Your Daily Phil: Is Giving Tuesday good for the Jews?

Good Tuesday morning!

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we look at differing perspectives on Giving Tuesday, and feature an op-ed by Hillel at UCLA’s Julie Mokarsh Gadinsky and Rabbi Aaron Lerner about dialogue across difference. Also in today’s newsletter: Elon Musk, Israeli actor Liraz Charhi, Warren Buffett, and NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Mayor Eric Adams. We’ll start with a set of awards honoring immigrants to Israel.

The Beit Ha’am Cultural Hall in Jerusalem has long been home to concerts and arts festivals. Last night, the venue —whose name translates to “people’s house” — honored a group of Israelis who have chosen to make the country their home. Awarded annually since 2014, the Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize spotlights olim — immigrants to Israel — for their contributions to the state in areas ranging from medicine to the nonprofit space.

“Every facet of Israeli society — our communities, our culture, our educational system, our healthcare, our spiritual well-being and our security have all been influenced by the individuals who are being honored here today,” Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, NBN’s co-founder and executive director, said last night. “We are grateful for your accomplishments, appreciative of your contributions and inspired by your selfless commitment to the State of Israel.”

Last night’s honorees included Rabbi David Golinkin, president of The Schechter Institutes, Inc., a Conservative educational institution; Arthur Eidelman, founder of the Department of Neonatology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center; Pamela and Aba Claman, co-founders of the nonprofit Thank Israeli Soldiers; Morris Hartstein, founding director of Operation Ethiopia, a humanitarian aid group; Harry Ben Zion Brand, architect and founder of the Israeli Planners Association, an association of urban and regional planners; Naomi Tsur, founder and chair of the Jerusalem Green Fund — an environmental group — and the Israel Urban Forum; and Asher Fredman, director for Israel at the Abraham Accords Peace Institute, which promotes the 2019 normalization agreement.

Speaking on behalf of the honorees, Tsur described the common threads that tied them together. “We chose to build our lives and raise our families here, not because we were persecuted or discriminated against, but because we all believe in the importance of contributing to the development of a healthy Jewish state,” she said. “The second thing we share is a desire to help repair our world in accordance with the Jewish concept of tikkun olam.”

today’s the day

Letter blocks spelling giving tuesday on laptop keyboard
Anna Paulina Luna appears on a panel discussion during a taping of “Candace” Hosted By Candace Owens on January 4, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, Rachael Fried woke up to an offer from Facebook: In honor of Giving Tuesday, the social network was offering to cover the processing fees of many donations made on its platform and offering a match to some gifts. So Fried and a colleague quickly composed a Facebook post with a donate button. By day’s end, JQY had raised approximately $7,000. It became a major effort for the group, and last year, JQY raised approximately $46,700 on Giving Tuesday, more than 7.7% of its 2021 budget, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.

A time to email: JQY isn’t alone among Jewish organizations seeking to fundraise today. Search social media, or perhaps your own inbox, and you’ll see that Jewish groups across the country — from schools to federations to social service groups — have crafted a post or a message asking for a contribution. For some, like Fried’s organization, it’s a lucrative touchpoint that acts as a laboratory for best giving practices. But others say it’s crowded, overwhelming for donors and not worth the effort.

An annual flood: The deluge today can also present drawbacks for fundraisers. How can you stand out when everyone is asking for donations on one day? “I think many people feel it’s way overdone, and that at this point Giving Tuesday emails are a nuisance and almost a joke,” one Jewish fundraising professional, who asked to remain anonymous, told eJP. “Like, it was a great trend and ran its course.”

Read the full story here.

deep dialogue

How Hillel at UCLA moved beyond tolerance to embrace difference

UCLA Hillel hosts Resetting the Table

“There is exactly one home-away-from-home for all Jewish students at UCLA: Hillel. That sounds beautiful, and it is. We often buck the trend of political division and hyperpolarization with hundreds of students from every perspective and identity ‘doing Jewish’ together,” write Julie Mokarsh Gadinsky, Hillel at UCLA’s board chair emeritus, and Rabbi Aaron Lerner, the executive director of Hillel at UCLA, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Meeting in the center: “But it’s certainly not kumbaya all the time. Our community engages in impassioned arguments, and students increasingly experience hurt and alienation when opposing sides collide. For many years, we aimed to provide a much-needed meeting ground in the highly polarized campus space that was compatible with Judaism’s educational imperative to explore divergent viewpoints. The result was that both left-leaning and right-leaning students were unhappy some of the time, but no one felt alienated all the time.”

