Your Daily Phil: Interview with GPG’s Marina Yudborovsky + The second class of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship

Good Friday morning!

After a pandemic-related delay, the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship run by interfaith family and education organization 18Doors has started programming for the 15 members of its second class, which was supposed to launch last year. The fellowship consists of a retreat — virtual until the pandemic permits in-person gathering — webinars, mentorship and a stipend for programs for interfaith couples.

The second group has roughly the same denominational breakdown as the first class of 11 rabbis, with about three times as many Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis as Conservative ones. The Conservative movement does not allow its rabbis to officiate at interfaith weddings.

“It was important to us to build a pluralistic fellowship, and the fellows talk to and learn from each other,” 18Doors CEO Jodi Bromberg told eJewishPhilanthropy. Two of the rabbis in the new cohort are married to people who aren’t Jewish, such as Rabbi Michal Woll, who wrote Mixed Up Love with her husband, Jon Sweeney. Several grew up in interfaith homes.

The Michael B. Rukin Charitable Foundation made a three-year grant, which ended in 2020, to develop and launch the program. The fellows receive a $5,000 stipend to support work in their communities, contributed by a range of donors including individuals, federations and other foundations, such as the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust, Morris and Rosalind Goodman Foundation, Diane and Guildford Glazer Foundation, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and the Alan B. Skifka Foundation.

Difference PLC

Meet Marina Yudborovsky: Genesis Philanthropy Group’s new CEO


Today, Marina Yudborovsky is CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) — a global philanthropy with offices in Israel, Russia and the United States that funds in those countries, as well as in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and across the former Soviet Union. But long before that, she was an enthusiastic counselor at a Jewish day camp in Queens — a little too enthusiastic for her parents, engineers who had similar professional aspirations for their daughter. They immigrated from Ukraine in 1989 when Yudborovsky was 9 years old, and settled in Queens. “When we moved here, they cleaned houses, and that’s what life was like. It was a wonderful life. I didn’t suffer,” she told eJewishPhilanthropy in an interview charting her course from camp to technology consulting to her current role, which she assumed in July after the death of her mentor, Ilia Salita, the group’s former president and CEO, from cancer in June. 

Speaking our language: Part of Yudborovsky’s wonderful life was the Central Queens Y, whose day camp Yudborovsky attended as a child with financial help from the UJA-Federation of New York. She loved it so much she became a counselor. “I worked there way longer than anybody thought was reasonable. My parents should have known at that point what direction things were going to take,” Yudborovsky said.

New meaning: At the time, though, neither Yudborovsky nor her parents understood the role Jewish philanthropy was playing in their lives. They associated being Jewish with the discrimination they had suffered in Ukraine; it meant challenges, and the need to be discrete. “I hadn’t put it together in my mind yet how much that sense of community was about being Jewish,” she said.

Read the full story here.

Sacred obligation

Rabbis will need the support of their communities to heal post-pandemic

Courtesy HUC-JIR

“The past year has been extraordinarily difficult and painful both, professionally and personally, for rabbis everywhere,” write Rabbi Hara Person and Rabbi Lewis Kamrass in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Challenge: “Rabbis have been playing the challenging role of spiritual first responders dealing with the grief and loss from the pandemic, and they’ve been on the front lines, providing end-of-life care and comfort to mourners who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. For many rabbis, this emotional burden comes on top of the numerous other challenges that millions of Americans are experiencing during this time, including financial issues, job insecurity, and dealing with childcare demands and remote learning for their kids.”

Unequal burden: “We need to recognize that the pandemic has not affected all people – or all rabbis – equally. In particular, women rabbis have shouldered a severe and disproportionate burden, often dealing simultaneously with addressing the spiritual needs of their communities, being primarily responsible for childcare and other personal family obligations, and facing existing inequities and challenges unique to women rabbis that existed long before the pandemic.”

Read the full piece here.

