Your Daily Phil: How to give to Israel now

Good Wednesday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we offer a guide for ways to donate effectively to causes in Israel and report on testimonies from the families of American citizens being held hostage by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. We feature an opinion piece from Betsy Stone about speaking to children about the war. We’ll start with reports from rallies and vigils organized by Jewish groups across the United States.

America stands with Israel: that’s the message unequivocally expressed by city leaders, government officials and tens of thousands of North American Jews at dozens of rallies and vigils across the continent in the wake of last week’s terror attacks carried out by Hamas in southern Israel, report eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen and Jewish Insider’s Tori Bergel.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro addressed a crowd in Philadelphia of some 1,000 members of the Jewish community and Israel supporters on Monday, touching on his Jewish identity. “For each of us, Israel means something special. Recognize what Israel represents: freedom, democracy and peace. Those are values that we as Americans, and we as Pennsylvanians hold dear,” Shapiro said at the event hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

On the West Coast, hundreds of demonstrators lined Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, home to a sizable Israeli population, on Monday carrying signs and Israeli flags. Many of their relatives were among the hundreds of thousands of reservists called up by the Israel Defense Forces.

In New York City, home to the largest population of Jews outside of Israel, thousands of New Yorkers of all backgrounds gathered at the U.N. Plaza on Tuesday night, where the parents of Omer Shem Tov, an IDF soldier being held hostage in Gaza, spoke. “We love you very much and know you are alive,” they said.

Dalia Handelman, a UJA-Federation of New York development associate, told eJP that “powerful doesn’t even begin to describe the scene tonight at the UJA/JCRC rally in support of Israel.”

Read the full report here.


Medics load an injured person into an ambulance after a rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists strike the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Oct. 10, 2023. (Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Since the deadly assault by the Hamas terrorist organization on southern Israel on Saturday, in which over 1,200 people in Israel were murdered and some 3,000 people were injured, Jews and Jewish organizations from around the world have sought to help those affected by the war and the country more generally, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Grassroots efforts: This has taken many forms. For people in Israel, there are a myriad ways to help as individual communities from across the country and of all faiths are coordinating aid efforts: offering homes, supplies and child care to those forced to flee southern Israel; helping the spouses of reservists called up for duty; sending meals and equipment to military units; transporting people out from areas under fire; mental health-care professionals offering free assistance to those affected by the war; and so much more.

From abroad: For Jews — or anyone — outside of Israel who wants to help the country, the scale of both the devastation and the relief efforts, from both established groups and new initiatives, can make it difficult to know how best to help. In order to facilitate the desire to contribute to the State of Israel and Israelis, eJewishPhilanthropy has put together a list of organizations and initiatives that are and will be needed based on conversations with people on the ground as well the relevant organizations.

Read the full list here.


Relatives of American hostages in Gaza plead for U.S. assistance

Relatives of U.S. citizens that are missing since Saturday’s surprise attack by Hamas militants near the Gaza border, in Tel Aviv, Israel attend a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Seated from left: Jonathan Dekel-Chen, father of Sagui Dekel-Chen (35) from Nahal Oz; Ruby Chen, father of Itay Chen, 19, a soldier in the armored corps; Ayala Neta, daughter, and Nahal Neta, son of Adrienne Neta, 66, a nurse living in Kibbitz Be’eri; Rachel Goldberg, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, who was attending the music festival, and Jonathan Polin, Hersh’s father. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo)

TEL AVIV — A nurse and midwife who has delivered more than 1,000 babies. A soldier who swapped weekend shifts so that he could attend his brother’s bar mitzvah. A young man attending an outdoor rave with friends. A father awaiting the birth of his third child. The families of four American citizens who believe their loved ones are being held by Hamas in Gaza gathered in Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon to deliver a public, emotion-laden plea to both the Israeli and American governments, neither of which, relatives say, have provided adequate support or information about their family members, reports Melissa Weiss, executive editor of eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider, from the press conference.

Something terrible: Rachel Polin-Goldberg, who grew up in Chicago and now lives in Jerusalem, last heard from her son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, on Saturday morning. Goldberg had turned her phone off on Friday evening as the sunset ushered in Shabbat and Simchat Torah. After a siren alerted her to a rocket attack near Jerusalem on Saturday morning, she turned on her phone, concerned about Hersh, who was attending the Tribe of Nova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im. “I turned my phone on, I believe, at 8:23 in the morning,” Polin-Goldberg said. “And when I turned it on, there were two texts in a row from Hirsch at 8:11. The first one said, ‘I love you’ and immediately at 8:11 also it said, ‘I’m sorry.’ And so I knew immediately wherever he was, it was a terrible situation.”

A pogrom: Of the roughly 400 residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz more than half have been killed or taken hostage, according to Jonathan Dekel-Chen whose 35-year-old son, Sagui, was taken hostage as he and other men on the kibbutz attempted to overpower the terrorists who had infiltrated the property. The roughly 160 survivors “call this a pogrom,” the elder Dekel-Chen said. “As such,” he continued, “it seems to me that the United States, my original home, and still a very beloved place for me, always wants to be and must be on the side of good.” He called on the “United States government, to the Congress, to do what they can on the side of good here. We’re waiting to Sagui to come home.”

Read the full report here andsign up forJewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.


In Boston, politicians call for action, support for Israel, Jewish community after deadly terror attacks

US Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) speaks at a rally for Israel in Boston Common on Oct. 10, 2023. (Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

BOSTON — Thousands of Jews and supporters of Israel gathered in Boston Common on Monday afternoon for a vigil in solidarity with Israel after Saturday’s brutal terror attacks and subsequent rocket fire in which over 1,200 people were murdered and thousands injured, reports Tori Bergel from eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider from the event.

