Your Daily Phil: How nonprofits can use AI + White House to fete Jewish Heritage Month
Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on Hatch’s new ChatGPT-powered assistant helping nonprofits talk to donors and the White House’s upcoming Jewish American Heritage Month reception. We feature an op-ed from Rabbi Josh Whinston. Also in this newsletter: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, the U.K.’s Camp Simcha and Kenneth Bandler. We’ll start with the Anti-Defamation League’s appointment of Rabbi David Wolpe as its inaugural rabbinic fellow.
For the Anti-Defamation League, fighting antisemitism has until now involved a mix of politics, policing and education. Going forward, it will more explicitly include Yiddishkeit in that mix as well, reports Gabby Deutch for eJewishPhilanthropy.
This week, the organization that was created to combat anti-Jewish hate appointed Los Angeles Rabbi David Wolpe as its first rabbinic fellow, an advisor who will offer a Jewish perspective to the organization’s work fighting hate.
“I want this campaign against hate to speak with a Hebrew accent,” Wolpe told eJP on Tuesday. Wolpe will retire in June from Sinai Temple, the large Conservative synagogue where he has served as senior rabbi for more than 25 years.
An ADL spokesperson said in a statement that Wolpe will help “integrate Jewish values and a wide range of Jewish perspectives into the organization’s work fighting antisemitism and hate.”
After retiring from Sinai Temple, Wolpe will begin a number of other advisory positions. He will spend next year in Boston as a fellow at the Harvard Divinity School, and he will also serve as a senior advisor to Maimonides Fund’s “viewpoint diversity” project.
Wolpe said he wants his presence at both the ADL and Maimonides Fund, which are perceived by some as belonging to different ideological camps, to signal that politics is not the most important way to define someone. “Torah is bigger than politics, and God is bigger than interest groups,” Wolpe said.
AI for good
‘Sir Hatch’ uses ChatGPT to make it easier, cheaper for nonprofits to talk to donors
When Hatch, an AI-platform that maximizes nonprofit fundraising, launched in July 2022, CEO Moshe Hecht had a vision for the company’s mascot, Sir Hatch. He dreamed that one day Sir Hatch – a dapper, bespectacled man in a suit with tails, a hat and sporting a mustache – would serve as a virtual assistant, helping users market their nonprofit to donors, reports Jay Deitcher for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Humble beginnings: But at first, the main thing Sir Hatch did was write blog posts, and these were even secretly drafted by a Hatch employee due to the virtual assistant’s technological limitations. But then ChatGPT-4 was released in March 2023, and the potential of Sir Hatch’s potential grew exponentially. In no time, the mascot was drafting fundraising materials, letters, invitations, and “thank you” notes, individualized to specific donors, all generated more quickly than the time it took you to read this paragraph.
Supplement not replace: “I think it might take some people’s jobs,” Hecht told eJP about Sir Hatch. He said it was also likely to change the nature of the work that people are currently doing. “If you’re a nonprofit, and you already have a copywriter, you should expect triple the amount of content coming from them every week. My advice to every nonprofit is not to fire copywriters, because you still need that human touch, just expect more from them… If you’re a small nonprofit, and you haven’t hired a copywriter yet, then you might not need to for a longer period of time.”
Keep it safe: Two concerns Hecht had when creating Sir Hatch were security and data ethics. But there are ways to ensure that information isn’t misused. “ChatGPT can be safe if proper guardrails are put in place,” Reid Blackman, the CEO of Virtue, a digital ethical risk consultancy, the author of Ethical Machines, and a member of Hatch’s advisory board, told eJP. “At this moment, I recommend nonprofits be very careful with what personal information they share with ChatGPT, whether it’s about donors, the people they aim to help, or anyone else. Hatch has done this nicely, using it to generate messages to donors…without sharing the private information of those donors, including their names.”
White House to host Jewish American Heritage Month reception amid antisemitism talks
As the Biden administration prepares to release its national strategy on antisemitism, the White House will host a reception to mark Jewish American Heritage Month on May 16, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Gabby Deutch from eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.
Biden’s first: The afternoon reception will be hosted by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The event is “not tied to the strategy release,” a White House official told JI on Tuesday. Jewish American Heritage Month has taken place each May since 2006, when the occasion was first marked by former President George W. Bush. Former President Barack Obama held the first White House reception for the occasion in 2010. This is the first time Biden will host an event for Jewish American Heritage Month.
Shaping America: In a presidential proclamation, Biden said he “celebrate[s] the enduring heritage of Jewish Americans, whose values, culture, and contributions have shaped our character as a Nation.” He also outlined the objectives of the national antisemitism strategy, which he said is being developed “at my direction.”
Immigration work has changed my rabbinate
“In the spring and summer of 2018, news of the government building tent camps in the Texas desert started hitting media outlets. I was moved to take action, not only as a matter of personal conscience but also because of how I view my role as a rabbi serving the community who represents the values of the Jewish tradition,” writes Josh Whinston, rabbi at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, Mich., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
New relationships: “Immigration work … has brought me to Central America three times in four years as I try to understand the root causes of migration. It has brought me into relationships with priests, nuns and other Christians I likely wouldn’t have come to know.”
