Your Daily Phil: How Israeli artists respond to Oct. 7

Good Monday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the Jewish Agency for Israel’s board of governors meeting in Jerusalem, and feature an opinion piece by Jeffrey Blutinger about facing an angry mob outside a lecture on the two-state solution. Also in this issue: Ike PerlmutterNaomi Dickson and Naomi RussellWe’ll start with the opening of a new exhibit of art related to the Oct. 7 attacks at Anu – Museum of the Jewish People.

The first response by Anu – Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv to the Oct. 7 terror attacks was to reopen as soon as the military started allowing gatherings of more than 300 people in central Israel, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

“Two weeks after Oct. 7, we got together, and we said, ‘We are a museum. We’re not a tank, we’re not an airplane. What we can do [for the country] is to be a museum and open’ — so we opened. We were basically the only museum in the center [of the country] that was open,” Anu CEO Dan Tadmor said in the museum on Friday.

“The second thing that we did was to create the start or the taste of an exhibition that dealt with the issue of the hostages,” he said. That initial “taste”  — pieces of art by and about hostages in the lobby — expanded into a full, temporary exhibition, titled ”October Seventh,” which opened on Friday.

“We are the Museum of the Jewish People. How could we have an event like [Oct. 7] and not have this be in the museum?” the museum’s chief curator, Orit Shaham-Gover, told eJP at the exhibit.

The temporary exhibition features dozens of works by Israeli artists related to Oct. 7 and the ongoing war against Hamas. Some of the works were created after Oct. 7, others were created before the attacks but either have relevant themes such as grief, loss and war or are now intrinsically linked to Oct. 7 because they or their creators were personally affected by it. Four of the 25 participating artists — Yonatan Hatzor, Roee Idan, Eviatar Kipnis and Heiman — were killed either in the initial attacks or in the war.

One painting, “Pavement and Mud,” a panoramic view of Kibbutz Be’eri painted by Ziva Jelin in shades of red and made to look as if the whole scene was dripping, was created in 2018. With its evocative color and style, it looks as though the landscape of Be’eri is itself bleeding — a chilling foreshadowing of the mass slaughter that took place in the kibbutz, which was decimated in the attacks.  The piece could have been part of the exhibition regardless, but what sealed its place in the Oct. 7 canon are the scratches and bullet holes in the canvas, made by the gunfire of Hamas terrorists as they rampaged through the kibbutz, hitting the shed where Jelin stored her works.

At the opening ceremony, Shaham-Gover stressed in her speech that the exhibit was “a snapshot” of how artists are responding to Oct. 7, not the final word on the subject.

“We have no perspective. We have no way to summarize an event that is still going on,” she said. “This is a snapshot.”

Shaham-Gover told eJP that the temporary exhibit is focused solely on the Israeli art world’s response to Oct. 7, but the museum intends to include the events of Oct. 7 in a permanent way in the future. That would also include how the terror attacks and ensuing war affected Diaspora Jewry as well.

Read the full report here.


The staff of the Jewish Agency's Victims of Terror Fund receives an award for its efforts since the Oct. 7 terror attacks at a meeting of the organization's board of governors in Jerusalem on Feb. 25, 2024.
The staff of the Jewish Agency’s Victims of Terror Fund receives an award for its efforts since the Oct. 7 terror attacks at a meeting of the organization’s board of governors in Jerusalem on Feb. 25, 2024.

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s board of governors awarded the organization’s Fund for Victims of Terror a certificate of appreciation on Sunday as its staff is expected to help more people in six months because of the Oct. 7 attacks than in the previous 21 years that the fund has been in existence, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Jewish solidarity: “Every time that I meet a victim of terror, I tell them that the entire Jewish community is standing with me in solidarity with that first emergency grant and in that complicated marathon of recovery,” said Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, CEO of the fund, said as her organization’s staff received the certificate on the first day of the board of governors’ three-day conference in Jerusalem this week. “From the day it was created 21 years before, the fund cared for 9,000 families. Since the disaster of Oct. 7 alone, the fund is expected to care for 10,000 victims, alongside the acts of terror that unfortunately continue to occur. Despite the enormous size, every victim of terror receives the same personal treatment from the women who run the fund,” she said.

