Your Daily Phil: Meet Young Judea’s new CEO + The parenting conundrum in Jewish day schools


 Good Thursday morning!

The University of Haifa has received a $50,000 gift to start what the donor is calling a “laboratory” for religious studies, conceived as the first iteration of a larger center, the university’s president, Ron Robin, told eJewishPhilanthropy. The donation is from Steve Sarowitz’s Wayfarer Foundation, which is dedicated both to ending homelessness and to spreading love, in keeping with the values of Sarowitz’s Baha’i faith. The founder of Paylocity, a payroll and human services provider, Sarowitz is also a filmmaker.

“We want people to understand that there are common denominators in all religions, and they can all serve us well. In Haifa, this is not just something you find in the pages of a book,” Robin said — hence the use of the word “laboratory.” At 350,000 people, Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city.

Haifa is home to the Baha’i World Center, the faith’s headquarters, and is also known for its ethnic and religious diversity, demonstrated in the fact that 40% of the university’s undergraduate population is Arab, Robin said. That diversity makes it a fitting home for the laboratory, which will host scholars and students interested in exploring different religions’ shared ideals as they manifest in the life of the city. The center will pursue the same activities on a larger scale, Robin said.


Adina Frydman, Young Judaea’s new CEO, is trying to reconnect the movement


Young Judaea, the pluralist, Zionist organization founded in 1909, has lost some of its coherence as a youth movement despite its strong slate of Israel travel and summer camps, Young Judaea CEO Adina Frydman, who took the helm last October, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff. “There have been loose ties between the groups,” she said. “We’re connected by the name, and the basic things we stand for, but the movement was starting to fray.”

A federation professional: Frydman came to Young Judaea after working almost 13 years at UJA-Federation of New York, serving in such roles as a director of Community/LAB, a rapid-response department, and of SYNERGY, which supports synagogues. “It is countercultural to call oneself a Zionist today, but we say that proudly,” she said. “Yet our Israel work is about authentic engagement. We expose people to the real Israel.” Young Judaea has been taking high school graduates to Israel for a pre-college year of studying, volunteering and touring since the 1950s, said Michael Berman, chairman of the organization’s board, who went on “Year Course,” as it’s now known, in 1975. It also offers an Israel travel program for teenagers and seven summer camps.

Expanding the board: In 2012, Young Judaea separated from Hadassah, its longtime sponsor. Frydman replaced Simon Klarfeld, who oversaw the creation of Young Judaea as an independent organization and served as its executive director until April 2020. The board has charged Frydman with shoring up connections that have weakened in recent years, and also with “revitalizing the movement,” around its three pillars of Zionism, pluralism and activism, Frydman said. Frydman has started working toward this goal by bringing liaisons from each camp board onto the umbrella organization’s board. She has created a senior team consisting of camp directors, the assistant director of the Israel operation, the development director and herself.

Read the full story here.


The parenting conundrum in Jewish day schools


“As day school leadership begins to plan for the coming school year, there are a variety of exigencies which must move up the food chain of priorities. One of them relates to how our Jewish day schools – irrespective of philosophy, engage and involve parents in the ongoing education of their children,” writes Dr. Chaim Botwinick, principal of the Hebrew Academy Community Day School in Margate, Fla., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Historically: “From a historical perspective, a parent’s involvement in the schooling of their children is probably one of the most critical concerns facing the field of education today. This reality in our Jewish day schools is no exception. To be sure, the overall state of affairs in our schools regarding parental involvement is beginning to create a variety of concerns which impact negatively on students, their families and the schools they attend.”

Today’s reality: “Throughout my career, I have witnessed a growing number of parents who lack understanding, interest or perspective regarding their children’s schooling. In fact, although it may sound like an exaggeration, a growing number of young parents have unfortunately relegated their entire educational responsibility (as parents) for educating their children, exclusively to the school – irrespective of whether it be in Judaic or general studies. As a result, their children have very little parental academic support or reinforcement at home.”

Read the full piece here.


The story in the data


“We may be familiar with best practices when it comes to using data to help build relationships. But as organizations start planning now for their year-end campaigns, it would be wise to review how gathered data is telling us a story and how to utilize the data to achieve fundraising and marketing success,” writes Ephraim Gopin, the founder of 1832 Communications, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Your data: “The data your organization possesses tells a story. You had an uptick in donations in 2020. Why? Were certain donation opportunities more popular than others? Did fundraising events do better or worse than 2019? What was your retention rate? How did new donors find out about you?”

