Your Daily Phil: JCC leaders make ‘heartrending’ solidarity visit to Israel

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 eJewishPhilanthropyJewish Insider and The Circuit stories, including: As war devastates Israeli agriculture, Leket pivots from ‘rescuing’ produce to buying it, boosting farmers; U.S., Israel clash over future role of Palestinian Authority in postwar Gaza; At Davos, conversations about antisemitism take center stage; Jewish students file complaint against American University over handling of campus antisemitism. Print the latest edition here.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we accompany leaders from the JCC Movement on a solidarity mission in Israel and report on an antisemitism panel by Jewish leaders at the World Economic Forum. We feature an opinion piece by Yossi Prager about meeting the spike in interest in Jewish identity and education. Also in this newsletter: Albert BoulaJake Retzlaff and Jake Millner. We’ll start with a new Teach Coalition survey on rising security costs at Jewish day schools. Shabbat Shalom!

Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel and a subsequent global surge in antisemitism, security concerns have come front and center every day for Brigitte Dayan, a mother of two Jewish day school students in the New York area. Offsetting those anxieties has come with a hefty price tag, according to a new study, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.

“For me as a parent the issue is also what impact is it having on my children,” said Dayan, whose daughter is a freshman at the Frisch School in Paramus, N.J., and son is a sixth grader at Manhattan Day School on the Upper West Side. “My son is nervous to wear his kippah on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — never did I think that would be the case [here].” 

Growing security concerns have sent costs soaring for Jewish day schools around the U.S., including a nearly 50% increase in average annual security-related costs, according to a study published earlier this month by Teach Coalition, a division of the Orthodox Union that advocates for government funding and resources for nonpublic schools. Dayan calls the hike an “antisemitism tax.”

The report, conducted by Teach Coalition’s Office of Jewish Education Policy and Research, found that the average Jewish school is now spending $315,943 annually on security, up from $215,560 prior to Oct. 7. The survey, which received responses from 75 of the 150 schools questioned, polled Jewish schools of all denominations, in New York, New Jersey and Florida – states representing some of the largest Jewish populations in the country.

Rabbi Saul Zucker, head of the Ben Porat Yosef School, a yeshiva in Paramus, said he’s seeing the need for more security firsthand. 

“In the area of security, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You want to make sure the building is not conducive to being a target,” said Zucker.

But these additional measures come at a cost, when it is already expensive to send children to private Jewish day schools.

“For years people have been talking about a tuition crisis, and it is a heavy burden for parents to bear,” Zucker said. “You have to strike a balance between making sure tuition is affordable and at the same time safety being the number one priority. 

Read the full report here.


A member of the JCC Association solidarity mission to Israel visits a memorial near Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the communities that was hardest hit by the Oct. 7 terror attacks, on Jan. 16, 2024. Courtesy/Lior Mizrachi

The top lay and professional leadership of the JCC Movement visited Israel this week for a solidarity mission — one of the largest such trips so far with roughly 40 participants — meeting with survivors of the Oct. 7 attacks, first responders, government officials and leaders of Israeli community centers. “Our mission was originally intended to be a leadership seminar celebrating Israel at 75,” JCC Association CEO Doron Krakow told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross. “After the war started, we recast it as a solidarity mission.”

What ‘pogrom’ means: The five-day mission included meetings with current and former Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog; Gadi Yarkoni, mayor of the Gaza-adjacent Eshkol region; former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; and officials from the Diaspora Affairs Ministry. The delegation also visited areas that were directly affected by the Oct. 7 attacks — the towns of Ofakim and Sderot and Kibbutz Nir Oz — and met with some of their residents. “I don’t think I fully understood the use of the term ‘pogrom’ to describe what happened [on Oct. 7] until we saw Nir Oz,” Rabbi David Kessel, a senior vice president at the JCC Association and director of the Mandel Center for Jewish Education told eJP. 

Bring them together: Krakow said the JCC Association plans to expand its Israel programming in the coming months. “Our responsibility to grow and build community means embracing a wide circle of North American Jews, including a huge number of expatriate Israelis, and being that place where they can find common ground, where they can feel safe, where they can feel empowered and where they can feel heard,” he said.

Read the full report here.


Jewish leaders call out Qataris, ‘disappointing’ allies at Davos antisemitism panel

American politician Dianne Feinstein, her arms outstretched in celebration, in her office after she was elected mayor of San Francisco, at San Francisco City Hall in San Francisco, California, circa 1978.
From right to left: Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League; David Rosen, special interfaith adviser of the Abrahamic Family House; Michal Herzog, Israel’s first lady; and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff participate in the “Addressing antisemitism” panel discussion during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. Photo by Marcus Schreiber/AP

Speaking to a crowd of foreign officials and corporate executives yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a group of prominent Jewish leaders on a panel devoted to rising antisemitism around the world called out those at the exclusive Swiss gathering who had not done enough to confront Jew hatred after the Oct. 7 terror attacks — and those who had purposely fanned the flames of anti-Jewish hate, reports Gabby Deutch for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.

