Your Daily Phil: Marcus Foundation’s teen Israel program launches after COVID-19 delay

Good Wednesday morning!

Members of the Israel Travel Alliance (ITA), a group of trip providers and foundations supported by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), traveled to Israel yesterday for a two-day solidarity trip that aims to boost tourism, a JFNA spokesman told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Participating organizations included Christians United for Israel, Honeymoon Israel, Momentum and the One8 Foundation. They will tour ANU — the Museum of the Jewish People (formerly known as Beit Hatfutsot, or Diaspora House) and meet with the museum’s board chair, Irina Nevzlin, as well as representatives from the departments of tourism and diaspora affairs.

The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg will hold a rally on Thursday in response to the discovery of antisemitic graffiti on the side of the building last week. The event’s organizers are asking participants to bring a book on any topic that is meaningful to them, which they will collectively hold aloft in support of the museum’s educational mission.

An antisemitic attack on the museum, an institution that honors the memory of the Holocaust and those who were systematically murdered just because they were Jewish, is particularly abhorrent,” said Michael Igel, chairman of the museum’s board and a grandson of Holocaust survivors. Florida has the third-largest community of Holocaust survivors in the United States, after New York and California. 


The Marcus Foundation’s teen Israel travel program is back on

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he first group of 38 teenagers to travel to Israel with financial help from RootOne, the teen travel program whose planned launch last summer was thwarted by the pandemic, will depart on June 10, under the auspices of JEWISHcolorado, the Denver-based federation, Simon Amiel, RootOne’s executive director, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Helpful details: An estimated 4,000 teenagers will travel to Israel this summer with the help of a subsidy from RootOne, which received $20 million in seed funding in 2019 from the Marcus Foundation. Administered by the Jewish Education Project, RootOne provides trip vouchers to students through local Jewish federations, such as the one in Colorado, and youth groups like BBYO, United Synagogue Youth and NCSY. The Israeli government announced on April 13 that groups of vaccinated foreigners would be allowed into the country in late May, but at that time almost no details were available as to how travel would work in practice, said a spokesperson for ITA. The first trip run by Birthright, the largest Israel trip provider, landed on May 24 with 20 participants — down from the average pre-pandemic busload of 40 participants. Birthright now has four trips in Israel, and a dozen additional trips planned for June, a spokesperson said. 

Roaming free in-country: Rules regarding tourism continue to change. Yesterday, Israel lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions within the country, and that applies to travelers as well, said Rebecca Caspi, the director general of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Office. “There are no limitations, so we are ecstatic,” said Simon Amiel, RootOne’s executive director. “We were concerned that if the students couldn’t experience some things that are central to the Israel experience that it might not be the right time to go.”

Read the full piece here.

Lady boss

The company connecting female chief executives


When Lindsay Kaplan was promoted to a vice president position at mattress start-up Casper, she experienced what she called a troubling “inflection point.” In her new role, she had increased responsibilities while also suddenly facing an influx of requests to serve as a mentor to younger women in the company. “I needed more support, more guidance, more mentorship than ever. And yet that’s also the moment that I became the de facto mentor for women in my organization,” Kaplan said. Together with her friend Carolyn Childers, Kaplan conceived Chief, a company that offers women the type of support they felt they lacked at the senior leadership level: a professional support network offering coaching, mentorship and community, available only to women working at the executive level. Kaplan talked to Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch following Chief’s recent expansion to Washington, D.C.

Lonely at the top: “What we determined was that there needs to be some sort of organization for women who are in these senior-level positions where they can come together, and in a really confidential setting, network, share, connect and support one another,” Kaplan, 36, explained. “Because if it’s lonely at the top, it gets lonely a lot faster when you’re a woman.” Women remain vastly outnumbered by men in executive roles. The number of female CEOs at top companies grew last year, but just slightly. In December 2019, 6% of S&P 500 CEOs were women; a year later, at the end of 2020, 7.8% of S&P 500 CEOs were women.

Something new: Chief was born in New York City in 2019, and it has since expanded to six U.S. metropolitan areas. Three of Chief’s hubs — New York, Chicago and San Francisco — have flagship clubhouses where members can schmooze. “We are not a co-working space. We are not an artists’ community. We even designed our three spaces to feel much more like hotel lobbies, so there are bars, there’s couches,” Kaplan explained. Still, as a feminist organization for female professionals, Chief calls to mind The Wing, the women’s co-working space founded by former Democratic political consultant Audrey Gelman that has has struggled amid waves of negative press and pandemic restrictions. But Chief set out from the start to be something different. “When we launched, The Wing was extremely popular. I think there was a question around where we fit in,” said Kaplan, but “I think it was very obvious to our members, many of whom joined both, that this was really about being in a professional network, and less about developing a co-working space.”

