Your Daily Phil: Israel parade in NYC taking on a different tone this year

Good Friday morning.  

For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent eJewishPhilanthropy and  Jewish Insider, including: ‘Opposite of inclusive’: A look inside the increasingly hostile environment for Jewish therapists; L.A.’s Academy Museum (finally) acknowledges Jewish founders of ‘Hollywoodland’; How the ICC, ICJ rulings could have deeper, long-term implications for Israel. Print the latest edition here.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the three winners of this year’s Covenant Award, which recognizes educators whose innovations make an impact on Jewish life. As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, we feature an opinion piece by Ali Shwartz and Sharon Goldstein about a model for supporting students with mental health struggles and their families in Jewish day school settings. Also in this newsletter: Miriam Adelson, Linda Burger and Peter Yarrow. We’ll start with a preview of this Sunday’s annual Israel parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City, taking place despite security concerns and with a different tone than in previous years. Shabbat shalom!

Since 1965, even before the surge of Jewish pride that followed the Six-Day War, the annual parade in support of Israel that takes place along Fifth Avenue in New York has been a festive day filled with dancing and singing. 

Sunday’s parade will be held along its usual route — Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 73rd Street — but it will look and feel different in several ways: It has a new name, omitting the word “celebrate” from the old one; it will take place under unprecedented security measures, given the rise in antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks and Israel’s retaliatory war, according to security experts; and many participants report in a new survey that they are “very concerned” about their safety, reports Haley Cohen for eJewishPhilanthropy.

With Israel still at war in Gaza and more than 100 hostages still in Hamas captivity, the focus in this fraught year will be solidarity with Israel, according to the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the group behind the event. 

Rather than its usual title, for instance, the Celebrate Israel Parade will be called “Israel Day on Fifth” “to emphasize in a respectful and dignified manner that this year is different, but that our passion for Israel remains stronger than ever before,” said Howard Pollack, JCRCNY’s parade director. 

Families of Oct. 7 victims and hostages will have a notable presence at the parade: Orna and Ronen Neutra, the parents of Omer Neutra, a lone soldier from Long Island who is being held hostage by Hamas, are expected to attend, as well as Tomer Zak, a resident of Kibbutz Kissufim whose parents and younger brother were murdered on Oct. 7. 

As anti-Israel protests and violent acts of antisemitism have soared in New York City since Oct. 7, Mitchell Silber, executive director of the Community Security Initiative, said that parade-goers should expect “unprecedented security coordination and efforts by the New York Police Department and the office of Mayor Eric Adams to make sure this parade comes off as a success and is safe and not disrupted by protest activity.”  

The parade poses unique security challenges because it’s an event that extends nearly 20 blocks, Silber said, adding that another major difference this year includes shutting off access to Fifth Avenue from Central Park, which means there will be no spectators west of Fifth Avenue. “That was a go-no-go ask,” Silber said. “If we didn’t get that we weren’t sure we could have the parade.” 

Several groups are planning to attend that have not in the past. Marchers are expected from 28 synagogues in Long Island alone, for instance, six more than last year; and a total of 63 schools are slated to march.

Ofir Akunis, who began his role as consul general of Israel in New York earlier this month, is among the Israeli dignitaries expected to march. A JCRC spokesperson said that the lineup of New York state and city elected officials has not yet been finalized but  that a sizable turnout is expected. The parade’s grand marshal will be Harley Lippman, CEO of outsourcing firm Genesis10. 

Silber emphasized that the organizers have tried to stay with tradition as much as possible. “Given what happened on Oct. 7 and everything since, it’s important to the community to have an event that looks and feels [normal],” he said. 

Read the full report here.


This year’s Covenant Award winners reflect different ways of engaging in Jewish ed

Teens from across the country celebrate Opening Session of USY International Convention in Orlando, Fla. with teens from the Metropolitan New York area.
Courtesy/Covenant Foundation

The Jewish education-focused Covenant Foundation announced three Jewish educators as recipients of its annual Covenant Award on Thursday, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen reports. The winners, who are slated to be honored at a reception in the fall, each receive $50,000 — with an additional $10,000 awarded to each of their institutions. 

Meet the winners: The winners are Rabba Yaffa Epstein, senior scholar and educator-in-residence at The Jewish Education Project in New York; Shira Kline, co-founder and spiritual leader of the Lab/Shul in New York; and Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston, director of Jewish studies and adviser to the Derech Eretz Honor Council at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pa., are the 2024 Covenant Award recipients. 