Coming unmoored: “As American Jews I think the feeling is one of aloneness and being hated and being unmoored and all of these things,” Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff said, noting that he had worked to incorporate Judaism into his and Vice President Kamala Harris’ life in Washington. “We maybe fooled ourselves into thinking that, ‘This wasn’t so bad, we’re not really experiencing antisemitism, it’s never going to be this horrible.’ It happened,” he said. “We kind of saw who our friends were and who our friends weren’t, and there were too many in the ‘weren’t’ category.”

Can’t give up: “What’s happened since October the 7th, and with some of the most disappointing either lack of responses on the part of many colleagues — not only Muslim but also from many Christians, from whom we would have expected more — and often just silence, which is disappointing, is very, very sad,” said Rabbi David Rosen, special advisor to the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, who works closely with other faith leaders around the world. “But that must not lead us to assume that this work is not of enormous significance.”

Read the full report here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.


Feeding the hunger for Jewish belonging and education

Yakova Yeshurun, 13, attends community Hanukkah celebration “Menorah in the D” in Detroit, MI, on Dec. 7, 2023. Photo by Karen Krupp.

“Most conversations in the philanthropic community over the past 100 days have been about supporting the needs of Israelis, advocating for Israel on the global stage and fighting the explosion of antisemitism. Lost in this picture is a significant positive opportunity to respond to a new hunger among American Jews for participating in Jewish organizations and learning more about their Jewish heritage,” writes Yossi Prager, senior managing director of JFN Consulting at the Jewish Funders Network, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Word on the street: “[T]he data demonstrates what many of us have been hearing anecdotally: young Jews are not only seeking a Jewish community where they can feel safe, but a significant number also want a greater understanding of what it means to be Jewish. What is this heritage that is being thrust upon them by antisemites? 

Time to team up: “We do not yet have the full picture of the scope and depth of the new interest. Funders and organizations sharing information will help provide a clearer picture. We also cannot know how long this expanded receptivity to Jewish education/identity programming will last. The sands may shift if and when the overt antisemitism in America diminishes after the end of the war in Gaza. For this reason, we are faced with a window of opportunity that may close sooner than we would like, which should create a profound sense of urgency.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

See With Your Own Eyes: Adele Reamer, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim in southern Israel, offers a message in The Times of Israel for anyone concerned that visiting the sites of the massacres of Oct. 7 veers into the realm of voyeurism. “I too, went to witness other areas near where I have lived for the past 48 years… As we made our way through the surrounding devastation, I grappled with my own inner conflict. On the one hand, it was important and meaningful to me to go in order to bear witness to these sites. As a survivor, myself, of the massacre, I felt an obligation to learn more so as to be an even better witness. On the other hand, I felt somehow as if I was trespassing on holy land, in a community that needed respect and reverence, where so many people whom I knew personally were slaughtered… We have all been reminded of late of the importance of ‘context.’ So while I sat in front of my television set back in Eilat, just two days after my visit home, listening to the outrageous accusations of genocidal conduct brought against Israel, put forth by South Africa in the International Court of Justice in Hague, completely removing their recriminations from the invasion and attempted genocide by the Hamas on our communities, just because we are Jewish, I realized why it is so important for people to see for themselves exactly what the Palestinian leaders strive to do to all of Israel… It is for this reason that it is our duty to bear witness any way we can, to every inch of proof, any way we can, in every place we can, and write, blog, vlog about what we have seen and experienced with our own eyes.” [TOI]  

Privacy, Please: In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Philanthropy Roundtable Director of Policy Research Jack Salmon responds to articles by The Giving Review’s Craig Kennedy in favor of legislating that nonprofits have to name their donors. “In recent months, there has been increased?congressional interest?in foreign donations to charitable organizations, specifically regarding the sources and intent of those dollars… Let’s be clear: Any cause can be deemed controversial by someone who doesn’t share the donor’s values, politics, religion, or other beliefs. There’s no population feeling this more right now than the Jewish community, which is facing a?360 percent?surge in antisemitic incidents since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. It’s true donors could use DAFs to fund anti-Israel groups. It’s also true Jews can use them to provide critical aid to Israel, fight antisemitism at home, and protect themselves from threats, violence, and?even death?by remaining private. Kennedy’s advocacy for transparency ignores a crucial question: If the nonprofit organization receiving the funds is operating legally, how are DAFs problematic?” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Don’t Be a Fatalist: Despite the failure thus far to hit the breaks on rising global temperatures, that is only one factor (albeit a big one) shaping the future of humanity, writes researcher and author Hannah Ritchie in an opinion piece for The Atlantic. “Humanity’s ability to prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate risk has outpaced climbing temperatures. Crop yields across the world would be higher without climate change, yet they still have increased dramatically. Famines used to be common, but are much rarer as a result of political change, decolonization, and massive gains in agricultural productivity. Deaths from disasters are much lower than they were in the past — not because climate change isn’t making these events worse, but because we’ve become even more resilient to them. Conditions for malaria have worsened in some regions, yet deaths have fallen because of increased access to bed nets, antimalarial drugs, and other measures. In a world without climate change, these would have improved even more. But they have still improved… As an environmental scientist, I would never deny that climate change will have severe, possibly devastating impacts. Nor that we can simply adapt our way out of any level of warming. The world urgently needs steep emissions cuts to avert worst-case scenarios. What I am saying is that a world at 1.8 degrees of warming could still be better than our 1.3-degrees-warmer world today. Whether we build that better future is still up to us.” [TheAtlantic]