Holy disagreement: “Over the past decade, however, we began to feel like more was possible, and even necessary. Shouldn’t we aspire to reach beyond mere tolerance? Could our community be strengthened by learning to appreciate difference, even if we still disagree? With that goal in mind, we reached out to the team at Resetting the Table (RTT), an organization that seeks to foster ‘sacred disagreement’ across political differences within and across communities. Our work together started in the student community, bringing together undergraduates with a wide range of perspectives in a town square-style format. The goals were to strengthen our students’ relationships with each other and their ability to work together productively in the face of real differences, rather than give in to tension or avoidance.

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Flitting Away from Twitter?: As Twitter changes under the leadership of Elon Musk, nonprofits are increasingly uncertain about using the platform, Sara Herschander writes in The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “While the platform has never been a focal point for online fundraising, it’s been a major player in the exchange of ideas, trends, and commentary about the future of philanthropy and nonprofits. ‘There’s a lot of productive discourse and learning about different practices and approaches that happens there,’ says  [President of the Center for Effective Philanthropy Phil] Buchanan, who’s put a pause on both his organization’s Twitter presence and his own personal account. ‘I think it can happen somewhere else, but the question is, where?’ While the center plans to decide about permanently leaving Twitter in the coming weeks, Buchanan has become increasingly unsure whether the platform will still be a valuable space for nonprofits concerned with social good. ‘If there’s some stability that comes back to Twitter and a reason to believe that racism, antisemitism, and lies are not going to be tolerated on the platform,’ he says, ‘then I think we would be more open to returning.’” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Around the Web

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the 1947 United Nations vote to partition what was then the British Mandate for Palestine into two states — one Arab and one Jewish. The vote is celebrated in Israel as international approval of the first Jewish state in millennia..

Friends of United Hatzalah raised approximately $467,000 at its inaugural Paris gala, which included an appearance by “Tehran” actor Liraz Charhi…

Warren Buffett donated more than $750 million worth of stock in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to his family foundations last week…

For the first time in the history of the trip, a delegation of New York City Council members traveling to Israel with the city’s Jewish Community Relations Council does not include the council’s speaker, Councilwoman Adrienne Adams

Meanwhile, NYC Mayor Eric Adams met with interfaith leaders over Zoom yesterday to discuss hate crimes…

The U.K. Jewish population has grown 2.3% over the past decade, from 265,000 in 2011 to 271,000 last year…

Pic of the Day

(Photo by Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, anti-Semitism commissioner of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, examines bullet holes on Monday that were left in the door of a former rabbi’s residence adjacent to a former synagogue. The bullet holes were found earlier this month at the complex, which now houses a German Jewish history institute and cultural center.


NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 11: Ambassador Dani Dayan attends American Friends Of Rabin Medical Center 2019 Gala at The Plaza Hotel on November 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Chairman of Yad Vashem, he was previously the consul general of Israel in New York, Dani Dayan

Heiress of the UK’s Tesco supermarket empire and former Lord Mayor of Westminster, Dame Shirley Porter… Management analyst for the City of Los Angeles, Lou Loomis… Co-founder of Knowledge Universe and founder of the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, Lowell Milken… Women’s volleyball head coach at Penn State University from 1979 until last year, Russell David Rose… Senior half the renowned film-making team of the Coen Brothers, Joel David Coen… Comedian, actor and a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Howie Mandel… Chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu… Rabbi and author, currently serving as the co-president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), Rabbi Irwin Kula… Mountain states regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Scott Levin… Co-owner and CEO of Covenant Wines in Napa, Jodie Morgan… Former White House chief of staff and mayor of Chicago, now serving as U.S. ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel… CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, Joseph Sternlieb… Brooklyn resident, Andrea Glick… Actress, singer and comedian known for her one-woman shows of Jewish-themed original songs and monologues, Jacqueline Laura “Jackie” Hoffman… Foreign policy and public diplomacy advisor to seven consecutive Israeli prime ministers, now a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, Shalom Lipner… Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since this past July, Steven Michael Dettelbach… Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher, known for his outspoken support of Israel, Mariano Rivera… Former Olympic alpine skier, now a reporter for Sirius XM Radio, Carrie Sheinberg… Louise Rothschild… Scientist, focusing on mental health research regarding psychedelics, Gregory Ferenstein… Rabbinic intern at IKAR and a rabbinical student at HUC, Sammy Kanter… Communications and fundraising consultant, Orit Sklar Kwasman… Chanoch Ben Yaacov… Abigail Langer…

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