Your Daily Phil: JCRIF announces Reset grant recipients + Jay Sanderson on ‘conscious disruption’

 Good Monday morning!

The Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund Aligned Grant Fund announced the recipients of JCRIF’s Reset grants. More below.

The Jewish Grandparents Network (JGN) is launching a redesigned website today featuring “The Family Room,” where grandparents and grandchildren can connect online, the group’s CEO, David Raphael, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

The Family Room is an interactive space where the generations can connect and play, whether they’re separated by distance or sitting at the computer together. “This project is something of a child of COVID,” Raphael said. “We can’t give out mandel bread (almond cookies) but it makes video communication more joyful.”

The Family Room is funded by the Marcus Foundation. The Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds were the organization’s major initial supporters and continue to provide general operating support. The organization’s budget is $250,000, while next year’s is projected to be $500,000. Everyone currently serving on JGN’s board also contributes.

The Family Room offers “destinations” including holidays, cooking and family stories, which offers templates and ideas to learn about and share family histories through different media. In the arts area, users can click on videos from a movement teacher that encourage grandparent and grandchild to dance. “This is one example of going directly to grandparents to give them what they need to become the most influential Jewish educators of their families,” Raphael said.


Jay Sanderson on why the L.A. federation had to change


On Dec. 31, exactly 12 years after he started serving as the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jay Sanderson will officially step down, yielding the helm to Rabbi Noah Farkas. The two have been meeting since Farkas’s appointment was announced in June, and Sanderson is “very optimistic” that Farkas will be able to lead the federation over the next decade or more, Sanderson told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff in a conversation about joining the federation system as a CEO after a career in media; what he’s proud of and why the changes he made were necessary. “I have been thinking about succession since I began in my role 12 years ago,” Sanderson said. “I believe in constant transformation and conscious disruption.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Helen Chernikoff: When you joined the federation as CEO 11 years ago, you were considered a surprising pick. Was that simply due to your professional background, which was in media, not human services or the nonprofit world?

Jay Sanderson: Yes, I was in the media world, a filmmaker, producer and writer, and I never considered myself a Jewish professional although much of what I did had a Jewish theme, and my life is deeply Jewish. Most federation execs back in the day had a social work background. And I was a critic of the Jewish community. I have people that work for me whose dream was to work for a Jewish organization and that wasn’t my dream.

HC: What was the essence of your criticism when you were coming in from the outside?

JS: I felt like the Jewish community was fixated on the past, and not willing to look at what’s ahead of us. Most Jews, not just young Jews, have decided not to engage in the Jewish community in any formal way. They have decided not to belong to a synagogue, not to send their kids to day school. Jewish institutional life has always historically focused on doing what we’ve done over and over again even if it didn’t work. The title of the best management book I ever read — and the book wasn’t as good as the title — was What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. So when I came into this job, I was pretty frustrated. How many more panels could I sit on about Jewish identity? How many more times could we have the same conversation with no real results?

HC: What would you point to in your tenure where you really feel like you were able to get that message across, and something changed?

JS: The historic structure of the federation movement was as an umbrella agency that raised funds for beneficiary agencies. Basically, you give us money, and we put it through to the community. Our federation destroyed that format. We became the organization that led in the process of looking at the greatest challenges and opportunities, and then identifying where we could make an impact. This is about strategy. It’s about measuring success. It’s about partnerships with the agencies, not entitlements. The old federation model was about, “We give you a million dollars this year,’ and next year, the organization says, “Give me a million and a half.”   

Read the full article here.


Breathe to the pain: A gratitude piece to Rabbi Lord Sacks z”l

Office of Rabbi Sacks

“[A] year following his untimely departure from us, I come to write a gratitude piece to the wisdom of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l,” writes Sarah Mali, vice president of leadership & impact and head of the Masa Leadership & Impact Center, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Upbringing: “Growing up in Orthodox Jewish North West London in the ‘80s and ‘90s I experienced a strict theological and religious order to things revolving, in the main, around divisions regarding God and humanity, insider and outsider, Judaism and the world, friend and foe. God was omnipotent and humans lacked the power to make a difference. Jews were the Chosen ones in contrast to others, and, therefore, ours was the religious truth. To be Jewish and stay Jewish, Jews needed to remain within the four walls of our own religious communities.”

Splitting off: “We were in some way born into an intellectual and spiritual split that kept the negative, complicated or embarrassing stuff out and, as Tevye would say, ‘far away from us’… The Austrian-British Jewish psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, through her work with children, in the early 20th century, described this kind of splitting as the paranoid-schizoid state; taking the bad parts experienced in our relationships with our parents and splitting them off so that they do not connect to us. We split the bad part off as a way of avoiding the pain of reconciling it as part of our own reality.”

Integration: “Over these past many months after the passing of Rabbi Sacks, I have come to realize that the sorrow I have felt is a coming to terms with the loss of a rabbi who gave us the possibility of living our lives in full.  Wherever he intellectually traveled in his works, from the parsha to politics to science and wherever they met us, from his Ted Talk to Thought of the Day, all were profoundly radical in that they resisted the split and held the possibility and promise of integration.”

Read the full piece here.


JCRIF-Aligned Grant Fund announces Reset grant recipients


In an opinion piece written for eJewishPhilanthropy by Maimonides Fund COO Felicia Herman, the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund Aligned Grant Fund shares the recipients of JCRIF’s Reset grants. The partners — Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Supporting Foundation, Jim Joseph Foundation, Maimonides Fund and The Paul E. Singer Foundation — have approved over $24 million in grants to eight organizations.

Grant recipients: JCRIF awarded the grants to Community Security Service, Custom & Craft (d/b/a, Gather, Inc., JIMENA, M2, Moishe House (for the Jewish Learning Collaborative), Repair the World/Jewish Service Alliance and UJA-Federation of New York.

