Your Daily Phil: Interview with AJC’s Ted Deutch + Boosting employee retention

Good Monday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we feature op-eds from Shanie Reichman, Mor Yahalom and Abigail Harmon. Also in this newsletter: Alex Soros, Deborah Lipstadt and Olena Zelenska. We’ll start with a conversation with American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch.

The American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum kicked off in Tel Aviv last night, before a crowd of 1,500 attendees from around the world. On the main stage at Sunday night’s plenary, Israeli President Isaac Herzog sat in conversation with AJC’s CEO. But for the first time in decades, the organization’s head was not David Harris, who stepped down last year, but Ted Deutch, who assumed the global NGO’s top job last fall after more than a decade in Congress. Ahead of the start of Global Forum, Jewish Insider‘s Melissa Weiss sat down with Deutch to discuss the transition, AJC’s efforts in the Gulf and the organization’s priorities under Deutch’s leadership.

Melissa Weiss: Let’s start with this trip. You were just in the UAE.

Ted Deutch: It was my first trip to the AJC Abu Dhabi office, which was exciting as not only the first Jewish organization to open an office in the UAE, but I believe one of the only NGOs in the world to have an office in the UAE, and I got to see up close the work that we do there, so it was a really gratifying trip. In the eight months [since joining AJC] I’ve come to appreciate in a much deeper way the breadth of our work, and so a lot of that was on display and in the few days that we spent in the UAE, it was the interfaith work that we do and visiting the Abrahamic Family House. We had a really meaningful meeting with the foreign minister [Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan].

MW: What were your conversations like with the foreign minister?

TD: He shares the same desire that we at AJC feel, that people who care about Israel feel, which is to really capitalize on what we’ve got and on what the Abraham Accords represents, and that means really trying to go full speed ahead and to make sure that there aren’t hurdles that stand in the way, that some of the political discourse that happens on the outside shouldn’t interfere. 

Read the full interview here.

israel-diaspora relations


“Since the pivotal November 2022 election in Israel, those invested in the Israel-diaspora relationship have been holding their breath, concerned that the bonds between the two largest Jewish communities in the world, Israel and the U.S., will erode,” write Shanie Reichman, director of IPF Atid at the Israel Policy Forum, and Mor Yahalom, former chief of staff to the deputy foreign minister of Israel, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

New phase in the Israel-diaspora relationship: “While this fear was very acute for us, it became clear that there was also an opportunity to seize this moment to advance a new phase in the Israel-diaspora relationship and strengthen the many values that the majority in our communities share. With this foundation, there will be a relationship to utilize for support in times of crisis, such as the conflict with terror organizations last month or a future diplomatic rift between our two governments.”

Long-term relationships: “Many of us in the American Jewish community have been seeking ways to invest in long-term relationships with our Israeli counterparts who share our values of a liberal-democratic state that embodies the values of equality and pluralism. Being Zionists in this moment means defining what future we want for the Jewish homeland and working towards it.”

Read the full piece here.

employee retention

Would coaching help your nonprofit hold on to employees?


“Every time I read a job posting in the Jewish community, I become curious as to why the last person left. With baby boomers retiring and fewer young people entering the workforce, our community faces a reduced labor force. We choose to work within this community because we strive to make the world a better place,” writes Abigail Harmon, creative director and development associate for Mersky, Jaffe & Associates, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Staff turnover: “However, mission-focused work still requires staff and funding, among many other essential elements. If your development staff is leaving every 18 months, it’s hard to keep raising money to do this important work. Moreover, it’s close to impossible to increase annual funds to provide new programs, not to mention keep up with inflation.”

What motivates employees?: “Of course, this is not unique to Jewish organizations. All Jewish, secular, local, national and international organizations are struggling to keep staff. It’s important to consider what motivates employees. In the early stages of my career, a boss gave me great advice. With every job you take, you have to consider the people you work with, the work you do and the money you make. Then choose the two out of three that are the most important to you.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Finding the Music in Tragedy: In The New York Times, Micaela Diamond, who performs in the now-Tony Award-winning play “Parade, describes her personal connections to and meditations on the story of Leo Frank, whose lynching spurred the creation of the Anti-Defamation League. “My character is Leo’s wife, who’s forced to face the unforgiving nature of racial supremacy and the impossibility of escaping her Jewish identity… To an audience, the only hint of her Jewish roots, at first, may be her curls. I can relate to Lucille — her Jewishness, her lack of Jewishness, her insistence on assimilation… Both Lucille and I wear jewelry with the Star of David; for me and perhaps for her, it symbolizes the history and resilience of our people. Along with the other Jewish cast members in our show, I stand in a circle and say the Kaddish before almost every performance. None of us regularly go to synagogue, but it is an expression of community as we tell this hard story.” [NYTimes]