You collected the data for a reason: “Collecting data to let it catch dust is pointless. Utilize the data you have at your disposal to build more relationships, raise more money and help more people in your community.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

? About Trust: Writing in Bloomberg, Naomi Schafer Riley praisesMacKenzie Scott for her generous, unrestricted grants to colleges and universities, but also hopes that the philanthropist is aware of higher education’s track record of diverting gifts to purposes other than those specified by donors. Scott is not prescriptive in her giving, but she surely wants to make sure that the money is well-spent and not simply frittered away in ostensible pursuit of lofty but vague programs that don’t produce results, writes Schafer Riley: “You can draw up agreements regarding the direction you’d like the money to go and put in place some metrics for success without micromanaging every aspect of the gift.” [Bloomberg]

? Risk Capital: In Inside Philanthropy, Karyn Tara rounds up 11 of the biggest givers who made their fortune in venture capital, noting that tech billionaires often eclipse the charitable efforts of the colleagues whose investments fuel the tech sector. She highlights Jim and Susan Swartz, early investors in Dropbox, who created the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship at their alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University and Ron Conway, known as one of Silicon Valley’s “super angels,” who with this wife Gayle signed the Giving Pledge also mentored Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan as philanthropists. “VCs don’t amass the kind of mega-fortunes that exist at the very top of the tech food chain. Still, by making early bets in companies that go on to become household names, quite a few VCs have become billionaires — with plenty of resources for large-scale philanthropy,” Tara notes. [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

? No Return: Before COVID-19 devastated the theater industry, there was widespread agreement that in a successful business model, earned income from subscriptions and ticket sales comprised 50% or more of the annual budget, write Shawn LaCount and Karthik Subramanian in a blog post on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s website. They claim that as leaders of a nonprofit theater with a more diverse revenue stream that includes philanthropic support, they were better able to survive the pandemic — and make the arts more accessible by keeping ticket prices relatively low. “The earned income model invariably results in an organization serving white and/or wealthy theater-going audiences, which is antithetical to our mission,” LaCount and Subramanian conclude. [CenterEffectivePhilanthropy]

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Word on the Street

Today is the inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day… A new study from Fidelity Charitable shows women’s commitment to charitable giving reached new heights, while men closed the gender gap… The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has written to the White House requesting they “rapidly allocate an additional and greatly increased share of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to India”… Jason Harris has joined ISRAEL21c as its new executive director… JLTV (Jewish Life TV) announced the broadcast premieres of “Fauda” and “Prisoners of War” in the U.S. and Canada, debuting on July 1… Due to a recent uptick in new cases of coronavirus, Israel has delayed reopening of its borders to vaccinated tourists until August…

Pic of the Day


A counselor guides a camper along the slackline at Apachi Evanston Day Camp, which opened to campers last week, in the Chicago suburbs. 



Founder of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, he is also the founder of Yeshivat Maharat, Rabbi Avraham Haim Yosef “Avi” Weiss

Former chief rabbi of Denmark, Rabbi Bent Melchior… Former Congressman from New Jersey and real estate investor, Herbert C. Klein… Co-founder of Trian Fund Management, Nelson Peltz… Professor emeritus in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, Sam Gill… Former chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, Seymour “Sy” Sternberg… Professor of Jewish philosophy at American Jewish University and founding dean of its rabbinical program, Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff… Former Secretary of Labor (93-97), author and professor at UC Berkeley, Robert Reich… Former member of Knesset, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon… Early childhood specialist at Columbus City Schools and Columbus School For Girls, Carol Glassman… EVP at Edelman, he is the author of a book on the Saatchi & Saatchi ad firm, Kevin Goldman… Circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Sandra Segal Ikuta… President and CEO of public relations firm Steinreich Communications, Stanley Steinreich… U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, Beth Bloom… Principal of Mount Scopus Memorial College, a co-educational Jewish day school with over 1,500 students from K to 12, located in Melbourne, Australia, Rabbi James Kennard… The first on-air talent of the NFL Network when it debuted in 2003, he has been the face of the network ever since, Rich Eisen… Israeli businesswoman and owner of the soccer team, Hapoel Beer Sheva, Alona Barkat… Author and columnist, Shulem Deen… Singer and songwriter Ariel Pink, born Ariel Marcus Rosenberg… Film director, producer, editor and cinematographer, Todd Strauss-Schulson… Resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Matthew Continetti… Senior digital producer at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Brett Rosner… One-half of the duo known for their YouTube channel h3h3Productions, Ethan Edward Klein… VP of Houston-based RIDA Development, a multi-national real estate development company started by his Holocaust-surviving grandfather, Steven C. Mitzner… A 2015 contestant on Jeopardy! who earned $413,612 by winning 13 consecutive episodes, he is a son of USDC Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Matt Jackson… Actress and singer, Elizabeth Greer “Beanie” Feldstein… Senior tax associate at Mazars USA, Moshe Gruber CPA… College basketball player for the Harvard Crimson, Spencer Freedman

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