Your Daily Phil: Grants for day school tuition + Investing in women

Good Tuesday morning!

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we report on new grants for Jewish day school affordability, and feature an op-ed by Schusterman’s Lisa Eisen on empowering women. Also in this newsletter: Ruth Cohen, Mara Langer and Gila Ward Menda. We’ll start with a letter to Elon Musk regarding hate speech on Twitter.

A roster of Jewish groups across denominations sent a letter to Twitter CEO Elon Musk yesterday demanding that he take action to stem hate speech on the platform.

The letter, which was spearheaded by the Union for Reform Judaism, calls out Musk for allowing purveyors of hate to operate on Twitter. It also calls out his own tweets that the signatories say have crossed lines, including one of a Nazi soldier and another of Pepe the Frog, a meme that has been appropriated by the far right. The letter was co-signed by the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructing Judaism, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and other organizations, along with more than 40 individual synagogues.

“A commitment to principles of free speech does not preclude shunning those who traffic in hate,” the letter reads. “Everyone is entitled to speak, however they are not entitled to a global megaphone to make their vitriol heard. Twitter can be a place for a robust exchange of ideas while refusing to amplify voices that attack others because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.”

Musk, who took the helm of Twitter in late October, tweeted in mid-November that “Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. Negative/hate tweets will be max[imally] deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue [will go to] to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from [the] rest of [the] Internet.”

That tweet came after the Anti-Defamation League and other groups had called on advertisers to pause spending on the platform due to its hate speech policies. Days after Musk’s tweet, however, Twitter reinstated the account of Kanye West, who had made a stream of antisemitic comments. His account has since been suspended again. Twitter also briefly reinstated, then suspended, the far-right provocateur Nick Fuentes. Twitter also disbanded its Trust and Safety Council in December.

paying dues

The Rashi School, a Reform Jewish day school in the Boston area.
The Rashi School, a Reform Jewish day school in the Boston area.

Boston real estate entrepreneur George Krupp feels that he grew up with “three legs to the stool of Judaism” — synagogues, Jewish federations and Israel — and that all of them are now tottering. In their place, Krupp and his wife, Lizbeth, are investing their philanthropic dollars in a cause that they feel can best safeguard the Jewish future: day schools. The Krupps have given their latest $2 million challenge grant to the Rashi School, a Reform Jewish elementary and middle school near Boston, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.

Making it attainable: The Krupps’ gift is one of at least two major grants announced recently that are aimed at ameliorating Jewish day schools’ long-festering affordability issues. The other is a $10 million endowment at the Philadelphia area’s Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy that will halve the cost of the school’s trimester program in Israel. They join similar initiatives across North America whose goal is to make Jewish education attainable for middle-income families. “What we found was that the biggest issue for day schools was affordability… These schools could cost up to $50,000 a year. That’s unsustainable,” Krupp told eJP.

Stuck in the middle: “This is an increasingly common phenomenon,” Paul Bernstein, the CEO of the Jewish day school network Prizmah, told eJP. “Otherwise you have a situation where higher-income families who can afford full tuition can pay, low-income families receive traditional financial aid, but this middle group suffers… Families in that middle income range have real pressures on affording it, including many who already place a very high premium on Jewish education.”

Read the full story here.


Invest in women: a 2023 call to action

“Last Sunday would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Instead of marking a milestone in protecting and advancing women’s health, safety and rights, we find ourselves in a moment of deep uncertainty, asking: Where do we go from here?” writes Lisa Eisen, co-president of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Taking a toll: “More than six months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe — and, for the first time in U.S. history, stripped a fundamental right that had been in place for more than half a century — millions of women find themselves without access to basic reproductive healthcare and choices. The court’s decision came on the heels of a devastating pandemic in which women already faced declining workforce participation, increased unpaid caregiving burdens and rising domestic violence rates. The collision of these dramatic shifts in the march toward true gender equality is already taking and will continue to take a heavy toll on our families, communities, economy and democracy. Research has consistently shown that communities are healthier, governments are more effective and businesses are more profitable when women have a seat at the table and our voices and rights are respected equally.”

Funding opportunities ahead: “Philanthropy has a key role to play in addressing the challenges women face right now. Many people working on the front lines of these critical issues have been preparing for this reality for a long time. They need and deserve our support. But the shocking fact remains that only 2% of U.S. charitable dollars go to organizations focused on supporting women and girls. Here are four ways more funders can embrace opportunities to ensure that women can fully contribute their talents and leadership to building a stronger Jewish community and society for us all.”

Read the full opinion piece here.