Washington workforce: As the company expanded to Washington this spring, it set its sights on the capital’s unique base of political consultancies, advocacy organizations and think tanks, while also cultivating ties with more typical business executives in the region. Founding members of Chief’s Washington, D.C., network include executives at the speechwriting firm West Wing Writers, the progressive political organization Swing Left, the Truman National Security Project, and the Nonprofit Alliance. Other founding members include senior employees at major regional employers including Deloitte and Children’s National Hospital. “We deeply value different points of view,” said Kaplan. “The commonality that the community shares is changing the face of leadership, it is being a woman in business, and what it means to carry that weight and to wrestle with all of the changes that have come over the last decade of working in America.”

Read more here.


An ever surviving and adapting people: Notes of hope upon reading Pew 2


“The power and influence of big philanthropy may be a given for years to come, its autocratic structures should not be,” writes long-time community professional Bob Hyfler in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

The question: “No, ‘we’ (myself for many years included) are the professional class of Jewish civil servants, lay and professional, assorted philanthropists, rabbis, and academics – all committed to saving American Jews from themselves, their besherts, their love affair with America and modernity, and their affinity for that dastardly humanistic phrase ‘tikkun olam.’ Thankfully, the god of history and human progress laughs at this hubris but poses a new and more challenging question: ‘If survival is not in question how will you make the most of your continued Jewish existence?’”

Survival: “And the truths of group survival which apply internally within the Jewish state, and internally among American Jews, apply globally within and between Jewish communities worldwide. All Jewish communities exist in Technicolor, none in black and white. None have a claim to centrality. Each is in possession of a glorious past and have the potential for renewal on their own terms.”

Read the full piece here.


How a ‘bless our workforce’ approach can help us frame the journey back to the office


“Despite the pandemic’s scores of significant stressors, many Jewish organizations have thrived amidst the difficulties,” writes communal professional Mark S. Young in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy. 

Back to the future: “With the light at the end of the tunnel, now or soon, all—or nearly all—of us likely will be asked to return to our pre-pandemic workplaces, once again taking on a regular commute, travel, face-to-face meetings and conferences, and more that all are integral to in-person professional life.”

Staff first: “No single, one-size-fits-all approach to this request will work for every JCC, day school, synagogue, federation, Hillel, Jewish family service agency, or myriad other institutions in the Jewish communal landscape. One philosophy, however, will position each professional team for success as we begin to embrace a new, post-pandemic culture around work and life: To best meet our organizations’ missions and bottom-line financial goals, we must place the needs, interests, and passions of our staff first.”

Read the full piece here. 

Worthy Reads

Failing Health: When a private-equity firm acquired Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia in 2018, its staff had reason to hope that the new owners, Paladin Healthcare Capital, were committed to sustaining the private hospital, most of whose patients had public insurance or none at all, writes Chris Pomorski in The New Yorker. The history of Hahnemann, which in the 1950s had a number of physicians working at the forefront of several medical specialties and was bought in 1998 by a Dallas-based company later fined $900 billion by the Justice Department for fraud, illustrates the potential perils of private hospital ownership. “The idea that hospitals should turn a profit is somewhat recent…” Pomorski reflects “Philanthropy—and taxes, in the case of public hospitals, like Bellevue, in New York, which opened in 1795—covered costs, and care was provided free.” [NewYorker]

Food For Thought: The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation in Tulsa, Okla., whose mission focuses on economic opportunity and entrepreneurship, is prioritizing supporting people of color as the city marks this week’s 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that killed 300 Black residents and left nearly 10,000 homeless, reports Liz Longley in InsidePhilanthropy. The foundation’s strategy emphasizes the restaurant industry by operating Kitchen 66, a food incubator that provides commercial kitchen space, development programs and sales support, in addition to a well-located market grantees can use to sell their products. The restaurant industry “crosses cultures and builds bridges,” and “doesn’t care about the education” level of the cook or the guest, said Elizabeth Frame Ellison, CEO of the foundation. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Still Standing: In Philanthropy Daily, Rebecca Richards explains that when a charitable organization fails to fulfill the terms of a gift agreement, donors who give to institutions of higher education often have no recourse because the only entity with legal standing to sue is the state attorney general — not the donor, the heirs or a designated third party. A bill currently under consideration in Ohio addresses the issue, and legal disputes of this nature at Johns Hopkins University, St. John’s University in Minnesota and the University of Missouri testify to the pervasiveness of the problem. “The school is usually able to sue a donor for failing to fulfill his or her pledge,” Richards points out. “There is a startling imbalance of power when it comes to charitable giving.” [PhilanthropyDaily]

