Your Daily Phil: Israel Campus Coalition expands focus + Jewish Educator Portal evolves
Good Tuesday morning!
The Israel on Campus Coalition is expanding its activism training for college students by bringing a record 200 undergraduates for a conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, which runs Monday through Wednesday, is co-sponsored with the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Boruchin Center.
ICC has usually focused on training smaller cohorts of students. But “as the challenges rise, every organization in our coalition…is going to need to step up,” Jacob Baime, CEO of the ICC, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “We’re doing our part in that. We’ve always trained a smaller number of students directly, and we’re just ramping that up.”
Almost a quarter of Jewish college students have had others assume they have particular views on Israel because they are Jewish, according to an Anti-Defamation League-Hillel International study. Meanwhile, a tenth of Jewish students have both been blamed for the actions of Israeli government because they are Jewish, and have felt unwelcome in a campus organization because of actual or perceived support for Israel.
The conference will include speakers from the gamut of Israel campus advocacy organizations such as StandWithUs and Hillel International; sessions with political marketing and public relations professionals; a briefing on the Middle East from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank; and legal advice from organizations such as The Lawfare Project, focused on litigating antisemitism on college campuses.
“We want the students to walk away with the skills to do three things,” Baime said. “To elect pro-Israel student government officials…to respond to the increasingly prevalent anti-Israel and antisemitic campus activity that we’re seeing, and third, and really importantly, to build diverse and effective coalitions both to advance the rights of Jewish and pro-Israel students, and also to help the campus at large understand Israel as a place and appreciate Israel’s contributions to the world.”
ICC will also be unveiling and opening applications for a new program: the Geller International Leadership Fellowship, sponsored by Marty and Lauren Schor Geller of Geller & Company, a wealth management firm. The fellowship will have 30 spots for national-level undergraduate leaders, who will complete virtual Israel advocacy training and then travel to Israel and the United Arab Emirates in January 2023.
The trip will help students understand “what Israel is like, as a place, culturally and economically and in terms of its astounding contributions to the world,” Baime said, “and also to be able to put that into a broader perspective by understanding the contours of the changing Middle East.”
The increased scope of ICC training, and the new fellowship, come from what Baime sees as an increase in, and professionalization of, anti-Israel activity on college campuses. He points to organizations pushing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel with paid student fellows working alongside communications consultants and attorneys.
“At the end of the day, it’s about our adversaries pouring way more resources into the campuses, and Jewish and pro-Israel students are asking for more support,” Baime said. “The need is greater than it was before the pandemic…and this [conference] will not be the only expansion of training opportunities for students in the months ahead. Our coalition partners are all stepping up to do more.”
DATA AND PLATFORMS
How an online resource site for Jewish educators is learning from, and adapting to, its users
The Jewish Educator Portal, a project of The Jewish Education Project that aims to be a centralized free library of Jewish educational content, is revamping its search engine and allowing educators to upload their own content. These technical changes might look small on the surface, but they represent a larger evolution of both Jewish education and the Jewish community’s efforts to create digital spaces for professionals, Lev Gringauz reports for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Data talks: The portal is a steady stream of data about Jewish educators’ wants and needs as they navigate mental health concerns and having to explain global turmoil to children. The May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas was when the portal “saw one of our largest peaks in usership and in creating user accounts,” said Jonathan Fass, managing director of educational technology and strategy for the Jewish Education Project. “We might think that Israel is off the radar for North American Jewry…we certainly did not see that on the portal.”
Careful management: The portal is treading in the difficult, and at times contentious, territory of curating material, an increased challenge now that educators are able to upload their own work. Every piece of content in the portal is screened before being uploaded. “We make sure that everything makes sense, that all the links are working,” said Ella Metuki, manager of online educational content for The Jewish Education Project. “We don’t mess with their content…but we do make sure that it meets our community guidelines.”
Educator resources: The revamped search means educators can more easily find resources that aren’t directly related to classroom learning. Metuki pointed to Pride month, in June, when many portal users referenced a pronoun guide by Keshet, the Jewish LGBTQ advocacy group. “Maybe they’re taking it and they’re adapting it and they’re using it in the classroom,” Metuki said. “But it’s for us,” more so than for students. The pronoun guide has been viewed nearly 900 times.