New partnerships: During the conference, the organization officially launched a new program, Communities2Gether, which will partner Jewish communities from around the world with communities from the Gaza border region. This will be an expansion of the Jewish Agency’s existing Partnership2Gether program (once known as Partnership 2000), which established a network of “sister cities” between North America and Israel. “The aim is for this to be a long-term partnership model that will help rebuild these Israeli communities, restore hope and lead them towards a prosperous future,” the Jewish Agency said in a statement.

Read the full report here.


I tried to speak about a two-state solution at a university. The police had to evacuate me.

The author being escorted from the building by California State University Police.

“In my 22 years of teaching about Israel and the Middle East, I have never seen campuses as threatening to Jewish students and faculty as today,” writes Jeffrey Blutinger, a history professor and chair of Jewish studies at California State University, Long Beach, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Where are we headed: “Last week, police had to evacuate me from a building at San Jose State University (SJSU) after anti-Israel protesters flooded a hallway outside my guest lecture and created imminent danger for me and everyone else on that floor. The idea that I needed armed security at a university, which is supposed to epitomize the free and civil exchange of ideas and knowledge, appalls me as an academic… And if I cannot speak peacefully on a campus about both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because ‘Zionists are not welcome,’ what does that herald for the future of Jewish scholars and scholarship in American higher education?”

Fight for more: “While Jewish students on campuses across the country have found havens and connections at Hillel, Chabad and other Jewish campus groups, creating and supporting these ‘safe spaces’ is not enough. Yes, we must strengthen these organizations so Jewish students and even faculty have a place to gather where they are not under attack — but if we stop at creating safe spaces, we risk ceding the rest of campus as an unsafe space for Jews.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

A ‘False Dichotomy’: There is nothing inherently un-strategic about a trust-based approach to philanthropy, write Stacey Faella and Ryan Roberson in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “The concept of ‘strategic philanthropy’ has been around for a while… More recently, the concept of trust-based philanthropy has emerged, and the case for it tends to focus on the worthy goals of shifting power for justice and equity and alleviating the burden on nonprofit leaders. While these approaches do not oppose one another, trust-based philanthropy has been contrasted with strategic philanthropy… This in turn has lent itself to the misconception that certain trust-based practices are ‘lazy’ and less likely to produce results… The key differences lie not in whether to embrace and respond to evidence but rather in whose time, expertise, and experience are valued most. Actually, the core practices that define a trust-based approach to philanthropy can be very strategic and can lead to increased resource efficiency and outsized impact through multiple pathways.” [StandfordSocialInnovationReview]

Dramatic Works: In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Rasheeda Childress looks at how one university brought an eager supporter to lead its fundraising committee and found an unexpected new kind of event to raise awareness and solicit donations. “Fundraisers have long sought to cultivate longtime donors to become active volunteers and introduce the people in their networks to the organization. The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health’s example of a super supporter boosting its reach is dramatic — literally. A donor helped create a mystery play to engage new audiences, help the community understand the importance of the college’s work, and bring in new donors from her network… [Local philanthropist Katie] Weitz held a meeting with [fundraising] committee members, including Tom Henne and Tracy Hightower-Henne, to figure out how to create a program that would get people excited about public health. Inspired by a suggestion from Tom Henne, they hatched the idea of creating a mystery theater production… The three nights of the play raised $21,000, says Jessica Janssen Wolford, senior director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation… The play brought in 237 donors, many of whom were new to the college.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

In Need of Connection: Even with a $42 billion federal spending push to close the “digital divide” in America, funders need to join forces to successfully close that gap for the most vulnerable communities, write Chris Worman and Erica Mesker in a blog post for Connect Humanity. “A Connect Humanity survey of 7,500+ civil society leaders paints a clear picture of the scale of this challenge. While more than 90% of respondents said the internet is critical to their work, three in four said a lack of internet connectivity and tools limit their impact. Changing this is critical for the success of philanthropy… The Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program has made $42B available to subsidize broadband infrastructure in communities like his. The bad news is that this ‘once-in-a-generation’ funding is likely to pass over many of the low-income, rural, historically marginalized places that most need it… At every stage of the process, from challenging the flawed eligibility maps, to raising a 25% minimum match contribution, to attracting good internet service providers (ISP) partners, communities with fewer resources will struggle most to overcome the hurdles embedded in BEAD, putting them at the back of the line for funding. The result? The bulk of investment dollars will go to areas with lower build costs and higher-return potential, leaving gaps in the most undercapitalized communities… With BEAD alone unable to close the digital divide, there’s an opening for philanthropy to play a critical role in getting broadband to communities most at risk of being left behind.” [ConnectHumanity]

