Your Daily Phil: How Meyers Leonard came to a JCC to coach and apologize + NJHSA’s new jobs program
Good Wednesday morning!
The Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies (NJHSA), an association of more than 140 local organizations, will, for the first time, transcend its members’ geographical boundaries by delivering services through the internet in a new program that will match job-seekers with counselors and trainers across the country, NJHSA CEO Reuben Rotman told eJewishPhilanthropy.
“We never would have been thinking this way pre-COVID, because 90% of the services were provided in-person,” Rotman said. “This is a pilot and it’s a very different mindset to have local agencies working together like this.”
The U.S. National Jobs Initiative will be led by Sarah Welch, the former director of the career development center at Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh, who will start at NJHSA on Aug. 2. She will coordinate 20 agencies, including those in Atlanta, Colorado, Louisville and San Francisco, that will offer such services as career coaching, skills training and support groups.
“I am hopeful that there will be other human services that can be provided this way,” Rotman said.
The new program will be funded by a two-year, $1.75 million grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in addition to support from the Crown Family Philanthropies and other anonymous donors. It is a partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America, which will sponsor a custom online platformto facilitate client intake and referral for services to the other participating agencies. JPRO Network, the professional development organization, is also involved.
as told to
How Meyers Leonard came to a JCC to coach basketball — and apologize for using an antisemitic slur
Paul Frishman, the CEO of the Miami Beach JCC, knew the local Jewish community would be hurt by Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard’s use of an antisemitic slur while playing a video game in March on a live-streaming platform. But he also hoped for healing, a hope that was realized in June when Leonard spent a week at the center as a basketball coach in one of its summer camps, Frishman told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff in an account of how Leonard came to spend a week at the JCC.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
A slur goes viral: “I remember thinking that it was a terrible choice of words, and that the Jewish community would be hurt by this. He was on that video game format that is live-streamed. In today’s day and age, the spoken word gets out quickly. Right after it happened, there was a lot of discussion about it in the center, and a lot of hurt feelings. People were struggling to understand how someone could not be sensitive to such a blatant antisemitic slur, which is what Meyers Leonard said when he apologized, that he didn’t know what it meant.”
Kids who love the game: “At that point in the pandemic, we were open for business. We have a very strong athletics program here, and this was a topic that kids and parents were focused on. Sports are the vehicle through which we teach values. We have as many as 450 players of all ages who compete here in basketball — some casually, some on travel teams, some in the Maccabi Games [a global Jewish youth athletics competition]. There was a hope that we could create a better understanding, and a teachable moment.”
Spend a week with us: “We were planning a basketball camp for about 50 kids, and we had conversations internally that it would be an amazing opportunity for outreach. We thought that bringing him here would be wonderful for both him and for us, and we had a connection to the Miami Heat. One of the parents in that program, Steve Stowe, is a vice president with the team. Because of that, we had some access, and we knew that Meyers Leonard was hoping to connect with the community. He had already spent a lot of time with our South Florida community. He’d talked to rabbis and visited the Miami Beach Holocaust memorial. He spoke with [Holocaust] survivors. He’d been very remorseful and very emotional, and he’d said he wished he could go back in time and use different words.”
SOURCE OF PRIDE
Philanthropy is the lifeblood of the British Jewish community
“Walk around British universities, art galleries and museums, and take a look at the plaques and donor boards. You will see a disproportionate number of Jewish names. The philanthropy is reflected not only in showcase capital projects but also charitable projects, programmes and initiatives, and the list of top donors to many causes,” writes Zaki Cooper from London in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Long history: “Jewish philanthropy has a distinguished history in Britain. The likes of the Rothschild family were very active in the 19th century (and have continued their charity in modern times, playing a significant role in funding iconic institutions in Israel such as the Knesset, and now the National Library), but it came into its own in the post-WWII period. Successful family businesses set up their own foundations, such as Wolfson (1955), Rayne (1962), Clore (1964), Wohl (1965) and, more recently, Pears (1991). Jewish donors contributed to hospitals, schools, art galleries and all manner of other institutions.”
High percentage of givers: “Furthermore, research shows that the Jewish community gives to charity at a higher rate than the general population (a JPR study in 2016 showed that the national figure was 57% but the Jewish community’s was 93%). There is also compelling evidence to suggest that Jewish ‘high net worth individuals’ tend to be more charitable than their non-Jewish counterparts. For instance, analysis of the Giving List of 2014 showed that 12 per cent were Jewish.”
