Your Daily Phil: Grants for terror victims in Israel + Where’s the Save Darfur movement now?
Good Thursday morning!
In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the removal of 19 companies that do business in Israel and the West Bank from the Morningstar ratings company’s list of “controversial” firms, and look at how Jewish groups who were active in the Save Darfur movement are responding to the current violence in Sudan. We’ll start with the distribution of emergency grants to recent victims of terror in Israel by the heads of the Jewish Agency for Israel and Jewish Federations of North America.
Within two days of any terror attack in Israel, but normally faster, the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for Victims of Terror provides the victim or their family with an emergency grant of just over $1,000, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.
Jewish Federations of North America President and CEO Eric Fingerhut and Jewish Agency Board of Governors Chair Mark Wilf, each of whom happened to be in Israel this week, were able to distribute these grants personally yesterday alongside the CEO of the fund, former Knesset member Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin. The day before, a Palestinian man rammed his car into a group of people at a bus stop in northern Tel Aviv and then stabbed some of them. Seven people were injured, some seriously, including a pregnant woman who lost her baby.
“When we deliver it, we’re able to say we love you and refuah shlema (get well), but also that the Jewish people of the world are thinking of you and are with you and our hearts are with you. So being able to do that today was very, very emotional,” Fingerhut told eJP on Wednesday night, a few hours after his visit to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, where the victims had been taken.
“It’s not so much the financial help – which is of course important – but that we are expressing mutual responsibility from the Jewish people,” Wilf said. “If this occurs in Israel – whatever faith, whatever the background – we are there right away to show our values and show our compassion.”
The Fund for Victims of Terror was established in 2002, in the midst of the Second Intifada. In addition to the immediate grant of NIS 4,000 ($1,080), victims are also eligible for up to NIS 25,000 ($6,750) in payments for up to three years, though this was extended beyond that time limit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 9,000 Israelis have received grants through the fund.
Nahmias-Verbin said the fund also maintains a close relationship with the victims and their families beyond the grants, providing emotional support, as well as help in navigating the bureaucracy of the Israeli government to ensure they get all of the assistance that they are entitled to under law.
Nahmias-Verbin said that these tight, long-lasting ties – which can continue even after the victims are no longer eligible for grants – led her to consider the victims to be part of the fund’s “family,” quickly adding: “But I am always upset when our family grows.”
Read the full story here.
Off the blacklist
Morningstar removes controversy tags on 19 companies doing business in Israel, West Bank
Financial services firm Morningstar has removed controversy ratings the company had assigned to 19 companies doing business in Israel and the West Bank following a year of controversy and accusations that the firm had employed anti-Israel bias in its environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings system, reports Marc Rod for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.
Jewish advocacy: Morningstar informed a coalition of Jewish and pro-Israel groups that had been advocating for changes to its ratings on Wednesday, according to an individual familiar with the situation. The changes — which are expected to improve the companies’ overall ESG scores — come following pressure from pro-Israel groups and probes by state governments, which accused Morningstar of potentially furthering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Still more to do: “After months of negotiations and discussions with Morningstar about its assumptions, sources, and language, we appreciate that a significant number of companies unfairly rated for their work with Israel have had these black marks lifted,” Elana Broitman, the senior vice president for public affairs at the Jewish Federations of North America, told JI. “Our work is not yet done, however, and we look forward to further progress and Morningstar’s selection of experts to advise on these matters.”
Read the full story here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.
‘It’s all happening again’: 20 years after genocide in Darfur, ethnic violence returns
On a recent walk in Manhattan’s Central Park, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, ran into Ruth Messinger, the former longtime leader of American Jewish World Service. The unexpected meetup between the head of the Reform Jewish community and one of the best known Jewish social-justice advocates featured the usual hugs and how-are-yous. But Jacobs was troubled that day, due to recent news out of Darfur, a region in western Sudan that became infamous for a horrific genocide that occurred there two decades ago. “Ruth, it looks like it’s all happening again,” Jacobs said, reports Gabby Deutch for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.
‘Never again’ in action: Nearly two decades ago, Jacobs and Messinger were two of the unofficial leaders of the Save Darfur movement, which saw a diverse coalition of activists come together to call for global action in the face of a horrific event that was deemed genocide by Congress and the George W. Bush administration in 2004. The campaign drew widespread support from within the American Jewish community: Rabbis spoke about the genocide from the pulpit, while students solicited donations for relief efforts. In Washington, advocates lobbied Congress to address the genocide, and thousands of activists turned out for a 2006 rally on the National Mall, with speakers that included Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Green rubber bracelets that said “Save Darfur” became a fixture at synagogues.
Victim of its own success: Today, reports of ethnic violence in Darfur may have a harder time getting through to people in a world that is awash with stories of humanitarian crises in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Burma, Xinjiang and more. In part, that’s due to Jewish activists focusing their energy elsewhere — including in the U.S., where antisemitism is on the rise and domestic issues have drawn the attention of American Jews. But it’s also because the Save Darfur movement succeeded in dramatically reshaping and reinvigorating the human rights field of atrocity prevention.
Read the full story here.