Time for action: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a staunch progressive who has at times been at odds with Israeli policy, was moved during her remarks, telling the crowd, “My heart is with those who lost their lives too early, with those who have lost loved ones, with those who have been wounded in body and spirit. I am here to grieve with you. I am here to stand in solidarity… But standing in solidarity does not mean standing still,” she added. “Standing in solidarity means action, it means shouldering the obligations of a strong and faithful ally,” a sentiment others who spoke during the afternoon’s event mirrored as well, including Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

Read the full report here.


Guidance for talking to our kids

Snesky/Getty Images

“From youth educators to congregational rabbis to executives at organizations and foundations, many of us are facing hard conversations with the young people closest to us at home or at work, and are anxious about how they are processing the tragic events of this past week. All of the professional training in the world for talking about Israel might feel insufficient when the situation is this fresh, unprecedented and frightening,” writes Betsy Stone, author of Refuah Shlema: Reflections on Healing and Growth, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Heart, head, hand: “Heart is how we feel. Head is what we think and believe. Hand is what we can do. Very often we rush away from ‘heart’ because it’s simply too painful; but feelings matter, and they get in the way if we don’t name them. The response to ‘I am scared’ is not reassurance that there’s nothing to be afraid of. The better response is simple: ‘Tell me more.’ Make space for your children, and you, to feel. Humans feel.”

Let them lead: “Remember that conversations with children about a challenging subject — whether it is war or sex or divorce — should be led by children. They let us know how much they can absorb at a time. Create space for their questions, and answer those. Speak in sentences, not paragraphs. They don’t need your opinions about this government. They need to know that you are a person who will listen to their concerns.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Cultivating ‘Philanthropic Identity’: Could a weeklong classroom module about philanthropy help a group of sixth graders in Tanzania see themselves as capable changemakers? In HistPhil, professor Lindsey McDougle recounts the premise and findings of her 2022 experiment at a Tanzanian private school. “Today, philanthropy is often viewed as a lavish and overly conspicuous activity, and a philanthropist is often thought of as someone from a specific demographic — e.g., a wealthy individual who makes substantial financial donations or megagifts. As a result, for many young people, the idea of philanthropy, and by extension the idea of themselves as philanthropists, is unrelatable. … Experiential philanthropy is a transformative service-learning pedagogy that goes beyond traditional classroom instruction by allowing students to actively engage in philanthropic decision-making around issues and causes that matter to them. … By participating in experiential philanthropy, studies show that young people begin to see themselves as more than merely beneficiaries of someone else’s generosity (whether monetary or otherwise). They begin to see themselves as active and capable agents of positive change in the world.” [HistPhil]

Around the Web

Boxer Floyd Mayweather voiced his support for Israel in an Instagram post and sent aid to the country with his private jet…

The Israeli listings website Yad2, similar to Craigslist, has opened a new page (in Hebrew) on its platform to match people in Israel displaced by the war with people able to host them…

The United Hatzalah emergency medical service has so far raised $11 million in a new campaign to purchase supplies following the outbreak of war in Israel…

Julia and Yuri Milner, through their Breakthrough Foundation,  donated $5 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for the Victims of Terror, the largest donation to the 21-year-old fund…

American Jewish Committee President Michael Tichnor and his wife, Karen; Sheila and Ben Plotkin; and the Meyer family will match the first $225,000 donated to the AJC for programs related to the war in Israel… 

Christie Herrera was appointed the next president and CEO?of Philanthropy Roundtable

A report by the Center for Evaluation Innovation found that nearly 80% of foundations reported a change in their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the past three years, up from approximately half in 2019…

Joel and Gail Morganroth donated $6 million to the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Fla., for the construction of a new campus… 

A new study by Independent Sector found that nonprofits have “displayed resilience and adaptation” during the COVID-19 pandemic

Charles Feeney, a duty-free mogul who donated his nearly $8 billion fortune to various charities, died on Monday at 92…

Pic of the Day

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Joe Biden issues a statement of support and solidarity for Israel yesterday following Saturday’s deadly terror attacks.

“There are moments in this life, and I mean this literally, when pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed in this world. The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend,” Biden said, speaking from the White House’s State Dining Room.


Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Professor emeritus of history at UCLA, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and the Israel Prize, he won a MacArthur Genius fellowship in 1999, Saul Friedländer

Former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted then VPOTUS Spiro T. Agnew in 1974, he is the author of four novels, Ronald S. Liebman… Israeli novelist and documentary filmmaker, Amos Gitai… U.S. senator (D-WA), Patty Murray… Senior circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Barry G. Silverman… Past president of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Md., Helane Goldstein… Israeli ambassador to Germany, he has also been Israel’s ambassador to both the U.K. and the U.N., Ron Prosor… NYC-based philanthropist, Shari L. Aronson… Former EVP at JFNA, now CEO at the Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation, Mark Gurvis… Owner of Sababa Travel, Sharon Rockman… Los Angeles-based real estate agent, Peter Turman… President and CEO of NYC-based real estate firm Tishman Speyer, Rob Speyer… Chief commercial officer at Tysons Corner, Va.-based 10Pearls, Asher Epstein… Chief executive at the U.K.-based Anglo-Israel Association, Joshua London… Member of the Council of the District of Columbia, Brianne Nadeau… Political journalist, opinion commentator and satirist, he is the host of an eponymous podcast, Jamie Weinstein… Actress and model, Michelle Trachtenberg… Michael Dickson…