Your Daily Phil: Herzog addresses Congress + Mazon workers look to unionize

Good Thursday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on a new effort to unionize employees of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and feature an opinion piece from Stuart Himmelfarb, David Elcott and Rabbi Laura Geller. We’ll start with Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress.

Speaking before a joint session of Congress yesterday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog made an impassioned argument in defense of Israel’s “vibrant democracy” at a time that internal divisions at home and left-wing criticism of Israel in Congress threatened to overshadow his speech, reports Gabby Deutch for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.

Herzog’s speech was peppered with statements about the strength and importance of the U.S.-Israel partnership, earning bipartisan standing ovations throughout. But at its core, the address was an assertion of Israel’s liberal and democratic values, with lines that appealed to both pro-democracy protesters back home and progressive lawmakers in the U.S. “The intense debate going on back home, even as we speak, is the clearest tribute to the fortitude of Israel’s democracy,” said Herzog, whose 41-minute speech garnered approximately 30 standing ovations.

For Jewish Americans, the several hundred seats in the gallery of the House chamber were the hottest ticket in town this week.

Herzog also highlighted the legacy of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, whose daughter, Susannah Heschel, was invited by the president to the speech, and his role in the civil rights movement. “After escaping from the Holocaust, Rabbi Heschel publicly advocated interfaith dialogue. He fought for civil liberties in America and marched alongside Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, in March of 1965,” Herzog said.

The guest list also included a diverse array of American Jewish leaders — among them the top Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis, and the leaders of the Jewish Federations of North America, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidentsof Major American Jewish Organizations, told eJP that he had met with Herzog at the Capitol and would meet with him again today, as the president travels to New York for meetings at the United Nations and for a reception with UJA-Federation of New York.

Read the full story here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.

Follow eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen for updates from Herzog’s New York visit today.

Jewish labor

Getty Images

Employees at Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger announced plans to form a union – a rare move for Jewish nonprofits – on Tuesday afternoon, giving the organization’s leadership 24 hours to respond, one of the organizers told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross. “We’re really united by the pride of working for an organization that is driven by Jewish values, and it’s those same values that are compelling us to unionize our workplace,” Lauren Banister, a Mazon organizer who helps teach synagogues about food insecurity and is one of the leaders of the unionizing effort, told eJP. “We really believe that the union will provide a path for collaboration between staff and management.”

More time: Liza Lieberman, vice president of communications at Mazon, told eJP that the organization was “more than willing” to have its workers unionize, but wanted more time to review the matter. “Mazon, as a progressive organization, is not opposed to its staff becoming unionized and Mazon supports unions,” Lieberman wrote in an email. “Because this is all new to us and there are legal issues involved, Mazon needs more than 24 hours to respond to Mazon United.”

What the data says: Earlier this year, Leading Edge conducted a study of Jewish organizations with unions, without unions or in the process of unionizing. “What we see is that for the organizations that have been unionized, the employees do report feeling more a sense of higher well-being and more work-life balance. When it comes to leadership and actually producing the work that needs to be done, they score dramatically lower than organizations that are not unionized,” the organization’s president and CEO, Gali Cooks, said on the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Identity Crisis podcast last month. (Leading Edge declined to speak with eJP about this topic.)

Read the full story here.

Age of experience

A new stage in Jewish life


“We are living more than 30 years longer than our grandparents, 30 years not tagged on to the end of our life but inserted actively in the middle, between midlife, when we build our families and careers, and, for some of us, the onset of dementia or frailty. It is a time of change, of resets and of exploration. And now the Jewish community is beginning to see this life stage of active aging and step up to the challenge of meeting active older adults where they are to engage them in Jewish and civic life,” write Stuart Himmelfarb, David Elcott and Rabbi Laura Geller, leaders of the Active Aging Network, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Next steps: “We sing in ‘Lecha Dodi’: Sof ma’aseh b’machshava tehillah – to make something real you have to start with imagination. At the end of the day, the convening [of Jewish organizations at a recent virtual gathering to discuss active aging] challenged Jewish organizations and leaders by asking, ‘Do we have the imagination and the support to make this happen?’ What, then, are the next steps? Reach out to one of the many partners in this effort. Let them know that, yes, the map of a person’s life is changing and that the priorities of our Jewish community need to recognize that the Jewish future demands that all of us, at every age of the life cycle, are counted and connected.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Slow Down, You’re Moving Too Fast: In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Chris Maddocks, former chief marketing officer at March of Dimes and former vice president of digital at UNICEF USA, argues that nonprofits need to stop relying on crisis fundraising to fill their coffers. “Driven by climate change, conflict, and the continuing effects of the pandemic — often dubbed a polycrisis — the global landscape is changing, and emergencies worldwide are becoming?increasingly interconnected, frequent, and severe. How will donors and nonprofits respond when everything is a crisis?…?In this world of increasing need and concurring crises, relying on emergency appeals to increase revenue seems logical.?Yet, doing so presents financial and strategic risks and needs to stop… the data demonstrates that people aren’t giving the way they used to. As a result, donors who respond during a crisis are even less likely to keep giving than in years past, making it more likely an organization won’t meet its financial needs beyond emergencies. Such boom-and-bust moments make it hard to plan annual budgets and execute holistic fundraising programs.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Around the Web

