Your Daily Phil: Hebrew College expands interfaith work + HIllel’s brand refresh

Good Monday morning!

In response to growing diversity in the Jewish community, Hillel International, the Jewish college student and young adult engagement organization, is refreshing its brand and the language it uses for communications.

The organization’s preexisting logo is now paired with the tagline “All Kinds of Jewish,” with the phrase “recommended for most communications directed toward current and unengaged students,” according to guidance for the new branding. 

Hillel professionals are now told not to use terms like “kid” or “crew” to avoid infantilizing students, and to say “first-year” rather than “freshman” because the latter word is gendered. The phrase “walk across the stage” is being replaced with “cross the stage” to avoid ableism when talking about graduation.

“We are proud that the themes, design and messages of this updated brand identity reflect the full diversity of the students who make up the Hillel community at more than 850 college and university campuses around the world,” said Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International. “Whatever a student’s race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, activities and interests, or level of Jewish knowledge and affiliation, there is a place for them at Hillel.”

The 2020 Pew Research Center study of Jewish Americans showed that 15% of Jews under the age of 30 identify as Black, Hispanic or as other non-white races. For Jews 50 years and older, only about 3% identify as non-white. Meanwhile, a quarter of Jewish adults under the age of 30 identify as LGBTQ.


Hebrew College partners on national fellowship with Interfaith America

Interfaith table dinner

The Miller Center of Hebrew College, the institution’s project to build relationships with different religious groups, is expanding its Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) fellowship to the national level with a new partnership with Interfaith America. The revamped program, now called the BILI Launchpad Fellowship and running August through April 2023, includes 26 undergraduate college students and 12 mentors from across the country who will work through a curriculum that helps build relationships across different faiths, reports Lev Gringauz for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Current events: “It feels urgent to me to try and create such a program in a time of heightened polarization in this country and elsewhere in the world,” Rabbi Or Rose, director of the Miller Center, told eJP. “We want to try and play a constructive role in raising up a new generation of interreligious, cross-cultural leaders that are dedicated to trying to work together.”

Open source: To make a dent on interfaith relations outside of the fellowship itself, the Miller Center is also putting the material it has so far from the BILI program online for free. “We’ve always been very open and open source, and this isn’t as much about proprietary information, or [that] we have secrets that we have to keep close to our chest,” said Rev. Tom Reid, associate director of the Miller Center. “It’s always been about the work…about shaping people to be better leaders and better human beings in a pluralist society.”

Read the full story here.


Elevating the early-career teen engagement experience

The Jewish Education Project

“When I began my career as a teen engagement professional, I set a lofty goal of doubling attendance for the local teen program. I tried everything to get teens to show up so I could reach my goal. But I was so focused on this one aspect of my work that my attempts at raising numbers failed each time. In James Clear’s groundbreaking book, Atomic Habits, he argues that when we set goals, we are often so focused on the outcome – whether it’s running a marathon, writing a book or becoming the next president – that we lose sight of the identity we are trying to embody. He states that if we really want to write a book, then we must embody the identity of the writer and approach every situation with the question, ‘what would a writer do?’” writes Jodie Goldberg, director of the Generate fellowship, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

The Generate fellowship: “For early-career teen engagement professionals, it is essential to help them establish strategic habits that will serve as a foundation for a career in the field of Jewish education. That’s why The Jewish Education Project created The Generate fellowship, a one-year fellowship experience aimed to provide early-career teen engagement professionals (0-3 years of experience) with the tools, skills and knowledge to become stronger mentors for the teens they serve.”

Being a mentor: “The Generate fellowship encourages early-career teen engagement professionals to shift away from setting goals to support their teens to embodying the role of ‘mentor’ for the teens they serve. In our pre-survey findings, only 26% of teen engagement professionals articulated they felt equipped to serve as mentors for the teens they serve. As a result of participation in the Generate fellowship, 95% of teen professionals saw themselves as more equipped to serve as a mentor for them.’” 

