Your Daily Phil: Lessons on High Holiday synagogue security + Israelis’ relationship to the Diaspora

Good Wednesday morning!

In today’s Your Daily Phil, we take a look at the lessons learned in the wake of the High Holidays regarding synagogue security, and feature op-eds by Sara Allen and Rabbi Dena Shaffer on a new Jewish networking platform, and by JPPI’s Shlomo Fischer on Israel-Diaspora relations. Also in this newsletter: Dolly Parton, MacKenzie Scott, The Wonderful Company’s Lynda and Stewart Resnick and Eugene Driker, as well as a series of professional transitions. We’ll start with the Jewish recipients of the award referred to as the “Nobel Prize of philanthropy”… 

Lynn and Stacy Schusterman were among the recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy on Thursday, considered the field’s most prestigious award. They are the first mother-daughter pair to receive the prize, which is funded by the range of institutions bearing the Carnegie name.

“They see possibility rather than impossibility in their work,” read a statement by the prize’s selection committee. “Furthermore, we believe that the family’s commitment to principle is a meaningful example for faith-based communities and foundations that are seeking to empower and improve the lives of others.”

The family’s foundation, now called the Schusterman Family Philanthropies, was founded by Lynn Schusterman and her husband, oil magnate Charles Schusterman, in 1987. It has given more than $2 billion since then, and now provides grants totaling about $400 million per year. Lynn chaired the foundation from her husband’s death in 2000 until 2018, when Stacy took over.

“Our giving has always been grounded in our Jewish values, and we remain deeply committed to our work in the Jewish community and in Israel, even [as] we have expanded into new areas,” Stacy Schusterman told eJewishPhilanthropy. “It is an honor to be recognized as Jewish philanthropists striving to make our community and our world more just and inclusive.”

Lynn Schusterman signed the Giving Pledge in 2011, committing to give most of her wealth, which Forbes estimates at $3.2 billion, to charity. Accepting the award, she said she faced criticism as a woman leading a philanthropic foundation.

“People questioned whether I, as a woman, could break into the very male-dominated world of philanthropy,” she said in a speech beside her daughter at a private ceremony in New York City. “Despite the challenges, my heart and my mind led the way… I am so fortunate to see this legacy continue, to see more women leading the way, like many of the honorees tonight, including the one standing next to me.”

Stacy Schusterman focused on the work of the family’s foundation in her speech, calling for access to education; for “all people, especially women, to have freedom and control over their bodies” as well as fair pay; for public safety without overreliance on incarceration; and for free and fair elections.

“The U.S. was founded with ideals, the expression of which we have yet to realize,” she said. “When we say ‘All men are created equal’ it is clear ‘men’ does not yet mean all Americans, including women, gender-expansive people, and all ethnicities, races and religions. And when we say we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness we do not yet agree on how access to those should be available to all.”

The night’s other honorees included country music icon Dolly Parton, who has funded a range of causes, including children’s literacy and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; Kenyan businessman Manu Chandaria, who supports healthcare, education and other causes in Africa; travel entrepreneur Lyda Hill, who supports cancer research; and World Central Kitchen, which received the Carnegie Catalyst Award for its work providing food to the victims of natural disasters.


Here are the lessons Jewish security officials learned during the first High Holidays since the Colleyville attack

congregation beth israel in colleyville

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Nearly four years after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Jewish community security officials believe that their message of preparedness is beginning to stick at synagogues across the country. But they also said lingering pandemic-inspired measures have, in some ways, made it harder to keep worshippers safe, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales.

Security outside: “Outdoor services are maybe here to stay, with or without COVID, and that’s something that’s definitely new in terms of security,” Evan Bernstein, CEO of the Community Security Service (CSS), which trains volunteers to act as a security presence at synagogues, told eJP. “From a logistical standpoint, you’re dealing with something that’s not a hardened building. A parking lot or a tent was maybe not thought of originally from a security standpoint.”

