Your Daily Phil: Moishe House opens 30 new locations + Connecting shmita to fundraising

Good Monday morning!

Moishe House will have opened 30 new locations by the end of the year, more than in any single year, which will bring the total to 150 by the end of 2021 or shortly thereafter, Eva Srut, the organization’s director of global communities, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

The organization, which provides co-living opportunities for young Jews who create programming for their local communities, opened six Moishe Houses outside the United States on Friday in cities including Berlin, Dublin and Warsaw.

“In many of these international locations, the Jewish space is the synagogue and the community center and nothing else, and Moishe House is a chance for young people to create something of their own,” said Srut, who herself started a Moishe House in Prague.

Srut just hired Moishe House’s first-ever Jewish educator for Latin America, and will be hiring a manager who will focus on creating educational retreats for the organization’s international locations


Tikkun Olam Makers focuses on turning prototypes into products


A prosthetic arm adapted for cycling, a zipper aid for people with limited upper-arm mobility and a playground swing set for children with cerebral palsy are among the submissions in the Tikkun Olam Makers’ inaugural global contest, which will culminate in a celebration of the winners at Expo 2020 Dubai in November.

Open-source world: The Expo marks the Israeli group’s first international event, held both to invent such useful items, and to help the organization move into a new phase in which it is turning a greater number of its prototypes into actual products, Gidi Grinstein, TOM’s founder and president, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff. TOM is a web platform that offers open-source manufacturing instructions for devices that help solve difficulties faced by people who live with challenges related mainly to disability, but also to age and income. The name evokes the Jewish value of tikkun olam, or repairing the world.

Nurturing networks: The concept aims to help people living with challenges and their supporters to harness the untapped potential of student and professional engineers, inventors, programmers and designers eager to help other people by using their skills. “It’s estimated that every year, students are doing 50,000 projects,” Grinstein said. “So the school infrastructure is there.” TOM was launched in Israel in 2014 by the Reut Group, a think tank and an incubator of solutions to social challenges also founded and headed by Grinstein, in partnership with the ROI Community, an entrepreneurial network of young Jewish leaders convened by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. Grinstein, 51, was involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in the late 1990s, and helped create Birthright Israel, whose success he said helped inspire TOM.

A maker movement: TOM also helps grow and coordinate a network of about 70 “maker communities” that consist of people living with these challenges and those trying to help them, who gather regularly online and increasingly in person to brainstorm and build. “That worldwide web of TOM communities is our movement,” Grinstein said. Teddy Lambert, a fourth-year student at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta who is studying computer engineering, is on the executive board of a TOM community on his campus. “TOM got me super-interested in the way it was bridging the gap between technology and human-centered design,” he said.

Read the full story here.


End-of-summer youth mental health summit: Insights and opportunities


“As professionals working with and supporting camps and other youth-serving organizations, many of us anticipated that this summer would see unprecedented challenges; not just because organizations were preparing to hold in-person programming during a pandemic, but also because the previous 16-plus months of isolation and uncertainty clearly left their mark on our youth,” write Drew Fidler, from BBYO, and Jill Goldstein Smith from Foundation for Jewish Camp in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Comparing notes: “At the end of August, BBYO’s Center for Adolescent Wellness and Foundation for Jewish Camp brought together nearly 100 camp directors and mental health staff representing over 70 day and overnight camps and Israel travel programs. Attendees from Association of Independent Jewish Camps, BBYO, B’nei Akiva, Habonim Dror, JCC camps, Ramah, Reconstructing Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, Young Judaea and others, gathered to reflect on this summer, learn from the wins and challenges, and discuss how to support our youth moving forward.”

Shared struggles: “When it came to shared struggles, summit participants noted these [among] the top ones they encountered this summer: Social re-integration proved exhausting for campers and professionals alike. They had to renegotiate boundaries from the virtual to the physical world and learn to live together and be in physical spaces with one another. And often, just as they would settle in, camps would reach a COVID milestone (often related to testing results) which would change their COVID guidelines or expand their circle of contact. A changing sense of community left campers and staff facing ongoing re-integration stressors.” 

Read the full piece here.


Shmita for development professionals: Turning your next campaign from fallow to bountiful

Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the PikiWiki – Israel free image collection project

“We know that Jewish educators and rabbis likely have shmita on their radar, but what about the development professionals?” ask Avrum Lapin and Ross Berkowitz at The Lapin Group, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Seven-year cycle: “We see that shmita is part of a cycle — as are many fundraising campaigns. As most development professionals, executive directors and board presidents know, as one campaign ends, it is soon time for the next one to begin. Shmita is the seventh year in a seven-year cycle. Just as other cycles of seven, such as Creation and the days of the week, the seventh is seen as a period of rest, characterized by a sacredness that sets it apart from the six that came before… To be clear, we are not suggesting that you take a year off from fundraising. Yes, G-d said he would ‘dispatch his blessing’ for the year before shmita (Leviticus 25:21) to make up for the lack of production for the coming year, but we are not prepared to assume that all nonprofits will share in that kind of blessing in the modern world.”