More than ever: “Highlighting the work of Yaffa, Shira, and Judd by honoring them with Covenant Awards this year, in particular, feels like an extra blessing. Because the Jewish community needs them now more than ever,” Joni Blinderman, the foundation’s executive director, said in a statement, referring to the award coming in the midst of Israel’s war against Hamas and the subsequent global rise of antisemitism. “All three of these exceptionally talented educators lead their communities with love. They are open-hearted, and they are committed to teaching from a place of vulnerability and sincerity. One needs only to glance at their biographies to understand the depth of their accomplishments. But in their presence one becomes aware, first and foremost, of their humility and warmth. This is what our community — and our world — needs right now.”

In their own way: Deborah Meyer, board chair of the Covenant Foundation, applauded the winners. “Yaffa, Shira, and Judd each engage with the field of Jewish education in different settings and in different ways,” Meyer said in a statement. “And yet, when we consider their practices together, we see three exceptionally soulful, genuine, wise, and enthusiastic Jewish educators. This is what the field needs: Educators who seek to connect and build relationships with their students and their communities. All three Award recipients understand that these bonds are the essential foundation for Jewish experiences with meaning and impact.”


From awareness to action: Expanding mental health resources for students, families and educators

Illustrative. Ashok Sinha/Adobe Stock

“In recent years, educators in day schools have voiced growing concern regarding the need to better support students facing mental health and social-emotional challenges. This concern is not unfounded: Recent data underscores a noticeable uptick in the prevalence and severity of mental health issues among school-aged children, a trend that is mirrored within local day school communities,” write Ali Shwartz and Sharon Goldstein, staff mental health specialist and director of day school programs at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy

Barriers to access: “At the core of our mission at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education is a commitment to ensuring access to Jewish education for every child who seeks it. Attuned to the evolving needs of the day school community, we recognized mental health challenges as a significant barrier to learning in Jewish day schools and expanded our focus to proactively address this area accordingly.” 

Replicable tactics: “Through a generous grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, in 2018 Gateways began a mental health initiative that utilized the concept of the multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), a systemic approach adopted by public schools to promote students’ social-emotional well-being and proactively support those with mental health challenges… This Ruderman-funded initiative empowered Gateways to expand its scope to deploy its expertise and resources to improve mental health outcomes in Jewish educational settings. Through this work, Gateways has found that schools can equip educators with the tools and insights to support students grappling with mental health challenges.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

A Better Way: In a piece for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, James Finney-Conlon advocates for a “restorative justice” approach when it comes to dealing with perpetrators of hate crimes. “I am a volunteer with the Reconciliation Education and Counseling Crimes of Hate, a victim-centered restorative justice pilot program for offenders convicted of hate crimes… Rather than serving a prison sentence, offenders instead enroll in probation and participate in one year of counseling, anti-bias education and victim reconciliation in a controlled setting. Towards the end of the program, the offender meets a ‘peer victim’ — if not the direct victim of the crime, then someone from the same group — to address their own crimes and seek reconciliation. The theory is that offenders who are educated about the consequences of their hate crime will be less likely to commit another one… I decided to volunteer for the program because I knew in my heart that some of the people who I think of as monsters must regret what they have done, and thought maybe it would heal me and heal them if we could meet… The REACCH program helped me recognize that hate crime offenders are humans and can have the capacity to feel remorse and seek atonement. Although it was easier to imagine every antisemite as a cold-hearted monster out to target me, this experience brought me a measure of calm and hope, because I saw that change was possible.” [JTA]

Break That Ceiling: Melinda French Gates’ announcement this week of her $1 billion commitment to charities focused on women and girls could be a game changer, reports Thalia Beaty for the Associated Press — but only if other donors follow suit. “[T]he Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy… has researched giving to women and girls since 2019 and found that while the overall amount has increased over the years, it’s never exceeded 2% of overall charitable dollars. In 2020, the most recent year of WPI’s analysis, women and girls received $8.8 billion out of a total $471.4 billion given to charities overall. ‘One donor does have the potential to make a difference,’ [WPI Interim Director Jacqueline] Ackerman said. ‘But for that to be sustained long term, for that to change the numbers for more than just 1 or 2 years, you really do have to inspire others and be part of a movement.’” [AP]

Around the Web

A new report from the Pew Research Center offers insights into how Israelis view the Israel-Hamas war, the Biden administration’s response and more…

A new survey of Jewish New Yorkers about the upcoming Salute to Israel Parade found that only 1 in 5 of those who attended the parade in the last five years plan to do so again this year, voicing concerns for their safety…

The Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation recently awarded nearly $6 million in grants to support early education and youth development, affordable housing, mental health services and more…

Politico reports that Israeli-American GOP megadonor Dr. Miriam Adelson plans to help bankroll a pro-Trump super PAC, strongly supported by her and her late husband in 2020, which is being reconstituted to aid the former president’s current bid for the presidency…

The New York Times reports that in a recent survey, 22% of employers said were less likely to hire recent grads who attended pro-Palestinian protests, expressings concerns about the potential for confrontational behavior at work. At the same time, 21% indicated they would prefer to hire graduates who were involved, citing graduates’ “outspokenness, strong values, and dedication to a cause” as assets.

The Holocaust Museum Houston announced that Linda Burger, former CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, will be interim CEO following the death earlier this month of incoming CEO Ivan Wolkind… 

Jewish streaming platform ChaiFlicks is partnering with the Yiddish Book Center for a variety of new documentaries, including a film about “Star Trek” star Leonard Nimoy… 

The Washington Jewish Week reports on a campaign launched by a member of the Silver Spring, Md., Jewish community to transition 100 local Jewish households to use solar energy

Pic of the Day

Courtesy/Mooli Goldberg

The 22nd annual Pride and Tolerance Parade in Jerusalem drew 10,000 marchers on Thursday. This year’s theme was “Born to be Free,” calling for the quick return of the remaining 125 hostages in captivity in Gaza. 

“This is not a normal year, and from within the despair and pain, one central truth has become clear — the cure for pain, sorrow and loss is community,” said Nilli Maderer, CEO of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, at the parade’s concluding ceremony in Independence Park. “Just as we have the responsibility to fight for our rights as an LGBTQ+ community, we also have a moral duty to fight for the release of the hostages.”


Jonathan S. Lavine, co-managing partner and chief investment officer of Bain Capital Credit

Child survivor of the Holocaust who went on to serve as the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel for 10 years and twice as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv for 16 years, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau celebrates his birthday on Saturday…

Friday: Investment adviser at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, Alfred Phillip Stern… Owner of one of the nation’s largest privately held industrial empires, Ira Leon Rennert… Singer and songwriter famous for his lead role in the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, he campaigned for freeing Soviet Jews in the 1980s, Peter Yarrow… Professor at Yale University and the 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, William Dawbney Nordhaus… Food critic at Vogue magazine since 1989 and judge on “Iron Chef America,” he is the author of the 1996 award-winning book The Man Who Ate EverythingJeffrey Steingarten… Founder and retired CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, Alvin “Al” From… Author, political pundit and a retired correspondent for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Bernie Goldberg… Comedian, actress and TV producer, Susie Essman… Founder and chairman of the Katz Group of Companies with operations in the pharmacy, sports (including the Edmonton Oilers), entertainment and real estate sectors, Daryl Katz… Reality television personality, best known for starring in and producing her own matchmaking reality series, “The Millionaire Matchmaker” on Bravo TV, Patti Stanger… Jerusalem-born inventor, serial entrepreneur and novelist; founder, chairman and CEO of CyberArk Software, Alon Nisim Cohen… Entrepreneur, best known as the co-founder of CryptoLogic, an online casino software firm, Andrew Rivkin… Former Democratic mayor of Annapolis, Md., now head of policy at SWTCH, Joshua Jackson “Josh” Cohen… Director of community outreach at the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, Melissa York… Israeli actress, singer and dancer, she played a Mossad agent in the espionage TV series “Tehran,” Liraz Charhi… Author of the “Money Stuff” column at Bloomberg OpinionMatthew S. Levine… Freelance writer in Brooklyn, Sara Trappler Spielman… Attorney and NYT-bestselling author of the Mara Dyer and Shaw Confessions series, Michelle Hodkin… Senior adviser to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Bert Eli Kaufman… Senior product manager at Tel Aviv-based Forter, Zoe Goldfarb… Stephanie Oreck Weiss… Public affairs and strategy advisor at the Promethean Group in D.C., Brad E. Bosserman… Senior rabbi and executive director of Jewish life at D.C.’s Sixth & I, Aaron Potek… Managing editor at Allbritton Journalism Institute, Matt Berman… Medical student in the class of 2027 at the University of Nicosia Medical School, Amital Isaac… Brad Goldstein… Basketball player in Israel’s Premier League, while at Princeton he won the Ivy League Player of the Year award (2017), Spencer Weisz… Rapper, singer, songwriter and producer, known by his stage name, King Sol, Benjamin Solomon

