Your Daily Phil: New Hillel International campaign encourages students to post their Jewish pride

Good Tuesday morning!

Hillel International is launching a new social media campaign today designed to empower students to publicly embrace their Jewish identity, a spokesman told eJewishPhilanthropy. Called #OwnYourStar, the effort will encourage students to use the hashtag while posting about their connection to Judaism in any of its forms, whether they’re wearing a Jewish symbol like a Star of David or engaged in a Jewish activity.

“Our student leaders told us that they need this,” the spokesman said, citing research Hillel conducted, which found that while 83% of college students are proud to be Jewish, only 62% say they’re comfortable telling other people that.

During the campaign, which will last three to four weeks, Hillel will collect, amplify and celebrate the posts. Actresses Mayim Bialik and Jodie Sweetin will participate in the campaign.

It will also include a new antisemitism curriculum in the form of videos and guides that aims to educate Hillel professionals, Jewish students and campus leaders about the history of antisemitism and its latest manifestations.

Last week, Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League and the Secure Community Network announced a new website,, which will help students report in-person or online incidents.

Hillel International tracked 244 online and in-person antisemitic incidents during the 2020-2021 academic year, compared with 181 in 2019-2020.


Why this Israeli foundation professional is pushing colleagues to go green


An Israeli philanthropy professional, Tali Yariv-Mashal, helped draft an international pledge that aims to persuade foundations to integrate environmental awareness and action into their work. The “International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change,” was created under the auspices of WINGS, an international membership organization that supports foundations and facilitates collaboration between them, Yariv-Mashal told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Managing expectations: “We don’t expect every foundation to act directly on climate change, but we want to bring to their attention that they can and should look at climate change as part of what they do,” she said. Yariv-Mashal is the director of the Beracha Foundation, which focuses on the environment, culture and education. She also chairs the Israel Forum of Foundations, a networking and education organization for more than 80 Israeli foundation directors. She is not representing Beracha in her work on the pledge.

Leading up to COP26: The pledge originated with an organization in the United Kingdom. When WINGS took on the project, it sought advisory board members from its network of foundation and foundation forum directors, such as Yariv-Mashal. About 25 people joined the board, helping first to craft the statement before sharing the pledge with their networks in the hope that other foundations sign on. Yariv-Mashal will seek signatories during an online program hosted by the Jewish Funder Network’s Green Funders Forum. WINGS started accepting signatory applications in July, and will start announcing those who signed on this week, said Zubair Sayed, a WINGS spokesman. WINGS will hold an official virtual launch event at COP-26, the United Nations climate change conference that runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.  

A context of climate activism: This statement is also part of a broader movement in which 350 foundations have signed national pledges in Canada, France, Italy and Spain, Sayed said. On Oct. 4, Pope Francis and other religious leaders called on people of all faiths to act against a fast-warming climate, another action timed to raise awareness of the issue in the weeks leading up to COP26. And last week, the Jewish environmental group Hazon signed on to an initiative to focus the attention of religious communities on the looming dangers posed by climate change and treat it as a moral issue. The pledge commits foundations who sign the pledge to educate themselves about climate change and bear it in mind when designing or implementing new programs; to commit resources to its causes or impacts; and to advocate on behalf of those most vulnerable. Signatories promise to make changes in order to lessen their own climate impact, and also to do a climate-oriented investment review.

Read the full article here.


Why invest in community visioning and support?


“As C-suite professional leaders of Jewish community foundations and federations, we are in fortunate positions to help impact the future of local Jewish life in our communities of Montreal, Cincinnati and Southern Arizona, respectively,” write Natana Shek, Pamela Teitelbaum, Kim Newstadt and Maya S. Horowitz in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy. 

Data and knowledge: “We want to make decisions that will positively influence how people connect with, experience and gain value from Jewish life. With that in mind, over the last few years, our organizations each separately engaged Rosov Consulting to gather data and knowledge about the Jews in our communities, our communities’ current Jewish offerings and what people really want out of local Jewish life. These efforts were different from the common community demographic studies that estimate the number of Jews in a community and where they live.”

Deep dives: “Our processes, each unique, when viewed across all three communities, included: mapping our communities’ infrastructure of Jewish organizational buildings; seeing which community offerings, such as preschools and teen programs, are at capacity; developing new ‘Theories of Change’ that convey what we do and why; diving deeply into the needs and wants of individuals; and more.”

Baseline: “Data serves to set a baseline understanding of a community, informs assessment in real-time, and can be shared to ensure that stakeholders have a seat at the decision-making table. Having conversations and making decisions grounded in data provide clarity and shed light on what can otherwise be confusing issues around community goals and bandwidth. Stakeholders can have divergent views based on anecdotal data. But when their conversation is premised on shared insights, gleaned from professionally mined data, the nature of those conversations and decision-making processes change.” 

Read the full piece here.


