Your Daily Phil: JFNA looks to boost Israeli small businesses with $100M loan fund

Good Wednesday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on a new Anti-Defamation League survey finding a major rise in antisemitic incidents in the past three months, and feature an opinion piece by Steven Windmeuller offering a set of leadership principles for a post-Oct. 7 world. Also in this newsletter: Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Gabriel Attal and Rabbi Yaakov Medan. We’ll start with a major loan initiative by the Jewish Federations of North America to help Israeli small businesses that are struggling amid the war with Hamas.

As part of a broader economic recovery program for Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America is launching a major new loan fund — so far $25 million has been allocated, with plans to raise $75 million more — to increase the ability of Israeli loan providers to help small businesses affected by the war in Gaza and fighting along Israel’s northern border, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Jeff Schoenfeld, the co-chair of JFNA’s Israel Emergency Fund allocation committee and leader of this loan fund initiative, said the organization quickly realized that the Oct. 7 attacks and ensuing war would dramatically affect the businesses across the country and looked to find ways that philanthropy could help.

“In evacuated communities, obviously, business grinds to zero, but we were also hearing of situations across the country as reservists were being called up and their businesses were also being halted,” Schoenfeld told eJP.

“Through reports from the Bank of Israel, from the Taub Center [social policy think tank], from lots of anecdotal evidence, [we could see that] the Israeli economy is not functioning normally and that the greatest burden is falling on small and micro-businesses,” he said.

JFNA has raised $768.5 million for its Israel Emergency Fund since Oct. 7 and allocated $282.7 million of it, including the $25 million toward this Israel Emergency Loan Fund. But Schoenfeld said the plan is to increase the loan fund to $100 million through further contributions from “across the federation system … as well as foundations and significant individual donors across the U.S. and Canada.”

Schoenfeld noted that this loan fund represents “philanthropic capital,” not an investment. That $100 million will go toward absorbing potential defaults and covering the costs of reduced interest rates. By having this philanthropic cushion, the small business lenders are able to secure their own loans from banks, allowing them to lend out far more money to small businesses.

Schoenfeld estimated that with $100 million of philanthropic capital, the lending platforms would be able to issue $400 million in small business loans. “Nothing anywhere close to this scale is going on in Israel right now,” he said.

Read the full report here.


A Miami Beach police patrol drives past Temple Emanu-El synagogue in Miami Beach, Fla., on Oct. 9, 2023. (Marco Bello/AFP via Getty Images)

Antisemitic incidents in the United States tripled in the three months since Oct. 7, compared to the same period a year ago, according to newly collected data from the Anti-Defamation League released exclusively to eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen in Jewish Insider.

Almost a year’s worth: The ADL’s preliminary data found that there were 3,283 antisemitic incidents between Oct. 7, 2023, and Jan. 7, 2024 — nearly as many recorded incidents as there were in the entire calendar year of 2022. The 3,283 recorded examples of antisemitic activity include: 60 incidents of physical assault, 553 incidents of vandalism, 1,353 incidents of verbal or written harassment and 1,317 rallies that included antisemitic rhetoric, expressions of support for terrorism against Israel and/or anti-Zionism.

Unprecedented threat: “It’s shocking that we’ve recorded more antisemitic acts in three months than we usually would in an entire year,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “The American Jewish community is facing a threat level that’s now unprecedented in modern history.”

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


Ten principles for leadership in a post-Oct. 7 world

Rudzhan Nagiev/Getty Images

“Jewish professionals have been called upon to demonstrate a different type of leadership as we continue to grapple with our own personal responses to the events unfolding in Israel. The ripple effects of this moment will likely not only change our sense of self but also impact the institutions we are committed to serving,” writes Steven Windmeuller, professor emeritus of Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