Lee Dranikoff was named chair of Hillel International’s board of directors. The organization also added four new board members: Tamar Remz, Laurie Blitzer, Samantha Brody and Gali Polichuk

Israel is starting a new reciprocity pilot program with the United States, easing the entrance of Americans with Palestinian and other nationalities into and through Israel, as part of Israel’s efforts to join the U.S. Visa Waiver Program… 

The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation donated a total of $23.7 million to three different organizations to create public parks in Ohio…

The Crown familyis restructuring its Aspen, Colo., ventures, bringing them all into one company, Aspen One, following the sudden death of Jim Crown last month in a car crash…

The Zilber Family Foundationdonated $20 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Joseph J. Zilber College of Public Health that the university said will support “faculty excellence and student achievement”…

Pic of the Day

Courtesy/MG Film Maciej G?siorowski

Jewish Ukrainian children pose during the launch of a new joint summer programming venture between Chabad of Poland, Israel’s Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism and Mosaic United. The initiative will provide activities for more than 200 Jewish Ukrainians in Warsaw.

“Our hope is that our program will provide these children with some semblance of normalcy and emotional solace this summer, in a fun and inspiring setting,” said the co-director of Chabad of Poland, Rabbi Mayer Stambler, in a statement.


Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Comedian and regular player on “Saturday Night Live”, Chloe Fineman

Retired U.S. senator (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski… Retired president of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman… Longtime Israeli diplomat, he served as ambassador to Germany, Yoram Ben-Zeev… Former commissioner on the Civil Rights Commission, assistant secretary of HUD in the Clinton administration, presently Vice Chair of the Bank of San Francisco, Roberta Achtenberg… U.S. District Court judge in Massachusetts, Judge Patti B. SarisNew York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Loren Friedman… Molecular geneticist at NYC-based Rockefeller University and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Jeffrey M. Friedman… Broadcast and digital media executive, Farrell Meisel… Professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Barbara Risman… Past president of the Women’s Department at the Jewish Federation of Detroit, Marcie Hermelin Orley... Los Angeles-based wardrobe consultant, Linleigh Ayn Richker… Public policy expert and author, Jane S. Hoffman… Former member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, she is a brigadier general in the IDF (reserves), Nira Shpak… Member of the Knesset for the United Torah Judaism party, Yitzhak Ze’ev Pindrus… USDOJ attorney at the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, Jack Achiezer Guggenheim… VP and political director of CNN, David Marc Chalian… Co-author of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame and author of the upcoming book The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future, he is a staff writer at The Atlantic, Franklin Foer… Southern states director at AIPAC, David Fox… Singer who burst on the scene as a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol, Efraym Elliott Yamin… Commissioner of the community affairs unit for NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Fred Kreizman… Co-founder and managing partner of the communications and branding firm of Main & Rose, Beth Doane… Co-founder and co-executive director of the progressive Indivisible movement, Ezra Levin… Former MLB player, he was a third baseman for Team Israel in 2023, now a coach for the Tacoma Rainiers, Ty Kelly… Software engineer at Home Chef, Ashley Abramowicz Gibbs… Anesthesiologist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Sheila Ganjian Navi… Senior policy advisor at the White House, Etan Raskas… SVP and head of investor relations at Vintage Investment Partners, Jonathan Tamir Alden… Actor and comedian, Joey Bragg… Goldie Fields…