Process: “The recipients were selected through a rigorous process that began with a public Request for Proposals in February 2021, calling for projects that could ‘seize this unique moment to reimagine, renew and reset Jewish communities for the future’ and offer ‘new thinking that can move beyond current organizational boundaries, structures, missions and program delivery mechanisms.’”

Collaborations: “The grants tell a story about some of the core elements that the JCRIF grant funders believe are necessary to reset Jewish communal life: Jewish education, engagement and empowerment; service that is deeply infused with Jewish wisdom; the integration of social services with Jewish engagement; diversity and inclusion; and physical safety. All of the grants also represent meaningful collaborations, in some cases across multiple institutions and sectors, which the funders believe will be a key factor in Jewish communal thriving in the decades to come.”

New partnerships: “As with all of JCRIF’s activities, the Reset grants are also the product of new philanthropic processes. Each grant is a partnership of between two and five funding partners, and the shared review, due diligence and reporting processes are an effort to reduce the amount of time applicants spend applying for and reporting on grants. Each funder is supporting at least one organization that is entirely new to their portfolio, and several are supporting multiple organizations that are new to them.”

Read the full piece here

Worthy Reads

Turning Face: American nonprofit marketers are increasingly looking for alternatives to Facebook, and it’s not just because 90% of Facebook’s 3 billion users live outside the U.S., writes Kristy Fontelera in NonProfitPRO. Facebook’s business model, which prioritizes ad revenue, isn’t a great fit for many nonprofits because while higher spending equates with higher views, engagement can still decline because the nonprofit is buying attention from strangers — quantity, not quality. Some nonprofits also have qualms about whether their social mission is compatible with Facebook’s sharing of donor data. “As artificial intelligence — and Facebook tools — get more sophisticated, is it ethical for nonprofits to use Facebook and donor dollars on predictive and behavioral data that’s getting picked up by Facebook to sell?” [NonProfitPRO]

Good Showing: American charitable giving exceeds that of Europeans by almost every measure, reports David Harsanyi in a New York Post article that reviews new data from the Almanac of American Philanthropy. Americans donate about seven times as much as continental Europeans to charitable causes per person — twice as much as the Dutch and 10 times that of Italians. “Europeans will, no doubt, argue that they already give charity in high taxes that fund big social safety nets,” Harsanyi notes. “The data shows, however, that in overall spending, there isn’t much difference between the United States and other developed nations — each redistributing 20% of GDP.” [NYPost]

Community Comms

Apply! Want to join the team at Jewish Insider/eJewish Philanthropy? We’re looking for a top-notch philanthropy editor. Learn more here.

Be featured: Email us to inform the eJP readership of your upcoming event, job opening, or other communication.

Word on the Street

First Lady Jill Biden delivered the keynote address at the annual Yeshiva Beth Yehudah dinner in Detroit last night… The International March of the Living will continue its “Let There Be Light” global initiative and invites individuals, institutions and houses of worship to leave the lights on during the night of Nov. 9, to commemorate Kristallnacht, as a symbol of mutual responsibility and the shared struggle against antisemitism, racism, hatred and intolerance… His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League, visited Yeshiva University to participate in “Jews and Muslims: A Look Toward the Future,” the inaugural conversation in the Presidential Forum series… Camp Tawonga, the Jewish summer camp near Yosemite National Park, announced its largest-ever financial gift, $5 million, from Mark and Debra Leslie, their children and their spouses, Seth and Sharon Leslie and Josh and Sara Leslie… Catawba College in North Carolina received $200 million for its endowment from an anonymous donor, the largest gift in its history… The University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Franciscoreceived a $50 million gift from an anonymous donor to launch a joint program in computational precision health with the goal of improving the quality and equity of health care… Producers of an American TV show are filming in Turkey for a series that will tell the story of Ottoman Jews from the time of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 to the present…

Pic of the Day

Ken Goldman

Ken Goldman, an American-born Israeli artist, is an entrant in the environmental organization Hazon’s Shmita Prize on the subject of the Biblical sabbatical year. This photograph is titled “We Can All Use Some Rest.”


Dr.finkelstein09 via Wikimedia Commons

Singer-songwriter who competed in the ninth season of “American Idol,” Vered “Didi” Benami… 
U.S. District Court judge (now on senior status) in the Eastern District of New York,  Edward R. Korman… Chief policy and strategy officer of Oscar Insurance, Joel Klein… Board chair of the Israel Policy Forum since 2016 and president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, Susan Gelman… President of Dallas-based SPR Ventures, he serves on the boards of Texas Capital Bancshares and Cinemark, Steven Rosenberg… U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Jane Nuland… Television personality and author of 15 books, Bruce Feiler… Voice actress and singer, best known for voicing Asajj Ventress in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Nika Futterman… An actor, he is currently starring opposite Queen Latifah on the CBS show “The Equalizer,” Adam Charles Goldberg… Television screenwriter, showrunner, executive producer and director, best known for running the television medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy”, Krista Vernoff… An actress, she has appeared as various characters on the FX anthology series “American Horror Story,” Leslie Erin Grossman… Physician, author and public speaker, Dr. Michael Herschel Greger… Sharon Iancu… Rapper and songwriter, known professionally as The Alchemist, Daniel Alan Maman… Director of the Chabad House at Princeton University, Rabbi Eitan Webb… Singer and model, Hannah Cohen… Program officer at San Francisco’s Koret Foundation, Rachel Elana Schonwetter… Musician, known professionally by the mononym “Grandson,” Jordan Edward Benjamin… Director of community relations at Chizuk Amuno Congregation & Schools in Baltimore, Josh Sherman …
Email to have your birthday included.