Engaging the marginalized

TA place at the table – A report from TischPDX: Unaffiliated Jewish Leadership Incubator


In an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy Eleyna Fugman writes about nurturing young Jewish organizers with the goal of building a mutual support network during and after participation in a new fellowship program.

Beginnings: “In May of 2018, Rabbi Ariel Stone, Kalyn Culler Cohen and I met to discuss a local phenomenon in our hometown of Portland, Ore.: the abundance of young Jewish organizers, activists and individuals creating Jewish programming and hubs of community outside of our Jewish institutions. The problem was that while these were thoughtful efforts and well-tuned to the organizers’ peer groups, they would spark and then quickly fade.”

Launch: “In 2018, TischPDX: Unaffiliated Jewish Leadership Incubator was launched with support from local private donors, to boost as well as learn from the informal organizing happening in our community. Our theory of change is that when we center the ideas and work of those organizing their peers in these liminal Jewish spaces; pay attention to their vision and insight; and support the shoots of this new growth; we are helping to build what Rabbi Yitz Greenberg calls ‘The Third Era’ of Judaism.” 

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Kindly Reminder: “It’s time to flip the script on how we handle e-mail,” argue Dr. Adaira Landry, an assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and Dr. Resa E. Lewis, a professor at Thomas Jefferson University, in Harvard Business Review, in an article titled “What a compassionate email culture looks like.” Only if colleagues stop focusing on their personal inbox, and together take a close look at how email functions across their workplace, will they be able to use email to become more productive and efficient. In addition to some tried-and-true tips, like writing succinctly and sending only to relevant recipients, they suggest three new tactics: the blind carbon copy function, good timing and plug-ins to help schedule meetings. [HBR]

Numbers Game: The Philanthropy Roundtable has filed an amicus brief in support of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing Creighton Meland, the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging California’s requirement boards of publicly traded companies based in the state include a certain number of women. Last week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Meland v. Padilla, writes Elizabeth McGuigan in the blog at the Philanthropy Roundtable’s website. The Philanthropy Roundtable opposes the quotas, arguing that they destroy corporate value, which is a drain on charitable resources. The Roundtable also fears a slippery slope: “The major concern is that these mandates may spill over into the charitable sector, creating a dual punishment of fewer funds and higher compliance costs.” [PhilanthropyRoundtable]

Mapping Money: Geographers who track the flow of money, Emily Rosenman and Rachel Bok analyzed nine months of data behind about $1.4 billion in grants from 152 foundations pledged to coronavirus-related causes, sharing their findings in The Conversation. The top 11 foundations gave away 77% of those funds, and which played a role in the concentration of funds in certain areas, especially cities. Atlanta, for example, received $65 million, which was more than the value of grants designated for any other state except New York, Indiana and California. Another finding: Some foundations have avoided drawing on their endowments to meet COVID-related needs by turning to bond markets. [TheConversation]

Expanded Access: The largest philanthropy in the country devoted to health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has recently started a grassroots project that aims at community-level and policy change, Connie Matthiesen reports in InsidePhilanthropy. The Voices for Health Justice Project will give $9 million to support local and state organizations who will pursue such aims as increased Medicaid coverage, healthcare for immigrants and access to alternative healthcare providers such as doulas. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Gross Schechter Day School has named Ginny Galili head of school… The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco has named Paul Geduldig CEO effective May 10th… Nir Barkat is set to become the Knesset’s first billionaire… Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the New Jersey Institute of Technology have announced a partnership to create the region’s next hub of technological innovation… 

Teenagers who love movies can participate in a new fellowship created by the S.F.-based Jewish Film Institute… The Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) a two-year rabbinic fellowship on visionary leadership, announced the 20 rabbis selected to be part of Cohort 5, which will start this summer… California’s State Board of Education voted unanimously yesterday to approve a controversial model curriculum in ethnic studies for high schools…

Pic of the Day

Courtesy Chai Lifeline

Chai Lifeline has teamed up with Mixtiles to help spruce up the rooms of hospitalized children at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore and at other U.S. hospitals.