Worthy Reads

Remembering in Egypt: Jewish Insider’s Tamara Zieve reports on the second annual Holocaust commemoration event in Cairo, whose speakers included Ruth Cohen, a 92-year-old Auschwitz survivor. “‘The Holocaust teaches us about human nature, that there is great capacity for good as well as for evil,’ said Cohen, who was born in Czechoslovakia and whose mother, brother and cousins were killed in the gas chambers. ‘That when one group in a society is singled out for persecution, other groups are likely to be targeted too. In small and large ways each individual has the capacity to hurt or to heal, to savage or to save. Perhaps one of the most important lessons to know on today’s commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is that Holocaust did not begin with Auschwitz, nor should it be solely defined by it. It began with words and small acts, then infinitely larger ones that resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews.’” [JI]

Meeting the Challenge: 
Challenge grants are adaptable and effective ways to boost fundraising at nonprofits, Amy Eisenstein and Andrea Kihlstedt write in NonProfitPRO. “With a challenge gift, a major donor or corporate sponsor pledges a gift of a specified amount if certain fundraising conditions are met by a deadline… But the model is highly flexible and can be adapted to suit different goals and needs. A challenge gift just needs these three components: 1) The amount of the pledged challenge gift, 2) The amount that must be raised to satisfy the challenge and 3) The date by which the challenge must be completed. You’ll need to offer the idea of a challenge gift to a particularly engaged donor or sponsor that might be looking for a unique (and highly visible) way to give.” [NonProfitPRO]

Rage Against the Hate Machine:
 2023 will likely bring an increase in “rage giving” and mobilizing charitable giving toward addressing hatred in the world, Eileen Heisman writes in Forbes, but that’s just one philanthropic strategy. “Intolerance and hatred in all its forms — from longstanding systemic racism and misogyny to more recent spikes in violence against Asian Americans and antisemitic hate crimes — must be challenged at every turn. Charitable giving is one tool donors can utilize to take action and express their grave concerns about the horrific rise in hate. It is important for donors to remember that charities need and value sustainable funding sources. Making gifts following moments of social or political upheaval, whether hate crimes, natural disasters or ‘rage giving,’ is a short-term philanthropic strategy. The social sector needs more loyal donors — perhaps generations of loyal donors — who wish to combat hate to make a difference.” [Forbes]

Around the Web

Mara Langer has been named director of community engagement at Jewish Nevada – Northern Nevada. She was formerly a part-time community engagement coordinator…

Gila Ward Menda was named director of leadership for New York at Coro New York Leadership Center. She was previously a Women in Power Fellow at 92Y and a senior employee at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee…

Pic of the Day

The Young People’s Chorus of New York City performed the children’s opera “Brundibár,” by Czech Jewish composer Hans Krasa, at The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Lower Manhattan on Sunday. The opera was regularly performed in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the Holocaust.


AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 10: Writer Peter Sagal speaks at the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron during the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Esther’s Follies on March 10, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cassie Wright/Getty Images for SXSW)

Host of NPR’s news quiz “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” his older brother is a rabbi, Peter Sagal… 

Israeli nuclear physicist and professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Igal Talmi… Scion of a leading rabbinic family in pre-WWII2 Poland, former assistant U.S. solicitor general, now a private attorney with an active Supreme Court practice focused on religious liberty issues, Nathan Lewin… Classical music composer as well as acclaimed movie score composer, Philip Glass… Associate professor emeritus of Talmud and rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Mayer Elya Rabinowitz… Chairperson of global management consultancy Bain & Company, Orit Gadiesh… Founder of social change organizations in Israel to promote peace, he was chief rabbi of Norway while also serving as a member of Knesset, Michael Melchior… Founder and CEO of MikeWorldWide, a PR firm headquartered in East Rutherford, N.J., Michael W. Kempner… Former member of the Tennessee House of Representatives for 20 years, Matt Kisber… CEO at Gracie Capital, Daniel L. Nir… Co-founder, chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, a Manhattan-based commercial mortgage brokerage, Ralph Herzka… Organization of American States commissioner to monitor and combat antisemitism, Fernando Lottenberg… Neurosurgeon and chairman of the Rockland County (N.Y.) Board of Health, Jeffrey Sable Oppenheim

Fourth-generation real estate developer who builds upscale condominiums, typically in large east-coast U.S. cities, he is a founding partner of Redbrick LMD, Louis Myerberg Dubin… Classical cellist, her debut in Carnegie Hall was at 17-years-old, Ofra Harnoy… Mayor of Efrat and former chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council, Oded Revivi… CEO of City Cast, David Plotz… Actress best known for her role in the Showcase series “Lost Girl,” Anna Silk… CEO at Affiliated Monitoring, he is a graduate of Columbia Law School and was an M&A associate at Skadden, Daniel J. Oppenheim… Senior adviser of BerlinRosen’s New York office, Michael Rabinowitz-Gold… VP of insights, sports and Olympics at NBC Universal Media, Matthew Gottlieb… Film producer and founder of Annapurna Pictures, Megan Ellison… Singer, who won Israel’s “Kokhav Nolad” (A Star is Born) song contest in 2008, Israel Bar-On… Managing director at 25madison, Grant Silow… Israeli singer, songwriter and television actor, Eliad Nachum… Director of programs and strategy at the Kraft Group and affiliates, Clara Scheinmann… Law clerk to Judge Steven J. Menashi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Eli Nachmany