New Mandel educational leadership program confronts big questions


“Jewish education in North America faces a breathtaking array of opportunities and challenges. The field needs leaders with big ideas and the capacities to bring them to life, which is why The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation launched … a new cohort-based fellowship, which will function as a leadership development program, a forum for theoretical and programmatic innovation and a catalyst for the weaving of networks,” writes Rabbi Jethro Berkman, a program officer for the foundation, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Big questions: “[F]ellows will confront big questions about the purposes and forms of Jewish education: Should Jewish education primarily foster a sense of belonging to the Jewish people, religious commitment or learners’ social/emotional well-being? Should we prioritize textual and cultural fluency or inspiring acts of social justice and civic engagement? What should be the place of Israel in Jewish education? What content foci and pedagogies best serve these various purposes, and what are the areas of overlap and synergy?” 

Nuts and bolts: “Fellows will unpack and critically examine the learning experiences and the visions that undergird them, and imagine how they might integrate the work within their own educational settings. Fellows will have the space to synthesize and refine their own visions and communicate them to the broader field.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

DAF Disruption: A startup administrator of donor-advised funds (DAF) called Daffy is aiming to disrupt the industry by beating Vanguard, previously known for low fees, at its own game, reports Felix Salmon in Axios. Someone with $500,000 in their DAF would pay $236 in annual fees at Daffy, compared with $3,000 at Vanguard and even higher fees at other fund managers. “While most DAFs are marketed at very rich individuals looking to save on taxes, Daffy is aimed at the broad, non-itemizing public (although donations remain fully tax-deductible),” Salmon writes. [Axios]

Never Forget: As the number of Holocaust survivors is declining, Adam Popescu writes in The New York Times, museums that memorialize and teach about the Shoah are updating and expanding their offerings, garnering a range of opinions about the broadening of genocide education. “Of the 16 Holocaust museums in the United States, some are teaming with the Shoah Foundation, with many looking to it for direction — and deciding to also delve into injustice and bigotry. Organizations founded by survivors for Jewish communities are now trying to reach wider, non-Jewish audiences by tackling topics beyond the Holocaust…. David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple, a leading Conservative Jewish congregation in the greater Los Angeles area, said broadening implies that the lessons these museums sought to teach have been learned — and ‘that’s very much not the case.’” [NYTimes]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Stephen Smith, a British-born Holocaust educator, announced he is stepping down as head of the USC Shoah Foundation the end of the year; Kori Street will become the foundation’s interim executive director… Jacob Pruitt has been appointed president of Fidelity Charitable effective Oct. 18… The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Australia provided 20 scholarships to Australian women who want to become qualified Kallah teachers, via a 20-week Zoom course offered by Jerusalem’s Eden Center… A new report from the Urban Institute finds that while most charities saw increases in contributions between 2015 and 2019, that trend was reversed in 2020 for many, and small organizations were particularly hard hit… The University of Chicago received a $50 million estate gift, the largest in its history, from alumna Arley D. Cathey… The Bezos Family Foundation gifted more than $5 million to the American Indian College Fund’s Indigenous Early Childhood Education program… The Israeli government is expected to announce that foreign tourists will be readmitted into the country beginning Nov. 1…

Pic of the Day

LImmud FSU

Life in the Limmud FSU world is slowly returning to normal with events this past weekend in both Kazan, Tatarstan and Lviv, Ukraine.



First female rabbi ordained in Conservative Judaism, Amy Eilberg… 
Longtime baseball reporter for The New York Times, enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Murray Chass… Former U.S. ambassador to Italy and co-founder of private equity firm Granite Capital International, Lewis Eisenberg… Television anchor of “Fox 
News Sunday,” Chris Wallace… President of Los Angeles-based Community Advocates, David A. Lehrer… Former CEO of Wakefield, Mass.-based CAST, a nonprofit whose mission is to transform education for students with disabilities, Linda Gerstle… Managing director at UBS Financial Services, and recent president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York , Charles S. Temel… Dermatologist in Los Angeles, Dr. Lamar Albert Nelson… Co-founder and executive chairman of Ares Management and the principal owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Tony Ressler… Deputy director of the White House’s National Economic Council, Seth D. Harris… Editor of The Wall Street Journal‘s Review section, Gary Rosen… Managing director at Goldman Sachs, Raanan Agus… Executive director of Start-Up Nation Central, Wendy Singer… Producer, actress and screenwriter, Alexandra Brandy Smothers… Former member of the Knesset, now co-chair of the Green Movement of Israel, Yael Cohen Paran… Computer programmer, creator of the BitTorrent protocol and founder of Chia Network, Bram Cohen… Only son of the current rebbe of the Belz chasidic dynasty, Rabbi Aharon Mordechai Rokeach… Israeli actress, model and television anchor, Miri Bohadana… Host of The New York Times’ The DailyMichael Barbaro… Minority leader of the Florida Senate, Lauren Book… Politics and media reporter for BuzzFeed NewsRosie Gray… Communications and marketing manager at Sesame Workshop, Fatima Fettar… Argentine fashion model and artist, Naomi Preizler… Pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization, he had two relief appearances for Team Israel in the 2020 Olympics, Alex Katz
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