The 2,000-Year-Old Man Nears 100: In The Atlantic, comedy director Judd Apatow interviews Mel Brooks, 97, delving into his experiences fighting in World War II, coming up in the Borscht Belt and his views on religion – with Yiddish sprinkled throughout. “Apatow: How do you think you would have been a different comedian if you hadn’t gone to World War II? Brooks: When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand totalitarianism. You don’t know what it’s all about, and why they’re shooting. You really don’t understand: Why war? When I found out what Hitler was doing with Jews, that was enough to drive me crazy. I don’t know whether I would fight in any other war, but I was gung ho… Apatow: Are you very religious? I’m seen as a Jewish comedy person. But I’m not very religious. Brooks: No. Apatow: And was your family not religious? I mean, my family wasn’t either. Brooks: Well, my family wasn’t religious, because we were pretty poor and my mother had to raise four boys with no husband… If she wanted to go to synagogue on a High Holy Day, they were charging a dollar to get in and sit down. And she had four children — that was five bucks. She simply couldn’t afford it. So, not that she wasn’t religious; she just couldn’t.” [TheAtlantic]

Around the Web

George Soros is handing the reins of this $25 billion philanthropic empire to his 37-year-old son, Alex

The University of California Santa Cruz joined Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative, which trains university staff to create an environment for Jewish students that is “free of antisemitism, harassment, or marginalization”…

U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt called on people to give the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was included in an addendum to the White House’s national strategy to combat antisemitism, a “chance to change” after the organization’s past anti-Zionist remarks… 

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced the country would be opening two museums dedicated to the country’s Jewish history…

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenskais expected to visit Israel this week at the invitation of Israeli First Lady Michal Herzog to learn about Israeli post-trauma initiatives…

The U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation into allegations of antisemitism against the State University of New York at New Paltz after two students said they were removed from an on-campus sexual abuse survivors group over their support of Israel…

Jerusalem Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amarcriticized recent harassment of Christians in the Israeli capital, writing in an open letter – in English – that “such behavior is strictly forbidden”…

Pic of the Day

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Tom Stoppard, standing with the cast of “Leopoldstadt,” accepts the award for Best New Play last night during the 76th Annual Tony Awards at United Palace Theater in New York City. The semi-autobiographical play follows a Jewish family over the course of 50 years, from living in high society in Vienna at the end of the 19th century, through the years following the Holocaust.


Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

Social psychologist, he is the director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, Leonard Saxe… 

Legendary advisor and senior of counsel at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Martin Edelman… Retired sportscaster for NBA games on TNT, Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig)… Partner at Gibson Dunn and former solicitor of labor in the Nixon and Ford administrations, William J. Kilberg… Israeli statesman and scholar, Yosef “Yossi” Beilin… Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Santa Cruz County, Calif., for 40 years, now emeritus, known as Rabbi Rick, Richard Litvak… British Conservative Party member of Parliament since 1992, Michael Fabricant… Professor at Bard College, his most recent book is The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People, Walter Russell Mead… Dental consultant and recruiter, Kenneth Nussen… Peruvian banker and politician, José Chlimper Ackerman… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Hava Eti Atiya… Senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and professor at Georgetown’s Center for Jewish Civilization, Danielle Pletka… Television producer and executive, David Nevins… EVP of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), Rabbi Levi Shemtov… Film and television actor, Rick Hoffman… SVP for politics at NBC, Carrie Budoff Brown… Founder of Singularity Communications, Eliezer O. “Eli” Zupnick… Founder and managing partner of Thrive Capital and co-founder of Oscar Health, Joshua Kushner… Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality and venture capitalist, Michele Romanow… Partner at Enso Collaborative, Hanna Siegel… Co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, he was the director of product at Facebook and then worked at Uber, Blake Aaron Ross… Associate director of health policy and the law initiative at Georgetown Law School, Zachary Louis Baron… VP at MediaLink, Alexis Rose Levinson… Multimodal transportation coordinator in the planning department of Montgomery County, Md., Eli Glazier… Photographer and Instagram influencer, Tessa Nesis… Director of the JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Tidewater and an M.A. candidate at Spertus Institute, Joel Bond