Police shortages: The Secure Community Network’s Bradley Orsini said long-running staffing shortages at police departments across the country have also made it harder for synagogues to coordinate their security policy with local precincts that may already be stretched thin. SCN, which has been led by former law enforcement officials since its creation in 2004, has long recommended coordination with local police as a centerpiece of synagogue security.

Increased funding: Security officials and experts say safety has remained top-of-mind for a growing number of American Jews following the series of attacks on synagogues and other Jewish institutions that began in Pittsburgh in 2018 and included, most recently, a hostage situation at Temple Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in January. There have also been rashes of street attacks on Orthoodox Jews in New York City. Following the Colleyville attack, Jewish organizations lobbied for an increase in federal funds to secure places of worship and other nonprofits, and $250 million was allocated to that end in 2022, up from $180 million last year.

Read the full story here.


Tech-powered networking: Let’s play the name game


“If the past few years crystallized one truth, it’s that the strength and support of our communities and networks can carry us through unimaginable circumstances,” write Sara Allen and Rabbi Dena Shaffer of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

A new virtual networking and learning platform: “The pandemic forced us to rethink how genuine relationships can develop. Facing new professional and personal limitations and feeling vulnerable, youth professionals especially found themselves in desperate need for collegiality and community. Recognizing that they were liberated from geographic constraints and no longer dependent on expensive conferences for networking, The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative quickly responded to the opportunity and need. We launched a virtual networking and learning platform called Expanding Your Reach, a national, accessible and inclusive online masterclass initiative.”

The Name Game: “The Name Game, developed on the platform Intros.AI, offers a tech-driven way to expand and deepen professional networks. We are building on a platform that matches users based on self-identified interests to create a modern way to network, build trust and find others in the Jewish community you can rely on. During a quiet beta test earlier this year, dozens of users signed up, demonstrating the demand for ongoing connection and youth professionals’ continued hunger to widen their circle.”

Front and center: “In many virtual learning settings, powerful relationships often form in the unstructured spaces: thoughtful introductions, a chat box, breakout sessions and confidential rooms. As the name implies, the Name Game moves the ‘side chat’ front and center, reimagining tired icebreakers and traditional networking.”

Read the full piece here.


Israelis need to change their relationship to Diaspora Jewry


“Israelis must change their relationship to Diaspora Jews — from the conceptual, ideological and symbolic to the concrete and actual. They must start thinking about them not as an abstract construction that plays an ideological role but as actual flesh-and-blood people with concrete human and Jewish lives. Such a shift may provide an answer to the rifts that have opened up between Jews in Israel and Jews in the Diaspora,” writes Shlomo Fischer, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Israelis think: “When Israeli Jews are asked about the nature of their connection and commitment to the Jews of the Diaspora, they answer (in various formulations) what they have been taught in school: If Jews abroad are persecuted or in harm’s way, Israel has an obligation to intervene and bring those Jews to Israel (where they essentially belong). This understanding reflects the nature of the legitimacy of the State of Israel. In contrast to the Diaspora, where Jewish life can be precarious and dangerous with a very fogged-in future horizon – due to either of the twin monsters of antisemitism and assimilation — Jewish life in Israel represents a sovereign people living in its own land and taking its destiny into its own hands. The Diaspora represents the ‘negative’ alternative path of Jewish life – the path that has no future. The Diaspora is important to Israelis as a concept that plays an ideological role in justifying the Jewish state.”