Sharing knowledge: “The Generate fellowship encourages early-career teen engagement professionals to embody a professional practice that shifts away from setting goals to locate resources that will elevate their teen programming to becoming professionals who are always engaging with diverse resources in order to elevate their professional practice. When a teen engagement professional begins their professional journey, there is no ‘guidebook’ provided for where to access resources to address the challenges they face and guide the teens they serve. Only 43% of fellows in year one of the fellowship said they actually knew where to access resources around teen engagement. By the time they completed the program, 76% of fellows said they knew where to go in order to access resources related to teen engagement.”

Read the full piece here.


People, then programs: Building a Jewish community in the nation’s capital

John Baggaley

“On a Wednesday night at the end of June, 20 young Jewish adults attended a Washington Nationals game together. Most of the group didn’t know each other prior to arriving that evening, and most didn’t even care for baseball. In fact, the only thing this entire group had in common was that either I or my colleague Lindsay Goldman had personally asked each attendee to come hang out with us that night,” writes Lilli Shvartsmann, a rising fourth-year rabbinical student at The Jewish Theological Seminary, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Our goal: “Just three weeks before the baseball game, Lindsay and I arrived in the Washington D.C. metro area with the goal of meeting college-aged interns — primarily in D.C. and the northern Virginia suburbs. We are both former Hillel interns, current rabbinical students at The Jewish Theological Seminary and Slifka-Nadich Fellows, participants in a fellowship that connects JTS rabbinical students to young adults and Hillels to teach egalitarian Torah and provide rabbinic presence.” 

Coffee dates: “After a week or two, and lots of follow-up (and creative outreach), our calendars were full of coffee dates. Most were with people who did not grow up involved in their congregations or Jewish communities, but were thirsty for a connection to Judaism that they had begun, for the first time, to pave for themselves. Others included folks who wanted to meet Jews their own age locally to form a community. I met students who converted to Judaism in college or grew up in interfaith families. At the coffee shop of their choice, we spent over an hour getting to know each other deeply, dreaming big of a Jewish world that included exactly who they wanted to be, and connecting over our passions.”

The challenge: “At the end of our initial hour together I knew exactly what each student wanted out of an amorphous Jewish experience this summer. Then I faced the real challenge: how to help them achieve it. The baseball game was our first effort to bring folks together. In a thin row of nosebleed bleachers, our students mingled and got to know each other, happy to gather with people in a similar stage of life. We formed micro communities in D.C. and northern Virginia, complete with Shabbat meals, weekly lunch and learns, and more social events like axe throwing, happy hours and bowling.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Bashing Antisemitism: In advance of the airing of the CNN special “Rising Hate: Antisemitism in America,” which she produced, Dana Bash, the network’s chief political correspondent, who is Jewish, spoke with Andrew Lapin of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about persecution, prejudice and reporting on antisemitism: “‘[T]he reason most Jews are in America is because we were persecuted wherever we were. Now, that’s true for other religions. That’s true for Christians, that’s true for Muslims, that’s true for others. America is the place where we’re supposed to be able to practice our religion freely. But we know the truth. The truth is that prejudice is very much alive and well, and has been from the beginning of this country. Deborah Lipstadt [the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism] said something to me about why she wears a Jewish star now. She said it’s because when somebody who is Black or somebody who is brown-skinned, Latina, somebody of color walks in a room, and there is a person who is prejudiced in that room, they know who that person is. When there is an antisemite in a room and a Jewish person walks in the room, it’s not immediately clear who we are, what our religion is – what our race is, if you really want to get down to it. And so she wears a Jewish star so she doesn’t hide, and to try to normalize the idea that we are not what the conspiracy theories and the tropes make us out to be.’” [JTA]

Be Unique: Because younger donors are generally drawn to cause-based philanthropy, smaller nonprofits can stand out by identifying what makes them unique, Pamela Barden writes in NonProfitPRO: “Depending on where you are located, you may be one of many addressing a specific need. What separates you from all the rest? When you know what that is — and you never miss an opportunity to proclaim it — you can help your organization to be viewed as one of the best, not just one of the rest. Your uniqueness will drive some people away. But if you pretend to be something to get that first donation, you either have to keep up the pretense or risk having a lot of one-time donors. Your goal should be loyal donors who stick with you, so give them the understanding that can build that dedication. When donors understand what makes you different, they can hear your message above all the other noise in the marketplace.” [NonProfitPRO]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

