Your Daily Phil: Jeffrey Solomon on the value of teen giving + Yossi Klein Halevi’s JFN speech

Good Tuesday morning!

Israeli journalist and author Yossi Klein Halevi opened the Jewish Funders Network’s (JFN) annual conference yesterday with a talk that touched on both positive developments and challenges around Israel and the relationship between the Jewish state and American Jews.

“We need to deepen the mainstream partnership between Israelis and American Jews in an effort to strengthen, and perhaps save, Israeli democracy,” said the American-born Klein Halevi, addressing a global online gathering of 650 attendees, mostly philanthropists and foundation professionals.

The coronavirus pandemic was Israel’s first national emergency unrelated to the Israeli-Arab conflict, he pointed out. Israeli Arabs are about 20% of the Israeli population, but 25% of its doctors, 30% of its nurses and 50% of its pharmacists, and their role in fighting the virus is helping to further smooth their way into Israeli society and normalize their participation in politics.

The Abraham Accords are another bright spot that could have broader ramifications: “When we feel the siege is lowering we tend to be more receptive to the possibility of negotiating with the Palestinians,” said Klein Halevi, the author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.

He also discussed his concerns thatIsraeli’s high coronavirus infection rate, the product of the ultra-Orthodox community’s “separatism” and disregard of public health rules, is a sign that Israel, for all its myriad successes, could also fail as a democratic state.

Klein Halevi himself endorsed Yair Lapid for prime minister in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, tweeting on March 12, “This election is about one overriding issue: whether Israel will remain a modern, cutting-edge society, or gradually become a failing state.”

The ask

Jeffrey Solomon puts a new focus on teen giving

Associated Press

Jeffrey Solomon is one of the elders of Jewish philanthropy. The former president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, he also served as chief operating officer of UJA-Federation of New York and now sits on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Leichtag Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation. At this year’s Jewish Funder’s Network (JFN) conference, which began yesterday and runs through Wednesday, he’s promoting the rebranding and expansion of JFN’s youth philanthropy program, from the “Jewish Teen Funder’s Network” to “Honeycomb.” Founded in 2006, the teen network originally helped local organizations run philanthropy groups for young people. In 2017, with the hiring of Wayne Green as executive director, it created a new set of curriculum materials, in addition to training and consulting services for professionals who work with teens across Jewish settings, from federations to synagogues to camps. Solomon told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff that his years of work in the field has taught him that a person’s first donation is formative.

Helen Chernikoff: Why are you focusing on young people right now?

Jeffrey Solomon: Jewish teen philanthropy takes young people on a journey. It stays with them their whole lives, and it really represents the sweet spot of personal development, Jewish identity and American identity. What we learn in adolescent psychology is that identity is formed in the late teens and 20s. As a community, we invest a great deal in ensuring the continuity of Jewish life, and philanthropy is part of what holds us together as a community. So for me, the Honeycomb name is such a great metaphor. It’s the sweetness that you taste on Rosh Hashanah, and in the study of Torah. It’s work: Every bee has his or her responsibilities. It’s learning to be a community and not only an individual.

HC: Why was the rebrand necessary?

JR: Jewish Teen Funders Network is not exactly a sexy name, and in some ways, it’s a little intimidating. What does it mean to be a funder? It suggests a level of giving that is beyond most teens, and with all of the new curriculum material and Honeycomb’s partnerships with federations and camps and community centers and synagogues, the idea of reimagining Jewish teen philanthropy really speaks to another thing teens like. They like to reimagine, and to be at moments of change.

HC: This sounds like a pet project for you.

JR: It is a pet project, in part. I’ve had conversations with hundreds of philanthropists, and I often would ask them: “When did you make your first gift?” And it’s fascinating, people who are giving away millions of dollars will go back to the first time that they gave away their allowance, or they’ll go back to that UNICEF drive, and they talk about it as if it was yesterday even though it may have been 60 years ago. But one of the things I have seen is that their philanthropic lives were shaped when they were that young. They’ll talk about how the Friday-evening ritual in their homes was parents putting coins in a blue box, and this made them want to be philanthropists later in life.

Read the full article here.

Student Networks

JGSI + Hillel: A game-changer for grads

eJP Archives

“As a former Hillel professional and a recent graduate student, I read Jenna Ferman’s article ‘The Case for more Hillel graduate networks and professionals’ with great interest and felt this a perfect opportunity to respectfully share my own perspective,” writes Dan Rosenberg in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

New network: “If you haven’t yet heard of the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative, it’s probably because it’s an upstart out of Los Angeles that only really broke onto the national scene a few years ago. But you should – and will – hear of it. In less than a decade it has built a network on 87 graduate campuses across North America and engages over 6,000 students per year.”

