Your Daily Phil: JScreen expands to cancer screenings + RespectAbility to launch video series

Good Wednesday morning!

RespectAbility, the disability advocacy organization, will launch a video series on Friday consisting of 14 interviews, each asking the question, “What do you pray for?” of Jews with various disabilities, the organization’s president, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, told eJewishPhilanthropy. The filmmaker, Ben Rosloff, is on the Autism spectrum, and the interviewees include nursery school teacher Amy Rosenfeld-Kass, professor Brendan Stern and actress Samantha Elisofon. 

With a net worth of $38.2 billion, Miriam Adelson is the fifth-richest woman in the world, according to Forbes, which published its World’s Billionaires List yesterday. Since the death of her husband, Sheldon Adelson, in January, she has controlled a 56% stake in casino operator Las Vegas Sands. 

Leaders from philanthropy, academia and business, including Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, yesterday announced the launch of a new initiative to address racial disparities in wealth in the United States, called “NinetyToZero,” for the roughly 90% wealth gap between white and Black Americans.

Jane Hedal-Siegel, director of volunteer and community services at New York City’s Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, was named to Crain’s New York Business’ 2021 “Notable in Nonprofit and Philanthropy” list, along with with Susan Birnbaum, the president and chief executive officer of the New York City Police Foundation.

Jewish Genetics

JScreen offering new cancer test


JScreen, the Jewish genetic testing nonprofit known for its emphasis on reproductive disease, is expanding its efforts and now offering cancer screenings. The new test screens for more than 40 types of cancer, looking at 63 genes that predict cancer risk. JScreen aims to test 1,000 people in its first year, 2,000 in its second year and 10,000 people within five years, Karen Grinzaid, the executive director of JScreen and a professor in the department of human genetics at the School of Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Elevated risk: The Marcus Foundation, also based in Atlanta, gave JScreen its initial funding when it launched in 2013. A two-year grant from the foundation provided the seed funding for the new cancer program, Grinzaid said. Other supporters of the cancer screening program include the Kay Family Foundation, the Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation, she added. The group has a part-time fundraiser through Emory and intends to use the tests to find new supporters among those who have been affected by cancer. Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk of carrying more than 200 genetic disorders, such as Gaucher, a metabolic disorder, and Tay-Sachs, which destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, than the general population.

Outreach campaign: JScreen is a national provider of genetic testing, using a saliva sample kit that is mailed to a lab; the kit has some similarities to direct-to-consumer DNA tests like 23andMe, but those tests look for only a small number of BRCA mutations, while JScreen looks for thousands. “Someone could be falsely reassured by one of those tests,” Grinzaid said. “And they are not medical-grade.” The organization is first reaching out to individuals and institutions it already works with, such as synagogues, federations, JCCs, rabbinic groups and cancer support organizations, to spread the word about the cancer test.

Read the full article here.

Clubhouse convos

Clubhouse & Career Up Now…Innovating a new innovation…and so can you!

Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via AP

“Clubhouse is already changing the way Jews and non-Jews experience Judaism by the tens of thousands, soon by the hundreds of thousands, when the platform is fully open to the public by the millions,” writes Bradley Caro Cook in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Experience: “In the past three months, with hundreds of Clubhouse ‘hours’ under my belt, I moderated dozens of Jewish learning and culture rooms. I meaningfully engaged thousands of unaffiliated and non-normative Jews. I’m blown away by the possibilities and capabilities. A significant accomplishment that still blows my mind is leading a weekly Jewish mysticism room that lasts between 2 and 8 hours weekly alongside rabbis and Jewish educators with whom I would otherwise never be able to collaborate.”

Read the full piece here.


Don’t look too far: Allies to create field change may be closer than you think


“Funders are often seeking ways to help nonprofit organizations become more effective and more efficient in achieving their goals,” writes Rachel Mohl Abrahams in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Beginnings: “The Jewish Education Innovation Challenge’s Developing Embedded Expertise in Jewish Day Schools Program, funded by the Mayberg Foundation with launch support from The AVI CHAI Foundation, has created a professional learning community bringing together 18 educational providers to learn from each other and expand their own expertise and efficacy while surfacing synergies and potential collaborations that might serve the field.”