Shmita as a catalyst: “The commandment of shmita is a beautiful example of the Jewish value of helping others. If you are planning a fundraising campaign during shmita, consider framing it within this context. Just like the Biblical imperative of shmita provided a means for the ‘needy of your people to eat,’ a shmita-year campaign can be built around elements of supporting your nonprofit’s core needs as well as a renewed focus on the underprivileged in your community; food insecurity, student debt, domestic violence or any issue area that may not receive the voice it needs and deserves.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Still Here: The Great Resignation is real, with more than 10 million people quitting their jobs in the spring, and it is far from over, which means employers need to start thinking of their staff less like employees and more like customers, write Debbie Cohen and Kate Roeske-Zummer in the Harvard Business Review. The first thing managers need to do in this situation — brought on by the pandemic — is properly value the people who haven’t left, because retention can have a stabilizing effect, even amid ongoing attrition. “Not having the right people in the right quantities in the right seats to get the work done creates a hamster-wheel effect — you keep running, faster and faster, exhausted with forces outside your control,” Cohen and Roeske-Zummer write. “So let’s control what you can control, and that is you.” [HBR]

Taking Stock: In Inside Philanthropy, Philip Rojc examines the newly released monuments audit from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s largest-ever initiative — a $250 million project that aims to transform the United States’s public spaces. The audit, which documents and analyzes 50,000 monuments, found that 44 of the top 50 figures represented are white men, 50% of whom enslaved other people. Mellon is also supporting new installations as part of the project, including a $5 million expansion that will bring a historical mural of Los Angeles up to date and lengthen in from 2,700 feet to a mile. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Maverick Attitude: Max Chafkin’s new book The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power offers insights into the value of a rogue actor in philanthropy as it recounts both how the young Thiel applied for and used grants, and how the older Thiel made them, writes Michael E. Hartmann in a Philanthropy Daily review of the book. Even as an undergraduate at Stanford, Thiel was a good bet, Hartmann notes: The satirical journal he founded, funded by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, became one of the first nodes of a network that came to dominate Silicon Valley, according to Chafkin. “Contemporary establishment philanthropy in the country is overwhelmingly monocultural and risk-averse,” Hartmann concludes. “Parts of Chafkin’s biography of Thiel begin to hint at a different route that could and should instead be considered, relevant to any institutions and individuals interested in good giving.” [PhilanthropyDaily]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable has named 10 new partners, bringing the total number of organizations affiliated with the umbrella group to 79, Executive Director Abby Levine told eJewishPhilanthropy… The Asian American Foundation launched a national anti-hate network as well as local action centers aimed at addressing anti-Asian American/Pacific Islander bias… Trinity University received a $25 million gift from alumna Michael Neidorff and the Neidorff Family Trust for the University business school, the single largest in the university’s history… Massachusetts Institute of Technology will establish a new bionics center with a $24 million gift from K. Lisa Yan… Women of Reform Judaism announced a grant opportunity for organizations committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives… Beginning today, Israelis will be able to travel to any country — depending on that country’s limitations — with minimal restrictions upon return… Rabbi David Eliach of Brooklyn’s Yeshivah of Flatbush died at age 99…

Pic of the Day

Ec chajim Praha

A Czech Torah scroll was handed over from the Memorial Scrolls Trust to the Ec chajim community in Prague, where the scroll will now reside on permanent loan.


Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Actress Alicia Silverstone… 

Youngest member ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council, she served as chair of the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Rosalind Wiener “Roz” Wyman… Former lieutenant governor of Maryland following 20 years in the Maryland Senate, Melvin A. “Mickey” Steinberg… Senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, his father served as a rabbi in Brooklyn for 35 years, Judge Robert David Sack… Recent executive editor of the Los Angeles TimesNorman Pearlstine… Publisher of lifestyle magazines including Wine Spectator and Cigar AficionadoMarvin R. Shanken…  Chairman of the executive committee at the University of Haifa, he was an Israeli peace negotiator under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Dov Weissglass... Actor and past president of the Screen Actors Guild, Alan Rosenberg… President of the Genesis Prize Foundation, Steven Rakitt… Former VP of government relations for the National Congress of American Indians, Nathan Steven Bergerbest… Director of the Israeli Government Press Office, Nitzan Chen… Canadian businessman, Aubrey Dan… Actor and director, Liev Schreiber… Meteorologist at New York City’s WABC-TV, Lee Goldberg… Former MLB pitcher, he is now the director of international scouting for the Lotte Giants in the Korea Baseball Organization, Ryan Sadowski… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, Ron Katz… Senior director of executive programs at Leading Edge HQ, Sara Stesis Singla… Policy and legislative analyst at AIPAC, Gefen G. Kabik

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