You can do this: “Literature focused on ‘crisis leadership’ points to the unique elements associated with managing in times of change and disruption. In such settings, we are called upon to be resourceful and adaptive while simultaneously being mindful of our own coping skills in times of tension and change. Extrapolating both from the literature and from conversations with Jewish leaders who are currently experiencing some of these challenges, I offer a set of 10 leadership principles.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Down But Not Out: In The New York Times, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi laments the devastation to his hometown and the surrounding region but vows to rebuild. “Everything changed on Oct. 7. Nothing in our history could have prepared us for that day, when Hamas launched an unprecedented assault against the population of Israel, killing about 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals in a brutal rampage that included taking about 240 hostages back to Gaza and systematic sexual assaults… As mayor, I face an overwhelming task while forced to work out of a hotel in Jerusalem: ensuring the provision of essential public services like education, after-school programs and social services for our city’s residents at 110 locations across the nation… Sderot became a ghost town, with most small businesses shuttered. Yet in an example of our resilience, some factories and businesses in Sderot continued to operate, producing mattresses, auto parts and other goods. The volunteer efforts that have sprung up among our people, offering food, medicine and psychological care, are powerful demonstrations of our strength, compassion and unity… As we move forward, I urge the world to recognize our agony and resolve to ensure it is never repeated.” [NYTimes]

It’s All About Relationships: While family philanthropies usually start with the vision of a single founding individual or couple, the ones that last multiple generations evolve into a complex network, writes Nick Tedesco, president and CEO of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, in a blog post. “The success of family philanthropy is dependent on the willingness of the family to embrace an ecosystem of partners… While families typically intend for community members to be the beneficiaries, historically many of those in the community have been excluded from actively designing or influencing approaches intended to benefit them. And family philanthropy staff members, who often have deep relationships and trust with community members, seldom have decision-making authority and autonomy to help bridge the gaps between the family and community members. While many families can see the value in adopting an ecosystem approach, the grip of preexisting power dynamics and ingrained systemic traditions often make it difficult for them to translate their intention into action. The first step is to understand how giving must happen in relationship with others.” [NationalCenterforFamilyPhilanthropy]

Missed Opportunity: “Miracle drugs” are not reaching the people dying of malaria by the hundreds of thousands each year, writes David Wallace-Wells in an opinion piece for The New York Times. “The key breakthrough was made more than three decades ago, and the safety and efficacy of the vaccine were shown in clinical trials that began as far back as 1998, though a few questions about side effects lingered. The W.H.O. did not recommend the use of RTS,S until October 2021. Since then, fewer than two million children have been vaccinated, and only 18 million doses (enough for just 4.5 million children) are expected to be available through 2025. More than 18 million people, most of them young children, have died of malaria in the quarter-century since the vaccine’s 1998 trials. In the meantime, a new vaccine has come along, perhaps even more impressive… But rollout of the new vaccine has been slow, stymied in part, The Financial Times has reported, by a lack of urgency by the W.H.O., which finally added it to a list of prequalified vaccines in December… That is not just a lesson for the developing world, though, or a morality tale about the public-health indifference of countries with deep pockets. In the United States, Operation Warp Speed has come to be seen as a similar kind of inspiring, moonshot breakthrough — at least for those still inclined to trust and celebrate the achievement of the Covid-19 vaccines — and a reminder of how much more we might do for public health, even in the wealthy world, should we really commit to it.”[NYTimes]

Around the Web

The parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who was taken hostage on Oct. 7, are asking supporters to tape the number 100 on their chests on Jan. 14 to mark 100 days of captivity as part of their “Hostages on the Heart” initiative…

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a revised resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and the release of all hostages, following a series of divisive meetings. Tyler Gregory, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Bay Area, said his organization “appreciate[d] that inflammatory condemnations of Israel were removed from the original resolution” and warned other cities against “unnecessary and avoidable” division…

The Clooney Foundation for Justice, established by human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney and actor George Clooney, hired Emma Lindsay, a partner at the Withers law firm, and David Sagal, former general counsel at Warner Bros. Pictures, to serve as co-CEOs of the organization…

