Your Daily Phil: New directions in studying Jewish ed. + Addressing teen mental health

Good Wednesday morning.

A gunman attacked an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, killing 19 children and two adults. It was the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 attack in Newtown, Conn.

A new research fellowship will launch next year for people with doctorates studying Jewish education, eJewishPhilanthropy has learned. Run by the Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education and with $1.8 million in funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation, the two-year fellowship will allow the scholars to focus their work on specific Jewish educational institutions, and produce research on a range of challenges facing the field. The program will stress diversity both among the fellows and the topics they study.

Read more here.


A $2.75 million Jewish initiative is launching to combat the country’s escalating teen mental health crisis


Diana Kloek, 17, recently found herself unable to support a friend as they struggled with overwhelming schoolwork. A few months later, Kloek attended Youth Mental Health First Aid, a training held at her local Jewish federation that teaches teens how to intervene if a peer is experiencing a mental health crisis — part of a pilot program of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to address teen mental health nationwide, reports Jay Deitcher for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Countrywide collaboration: The initiative has gone national as BeWell, a $2.75 million well-being and mental health program looking to bring together Jewish agencies and organizations to support the mental health of teens and young adults, ages 12 to 26. A partnership between JFNA and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, the program aims to provide support to Jewish schools, camps, youth groups, synagogues, JCCs and any other programs working to support youth, while breaking down barriers between them so they can collaborate to combat an overarching issue.

Confronting difficulty: Much of the BeWell initiative is about empowering young people to help each other. The Youth Mental First Aid Training taught Kloek and her peers how to intervene if they see someone suffering from anxiety, depression or panic attacks. It taught them how to actively listen to an individual who is struggling and how to connect them with resources. And the training doesn’t shy away from tough subjects like suicide and addiction.

Read the full story here. 


Leading day school change in an ever-changing environment


“Over the past several decades, much has been learned about the successes and failures of organizational change and its relationship to schools as nonprofit institutions,” writes Chaim Y. Botwinick, principal of Hebrew Academy in Margate, Fla., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Change is challenging: “From school reform initiatives of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s to today’s post-pandemic ‘new normal’ realities, one thing is clear – the nature and scope of school change is difficult, arduous, exhilarating and beyond challenging to achieve and sustain.”

Reasons are varied: “School change, as we know it today, can be the result of a variety of factors, including a school’s new strategic direction, mission or vision resulting from a credible strategic planning process; a new school leader’s or influencer’s push, pull and advocacy to move a school in a different direction; the impact of emerging demographic realities; the evolving composition of the school’s constituents; the availability (or paucity) of human resources; the financial condition or viability of the school and/or an unexpected event resulting from a crisis (such as our recent pandemic).”

Bottom line: “Irrespective of the cause, the bottom line is that school change encompasses the action(s) undertaken by an institution to alter a major component of its organization. As such, the causes for school change can be endless.”

Read the full piece here. 

Worthy Reads

Getting it Done at Davos: The Davos Economic Forum may be elitist, but it is also a place for “unrivaled opportunities to create change and actually get things done,” David Kaufman writes in The New York Times. “No global gathering can compete with Davos for the sheer concentration of influential, exceptionally connected power brokers with the ability to turn ‘eureka’ moments into tangible, actionable, long-term policies that truly affect everyday life. ‘Davos is probably the world’s most interesting global institution,’ said [Canadian author and entrepreneur Don] Tapscott. He said the forum was ‘far ahead of its time’ when it came to elevating issues around cryptocurrencies. ‘Davos represents the leading edge of a fundamentally new paradigm on how we address global problems.’” [NYT]

Is Innovation Philanthropy?
: Wealthy people are criticized for not being philanthropic enough or for funding the wrong things in the wrong amounts, but it’s challenging to give away money effectively, writes James Chen in Fortune Magazine, citing the example of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “The criticism of Elon Musk fails to acknowledge that innovation is a core aspect of philanthropy. If we want to tackle the world’s largest issues, we need technologies and ideas to emerge that offer new solutions. Musk’s businesses may not look like acts of philanthropy, but their ground-breaking innovations could be just that. [The potential purchase of] Twitter offers another crucial opportunity for Musk to do ‘good for the future of humanity’ by ensuring those who do not have a voice on the ground can find one online. The internet was designed to turn the world into a village, after all, and has done so successfully. In the right hands, it could be used to build a global community.” [Fortune]

