Your Daily Phil: Masa Israel Journey expands U.S.-based internships + Compensation survey in early childhood ed

Good Thursday morning! 

Masa Israel Journey, which runs educational trips in Israel for Diaspora Jews, is expanding its programmatic offerings to North America for the first time. Two new internship tracks – at Jewish nonprofits and New York City-based Israeli startups – are geared toward college-aged alumni of Masa’s gap-year trips and represent a new step in both North American and alumni engagement for the Israel-focused organization.

“It’s less about a Titanic shift but more about, the goal for our participants isn’t [just to become alumni], it’s for them to become leaders in their communities…whether that’s stateside or in Israel,” Gali Gordon, Masa’s director of partnerships, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “People that are having significant experiences in Israel are hungry to be working in the Jewish and Israel space professionally, in a lot of cases.”

Twenty-one interns participated in the inaugural North American internship programs this summer: Eleven at nonprofits (such as UJA-Federation of New York), and 10 at Israeli startups in New York City. Next year, Masa plans for the programs to expand, with 50 spots in the nonprofit track and 30 in the startups track.

While Gordon considers the inaugural programs to have gone well, there are some kinks to iron out for next year. Most notably, creating successful internships during a pandemic involves a new level of planning with organizations and companies to give interns a fulfilling experience. “I think the employers…weren’t used to having interns in the office for two summers,” Gordon said. 

The nonprofit internship grew out of a recognition that many Masa alumni naturally find themselves working at organizations like Hillel International and local Jewish federations. It made sense to professionalize that pipeline and help Jewish nonprofits engage the next generation of leaders, Gordon said.

“We thought to do that deliberately, and really create that cohort of professional development as a group…of Masa alumni,” he said, aiming to “help get them in the door at these places where we know our alumni often end up.”


Getting the data on compensation for early childhood educators

Working together with national network and community leaders, the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism, Sheva at Jewish Community Centers Association of North America and more than a handful of federations have partnered on an ECE-RJ Early Childhood Educators Compensation Study, which will collect data this month on the salaries, benefits and educational credentials of Jewish early childhood educators across the United States. The team expects to report on the outcomes in late fall, and hopes that findings from the study will inform recommendations for policy and practices in ECE educator compensation, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther Kustanowitz.

Educators struggle: When it comes to Jewish education, early childhood educators — who steward children ages 2-5 — are the first line of experience, caring for students’ well-being and setting the stage for future connection to Jewish life and community. But the pay for those educators is also extremely low, anecdotally and according to several surveys, with many living below the poverty line, and with few receiving benefits.

Renewed focus: “I think what has come out of the pandemic is just really a spotlight into how essential early childhood education actually is,” Lisa Samick, president of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ) and director of early childhood and family engagement at Temple Israel of the City of New York, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “Society can’t function, people can’t go to work if there’s no childcare. And the basic socialization skills that children need to master in order to succeed in elementary school, middle school and high school are learned in early childhood settings.” 

Read the full story here.


Principles of the Jewish awakening

Jack Sooksan

“Our numbers are growing, American Jews burst with pride of identity – and yet many of our institutions remain in decline. This combination of circumstances is creating space for those once marginalized to come to the center with visionary approaches to Jewish life and belonging,” write Rabbi Benjamin Spratt, senior rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, and Rabbi Joshua Stanton, senior fellow at CLAL and rabbi of East End Temple, also in New York City, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Fundamental shifts: “They are seeding a new Jewish awakening. We cannot yet see all the ways in which they will create fundamental shifts in how we gather, what we emphasize within Jewish practice, who is welcomed into the wide tent of pluralism and how we organize our resources and power for the greater good. But there are principles that can guide our process of communal transformation, as we depart from a status quo that has served our Diaspora well for over a century.”

Needs of today: “We need people-centered Judaism and, more specifically, to center on those who are alive today. Our love of long-standing institutions and ways of life honors those who enabled our existence today. Yet our gaze backward ought not interfere with our capacity to experience the needs of today and to envision a future that calls us to responsibility and purpose. As earlier generations reached toward a vision of betterment, so are we called to do the same.”

Read the full piece here.


The long road of memory

Shlomi Kakon via the PikiWiki – Israel free image collection project

“In the thick of the Three Weeks, approaching the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’Av, I understand those who cannot mourn the First and Second Temple. It feels like a historic loss that is too remote and a religious ideal that is mentally and emotionally inaccessible,” writes Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy

Generational trauma and collective memory: “Today, however, we know more about generational trauma in psychology and the way that a major historic episode can leave a deep imprint for those not yet born who have never personally experienced the pain but still carry the suffering. This year, having just left Israel with a remarkable encounter, I approach Tisha B’Av differently, with an imprint of generational trauma as an individual and as an inheritor of collective memory, cognizant of the way that pain and redemption are always intertwined in Jewish tradition.”