Town And Gown: The United States’ 20 wealthiest colleges and universities have endowments totalling over $311 billion, yet these and other elite schools are nonprofits subsidized by taxpayers, explain Sam Haselby and Matt Stoller in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Reform will not come from within the Ivy League, or within higher education itself. Incredibly, philanthropic organizations are still giving big grants to America’s richest universities, recirculating resources among the most exclusive and wealthy while chanting social-justice keywords,” Haselby and Stoller conclude. [ChronicleEducation]

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Word on the Street

Isaac Herzog has been elected Israel’s eleventh president, with 87 votes out of a potential 120… An inaugural initiative — a day dedicated exclusively to Holocaust survivors — will take place on June 24th… Duke University student Alexi Braun, who participated in TAMID Group and Onward Israel’s summer program, reached out on behalf of Israeli startup RightHear to a McDonald’s New York franchisee CEO and created a connection that could lead to a major deal… The International Legal Forum, an Israel-based legal network of over 3,000 lawyers and activists in 30 countries, has released a report titled “Recognizing Anti-Zionist Antisemitism”… Over 12,000 people have lit a virtual candle to remember the victims of the Farhud, an anti-Jewish pogrom in Iraq, on its 80th anniversary… The Cummings Foundation in Woburn, Mass., has announced 140 grants totaling $25 million in support of Boston-area nonprofits…

Pic of the Day


Members of the public attended a program about the Jews of China at the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston in June 2019. The center, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next week, will reopen to the public by appointment on June 21.



Aerospace engineer and a former NASA astronaut, he flew on three shuttle missions, Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour and took along a memento from the U.S. Holocaust Museum into space, Mark L. Polansky
Former member of the British Parliament from Manchester and later a member of European Parliament from Northwest England, David Anthony Gerald Sumberg… Co-founder of ReelAbilities film festival, Anita Altman… Israeli entrepreneur and inventor, known as the father of commercial digital printing, Benny Landa… Johns Hopkins University professor and a pioneer in the field of cancer genomics, Dr. Bert Vogelstein… Writer-at-large for New York magazine, an executive producer for HBO’s “Veep,” Frank Rich… Chief development officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jordan E. Tannenbaum… Commissioner of the National Hockey League since 1993, Gary Bettman… High holiday and weekend cantor at the Los Angeles Jewish Home For The Aged, Ben Zion Kogen… Board chair of Sapir Academic College in the western Negev, he was one of Israel’s senior peace negotiators at the Camp David summit in 2000, Gilead Sher… Founder of Newark-based IDT Corp and other companies including an energy exploration corporation, Genie Energy, Howard S. Jonas… Dinorah Cecilia Baroody… General manager of the Harmonie Club in New York, Davina Weinstein… Radio and television talk show host, producer, and writer, Andrew Joseph “Andy” Cohen… President of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer for Marvel Comics, Marvel Television and Marvel Animation, Kevin Feige… Special counsel focused on land use and zoning at NYC-based law firm Goldstein Hall, Jessica Ashenberg Loeser… Chief development officer for the Obama Foundation, Jordan David Kaplan… Director of technology at Santa Monica-based Action Network, Jason S. Rosenbaum… Grandmaster chess player, she won the 2004 Israel Women’s Chess Championship, Bella Igla Gesser… Equestrian show jumper, she qualified to represent Israel at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Danielle “Dani” Goldstein Waldman… Co-founder and former CEO of The Wing, Audrey H. Gelman… Head of growth, product marketing and sales operations at Phantom Auto, Jared R. Fleitman… Deputy director in the office of New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Benjamin G. Sheridan… Actor best known for his lead role in “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical,” Ethan Slater… Israeli K-Pop singer, Ella-Lee Lahav
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