwriter and entertainer known as Yoni Z, his YouTube channel has 10.4 million views, Yoni Zigelboum… Israeli professional stock car racing driver, he is the first Israeli to compete in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series, Alon Day… Founding editor of Healthcare BrewAmanda E. Eisenberg… Bob Rubin…

SUNDAY: Former governor, legislator and supreme court justice, all in the Oregon state government, Ted Kulongoski… Singer, poet and actor, best known as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, Art Garfunkel… Co-founder and chairman of Rexford Industrial Realty, Richard Ziman… Television and film critic, Jeffrey Lyons… French public intellectual, media personality and author, Bernard-Henri Lévy… Economist and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University where he remains a University professor, Jeffrey Sachs… Israeli ceramic artist and sculptor, Daniela Yaniv-Richter… Psychologist and wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sara Netanyahu… Director at The Gottesman Fund, she is co-director of the development committee at the Chatham Synagogue Netivot Torah, Diane Bennett Eidman… Music producer and entertainment attorney, Kevon Glickman… Former prime minister of Israel, now leader of the opposition, Yair Lapid… Former regional director of AJC New York, now CEO at Healthcare Foundation of NJ, Michael Schmidt… Senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, Benjamin Wittes… Host, anchor and correspondent for CBS News and CBS Sports, Dana Jacobson… General counsel of The Jewish Theological Seminary, Keath Blatt… Jerusalem-born pianist, she has performed with major orchestras worldwide, Orli Shaham… Executive director of Chaya Community, a nonprofit focused on the Jewish Iranian community, Tara Khoshbin… Legal correspondent at Business InsiderJacob Shamsian… Talia Katz…