On the other hand: “The position of Diaspora Jews in Israeli ideology is similar to the position of the Jewish people in Christian theology. According to St. Augustine, Jewish humiliation and suffering caused by their rejection of Jesus ‘proves’ the truth of Christianity, so Jewish precarity in the Diaspora ‘proves’ the truth of Zionism and the State of Israel. Just as Augustine wrote that Christians, for that reason, cannot eliminate the Jews, Israel needs the continued existence of the Diaspora, which it can imagine saving, helping or rescuing. The Diaspora is important to Israel not because of the donations Diaspora Jews make to the state (a tiny fraction of Israel’s contemporary GDP) and not only because they help secure diplomatic and military support. Israel needs the Diaspora on the conceptual, ideological and symbolic level.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Facilitating Major Grants: Because many major gifts go to institutions like universities, museums, the symphony or the ballet, instead of causes that directly benefit the poor or tackle major societal problems, Lever for Change, an affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, created a challenge grant system that directs donor commitments of at least $10 million to those ends, David Roeder writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. “The group is a grant facilitator, marshaling the monied clout of cooperative foundations and individuals that have a similar impatience about seeing real change… [CEO Cecilia] Conrad’s group facilitated a $10 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Chicago’s Communities United… Lever for Change also managed a $10 million award from several sources to City Bureau, based on the South Side. It trains residents to report on public meetings, replacing what’s been lost in old-style journalism and getting people engaged in decisions that affect them. Bolstering sources of fair information has become a priority of many foundations, including MacArthur, a supporter of the Chicago Sun-Times’ conversion to nonprofit status.” [ChicagoSunTimes]

Businesses Getting Philanthropic: 
As the world becomes increasingly connected and interdependent, “business leaders have a unique opportunity to use their platform to make a difference” by becoming more philanthropic, Benjamin Laker writes in an opinion piece in Forbes. “[S]how your employees that you care about the causes they care about by giving to their favorite charities — a great way to show your employees that you value their philanthropic efforts and encourage them to continue doing so. For example, you can match their donations dollar for dollar. Or, you can donate to their favorite charity in their name. As a business leader, you have a unique platform that you can use to advocate for the causes you care about. You can use your influence to raise awareness about important issues and to call for change. For example, you can use your social media platforms to share information about a cause you care about. Or, you can write an op-ed for a local newspaper calling for action on a particular issue.” [Forbes]

Community Comms

The Bronfman Fellowship 37th cohort application is open for Jewish 11th-graders. Deadline: 12/5. 

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

Word on the Street

According to the just released “2022 Bank of America Private Bank Study of Wealthy Americans,” 76% of respondents, including 88% of women, prefer to establish their own philanthropic identity apart from their family’s when making charitable giving decisions. The report also found that just half (51%) of all donors support the same causes as their parents…

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will commit $1.2 billion to the effort to end polio worldwide. The money will be used to help implement the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s strategy through 2026. The foundation also donated $10 million to the organization that grew out of the hashtag #GivingTuesday, in part to fund a database of charitable giving and other acts of generosity…

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its local branches…

Philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company, pledged $50 million to the University of California, Davis, to establish the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation. Scheduled to be completed in 2026, the new 40,000-square-foot, LEED-certified, state-of-the-art hub will house classrooms, research and lab spaces and student career and advising support…

Massachusetts General Hospital received a $50 million gift from the Kraft Family Foundation in support of efforts to address healthcare disparities caused by race, ethnicity, geography and economic status…

The University of Florida announced a $100 million gift from the Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Foundation in support of the UF Scripps biomedical research campus in Jupiter, Fla…

New Jersey Y camps is partnering with the Healthcare Foundation of NJ to establish a systemic approach to meet the mental health needs of campers and staff year round. With a nearly $94,000 grant, the camp has hired Heather Klein, currently assistant director of NJY’s Camp Nah-Jee-Wah, as the camp community’s first full-time mental health professional…

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a $10 million commitment to the New World Symphony in Miami, to help extend the symphony’s Knight New Media Center…

The New York Public LibraryBrooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library announced commitments totaling $4.5 million from  Google[dot]org, the Best Buy Foundation and the Joly Family Foundation that will allocate dedicated teen spaces at the three facilities’ branches…

The American Jewish Committee signed an association agreement with Comite Central Israelita de Uruguay, the main Jewish communal organization in Uruguay. It is AJC’s 37th association agreement with Jewish communities around the world and the 14th with communities in Latin America, Spain and Portugal…