Entry point: “Graduate students need their own unique entry point into Jewish community. As mature adults on the cusp of career, they are contemplating the role that Judaism and Jewish identity will play during the rest of their lives.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

More Need: Even as 60% of nonprofits obtained support from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program in the first nine months of the pandemic, 50% have had to cut staff and the services they offer, report Mirae Kim, associate professor of nonprofit studies at George Mason University, and Dyana Mason, associate professor of planning, public policy and management at the University of Oregon, in The Conversation, citing a national survey of nonprofits they’re conducting. The PPP program helped stabilize vulnerable organizations’ services at a time when demand for those services was increasing, but small nonprofits especially are still struggling and need more help earmarked specifically for them. [The Conversation]

Regression Analysis: As the second-in-command at Amdocs, the publicly traded Israeli software developer, Tamar Rapaport-Dagim has made it a priority to work toward equal opportunity for women in business, although she says quotas are counter-productive. Now she feels the remote-work shift ushered in by the pandemic will set women back, according to an interview by Diana Bahur-Nir in CTech. “Women are already less apt to offer their opinions when working remotely,” she said, adding that a physical workplace environment has benefits that can’t be duplicated working remotely. [CTech]

Unkind Cuts: Some colleges and universities had made progress balancing their books by slashing expenses, but now that the pandemic has hit they need to understand that cannot cut their way to financial health — they need to transform themselves instead, writes Lee Gardner in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Public universities and smaller private colleges will move increasingly away from the classic notion of a university education and focus more tightly on job outcomes. They will have to not only cut offerings that contribute prestige, but attract few students, and create new programs that will bring in both students and revenue, like health care and tech. [ChronicleHigherEd]

Look Around: Non-profit boards must divest themselves of the notion that they should focus only on the organization when making governing decisions,reflects Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, on the organization’s blog. Citing a new governance framework from Anne Wallstead, CEO of BoardSource, Buchanan urges boards to be careful not to be overly loyal to the corporate entity they’re serving, and instead broaden their vision to think first of the mission, and the people impacted by the group’s work: “What is best for purpose and community is not always synonymous with what’s best for the organization.” [CenterEffectivePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

Attention new CEOs: Applications are now open for the CEO Onboarding Program from Leading Edge! Deadline April 15.

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

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Word on the Street

Ben Greenberghas been named first-ever director of communities for Limmud NA effective April 1st… The creators of SafeUP, used by thousands of women in Israel on late-night walks home, will launch the service in London… The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities has arranged for the shipment of matzah and kosher-for-Passover food to the six GCC countries… The Quebec Council of Hasidic Jews launched a court challenge to the province’s COVID-19 nighttime curfew… Israel is reopening flights to and from all locations beginning today…

Pic of the Day


ADI, an Israeli provider of residential and rehabilitative care for individuals with disabilities, honored Los Angeles philanthropist and real estate investor Judah Hertz on Sunday in an online ceremony that dedicated the Judah Hertz Safari Petting Zoo and Therapeutic Horse Farm in the Negev.



Head of policy and communications at Facebook’s Israel office, Jordana Cutler… 
Former CEO and chairman of Citigroup, Sanford I. “Sandy” Weill… Dean and founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier… NYC tax attorney and litigator, he served as a tax assistant to the Solicitor General of the U.S., Stuart A. Smith… Actress and film director, Susan Linda Bay… Computer scientist and professor emeritus at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Andrew S. Tanenbaum… Israeli singer, best known as the original singer of “Jerusalem of Gold,” Shulamit “Shuli” Natan… Actor and singer, Victor Garber… Customer service associate at Jewish Free Loan Association of Los Angeles, Judy Karta… Mathematician, tech innovator (with 260 patents) and the creator of the first camera phone, Philippe Kahn… Peabody Award and Emmy Award-winning NPR journalist and host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Scott Simon… VP of external affairs and government relations at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Amy Reich Kaplan… Film producer, production designer and adjunct faculty member at Chicago’s Columbia College, Gail Sonnenfeld… Adjunct professor at both George Washington University Law School and Stanford In Washington, Andrew D. Eskin… President Biden’s nominee to be U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Polly Ellen Trottenberg… VP for talent, booking at ABC News, Eric Avram… President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, Jay Ruderman… Actor and comedian, best known for playing the role of writer Frank Rossitano on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” Judah Friedlander… Senior producer of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at MSNBC, Amy Shuster… VP at the BGR Group, Andy Lewin… Speechwriter for President Joe Biden at The White House, Jeff Nussbaum… Writer for Jewish outlets, Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll… President and managing director at SKDKnickerbocker, Jason Rosenbaum… Retired soccer player in the Israeli Premier League who is now the first team manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Yoav Ziv… Detroit-based founder and managing partner of Ludlow Ventures, Jonathon Triest… SVP at the Glover Park Group, Adam Blickstein… Director of partnerships at The Giving List, Alexandra Stabler … Director in the New York office of the Jewish National Fund, Sarah Azizi… First baseman and DH for MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays, Ryan John “Rowdy” Tellez… Second year student at the University of Michigan Law School, Nathan Bennett… Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter on the Metro desk of The New York Times, Brian M. Rosenthal…