At a Moscow court hearing on Friday, the court postponed for 30 days its verdict on whether to close The Jewish Agency for Israel’s operations in the country…

Overall charitable giving increased 27% in 2021, buoyed in large part by continuing strength in financial markets with philanthropic activity returning to pre-pandemic trends, according to a new report from BNY Mellon Wealth Management

Cheryl Weiner Rosenberg has joined Repair the World as senior director of marketing and communications. She was most recently with Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools… 

Sara Brenner has been appointed the first executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Washington. She previously served as president of Community Wealth Partners…

Tzachi Rechter has been named the new head of school for Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos, Calif., beginning Nov. 1…

The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment announced an $85 million commitment in support of early literacy development in Indiana…

City Year received a five-year, $21 million commitment from the Ballmer Group to expand educational equity and nurture the next generation of civically engaged leaders…

Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., received an $8 million donation from donors who wish to remain anonymous to renovate and expand the Goodman Campus Athletics Complex…

The European Club Association has given nearly $700,000 to soccer clubs to assist displaced children and families during the ongoing Ukrainian humanitarian crisis…

Magen David Adom has secured two ambulances from donors in Nigeria following a Christian convention in the West African country. ??MDA U.K.’s chief executive, Daniel Burger, was the keynote speaker at the event to mark the 70th anniversary of Redeemed Christian Church of God in the capital city of Lagos… 

Ruth Taubman, philanthropist and co-founder of the Ruth and Edward Taubman Early Childhood Center in Boca Raton, Fla., died at 98…

Rabbi Shalom Cohen, spiritual leader of the Shas party, died at 91…

Pic of the Day

Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog (center with his wife, Didi) assumed his position as chairman of the executive at The Jewish Agency for Israel on Sunday. Almog chose to commence his first day in office by meeting with 180 young immigrants at Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem.


Thos Robinson/Getty Images for New York Times

Founder, president, co-CEO and co-chief investment officer of Elliott Management Corporation, Paul Elliott Singer… 

Emmy Award-winning television news journalist, formerly the weekend anchor of “CBS Evening News,” Morton Dean… Former director of Prozdor, the high school program of the Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., Margie Berkowitz… Dermatologist in Beverly Hills, Dr. Joyce Naness Fox… Founder of the magazine American Lawyer and the cable channel Court TV (now TruTV), he also co-founded NewsGuard, Steven Brill… Former chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby (family name was Liebowitz)… Chairman of Israel Military Industries (now known as IMI Systems), he was a member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Yitzhak Aharonovich… Robin Zetzel Elcott… Former MLB outfielder, then investment banker, he was the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and has served as president of B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Fla., Ambassador Mark Gilbert… Former investment banker who left his job to run a Los Angeles-based homeless service provider, he is now a professor at University of Southern California, Adlai W. Wertman… Chairwoman of Israel’s Strauss Group, Ofra Strauss… Co-founder of Marquis Jet and part owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Jesse Itzler… Director of political information and education at AIPAC, Ed Miller… Director of strategic partnerships at the Paul E. Singer Foundation, Deborah Hochberg… Member of the board of trustees of Lawrence, N.Y., Michael A. Fragin… Director of operations at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, Rachel Saifer Goldman… Partner in the Century City office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Stuart A. Graiwer… Co-executive director of Christians United for Israel, Shari Dollinger Magnus… Attorney and author, best known for her New York Times bestselling book, Notorious R.B.G.: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shana Knizhnik… Principal at CSR Operations LLC, an HR consultancy, Claire Stein-Ross… Actor known for his role as statistical genius Sylvester Dodd in the television series “Scorpion,” Ari Stidham… Outfielder in the Minnesota Twins organization, now playing for the Triple-A St. Paul Saints, Braden Adam Bishop

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