Around the Web

Pfizer CEO Albert Boula wore masking tape with the number “104” while speaking yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and explained to attendees that it signaled solidarity with Hersh Goldberg-Polin and the other hostages who have been held captive in Gaza for 104 days and counting… 

“New Golden Age,” a coalition recently launched by Philadelphia’s Jewish Community Relations Council Director Jason Holtzman and prominent pastor Carl Day, aims to eliminate stereotypes and strengthen ties between the Jewish and Black communities in the city… 

The Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers are more vocally criticizing Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he categorically rejected a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians…

Jake Retzlaff is making football history in more ways than one — the 20-year-old is not only the first Jew ever to play the sport for Brigham Young University, the largest Mormon school in the country, but as starting quarterback for the BYU Cougars, he is the only Jew currently filling the position in a Division 1 college football team…

Thousands of Israelis volunteered for the annual “Operation Juha,” handing out Bamba and Coke to soldiers in memory of Maj. Yochai “Juha” Kalengel, who was killed by Hezbollah in 2015…  

“Yearning for Home,” an art exhibit and online auction to benefit Kibbutz Kissufim, one of the communities devastated on Oct. 7, opened at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, Calif. …

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council commended the state’s House of Representatives for unanimously passing a bill that defines antisemitism as religious discrimination in the state education code…

Jacob Millner was named the next executive director of the Jack Miller Family Foundation and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund

An employee of JOIN for Justice sent an unauthorized email to the group’s listserv calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war before quitting…

The executive director of the People’s Forum, a nonprofit that has received significant funding from the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Funddoubled down on his recent call for the destruction of Israel following criticism from Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY)…

Cellebrite Digital Intelligence, which has been harshly criticized in the past for selling powerful surveillance technology to totalitarian regimes, including Russia and China, donated its artificial intelligence technology to nonprofits that help find endangered children, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Spelman College, a historically Black women’s school in Atlanta, received a $100 million donation from Ronda E. Stryker and her husband, William D. Johnston. It appears to be the largest-ever single gift to a historically Black college…

Nancy E. Adler, a health psychologist who advanced the idea that wealth influences health, died earlier this month at 77…

Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, dean of the rabbinical seminary at Yeshiva University for 37 years who oversaw significant growth for the institution, died at 94… 

Pic of the Day

Over 50,000 people attend the traditional Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City today, during Chol Hamoed (the intermediary days) of Sukkot.

Workers at the Strauss Bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y., braid the world’s longest challah, which measured in at 35 feet (breaking the previous record, which was set in Australia in 2019, by a yard).

After braiding, the challah was baked in a tunnel oven at David’s Cookies in Cedar Grove, N.J., and it will be unveiled this morning at the Rodeph Shalom Day School in Manhattan. The record-breaking bread was baked through a partnership between the Jewish Federations of North America and Orthodox Union as part of their “Shabbat of Love” initiative.


Annie Liebovitz smiles
Courtesy/Schusterman Family Philanthropies

Philanthropist, co-founder and chair emerita of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Lynn Schusterman, celebrates her birthday on Sunday…