Around the Web

eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider profiles the reservists running in tomorrow’s municipal elections in Israel

Voters in tomorrow’s municipal elections will be able to register as organ donors at their polling places as part of a new initiative by Israel’s National Transplant Center

The Lee-Buckner School — one of thousands schools for Black children funded by Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald in the first half of the 20th century — was relocated to Franklin, Tenn., where it will be restored and turned into a historic site…

National Public Radio examines the history of Black-Jewish relations in the United States and how they are faring today…

In an opinion piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Justin van Fleet, executive director of the Global Business Coalition for Education and president of Theirworldexamines the educational challenges facing Ukraine two years into the Russian invasion…

Warren Buffett’s son, Howard, has pledged to donate $300 million in aid to Ukraine this year. This is in addition to the $500 million that he has already given in humanitarian assistance to the country…

The UCLA undergraduate student government passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, days after the graduate student government passed a similar measure, though the university’s administrators said they will not affect the school’s policies…

Israel’s Volcani Institute, an internationally renowned agricultural research center, warned that it would have to freeze all of its research work and break existing contracts for studies if the government proceeds with its plans to cut the institution’s budget by more than 20%…

American-Israeli businessman and philanthropist Ike Perlmutter is among the key backers of Right for America, a new super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump

An International Women’s Day event that was scheduled to be held in Ontario, Canad, which drew attention for canceling its keynote speaker, Leah Goldstein, over her past Israeli military service, has been canceled. Organizers said the event was called off due to “circumstances beyond our control”…

The British government is facing criticism for cutting funding to the Inter Faith Network, one of the country’s key organizations for Jewish-Muslims relations

The British publication Civil Society interviews Naomi Dickson, who last year was named CEO of Norwood, the U.K.’s oldest Jewish charity, which helps people with disabilities and their families…

The Jewish Chronicle profiles another charitable Naomi from the U.K.— Naomi Russell — who launched a food pantry in 2020 by giving away hametz before Passover and now runs food banks that help some 20,000 people a week…

The British rapper Wiley was removed from the ranks of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire after he repeatedly posted antisemitic views on social media…

Charlie Biton, one of the founders of the Israeli Black Panther movement that fought for equality for Mizrahi Israelis and a former member of Knesset, died on Saturday at 76…

Marc Pachter, who helped revive the National Portrait Gallery and oversaw a $300 million renovation of the institution, died earlier this month at 80…

Alfred Horowitz, a public relations expert and philanthropist who helped found and served as president of the American Museum of Immigrationdied earlier this month at 93…

Pic of the Day


Religious musicians Akiva (left) and Ishay Ribo perform at a benefit concert for displaced families and families of fallen soldiers in Jerusalem on Thursday, sponsored by Manhattan’s West Side Institutional Synagogue and hosted by Aish HaTorah. 


Annie Liebovitz smiles

CEO at Rutgers University Hillel, Lisa Harris Glass

Professor emeritus of sociology and Jewish studies at Rutgers University, Chaim Isaac Waxman, Ph.D.… Businessman and philanthropist, he is the president of the World Jewish Congress since 2007, Ronald Lauder… Professor in the sociology and anthropology school of Tel Aviv University, Yehouda Shenhav… Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter in multiple musical genres, he has sold over 75 million records, Michael Bolton… Former member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, now president of Beit Berl College, Yael “Yuli” Tamir… Julie Levitt Applebaum… Head of Israel’s National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi… Former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, now a partner at Arnold & Porter where he heads the crisis management team, Paul J. Fishman… Professor of sociology and bioethics at Emory University, Paul Root Wolpe… CEO and Chairman at Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals, Jonathan Sporn, M.D.… U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)… Partner at Unfiltered Media and digital strategist at turner4D, Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D.… Theoretical physicist who works on astrophysics and cosmology, Abraham “Avi” Loeb… Past president of MLB’s Miami Marlins, he was also a contestant in the 28th season of “Survivor” in 2014, David P. Samson… Motivational speaker, focused on anti-bullying, Jon Pritikin… First violin and concertmaster for the D.C.-based National Symphony Orchestra, Nurit Bar-Josef… Founder and editor-in-chief of TabletAlana Newhouse… Freshman member of the House of Representatives (D-NY), Daniel Sachs Goldman… Rebekah Victoria Paltrow Neumann… Brett Michael Kaufman…