Creating camp communities of belonging for all
“In the wake of last year’s racial reckoning, more white people became aware of the somber realities of racism and structural oppression and acknowledged that no community was free from oppression, including our own Jewish communities, congregations, and camps,” write Union for Reform Judaism staff professionals Yolanda Savage-Narva and Ruben Arquilevich in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Work in process: “The URJ, having already been in the process of an organizational-wide focus on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI), decided that we must further help our camps (and congregations) respond to this reckoning with a thoughtful long-term commitment to creating communities of belonging for campers and staff of all backgrounds.”
Keeping our eye on the ball: “Despite the enormous amount of preparation that has gone into ensuring that this summer is as safe as possible from COVID-19 for our campers and staff, we recognize that for all campers to be safe, we must also provide our camp staff with shared language and knowledge around REDI. This includes recognizing and understanding the many ways that our camp communities, despite positive intentions, might unintentionally harm campers and staff with marginalized and often under-represented identities.”
New Pillar: Alibaba shareholders Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, who own the Brooklyn Nets, began their philanthropic journey with a focus on science and have more recently emerged as supporters of social justice causes, reports Ade Adeniji in Inside Philanthropy. Last year, they launched the Social Justice Fund with $50 million, and they also support the Black Voices for Justice Fund. “When George Floyd was murdered, it just became a great opportunity to put some of my principles and values down on paper,” Clara Wu Tsai said. “We wrote a social justice commitment statement and a five-point plan that has kind of been the framework.” [InsidePhilanthropy]
Conscious Uncoupling: For Wisconsin Public Radio, Megan Hart tells the story of Anshe Poale Zedek Synagogue, which was founded in Manitowoc more than 100 years ago and closed in March of this year after working for almost a decade with the nonprofit Jewish Community Legacy Project to thoughtfully disburse its assets. The congregation gave its Torahs to other communities, including one in Africa and one in the nearby city of Sheboygan, and donated its remaining funds to local charities and to provide scholarships for students pursuing Jewish studies. “It wasn’t just close the door, turn in the key and walk away,” said Bill Schwartz, the synagogue’s last president. [WPR]
Labor Of Love: Writing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Jewish philanthropist Laura Lauder announce a new campaign — United Through National Service — that aims to highlight service’s potential to unify and heal the country. The initiative will use national and social media to share the stories of diverse figures who have experienced the benefits of national service, and will culminate during the week leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. “We urge President Biden to join us by calling a generation of young people into service,” Lauder and McChrystal conclude. “We hope Congress has the courage to make a bold investment, and we encourage fellow philanthropists and leaders of all types to join us in this work.” [ChroniclePhilanthropy]
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Word on the Street
The Chelsea Foundation announced the launch of a new partnership with the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and the Israeli Football Association to help expand a sports program for Jewish and Arab children in Israel… Itemized deductions, including charitable deductions, will be capped for high-earning taxpayers in Colorado beginning next year… New York University’s Stern School of Business has announced a $50 million gift from the Berkley Family Foundation in support of undergraduate scholarships… The Wolfson Foundation in London has announced grants totaling more than £17 million ($23.4 million) in its latest round of funding… The Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria (Australia) has secured a Besen Family Foundation grant to boost the governance skills of member synagogues…
Pic of the Day
Monday night, MK Shirley Pinto delivered the first-ever Knesset speech in sign language.
Architect and designer, he is most identified with Habitat 67, Moshe Safdie…
MLB pitcher (1971-1981) for the Giants, White Sox, Cubs and Orioles, now a sportscaster and author, Steve Stone… Film producer, best known for the Lethal Weapon series, the first two Die Hard movies and the Matrix trilogy, Joel Silver… SVP and wealth management advisor at the Los Angeles office of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Scott Shagrin… Chairman and CEO of both Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners, Howard Lutnick… Venture capitalist and a partner at Accel Partners, James W. Breyer… Columnist for the Chicago Tribune until two weeks ago, Phil Rosenthal… Principal at Oakland-based Full Court Press Communications, Daniel Eli Cohen… Member of the Washington State Senate, David S. Frockt… Rapper and record producer from Brooklyn known as “Ill Bill,” he is the producer, founder and CEO of Uncle Howie Records, William “Bill” Braunstein… Professor in the department of genetics at the Harvard Medical School, David Emil Reich, Ph.D… Retired mixed martial artist, now a life coach, Emily Peters-Kagan… Editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, Eliana Yael Johnson… Interior designer, Tehillah Braun… Professional golfer with four tournament wins in the Asian and European tours, David Lipsky… Founder at Bashert Group, LLC, Daniel B. Jeydel… Program officer at Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago, Rachel Giattino… Rabbi Menachem Shemtov… Special projects associate at GlossGenius, she also operates the Instagram feed called Second Date Shadchan, Elizabeth Morgan “Lizzy” Brenner… Adjunct Professor at Hebrew University and President of Jerusalem based Lankin Consulting serving nonprofits Eric Lankin…
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