Spectrum News 1 of Charlotte, N.C., profiled Milt Berkman, who is celebrating his second bar mitzvah at 83 by matching donations up to $10,000 for the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte’s Outshine Hate Initiative…

Agudath Israel of America applauded the New Jersey State Senate for passing legislation that expands access to free school meals in both public and nonpublic schools — a measure the organization had lobbied for…

More than 260 Jewish entertainment figures signed an open letter criticizing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for excluding Jews from its diversity initiative, which will become one of the standards required for a film to be considered for a best picture award beginning this year…

French President Emmanuel Macron tapped Gabriel Attal, whose father was Jewish, to serve as the country’s next prime minister…

Rolling Stone examines how the recent hubbub over the construction of illegal tunnels at Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn “sparked an onslaught of antisemitic conspiracy theories” online…

The Times Square franchise of Eyal Shani’s Miznon restaurant chain is becoming kosher…

Arno Mayer, who fled Nazi Europe with his family in 1940 and became a historian of World War II, died last month at 97…

Pic of the Day

In Gush Etzion, Israel, Yeshivat Har Etzion CEO Yoni Holtzer (left) and Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Medan — a prominent figure in Israel’s religious-Zionist community — wash dishes in the yeshiva dining hall’s kitchen. Most of the yeshiva's students and kollel learners, and many of the teachers, have been drafted to serve in the war against Hamas, so staff has been pitching in on toranut (kitchen duty).
Yeshivat Har Eztion/Facebook

In Gush Etzion, Israel, Yeshivat Har Etzion CEO Yoni Holtzer (left) and Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Medan — a prominent figure in Israel’s religious-Zionist community — wash dishes in the yeshiva dining hall’s kitchen. Most of the yeshiva’s students and kollel learners, and many of the teachers, have been drafted to serve in the war against Hamas, so staff has been pitching in on toranut (kitchen duty).


Screenshot/B’nai B’rith

Professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, Jonathan D. Sarna

Founder of the Center for Research on Institutions and Social Policy, Adam Walinsky… Conservative columnist and author, David Joel Horowitz… Physician and medical researcher, Bernard Salomon Lewinsky… Executive editor of Denver’s Intermountain Jewish News, Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, Ph.D.… President of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston for 30 years, now a professor at Brandeis, Barry Shrage… Former president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Baron David Edmond Neuberger… Musician, singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band “Steely Dan,” Donald Fagen… World renowned Israeli cellist, Mischa Maisky… U.S. senator (R-MO) until one year ago, Roy Blunt… Longtime editor at Bantam Books, Simon & Schuster and Crown Publishers, Sydny Weinberg Miner… Retired executive director at Beta Alpha Psi, Hadassah (Dassie) Baum… Founder and CEO at Los Angeles-based Quantifiable Media and Tel Aviv-based Accords Consulting, Rose Kemps… Fellow for religious freedom at the Freedom Forum Institute after 33 years at AJC Global, Richard Thomas Foltin… Majority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Joe Lacob… Member of the Knesset for the United Torah Judaism party, Uri Maklev turns 67… U.S. senator (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen… Member of the U.K.’s House of Lords and advisor to the government on antisemitism, Baron John Mann… Actor with a recurring role in “Sex and the City” and author of two books on his recovery from acute myeloid leukemia, Evan Handler… Theatrical producer, playwright and director, Ari Roth… Vice chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, Beth Ellen Wolff… Author and journalist best known for his novels Gangster Nation, Gangsterland and Living Dead Girl, Tod Goldberg… Member of the Knesset for Likud, Galit Distel-Atbaryan… Film director and screenwriter, Joe Nussbaum… Caryn Beth Lazaroff Gold… Founder of Affinity Partners, Jared Kushner… Advisor and speechwriting director for Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for 11 years until last year, Adam David Weissmann… Senior spokesperson on terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, Morgan Aubrey Finkelstein… Israeli rapper, singer and songwriter, Michael Swissa… Andrew Tobin… Debbie Seiden… Florida Democratic chair and longtime DNC member, Mitch Ceasar…