FRIDAY: Surfer as a child, she is the real-life inspiration for the fictional character Gidget in a book written by her father, Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman… Retired after 40 years of service as a news reporter and White House correspondent for ABC News, Ann Compton… Rebbe of the Hasidic dynasty of Belz since 1966, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach… CEO of Charleston, S.C.-based InterTech Group, a family-owned chemicals manufacturer, Anita Zucker… Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Amy Laura Wax… Former speaker of the Knesset following a stint as chairman of the Jewish Agency, Avraham Burg… President and CEO of PayPal until last September, he is on the board of directors of Verizon, Daniel H. Schulman… Stoughton, Massachusetts resident, Hillery Bauman… Jay Susman… Los Angeles-based attorney and founder of the blog, American Trial Attorneys in Defense of Israel, Baruch C. Cohen… Retired Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons from 2009 to 2019, his family name was originally Berkowitz, John Simon Bercow… U.K. ambassador to Mexico, Jon Benjamin… Governor of Illinois, Jay Robert “J.B.” Pritzker… Chief Washington correspondent for ABC News, Jonathan Karl… Israeli-American social entrepreneur, she is the co-founder and former CEO of Circ MedTech, Tzameret Fuerst… Lecturer at the University of Maryland’s Center for Jewish Studies and senior adviser to Enter: The Jewish Peoplehood Alliance, Scott Lasensky… United Arab Emirates’ minister of state and ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba… Television journalist, entrepreneur, social activist, YouTube creator and motivational speaker, Jessica Abo… DC-based senior director of policy and political affairs at AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy, Julie Fishman Rayman… VP at the National Women’s Law Center, Melissa Boteach… Isaac (Ike) Wolf… Assistant director of policy and government affairs at AIPAC, Alex Bronzo… Gastroenterologist in Boston, Loren Galler Rabinowitz, M.D.… Actor since early childhood, he has already appeared in over 25 films and most recently a main character in Amazon’s “Hunters,” Logan Lerman… Midwest regional deputy director at AIPAC, Emily Berman Pevnick

SATURDAY: Claremont, Calif., resident, Adar Belinkoff… Distinguished professor of physics at Texas A&M University, he won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics, David Morris Lee… Former State Department official and later president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ambassador Morton I. Abramowitz… Moroccan-French rabbi and founder of the organization Jewish-Muslim Friendship of France, Michel Serfaty… Pleasant Hill, Calif., resident, Daniel L. Fisher… Elected four times as a Republican at-large member on the Council of the District of Columbia, she also ran for mayor of D.C. five times, Carol Schwartz… Israeli politician, refusenik during the 1970s and 1980s who spent nine years in Soviet prisons, he served as chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky… Travel editor at CBS News, Peter S. Greenberg… U.S. representative from Nevada until 2013, then SVP for the Touro University system until 2023, now running for mayor of Las Vegas, Shelley Berkley (born Rochelle Levine)… Member of the board of governors of The Jewish Agency, he is the CEO of Chair King and Fortunoff furniture retailers, David Barish… Host of HBO’s political talk show, William “Bill” Maher… Former deputy chief of the General Staff of the IDF, Major General (Reserve) Moshe Kaplinsky… Actress and television host, she is the only child of comedian Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019 (D-MN-3), he is running against President Biden for the Democratic nomination in the 2024 presidential election, Dean Benson Phillips … Grief support specialist in Chicago, Diane Kushnir Halivni… Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, now a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, Nikki Haley (born Nimrata Randhawa)… Founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios, Abigail (Abby) Greensfelder… Recent UK cabinet minister and former MP, he is a member of the House of Lords, Baron Frank Zacharias Robin (Zac) Goldsmith… Prime minister of Ukraine from 2016 to 2019, Volodymyr Groysman… Philanthropist, professional equestrian, and author, Georgina Leigh Bloomberg… Israeli actress, model and musician, Hen Yanni… Deputy chief of staff for the office of the principal cyber advisor in the Pentagon, Paul Mandelson… Senior director at Purple Strategies, Alec Jacobs… Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, Jason Berger

SUNDAY: Writer specializing in modern Judaism and women’s issues, Blu Greenberg (born Bluma Genauer)… Owner of the NHL’s Boston Bruins and chairman of Delaware North, Jeremy Maurice Jacobs … Writer on cultural and social issues, Elaine Showalter (born Elaine Cottler)… Attorney General of the U.S. during the Obama administration, now a senior counsel at Covington & Burling, Eric H. Holder Jr.… Actor, director and producer, Robby Benson… Chair of the real estate group at the NY/NJ law firm of Sills Cummis & Gross, Mark Levenson… U.S. senator (R-ND), Kevin Cramer… Chairman and CEO of Norfolk, Virginia-based Harbor Group International, Jordan E. Slone… Executive editor digital at the Washington MonthlyMatthew Cooper… Chief operations officer of OneTable, Andrea Greenblatt… Senior fellow at the USC Annenberg School, Cindi Leive… SVP and Washington bureau chief for CNN, Sam Feist… President and CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Rachel Garbow Monroe… Director, producer and screenwriter of films, best known as the producer or director of the eight films in the “Paranormal Activity” series, Oren Peli… Dean of School at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn… Peruvian model and TV host, she represented her country in Miss Universe 2009, Karen Schwarz… Congressional reporter / staff writer for the Los Angeles TimesJennifer Haberkorn… Israeli actress, screenwriter and filmmaker, Romi Aboulafia… Deputy administrator at HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration Jordan Grossman… Samuel Z. Eckstein…