‘I walked on it’: “Last week, I was invited for a personal tour to see the latest excavations at the City of David. When there, you pass through the palace of King David from 3,000 years ago and the city that he built at the foot of the Temple Mount. Archeologists recently discovered the actual road that the pilgrims walked on in the Second Temple to ascend to Jerusalem on the three major pilgrimage festivals. They have unearthed the road that extends from the pool of Shiloah to the area near Robinson’s Arch, and I walked on it.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Hybrid Vigor: Having a hybrid event with online and in-person components “makes and deepens meaningful connections between donors and the organization and between funders,” Melissa Rosen writes in Philanthropy News Digest, calling them “two separate but connected events”: “[The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York] has a reputation for warmth, community, joy, exceptional speakers, and high-level discussion, regardless of the format. In order to continue to provide those elements, we planned two separate, concurrent events. The virtual event had its own program, host, staffing, and conversation spaces. We treated those breakout rooms with the same care and consideration as we did our table seating, stacking each room with a host and a grantee partner, making sure the mix of guests was exactly right. Our virtual guests were encouraged to bring their lunches, and we opened the rooms during lunch to facilitate conversation and build relationships—not just with other donors but also with our grantee partners. By doing so, we deepened everyone’s experience and made the moment more personal. We also gave online participants the opportunity to use the chat to ask questions of the speakers in the ballroom…JWFNY prides itself on being a source of relationships, and our events must continue to deliver that benefit to supporters, however they decide to join us.” [PhilanthropyNewsDigest]

Speciality Day Strategy: Nonprofit organizations should use “social media holidays” — specialty days like National Nonprofit Day (Aug. 17) and National Women’s Equality Day (Aug. 26) — in their content, Marissa Bruette writes in NonProfitPRO: “Raise awareness about your cause by aligning your participation with holidays that make sense to your brand. For instance, if your nonprofit serves those experiencing homelessness, you can participate in National Homelessness Awareness Month in November by creating social content that showcases how your organization serves this community…You should also consider the culture of the holiday; if it’s a religious holiday, make sure you’re comfortable using it as an opportunity for connecting with your audience. Your organization should be utilizing a social media calendar to keep track of all of the holidays available in the space and to align your content with your goals.” [NonProfitPRO

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Tulsa, Okla., philanthropists Lynn and Stacy Schusterman and country music superstar Dolly Parton are among this year’s Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients… 

Michael Steinhardt, the billionaire philanthropist and namesake of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, will resign from the university’s board of trustees. In December, the Manhattan district attorney ordered Steinhardt to surrender 180 stolen antiquities worth $70 million. Steinhardt did not face any criminal charges…

For the second time in a year, the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern United States has partnered with Project Friendship, the social services arm of Chabad of Kentucky, to facilitate aid to those who were forced to evacuate disaster areas across five counties in eastern Kentucky due to recent flooding. Chabad delivered more than $100,000 worth of supplies to eastern Kentucky on Monday alone… 

Simon Klarfeld has joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation as director of content for PJ Library. He was previously EVP of Young Judaea…

The Cleveland Public Library has received grants totaling $3.25 million from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation to support capacity building and the creation of a digital technology lab and training center… 

Year Up, a workforce development nonprofit committed to ensuring equitable access to economic opportunity, education, and justice for young adults, announced a $25 million gift from the Meg and Bennett Goodman Family Foundation of Jenkintown, Pa…

The archives of Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent have been relocated to Gratz College’s Melrose Park campus, where library staff will organize, digitize and publish the material, as part of Gratz’s expanding digital archival footprint…

Pic of the Day

Yad Vashem

As part of a trip to Israel to play basketball, the Auburn Tigers, a Division I NCAA college basketball team from Alabama, visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, on Wednesday.

Like at so many camps, staff have gathered at Pinemere Camp in Northeastern Pennsylvania to make final preparations for #summer2021.


Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Board chair of the Jewish Funders Network, Marcia Riklis… 

Professor emerita of American history at Yeshiva University and Stern College, she is an expert on the history of McCarthyism, Ellen Wolf Schrecker…Talmudic scholar and a leader of New York’s Sephardic Jewish community, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim… President at Salco Mechanical, Michael Salzberg… SVP and chief growth officer at the New York City headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League, Frederic Lewis Bloch… Former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger… Retired professor in Memphis, Sheldon Dan… Longtime former member of the Knesset for Likud, Silvan Shalom… Executive producer of “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” Michael Gelman… 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama… Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot… Attorney general of Minnesota, Keith Ellison… Administrative manager at Edelman, Helen Lapkovsky… Editor-in-chief of PwC’s management magazine strategy+business, Daniel Gross… Editor-in-chief of Cuepoint at Medium, Jonathan Miles Shecter (also known as Shecky Green)…

U.S. congressman, he is the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)… Chief political correspondent for Fox, Bret Baier… Broadcast meteorologist at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., Steven Rudin… Washington director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block… Director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay… Columnist and senior editor at PoliticoMichael Schaffer… CEO of Aspiration financial services firm, author and former White House speechwriter, Andrei Cherny… SVP and head of the D.C. office of Team Lewis, Caren Beth Auchman… CEO of Something Major, a leadership coaching and advisory firm, Randi Braun… Assistant director in the geostrategic business group at EY, Ben-Ari Boukai… Head of sales and operations at, Jonathan Keyson… Childhood student at the Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, he is now the placekicker for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, Greg Joseph… Natalie Roberts… Evelyn Murphy…

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