Your Daily Phil: Holocaust Museum LA receives $2.5 million from state of California

Good Thursday morning!

California state legislators will announce today $2.5 million in funding for the expansion of Holocaust Museum LA, which will support a new learning center pavilion and make the museum more accessible to underserved communities, State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who chairs the Jewish Caucus, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

The funds will come from a $13 million state budget allocation to Holocaust education institutions, including $10 million to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. On Oct. 6, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education. The funds for Holocaust Museum LA will help the institution reach more people by making more efficient use of its space, Gabriel said: “We’re concerned about the lack of awareness and knowledge of the Holocaust. The way young people in California learn about the Holocaust and by genocide is by visiting these institutions.”

The creation of the council caps a period of concern by Jewish residents and their allies in the state about rising antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment. The state’s new ethnic studies curriculum has been revised, but an early version referred to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel as a global social movement while omitting any reference to antisemitism. In September, members of United Teachers Los Angeles proposed a resolution supporting the BDS movement, which was tabled.

“The State of California is sending a clear message about the importance of education in helping to prevent a tragedy like the Holocaust from happening again,” said Jeffrey I. Abrams, regional director of ADL Los Angeles. “This is even more important as school districts across the state work to implement the law that makes California the first state in the nation with ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement.”

Founded in the 1960s by a group of Holocaust survivors who agreed that their mementos and documents had educational value and needed a permanent home, the museum is open seven days a week and is free to California residents due to the founders’ insistence that no one unable to pay be turned away.

The numbers are in

Pandemic fuels 3.7% increase Jewish day school, yeshiva population


One of the unexpected byproducts of the coronavirus pandemic was a boost in enrollment at Jewish day schools and yeshivas — a nearly 4% increase after more than a decade of declining enrollment numbers, according to Prizmah: the Center for Jewish Day Schools. The increase was driven in large part by the 80% of families who moved their children from public schools into Jewish day schools during the pandemic and decided to keep them there, Prizmah CEO Paul Bernstein told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Investment decisions: “These families realized that the experience their kids could have in Jewish day school was an incredibly rich one,” Bernstein said, noting that the families who are staying originally moved their children out of desperation at the deterioration of the quality of education wrought by the pandemic on many public schools. The total population of day schools and yeshivas served by Prizmah now numbers 85,000 due to the increase of 3,100 new students in the last two years. Philanthropists — both longtime supporters of Jewish schools and newcomers — see the 3.7% increase as an indication that Jewish schools are a good investment, said Ann Pava, who has served as Prizmah’s board chair. 

Attracting new supporters: In January, Pava and her husband announced the launch of the Micah Foundation, which is focused on day schools and the expansion of women’s role in the Orthodox movement. “It’s more enjoyable to invest when something is growing,” she said, adding that Prizmah itself has attracted new supporters, including foundations that have made multi-year commitments. The study was sent to Prizmah’s network of about 300 schools, of which 146 responded. Non-denominational, pluralistic or Conservative or Reform movement schools comprised 70% of the respondents, while Orthodox and Modern Orthodox schools comprised 30%. Over 20% of the schools are located in the region that includes the Northeast and metropolitan New York, which extends from Maine to northern New Jersey. At Orthodox and Modern Orthodox schools, enrollment rose 2.5%, while it rose 4.5% at non-denominational, pluralistic and Conservative and Reform movement schools. 

Read the full article here.

Sunrise sunset

Sunrise Movement’s DC chapter boycotts event due to ‘participation of Zionist organizations’

A large voting rights rally set to take place on Capitol Hill this weekend has become steeped in controversy after the Washington chapter of the Sunrise Movement — an influential progressive environmental advocacy group — released a statement on Tuesday announcing it would not take part in the event “due to the participation of a number of Zionist organizations.” The statement also announced that the movement would no longer join coalitions with Zionist organizations, naming the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA), Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.

Not democratic: “This idea that you are told that you have to reject your support for Israel to participate in American public life on issues that you care about, that is what’s antisemitic and anti-democratic,” said Joel Rubin, the executive director of American Jewish Congress who previously served as Bernie Sanders’s Jewish liaison during his 2020 presidential run.

Standing by it: Sunrise DC rooted its reasoning in its support for Washington, D.C., statehood. “We will continue to fight for statehood for DC in the United States and for the liberation of Palestine,” the chapter’s statement said. Sunrise Movement DC has stood by its statement in the face of criticism from Jewish activists and organizations that it is antisemitic. The national staff of the Sunrise Movement did not respond to multiple requests for comment to clarify whether they support the Washington chapter’s position.

Elephant in the room: In separate statements to Jewish Insider, senior leaders at the RAC, NCJW and JCPA expressed commitments to dialogue and coalition-building but did not criticize the Sunrise Movement by name nor call the group’s stance antisemitic. When asked specifically what they thought about the Sunrise Movement statement and its language about Zionism, all three declined to elaborate.

Read the full story here.

We’re not there yet

Creating a meaningful, inclusive Jewish community

Julia Grabowska from Pixabay

“I have an aunt who, like me, enjoys writing. While I write about disability issues, she writes first-person stories that, while I always enjoy reading them, I don’t find them particularly relevant to my life personally. That changed recently when I read an article she wrote about how a message contained in a children’s book she loved related to Yom Kippur,” writes Chicago Keshet board chair Michelle Friedman in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Important job: “The book is a nice story about how a little lighthouse whose job it is to guide the ships and planes safely feels usurped when the great gray bridge is built. But the bridge kindly explains that the lighthouse isn’t useless; they both have important jobs to do to accomplish an important goal: keeping the river safe.”

Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month: “My aunt’s article then went on to relate that theme of being needed and feeling useful to the holy day of Yom Kippur: ‘On Yom Kippur, we recite words from Psalms during the Musaf prayers and with a full and humble heart, we ask the Almighty, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” No one … not even a little lighthouse in a storybook, wants to feel cast aside and forgotten.’ This last part of my aunt’s article resonated with me and impels me to write yet another article now about Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, coming up in February. My hope is that there is still time to effect real change.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Anglo Action: In the Jerusalem Post, Anglo Vision founder David Fine recommends the next head of the Jewish Agency for Israel be a member of the Anglo community — noting that three of the eight current candidates were born in English-speaking countries. “Those of us who came from the Diaspora and have since moved to the Jewish homeland remain with one foot firmly in both worlds. We may have moved the focus of our lives to Israel, but we maintain ongoing and regular ties to family, communities and friends left behind, and regularly visit to see for ourselves the reality of Jewish life outside of Israel. In fact, one could argue that the Jewish Agency’s mission statement is almost an expression of our physical manifestation.” [JPost]

 Maternal Wisdom: Words from her mother to a 4-year-old Elise Westhoff, now CEO and president of the Philanthropy Roundtable, were what compelled her to pursue philanthropy as a career, Westhoff told attendees at the organization’s annual meeting in a welcome speech that connected her personal story to the organization’s values. Westhoff’s mother told her that she had the power to chart her own path, and the roundtable sees that power as rooted in the free market system and philanthropic freedom. “The success of American philanthropy is based on the freedom to find the unique causes we care about and invest in them,” Westhoff said. [PhilanthropyRoundtable]

True Tipping Point: It’s generally acknowledged that momentum for a shift toward more equitable donor-grantee relationships is growing, yet proponents of that change also know the nonprofit sector has approached it in the past, only to snap back into old habits and attitudes, state Tanya Beer, Ben Cairns and Shaady Salehi in a transcribed conversation posted on the website of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. Changes to processes such as application and grant report procedures are only the first — and the easiest — step in transforming philanthropic culture. “A trusting relationship between funder and nonprofit is ultimately about shifting power, not shifting paperwork,” states Salehi. “In the guise of risk management, due diligence, and good strategy, funders often exert high levels of control over nonprofit self-determination and decision-making.” [JohnsonCenter]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announced a $20,000 donation to the BlazeSports America’s Jr. Hawks Wheelchair Basketball program… JScreen is partnering with Jewish Nevada and Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson, Nev., to offer discounted gene cancer testing for Jewish Nevadans to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month… The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $120 million pledge to expand access to the COVID-19 antiviral drug molnupiravir in developing nations… Bloomberg Philanthropies and theInternational Solar Alliance will partner to support the use of solar energy by ISA member countries…

Pic of the Day

OTS Darkaynu

Twenty teens and young adults from the U.S., Canada and England arrived in Israel this week to participate in Ohr The exhibition “Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try” opens tomorrow at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, featuring the “War Series” of the Holocaust survivor, who lost his mother, grandmother, sister and girlfriend alongside about 25,000 other Jews during a weeklong killing spree near the Rumbula forest near Riga, Latvia.


Folk and folk rock musician, he serves as the treasurer of the William Davidson Foundation, Ethan Daniel Davidson turns 52…

Emmy Award-winning reality courtroom personality, “Judge Judy,” Judith Sheindlin turns 79… News anchor who worked for 36 years in Philadelphia and author of three books on the Beatles, Larry Kaneturns 79… Professor of Hebrew literature and philosophy at Harvard University, Shaye J. D. Cohen turns 73… Beverly Hills resident, she is a national board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Terri Smooke… Former prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu turns 72… Novelist, screenwriter, journalist and film producer, Amy Laura Ephron turns 69… Cardiologist and medical director at the Center for Women’s Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, Dr. Nieca Goldberg turns 64… Legislative director for Massachusetts state Sen. Jo Comerford, Brian Rosman turns 63… Managing principal and chief investment officer at Penso Advisors, Ari Bergmann  turns 60… Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourlaturns 60… Austin-based commercial insurance consultant, Mitchell B. Davis turns 59… Principal at Viewpoint Worldwide LLC, David L. Bernstein turns 55… Emmy Award-winning television producer best known for her work on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” Marci Klein turns 54… Russian-born classical composer and pianist, she emigrated to New York City at age 4 and is a graduate of Juilliard, Lera Auerbach turns 48… Mayor of Phoenix, Kate Widland Gallego turns 40… Israeli musician, model and actress, Ninet Tayeb turns 38… Director of Jewish community relations and government affairs at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Joshua Sayles turns 37… Nonprofit manager previously at Soaringwords and Areivim Philanthropic Group, Dori Tenenbaum… Chief information officer at Aish Global, Dan Hazony turns 34… Jerusalem-based journalist, Eliana Rudeeturns 30… Actress, model and writer, Hari Nef turns 29… Fourth-year medical student at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Stuart “Shimmy” Jesin turns 27… Occupational therapist, Yael Applebaum…

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