Multi-faith effort: “First, I learned something about how to work with national organizations. My first impulse was to find a national Jewish organization that could guide my desire to take action. I was initially frustrated that none of the organizations I approached were in a position to help. And yet that initial failure led me to partner with Christian colleagues. I realized how much more meaningful our activism was by virtue of it being a multi-faith effort. Going forward, finding partners outside the Jewish world on social justice issues will become ever more important.”
An Outsider’s Look at JFN: Writing for Inside Philanthropy, Wendy Paris profiles the Jewish Funders Network and what makes Jewish giving Jewish. “The New York City- and (now) Israel-based network includes more than 2,500 private foundations and individual philanthropists from 11 countries… While not a funding collaborative, JFN has helped incubate some major philanthropic initiatives in the Jewish world through its main roles as a connector and educator… JFN grew by about 35% over the past three years, said [Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, executive vice president of JFN], mostly from new, small family foundations and individual funders. ‘I think COVID had a lot to do with that. It woke people up to the fact that there is a global crisis.’ For [Zoya Raynes, one of JFN’s youngest board members], JFN’s growth speaks to the urgency of the world’s problems and members’ desire to join an educational conversation about effective giving. ‘The mandate JFN has is more important than ever, given how much needs to be done in the world,’ said Raynes. ‘We can do so much when we come together. These are things that bring us together.’” [InsidePhilanthropy]
On the Street: Reporter Andy Newman and photographer Hiroko Masuike detail their extended ride-along with New York City employees taking part in an innovative mobile mental health program to meet clients wherever they may be, in an article for The New York Times. “Intensive mobile treatment is a mostly unheralded but crucial component of Mayor Eric Adams’s attempts to tackle the overlapping crises of mental illness and homelessness. It is also a gentler, more holistic complement to blunter tactics that have grabbed more attention, like sending the police and sanitation workers to tear down encampments and taking people to hospitals against their will… The teams’ workers meet clients where they are, at shelters and hospitals, train stations and park benches. They go along to court dates and housing interviews and inject them with antipsychotic drugs on street corners… Their job, said Ashwin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner, is to be the glue that holds together the pieces of a fractured life… The city has found that the teams help people find stability, but the road there is steep and littered with obstacles.” [NYT]
Around the Web
The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem will partially open to the public in mid-May with a photographic exhibition marking 75 years of Israeli independence…
The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg received $1.5 million in funding from the state Senate for 2023-24. In 2022, it received $5 million. The money is for “facility improvements, remediation and related costs to expand, preserve and secure the museum’s environment”…
Israeli President Isaac Herzog will present the Presidential Volunteer Service Award to U.S.-born philanthropist David Hager, a co-founder of the Israel Defense Forces’ Nahal Haredi Battalion, which was designed to ease the integration of Haredi soldiers into the military…
Politico founder and publisher Robert Allbritton has committed $20 million to launch the Allbritton Journalism Institute, a nonprofit educational organization that will train aspiring reporters from different backgrounds to create “fact-based, non-partisan journalism on government and politics”…
The Cleveland Orchestra announced a $10 million gift from The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation to support improvements and future development of Blossom Music Center, the orchestra’s summer home…
Connections 2023, the biennial conference of The World Union for Progressive Judaism, opens tonight in Jerusalem…
Kenneth Bandler, longtime director of media relations for the American Jewish Committee, has retired…
Camp Simcha, a U.K. charity that provides practical, therapeutic and emotional support services to families coping with serious childhood illnesses, is extending its services to families of physical trauma victims and children suffering from serious short-term illnesses…
Pic of the Day
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, left, speaks onstage with Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt yesterday at the organization’s National Leadership summit in Washington, D.C. Moore said he was “horrified” by data published by the ADL showing a spike in antisemitic incidents, including in Maryland. “Every Marylander should know that this is a state that is going to protect them,” the governor said.
Veteran of 13 NHL seasons, who in 2005 sat out a hockey game to observe Yom Kippur, he is now an assistant coach for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Halpern…
Southern California-area writer and activist promoting wellness, she is the founder of the New Americans Museum in San Diego, Deborah Shainman Szekely… Founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, David A. Siegel… Senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at Reichman University, Ely Karmon… Television journalist, David Marash… U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID)… Venture capitalist and economist, William H. Janeway… Francine Holtzman… U.S. senator (D-OR), his original family name was Weidenreich, Ron Wyden… Six-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, Stewart F. Lane… Retired election law attorney, Benjamin L. Ginsberg… Retired in 2017 as chair and CEO of Mondelez International, Irene Rosenfeld…Real estate attorney, he is a senior counsel in the Chicago office of DLA Piper, Mark D. Yura… Political reporter and columnist for The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jeff E. Schapiro… Retired senior advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Susan Steinmetz… EVP at NBCUniversal News Group, Stephen Labaton… Former owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Mikhail Prokhorov… Lobbyist since 2010, he was previously deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in the Bush 43 administration, Scott A. Kamins… Israeli singer and actress, Miri Mesika…Reporter for Politico New Jersey and author of New Jersey’s Playbook, Matthew R. Friedman… Educated at the Hebrew Academy of San Francisco, he was a defensive lineman in the NFL from 2004 until 2011, Igor Olshansky… Managing director and head of executive communications of SKDKnickerbocker, Stephen Andrew Krupin… President of Flaxman Strategies, Seth Flaxman… Israeli minister for women’s advancement, she is a member of the Knesset for the Likud party, May Golan… Chief public engagement officer at Israel Policy Forum, Avi Weinryb… Benjamin S. Davis…