Saturday: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist and conductor, Yehudi Wyner… NYC-based attorney, author of two books regarding the history and operations of El Al, owner of 40,000-plus pieces of memorabilia related to El Al, Marvin G. Goldman… Grammy Award-winning classical pianist, Richard Goode… Former member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Shimon Ohayon… Retired attorney in Berkeley, Calif., Thomas Andrew Seaton… Pediatrician in the San Francisco Bay area, long-time AIPAC activist, Dr. Elliot Charles Lepler… Former member of the Knesset for the Shinui and the Hilonit Tzionit parties, Eti Livni… Founding editor of The American InterestAdam M. Garfinkle… Former editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News and co-author with Michael Bloomberg of “Bloomberg by Bloomberg,” Matthew Winkler… Senior business editor at NPR for 25 years until his scathing review of bias at the network in April, Uri Paul Berliner… Founding rabbi of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger… Former IDF officer and now a London based political scientist and journalist, Ahron “Ronnie” Bregman… Former member of the Knesset for the Shas party, Amnon Cohen… Owner of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, his parents were the co-founders of Gap, Inc., he is the chair of Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Foundation, John J. Fisher… Poet, performance artist and essayist, Adeena Karasick, Ph.D…. Founding editor and publisher of the Dayton Jewish ObserverMarshall J. Weiss… Television personality and matchmaker, Sigalit “Siggy” Flicker … Actress, voice actress and film director, Danielle Harris… Journalist and writer, Spencer J. Ackerman… Comedian, writer, actress, director and producer, Amy Schumer… Partner in Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm, Daniel Tannebaum… Musician, songwriter, author, actor and blogger, Ari Seth Herstand… CEO of The Good Food Institute, Ilya Sheyman… Political reporter for NBC News and MSNBC, Alex Seitz-Wald… Senior business reporter at CNN, Nicole Goodkind… Former engineering lead at Palantir Technologies, now in a MPP program at Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, Naomi S. Kadish… Associate advance director for VPOTUS, Isabel Keller… NYC-born Israeli pair skater, she competed for Israel at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Hailey Esther Kops

Sunday: Former member of the British Parliament from Manchester and then a member of European Parliament, David Anthony Gerald Sumberg… Co-founder of ReelAbilities, a film festival by, or about, people with disabilities, Anita Altman… Israeli entrepreneur and inventor, founder of Indigo Digital Press and known as the father of commercial digital printing, Benny Landa… Johns Hopkins University professor and a pioneer in the field of cancer genomics, Dr. Bert Vogelstein… Writer-at-large for New York magazine since 2011, following a 31-year career at The New York TimesFrank Rich… Chief development officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jordan E. Tannenbaum… Commissioner of the National Hockey League since 1993, Gary Bettman… Holiday and weekend cantor at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for The Aged, Ben Zion Kogen… Former board chair of Sapir Academic College in the western Negev, he was one of Israel’s senior peace negotiators at the Camp David summit in 2000, Gilead Sher… Founder of Newark, N.J.-based IDT Corp and numerous affiliates and spinoffs including an energy exploration company, Genie Energy, Howard S. Jonas… Aerospace engineer and a former NASA astronaut, he flew on three shuttle missions and took a memento from the U.S. Holocaust Museum into space, Mark L. Polansky… Dinorah Cecilia Baroody… General manager of Harmonie Club, a NYC private social club, Davina Weinstein… Radio and television talk show host, Andrew Joseph (Andy) Cohen… President of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer for Marvel Comics, Marvel Television and Marvel Animation, Kevin Feige… Special counsel focused on land use and zoning at NYC-based law firm Goldstein Hall, Jessica Ashenberg Loeser… senior vice president of EnTrust Global, Jordan David Kaplan… Director of technology at Santa Monica-based Action Network, Jason S. Rosenbaum… Grandmaster chess player, she won the 2004 Israel Women’s Chess Championship, Bella Igla Gesser… Equestrian show jumper, she represented Israel at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Danielle “Dani” Goldstein Waldman… Co-founder and former CEO of The Wing, now the owner of The Six Bells (“a new old country store”) in Brooklyn, Audrey H. Gelman… Founder and CEO at Stealth Startup, Jared R. Fleitman… CEO and co-Founder at Platform Cannabis Advisors, Benjamin G. Sheridan… Theater, television and film actor best known for his lead role in “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical,” Ethan Samuel Slater… Israeli K-Pop singer, Ella-Lee Lahav