In Nonprofits We Trust, Mostly:
 According to a new report, Americans’ trust in nonprofits and philanthropy remains higher than in many other institutions, including federal and state government, corporations and the news media. But during the pandemic, that confidence dipped a little, Alex Daniels reports in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “Nonprofits should seize upon the finding that people who are familiar with their work trust them more, [Allison] Grayson [director of policy development and analysis at Independent Sector, one of the organizations that conducted the survey,] said. They should enlist such people to become ‘ambassadors’ for nonprofit work writ large, she suggested. For example, nonprofits could help people tell stories about their role in society rather than simply talk about how they provide a service, like feeding the hungry or sheltering the homeless. That work, she said, is particularly essential to attract members of Gen Z, many of whom said they are more likely to give directly to a person or a cause than to an institution to promote public good.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America announced a $122.6 million gift from MacKenzie Scott on Tuesday. With this latest donation, Scott has contributed a total of nearly $12.5 billion to at least 1,253 nonprofits since 2020, many of which aim to help low-income and underserved populations…

The Israel Policy Forum announced a “major multi-year gift” from the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation to fund the position of director of policy research. Shira Efron, previously a researcher and special advisor on Israel at the RAND Corporation, is the first person to hold the position…

HonestReporting, a pro-Israel media watchdog, announced that veteran Jerusalem Post reporter Gil Hoffman will be its new executive director, beginning July 1. Hoffman replaces Daniel Pomerantz, who served as CEO…

Actor Richard Gere hosted a benefit concert for Ukraine on Monday night at Carnegie Hall that raised $360,000 for Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization providing medical aid. Violinists Midori and Itzhak Perlman, as well as Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren, were among the performers…

The Jewish Family & Community Services of Jacksonville, Fla., received a significant donation from the family of philanthropist Lawrence “Laurie” Jay Dubow and his late wife, Linda Jo DuBow, to create an endowment; the organization will now be known as LJD Jewish Family & Community Services…

The Portuguese Jewish School launched Portugal’s first online Jewish education program, providing basic courses in Jewish religion, culture and history to young Jews…

Tamir Pardo, the former director of Mossad, has joined The Jewish People Policy Institute as a senior fellow and co-head of its geopolitics program…

Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, chief rabbi of Rehovot, Israel, rabbi of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City and rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Maor HaTalmud, died at 92…

Pic of the Day

Courtesy of the iCenter

Seventy-one graduate students from North America and Israel came together at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, Ill., on Tuesday as part of iFellows, a program by The iCenter.


Danilo Borges/

Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, Alexandra Rose “Aly” Raisman

South Florida resident Marjorie Moidel… Academy Award-winning film producer and director, responsible for 50 major motion pictures, Irwin Winkler… Holocaust survivor, professor of physics and chemistry at both Brooklyn College and the City University of New York, Micha Tomkiewicz… Co-founder of Calvin Klein Inc., Barry K. Schwartz… Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1986 (including seven years as chief judge), now on senior status, Douglas H. Ginsburg… British journalist, editor and author, Alex Brummer… Of counsel in the Chicago office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Joel M. Hurwitz… Screenwriter, producer and film director, best known for his work on the “Back to the Future” franchise, Bob Gale… Los Angeles resident, Robin Myrne Kramer… CEO of Velocity Healthcare Consultants, Kenneth Feiler… Israeli actress Rachel “Chelli” Goldenberg… Actor, voice actor and stand-up comedian, Bobby Slayton… U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)… EVP at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Laurie Rubiner… Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania, Yossi Avni-Levy… Actor, producer, director and writer, Joseph D. Reitman… Cape Town native, tech entrepreneur and investor, he was the original COO of PayPal and founder and CEO of Yammer, David Oliver Sacks… Member of the Australian Parliament since 2016, Julian Leeser… Former Israeli minister of diaspora affairs, Omer Yankelevich… Political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionGreg Bluestein… VP of sales at Maryland-based HealthSource Distributors, Marc D. Loeb… Communications manager at Kaplan, Inc., Alison Kurtzman… Pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization who had two effective appearances for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Ryan Sherriff… Laura Goldman…

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