Your Daily Phil: General Mills flagged by JLens + Danielle Freilich’s new education podcast for parents

Good Thursday morning! 

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we talk to educator-consultant Danielle Freilich about the launch of her podcast, “No Silly Questions.” Below, we look at the latest company to face controversy for its business practices vis-à-vis Israel

JLens, the Jewish investor networkhas added General Mills to its Do Not Invest list over the company allegedly removing all Pillsbury-branded products from Israel, amounting to what JLens says is a boycott of the country.

“JLens does not take lightly decisions to add a company to our Do Not Invest list, as our preferred approach is to develop long-term advocacy relationships with companies,” Julie Hammerman, CEO of JLens, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “We remain open to dialogue with General Mills but we have confirmed our conclusions that the company is removing the entire Pillsbury brand…from Israel.”

Activists with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel spent several years lobbying General Mills to end all Pillsbury operations in Israel, with the heirs to the Pillsbury family notably joining the movement. In May, General Mills announced it sold its stake in the company’s Israeli joint venture, passing off the divestment as a business decision rather than an act of BDS.

Months later, JLens says General Mills misled investors. “General Mills tried to explain the divestiture as part of…[a] strategy to move away from refrigerated dough outside of North America, and pointed to a recent sale of a refrigerated dough business in Europe,” JLens said in a statement. “While this may explain the removal of refrigerated Pillsbury dough products from Israel…multiple Pillsbury-branded product lines are being pulled from multiple Israeli distributors that have nothing to do with refrigerated dough.”

The JLens decision against investing in General Mills comes amid a larger reckoning with alleged anti-Israel bias in the financial and business worlds, particularly with environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings. The ratings are used to help investors direct their money to ostensibly ethical companies and funds, but have come under fire for being subjective and misleading.

JLens previously added Morningstar, a Chicago-based investment firm, to its Do Not Invest list for purposefully giving Israeli companies poor ESG ratings. The company has since acknowledged some wrongdoing, and committed to addressing its rating process.

Good Monday morning!


Educator Danielle Freilich is teaching teachers — and parents


Beginning her career in education as an associate first grade teacher in the Harlem 2 Success Academy in 2010, Danielle Freilich is now working to take national what she learned in the classroom by supporting teachers across the country. Still based in New York City, the 34-year-old recently co-launched an educational podcast while continuing to dedicate her free time to causes she cares about, including improving outcomes for students in underserved communities in Israel, reports Daniela Cohen for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Professional help: Freilich has spent hours on the phone answering friends’ questions about education. After discovering her friend and fellow educational leader, Jordana Fruchter, was in a similar position, the podcast “No Silly Questions” was born. “[We] could tell there was a need to provide parents with relatable but also research-based and trustworthy answers as they navigate the K-to-12 journey with their families,” said Freilich. Since its launch two months ago, the podcast has covered a wide range of topics, including the meaning of intelligence and how to understand and support teens in their online world.  

Experience talks: Freilich decided to pursue graduate studies in education policy at Harvard University to provide further context and learning for her work. When she returned to Success Academy in 2014, it was as an assistant principal for Harlem West, followed by a stint as principal of the Bronx 2 Middle School two years later. During her time as principal, all her students passed the Algebra Regents Exam and placed in the top 1% on the New York State exam.

Read the full interview here.


Learning that feeds the soul and the toolbox


“Those of us who lead professional development programs for teachers in day schools and supplementary schools have frequently heard (often during a coffee break) one teacher saying to another: ‘We are always expected to give to our students; when do we get to learn just for ourselves? If we talk so much about Torah lishmah, should we not have those opportunities too?’” write education professionals Batsheva Frankel, Sari Kopitnikoff and Sandra Lilienthal in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Torah lishmah“At last month’s NewCAJE conference – the Conference for the Advancement of Jewish Education – we tested a model we had in mind for a while: the opportunity for adults, whether lay people or professional educators, to bring together content and pedagogy. Since each of us has a certain set of skills, we figured that collaboration would lead to a program that could do both: offer Torah lishmah (content) and provide participants with concrete takeaways to work with their learners (pedagogy).”