Rabbi emeritus of Manhattan’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and former principal of the Ramaz School, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein celebrates his birthday on Sunday… 
Philanthropist, art collector and chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies, Leonard A. Lauder… Rabbi of Temple Hatikvah in Flanders, New Jersey, Dr. Daniel M. Zucker… Israeli politician and the daughter of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Dalia Rabin… Senior lecturer on journalism at Harvard and the first woman to be executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson… NYC-based real estate investor and chairman of Turtle Pond Publications, a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, Craig Hatkoff… Singer songwriter, Yehuda Julio Glantz… EVP of merchandising at American Signature Furniture, Steve Rabe… Author and commentator, Seth Rogovoy… Neurologist in Naples, Florida, Brian D. Wolff... Dean of students at IDC Herzliya and a former member of Knesset, Dr. Adi Koll… Brazilian-born angel investor and a co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Luiz Saverin… Former director of North American staff at Taglit-Birthright Israel, Aaron Bock… Founder of two lines of jewelry, the Brave Collection and Zahava, Jessica Hendricks Yee… Line producer at CBS Interactive, Emma Gottlieb
SATURDAY: Stage and screen actor, Hal Linden… Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences as a geologist and oceanographer, but known popularly as poet and performer, Alexander Gorodnitsky… Australian award-winning writer of Portuguese Sephardi descent, David George Joseph Malouf…  Senior advisor to the family office of Charles Bronfman, Dr. Jeffrey R. Solomon… Senior lecturer at Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz… Award-winning author of 26 children’s books, Louis Sachar… Owner of Diamond Point Metals, Jack Zager… Activist philanthropist and former CEO of Timberland, Jeffrey Swartz… Retired as Israel’s Chief of Police after a 27 year career at Shabak, Roni Alsheikh… Host of Time Team America, Justine Shapiro… Chilean businessman and philanthropist, Leonardo Farkas… Former member of the Knesset for the Israel Resilience Party, Avraham Daniel (Avi) Nissenkorn… Author best known for writing about his lifestyle immersion experiments, he is an editor at large for Esquire, A. J. Jacobs… Actor and podcast host, Michael Rapaport… Senior director of global strategic alliances at ServiceNow, Daniel M. Eckstein… Senior director of strategic messaging at National Geographic Partners, Matt Finkelstein… Policy editor at NBC News, Benjy Sarlin… Associate vice president at the CIM Group, Jason Lifton… Comedian, writer and actress, Joanna Hausmann… Rabbinical school student at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Max Buchdahl
SUNDAY: The first woman appointed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, Ellen Ash Peters… Harvard professor and winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Walter Gilbert… Scholar of Jewish mysticism and founding dean of the non-denominational rabbinical program at the Hebrew College in Boston, Arthur Green… Istanbul-born entrepreneur, hotelier and real estate developer, Izak Senbahar… First Jewish member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Hampshire, currently of counsel to the law firm of Shaheen & Gordon, Paul Hodes… Former executive director of The Charles Bronfman Prize, Jill Collier Indyk… President of KWR International, Keith W. Rabin… Retired Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yuval Rotem… Co-founder of Wynnefield Capital Management, Joshua H. Landes… Actor and singer whose roles include the title role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the adult voice of Simba in The Lion King, Matthew Broderick… Israeli rock musician and record producer, Shlomi Bracha… Hedge fund manager and former chairman of the board of the New York City Opera, Roy Niederhoffer… Attorney and chair of the private education practice group at Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Michael Blacher… Founding editor of The Dispatch, Jonah Goldberg… James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef from Miami, Michelle Bernstein… Co-anchor of CNN’s “New Day,” John Berman… President and founder of Bully Pulpit Interactive, Andrew Bleeker… Founding partner at Plant Medicine Law Group, Hadas Alterman… Law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Addison Caruso