UCLA launched the Initiative to Study Hate, a project bringing together a broad consortium of scholars to understand and ultimately mitigate hate in its multiple forms. Supported by a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor, researchers will undertake 23 projects this year, the first of a three-year pilot examining the neurobiology of hate, the impact of social media hate speech on kids, the dehumanization of unhoused individuals, racial discrimination in health care settings and more…

Gateways, the London-based program for youth struggling in mainstream education, which has operated under the guidance of London’s JW3 for seven years, will become an independent organization. The program serves 100 young people each year, providing educational and vocational courses, as well as pastoral care, with more than 500 young people served since its launch…

Amihai Bannett has joined Herzog Global, the international division of Israel’s Jewish teacher training college, as CEO. Bannett was previously coordinator of The Jewish Agency’s Global School Twinning Network…

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, named Michelle Rojas-Tal as its Zionist scholar-in-residence. Rojas-Tal was most recently central shlicha to Hillel International and director of the Israel Fellows program at The Jewish Agency for Israel…

Rebekah Thornhill Tokatlilar has joined the Center for Rabbinic Innovation as its inaugural chief program officer. She previously served as managing director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at New York University. The Center for Rabbinic Innovation recently received funding from a number of major foundations and private philanthropists, including the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Aviv Foundation and JCRIF…

Aditi Vaidya has been named president of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, effective Dec. 1. She is presently a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation…

Soraya Alexander will now serve as chief operating officer of GoFundMe and president of Classy, its affiliate that raises money online for nonprofit groups. She currently is chief operating officer at Classy…

Jay Golan joined the LaGuardia Community College Foundation as executive director. Most recently he was vice president for advancement at the City University of New York Graduate Center and executive director of the Graduate Center Foundation…

Mastercard announced that the recurring donation regulations that took effect Sept. 22 will now be deemed best practices and not required for nonprofit merchants…

Detroit attorney Eugene Driker, who in 2014 helped mediate the “Grand Bargain” that allowed Detroit to emerge from bankruptcy, died at 85…

Pic of the Day

Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Lynn Schusterman, chair emerita of Schusterman Family Philanthropies (left), and her daughter Stacy Schusterman, chair of the foundation, received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at a private event in New York City on Thursday.


Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Longtime CEO of Aramark Corporation, he is the immediate past chairman of the University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees, Joseph Neubauer

Founder and former ringmaster of the Big Apple Circus, Paul Binder… Pulmonologist in Plano, Texas, he is also the author of six mystery novels, Dr. Kenneth L. Toppell… Writer, scholar and former Israeli ambassador, Yoram Ettinger… Obstetrician and gynecologist at the Center for Fetal Medicine in Los Angeles, Dr. Lawrence David Platt… Retired hospitality executive, Michelle Fischler… Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, she directs the journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Deborah Blum… Founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist… Retired supervisor for Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency, David Alan Cera… Member of the Knesset and former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat… Co-owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and English soccer club Manchester United, Avram A. “Avie” Glazer… Social psychologist and professor at New York University focused on the psychology of morality and moral emotions, Jonathan David Haidt… A chief rabbi of Ukraine, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich… Founder of Global Policy Associates where he is now an advisory board member, he was the White House Jewish liaison in the Clinton administration, Jay Footlik… Ritual coordinator at Congregation Emanu El in Houston, Shira Kosoy Moses… Actor, director, producer and screenwriter, his television production company is Golem Creations, Jon Favreau… Former mayor of Portland, Maine, now a nonprofit executive, Ethan King Strimling… Technology journalist and record producer, Joshua Ryan Topolsky… Film director, screenwriter and producer, Jason R. Reitman… Chief growth officer at itrek, Evan Majzner… Executive at Nefco, David Ochs… Pittsburgh-based founder and CEO of Mamalux, Lindsay Applebaum Stuart… Founder of iTrade[dot]TV, equities trader and financial marketer, Elie Litvin

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