Right Place at the Right Time:The New York Times’ Cassandra Vinograd profiles one of Ukraine’s chief rabbis, Moshe Reuven Azman. “It was a striking image: a bearded rabbi with a flak jacket over his tallit, hitting the ground to take cover as shells boomed around him. Video footage of the moment Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman came under fire while on a humanitarian mission to flooded southern Ukraine on June 8 has been viewed more than 1.5 million times on Twitter. It put a fresh spotlight on the chief rabbi of Ukraine, whose renown predates both that moment and his humanitarian efforts since Russia’s full-scale invasion. ‘People recognize me,’ the rabbi said, eyes twinkling, from his office in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, on a recent afternoon… His role as chief rabbi has particular resonance in a war that President Vladimir V. Putin has falsely claimed is about ‘denazifying’ Ukraine, a country whose current president is Jewish and whose Jewish community has historically suffered persecution.” [NYT]
Off the Streets and Into Houses, Hopefully: In The Wall Street Journal, Christine Mai-Duc looks at a renewed effort in Los Angeles to address the city’s rising homelessness problem. “As Mayor Karen Bass was delivering the news Thursday that this city’s homeless population rose 10% last year, outreach workers were trying to convince Imani Muhammad to come out of her tent and accept shelter. ‘Come on, girl, you’ve been here too long,’ one worker said, peering into Muhammad’s tent in a city park in South Los Angeles… The operation is part of Inside Safe, the mayor’s signature initiative, which started shortly after Bass took office in December… The city of Los Angeles accounts for 39% of L.A. county’s 9.8 million people and 61% of its homeless population. It has the largest number of people living on the streets of any U.S. city. To tackle the problem, Bass has declared a citywide state of emergency and committed more than $1.3 billion in city funds, including $250 million for Inside Safe, in the fiscal year that started July 1…But if a boom in affordable housing construction fails to materialize, more people will likely continue to fall into homelessness and some already in shelters could eventually return to the streets.” [WSJ]
Around the Web
The board of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs selected Leslie Dannin Rosenthal as its next chair. Rosenthal, who previously led the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, N.J., will succeed David Bohm, who has served in the role for the past two years…
A new report from the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research found that Russia and Ukraine are on track to lose more than half of their Jewish populations, enough to fit the definition of an “exodus”…
Seven hundred Jewish teens from seven countries arrived in Israel this week to participate in a three-week seminar as part of the yearlong Diller Teen Fellowship…
Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Jewish doctoral student at Princeton University with Israeli and Russian citizenships, was kidnapped earlier this year and is being held captive by an Iran-linked militia in Iraq. A multinational effort is underway to secure her release…
The BBCapologized after one of its anchors claimed the Israeli military is “happy to kill children,” saying that while the impact of Israeli operations on Palestinian children was a “legitimate subject,” the comment itself was “not phrased well and was inappropriate”…
Masa Israel Journey named Rozeeta Mavashev its director of office and operations for North America. Mavashev previously served as the director of Jewish campus life and engagement at Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College…
The British Mitzvah Day initiative, in which 55,000 volunteers look to “repair the world, launched its preparations for this year’s event with a gathering of clergy, civic leaders and volunteers this week. This year’s Mitzvah Day will be held on or around Nov. 19…
The Pittsburgh-headquartered Allegheny Health Networkhas partnered with the Israeli Innovation Authority, giving the Pennsylvania health-care network access to Israeli pilot programs, technological support and other benefits, in a move backed by the city’s Jewish federation…
Surgeons at Hadassah Hospital Ein Keremreattached a 12-year-old boy’s head to his neck last month after he suffered an extremely rare “internal decapitation.” The operation, which was successful, was one of the few times that such a procedure has been performed anywhere in the world…
Pic of the Day
Ten Israeli teenagers from the Israeli Reform movement pose for a photograph at Ben Gurion Airport as they travel to the Union for Reform Judaism’s Camp Greene in Texas. They are one of six delegations of Israeli Reform youth attending URJ camps across North American this summer.
CEO of the Holocaust Museum LA, Beth Kean…
Chairman of NYC-based GFP Real Estate, Jeffrey Robert Gural… 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush… Former member of the Knesset for the National Religious Party, Yitzhak Levy… Former president of AIPAC, Marshall Aaron Brachman… Journalist, pundit and author, known for writing Kausfiles, Robert Michael “Mickey” Kaus… Israeli cryptographer, he is a co-inventor of the RSA algorithm and one of the inventors of differential cryptanalysis, Adi Shamir… Member of the Knesset for the Noam party, he is a deputy minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Avigdor “Avi” Maoz… Founder of Kehilas Pnei Menachem, Rabbi Shaul Alter… Professor of Bible at JTS and a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, Benjamin D. Sommer… Partner at SKDK, Jill Zuckman… Board chair of the Beau Biden Foundation, Hallie Olivere Biden… Stand-up comedian, writer and actor, Mark Moshe Kasher… British actress, Louisa Clein… Founder of Tumblr, David Karp… Chief of staff for Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Shira Siegel… Israeli freestyle wrestler, Ilana Kratysh… Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at Columbia University, Josh Lipson… Jeannie Gerzon… Maryland Del.-elect, he is being sworn in today in Annapolis, Ryan Spiegel…