Achieving collective impact through scaling
“The word ‘innovation’ often conjures images of a light bulb above a head — an instant spark of an idea that has the power to change the world. Yet real progress — forward motion, sustainable change — also requires the effective implementation of bright ideas,” write Sara Allen, executive director of the Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Funder Collaborative, and Rachel Shamash Schneider, a program officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
What is scaling? “In our experience, scaling means bringing an idea or program model that has worked in one place somewhere new, sometimes adapting the idea to meet local needs. Why doesn’t this happen more often? Understandably, there’s an excitement that comes with something new, and a tendency to focus on igniting our own light bulb. We know through our experience as funder representatives and leaders that new ideas and innovations are an important part of the social impact equation. But the part of the equation that we want to elevate here is the power of amplifying something borrowed.”
Customizing and adapting proven models: “With that in mind, along with supporting new light bulbs, what if we widen the aperture and expand our notion of innovation to include concepts like customizing and adapting proven models too, helping existing light bulbs shine even brighter and in more places? With this mindset, we can see how scaling and innovation go hand-in-hand for greater impact.”
Break the Cycle: Nonprofits need to stop standing their own way and get over learned helplessness, Vu Le writes in NonprofitAF: “I see it all the time in various forms, and it’s frustrating as hell. For instance, so many nonprofit leaders are still so afraid to just ask donors for general operating funds. Oftentimes because they don’t think anyone wants to fund ‘boring’ stuff like staff wages, office rent, utilities, etc. Even among sympathetic donors and funders who would like nothing more than to be the cool, sexy partners who ‘get it,’ some nonprofit leaders are still hesitant. It creates a self-fulfilling cycle where we lament the very things we perpetuate. Then there are nonprofits that are too afraid to be truthful about the full cost of doing this work. It’s alarming how much we lie on our org budgets and shortchange ourselves by leaving out important items (like retirement matchings) and under-allocating for the items that are there (like staff wages). Be truthful about what your org needs. Stop thinking a shoe-string budget is some mark of resourcefulness and efficiency.” [NonprofitAF]
Keeping Donor Data Safe: With post-Roe privacy concerns highlighting the potential harms of unchecked technology, nonprofits should “adapt their offerings to the realities of pervasive 21st-century digital surveillance,” Lucy Bernholz writes in The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “The digital data managed by nonprofits needs to be as carefully and thoroughly aligned with an organization’s mission as its financial and human resources. That means all consulting services also need to integrate digital data safety and governance into their work. Finally, nonprofits and foundations must recognize that the real expertise on safe use of digital systems will come not from corporate sponsors or free software giveaways, but from the digital activists and advocates with whom they share nonprofit status. Civil society is home to the expertise, scholarship, and policy ideas that can both keep individuals safe and help nonprofits and foundations match their data practices with their missions.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]
Hebrew Beyond Gender Binary: Efforts are underway to modify modern Hebrew to be more gender-inclusive than its current gendered pronouns and constructs permit, Isabel Kershner writes in The New York Times: “The lack of gender-neutral pronouns and constructs in Hebrew means that the masculine plural form of verbs and pronouns has long been used as the standard form when referring to, or addressing, a mixed crowd, for example. Now, when addressing or referring to a mixed or general group of people, Israelis are increasingly using both the masculine and feminine forms of each verb and pronoun, along with corresponding adjectives, or are mixing them up in an effort to create a more inclusive Hebrew. Such efforts, however, have been criticized by some Israelis as cumbersome and needless tinkering with the cherished official language of the Jewish state that is a binding marker of identity. It has also resulted in a backlash from religious conservatives. Critics complain that the constant doubling up of genders turns each phrase into a potential tongue twister and stymies the natural flow of speech and prose.” [NYTimes]
The Natan Fund announces its 2022-23 Confronting Antisemitism and Jewish Connections grantees.