Drilling down on content: “Exploring the topic of teshuvah as the process of returning to oneself, we chose texts that are very much off the beaten path. The more than 60 educators who were attending the session were able to glean some deep concepts about teshuvah, which they either were not familiar with or had been exposed to only superficially. The exchange of ideas was extremely enriching to all who were present, and all teachers felt that they had gained something for themselves, taught at an adult level.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Power-share: The model of two leaders sharing responsibility can be a strength and a challenge, writes Kymberlie Quong-Charles in NonProfitPRO: “We all have our own commitments, responsibilities, and pursuits. Co-leadership has nurtured an environment where we can show up for our lives outside of work. Because there are two of us, we can negotiate schedules and give each other grace to handle unexpected needs in our families and communities. When one of us wishes to take time off, we can do so without disrupting other functions or putting additional work on other staff. This has allowed us to further model the practices of rest, self-care and community care that are core values to our work. We want our staff to see that at the executive level so they know they’re also entitled to rest and care, dismantling the prevailing culture of burnout in nonprofit work. Working in an environment of shared power doesn’t come without challenges, though. To work side-by-side with someone as leaders of an organization takes a high level of trust and collaboration, and you must be willing to engage in conflict, if necessary.” [NonProfitPRO]

Engaging Tweets: Organizations using Twitter need to post regularly, Indiana Lee writes in NonProfitPRO, but to make an impact on followers, organizations need to be relevant and engaging, too: “You must publish relevant, engaging tweets regularly to stand out on Twitter and get your followers to engage with you. With other organizations, businesses and people rolling out new tweets every second, tweeting daily is ideal, but regardless of frequency, make sure your tweets are relevant and engaging. Most tweets should not contain an ask. Talk about your mission. Let your followers know what’s going on with your organization and what you’re working on accomplishing next. Tweet about news and shout out your donors, particularly after they make a contribution or volunteer their time. Retweet your followers’ tweets, as well as those from experts and other nonprofits in your industry.” [NonProfitPRO]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

A fire consumed a building at the site of the long-closed Grossinger’s resort, once one of the most storied and glamorous hotels in New York’s Catskill Mountains…

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation and homeowners of the houses built by the program, in an area of New Orleans among the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, have reached a $20.5 million settlement…

Salem State University announced a $10 million gift from the Cummings Foundation to expand the programming of its School of Education…

Midrasha, an after-school program for Jewish teens founded in 1968, has joined with the parent program of Edah, an after-school program for younger children. The merged organization will be housed at the JCC of the East Bay in Berkeley, a new location for both programs.… 

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Society’s 2022 virtual international conference opens on Sunday…

Pic of the Day

Shahar Azran

Sam Leeman, a medical student at Ben-Gurion University’s Medical School for International Health, was recognized as Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 75,000th immigrant. Leeman was welcomed to Israel Wednesday along with 224 immigrants on a Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight that carried a diverse group, including 27 medical professionals and 40 future lone soldiers.


ACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli judoka who won Olympic medals at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, Or “Ori” Sasson

Baltimore resident, Jerome Seaman… Retired teacher of Talmud at Jerusalem’s Yeshiva Torat Shraga, Rabbi Noam Gordon…. Former two-term mayor of San Diego and the city’s first Jewish mayor, Susan G. Golding… Former chair of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, John D. Goldman… Partner in Chazan-Leipzig Consulting, Cindy Chazan… Judge of the Montgomery County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas, Gary S. Silow… Dramatist, screenwriter and poet, Winnie Holzman… President of Benefit Connections, Raphael Schwartz… President of the Touro College and University System, Dr. Alan H. Kadish… Labor law attorney in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Stuart Douglas Tochner… Former U.S. treasury secretary, now president of Warburg Pincus, Timothy Geithner… CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, Jules Polonetsky… Executive director of the Maccabee Task Force, David Brog… Criminal defense attorney and media personality in Las Vegas, Dayvid Figler… Award-winning comic book writer and artist for both Marvel and then DC Comics, Brian Michael Bendis… Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Jason Furman… Sarah Bronson… Conservative political talk radio host on the Sirius XM Patriot channel, Andrew Steven Wilkow… Greek Orthodox priest, he serves as a judge in Israel’s religious court system, Gabriel Naddaf… Best-selling author Nicole Krauss… Writer, actress and stand-up comedian from New York City, Jessi Ruth Klein… Washington director of the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Roger Zakheim… Actor, comedian, writer, producer and musician, David A. J. “Andy” Samberg… Fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute and managing partner of the Madad website, Noah Slepkov… Editor of Moment Magazine, Sarah Breger… Founder of Dot Dot Dot, Laurie Segall… Justice Department reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Sadie Gurman… Founding executive director of the Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust, Michelle Wolf

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