Embedded experts: “What does developing embedded expertise in schools look like? The professional development provider works with an appointed school staff member who has been selected as a coordinator. That teacher becomes the school’s instructional leader for the specific innovation, bringing the training from the provider to their colleagues. The coordinator can then train the other teachers, in-house, at their school. Once the coordinator’s training is finished, the capacity to continue innovating and improving instruction has been built at the school level and will necessitate less reliance on the external provider.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Wrong Spirit: “Spite philanthropy” — it might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a real phenomenon, writes Gregory R. Witkowski in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, citing the $1.2 million collected by Planned Parenthood after a social media influencer urged his followers to donate in the name of Rush Limbaugh, a critic of the organization, after his death. Witkowski wonders whether non-profit organizations will start using spite to inspire gifts, and says that while some might benefit from the tactic in the near-term, society might suffer: “Will these appeals exacerbate societal rifts and increase partisanship in an arena where Americans have often worked together to benefit their communities?” [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

Grit Check: In Philanthropy Daily, Scott Bucko urges nonprofits contemplating capital campaigns to ask themselves if they truly have enough grit, defined as a combination of passion and perseverance, in pursuit of mission. “Vision is essential, but without the passion and drive to meet the challenge that a campaign presents, embarking on one could be a bad idea,” he cautions. [PhilanthropyDaily]

One Basket: The argument in favor of “diversified funding” for nonprofits makes some sense, because relying too much on any one source of revenue is risky, acknowledges Vu Le, a nonprofit activist and commentator, on his blog, “NonprofitAF.” He points out, however, that the pursuit of a range of funding sources also has its disadvantages, such as the diversion of organizational effort away from donors and fundraising strategies that are working toward one that might not work. “What we should fight against is diversification for the sake of diversifying, even if it is for the purpose of survival,” he concludes. [NonprofitAF]

Community Comms

Fellowship: Nominate a Jewish professional for Hadar’s Jewish Wisdom Fellowship. Deadline is April 14.

Apply! The Jewish Council of the Emirates Community Centre seeks a Dubai-based Executive Director

Apply! The Kirsh Foundation seeks a full-time NY-based Program and Special Initiatives Coordinator.

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

At the end of 2019, the world’s Jewish population numbered 14.8 million, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics in a special survey released ahead of Yom Hashoah… A new report from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger details the persistent food insecurity among currently serving military families… The Wexner Foundation announced Class 33 of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program… Blackbaud Europe has released “The Future of Work 2021,” insights as to how the third sector is feeling a year into the COVID-19 pandemic…

Pic of the Day


241 exuberant teens from across the U.S. and headed for Alexander Muss High School in Israel arrived yesterday at Ben-Gurion Airport. It is believed this is the first and only group of American teens to enter Israel since travel restrictions were imposed last year.


Elvert Barnes via Wikimedia Commons

Political activist and former U.S. military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and other newspapers, Daniel Ellsberg (holding mic)… 

Professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University, Marilyn Ann Friedman… Retired president of Yale University and later CEO of Coursera, Rick Levin… Consulting research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity, Naomi Karp… Software engineer at FlightView, Jonathan Ruby… Professor at the Pennsylvania State University, Simon J. Bronner… Los Angeles-based casting director, Jane Sobo… Director of project staffing at Tower Legal Solutions in Addison, Texas, Ilene Robin Breitbarth… Member of the House of Commons of Canada from the Winnipeg area, Martin B. Morantz… Washington DC bureau chief at Insider Inc., Darren Samuelsohn… Co-founder of Project Shema, Oren Jacobson… Founder of Pretentious Pocket, a silk pocket square business, Justin Ross Lee… Led public relations specialist at CACI International, Gregory Hellman… Reporter covering the White House and Washington for Politico, Daniel Lippman… MBA candidate at the Kellogg School of Management, Marissa Wizig… Professional golfer who joined the PGA Tour in 2015 when he won Rookie of the Year, he has since won four tournaments, Daniel Berger