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Word on the Street
According to the Israel Airport Authority, pre-departure procedures currently take an average of 100 minutes to complete, down from 160 minutes in June…
A delegation of 27 Ukrainian therapists traveled to Israel for the launch of a four-month training program on dealing with trauma. The initiative, inspired by the first ladies of Israel and Ukraine, Michal Herzog and Olena Zelenska, was based on methodology developed by NATAL, the Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center. The training was sponsored by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and The Jewish Federations of North America…
The Jewish Federation of St. Louis will spin off the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, slated to open Nov. 2, into a separate nonprofit organization…
Sara Coodin has been appointed director of academic affairs, a new position, at the American Jewish Committee. Prior to joining the AJC staff, Coodin was a tenured professor at the University of Oklahoma…
The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights in New York City has named Deborah Lauter its executive director. She previously led the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes…
Israel Policy Forum and IPF Atid, its young professional-led community, announced the members of the inaugural cohort of IPF Atid Undergraduate Policy Fellows…
The University of Haifa announced two new scholarship funds, provided by Brazilian-Jewish businessman Elie Horn. In the first, $120 million will be available for students pursuing studies in Jewish religion, heritage and history. An additional $3 million will be earmarked for female students who face difficulties financing their studies…
The University of California, Irvine received a $4 million matching pledge from Susan and Henry Samueli for gifts to UCI’s Center for Jewish Studies. The donation is the largest ever to the university in support of Jewish studies…
Jay and April Graham donated $25 million to support Texas A&M Athletics, the largest capital commitment ever made to the program…
Pic of the Day
The newly renovated JDC-Lauder Szarvas International Jewish Youth Camp in Hungary held its grand opening last week. The camp has been influential in fostering Jewish identity and leaders in Europe for decades. The celebration was attended by dozens of young European Jews who will be madrichim (counselors) at the camp this summer — together with Jewish leaders, philanthropists and other dignitaries. In addition to the dancing in the photo, the event included the unveiling of a new dining hall, pool, staff accommodations, playground and challenge park.
Professor emeritus of Bible at London’s Leo Baeck College, Jonathan David Magonet turns 80…
Harriet Cohen… Co-founder and chairman of NYC-based real estate development firm, Rockrose Development Corporation, Henry Elghanayan… Former member of Knesset for 28 years, he is presently chairman of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Uzi Landau… Retired colonel in the U.S. Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor and seven other medals, Jack H. Jacobs… Longtime librarian, now residing in Albuquerque, N.M., Irene Seff… Author and radio talk show host, Dennis Prager … Ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the United Nations, Robert Keith Rae… Columnist at The New York Times, Roger Cohen… U.S. senator from Nevada, Jacklyn Sheryl “Jacky” Rosen… Chief operations officer of the OneVoice Movement, Amy Aronoff Blumkin… Mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., until earlier this year, Richard David “Rick” Kriseman… Owner of Newton, Mass.-based MPG Promotions, Elliot Mael… VP and general counsel of Yeshiva University, Andrew J. ”Avi” Lauer… Former ATP professional tennis player, who was once ranked sixth in the world, Aaron Krickstein… Former member of the Knesset, first for the Labor party and then the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Leon Litinetsky… Senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Steven A. Cook… EVP for Hearst Television and chair of the NBC Television affiliate board, Eric J. Meyrowitz… Senior director for global trade and public affairs at confectionery, food and pet care firm, Mars Inc., Jay Eizenstat… Pulitzer Prize-winning, D.C.-based national security reporter for The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg… Senior executive communications lead at Adobe, Stephen L. Rabin… Labor law attorney in Nashville, he is on the national board of JFNA, Aron Karabel… CEO of Make It Real and co-founder and chair of The Jewish Entrepreneur mentoring program, Isaac William “Zevy” Wolman… Julia Nayfeld Schulman… Actress best known for her 1999 “Pepsi Girl” role as a 7-year-old, and later for subsequent teen roles, Hallie Kate Eisenberg… Baseball pitcher, he played for Team Israel in 2017 and now manages a baseball training facility for young players in Philadelphia, Kenny Koplove…
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