Your Daily Phil: Q&A with new head of ADL’s Media and Entertainment Inst.

Good Tuesday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the launch of a new think tank focused on Zionism and Jewish peoplehood, and feature an opinion piece by Bradley Caro Cook on the need for nonprofit executives to take seriously their personal well-being. Also in this issue: Franklin Foer, Chanan Tigay and Ben SternWe’ll start with an interview with Deborah Camiel, the inaugural director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Media and Entertainment Institute.

When the Anti-Defamation League launched its Media and Entertainment Institute last September to combat antisemitism in news coverage and in Hollywood, it couldn’t have known that a major conflict would break out in Israel three weeks later, accompanied by a massive spike in antisemitism around the world, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.

The near-constant media coverage that has accompanied the Israel-Hamas war and rising antisemitism has faced criticism from the Jewish community, including the ADL, of anti-Israel and, in some cases, antisemitic bias. Last month, Deborah Camiel, a veteran broadcast journalist, was brought on board as the inaugural director of the institute to guide it through the current moment and beyond.

Camiel sat down with eJP to discuss her plans for the ADL’s Media and Entertainment Institute amid what she called the “significant moment for the media industry and Hollywood to appreciate the need for realistic, accurate and human portrayals of Jews and Judaism.”

Haley Cohen: ADL’s history with Hollywood goes back to the organization’s founding in 1913 — What are some fresh ideas you plan to bring to the ADL to address stereotypes, negative portrayals and antisemitism in film and on stage? How will the work look different on the news media side?

Deborah Camiel: The new Media and Entertainment Institute is going to engage formally with industry leaders and partner organizations to educate on the impact of antisemitism and Jewish stereotypes and advocate for content that illustrates the full diversity of Jewish life.

This is not new for the ADL. In a way, the institute is formalizing a relationship that has been long-standing. Over the years, our national and regional leadership has formed relationships with industry leaders. Most recently, we launched an entertainment leadership council and formed a partnership with United Talent Agency.

The institute is also going to lead efforts to analyze bias in news about Jews, antisemitism and Israel and promote what we hope is going to be even-handed, accurate coverage in the press.

HC: Was your interest in this position sparked by the Oct. 7 terror attacks?

DC: Yes. After Oct. 7, I found myself watching coverage that I felt at times was uninformed and sloppy, and at times antisemitic. I was constantly calling, giving feedback, speaking to my former colleagues at news organizations about what could be improved and what was missing. You have to know this story in a very granular way sometimes to spot where things are one-sided.

HC: Going back to Hollywood, we’ve seen so many A-listers speak out against many other causes, why have so many remained silent after Oct. 7? Do you think there’s a pressure to speak out and a pushback for doing so? Should actors be dismissed from movies or shows because of their views?

DC: ADL is not a cancel culture, but a counsel culture. We believe in counseling. We’re not going to tell producers what they can and cannot do. Rather, we will share guidelines to help industry leaders avoid common stereotypes. We are not interested in limited artistic freedom. We are interested in fuller, fleshed out representations of Jews.

Read the full interview here.


Rabbi Dina Brawer, executive director of the U.K.-based World Jewish Relief’s American branch, speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2023.
Courtesy/Scott Wall/ Oshman Family JCC

The Z3 Project, the Zionism and Jewish peoplehood initiative based out of Palo Alto, Calif., is launching its own think tank, the Z3 Institute for Jewish Priorities, which will be led by author and editor David Hazony, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Rethink it all: The organization, which is housed in the Oshman Family JCC,  said the new institute is meant to develop new ideas related to “Zionism and the Israel-Diaspora relationship, philanthropy and education, religious and political alliances and more.”

Readable, viable: Hazony, an editor at Wicked Son Books, told eJP that the new think tank will focus on “projects that we identify to have maximal viability both on the commercial side — as books that people actually want to read — and as projects that can be translated into curricula and programming.” He added that the nascent think tank sees “the philanthropic community as being very important to bring ideas to, if we want to see real change.”

Shared trauma’s not enough: “For the first time in Jewish history, there is a strong Jewish homeland and a strong Jewish Diaspora, and we need a new paradigm for how these two centers of Jewish life should engage with each other,” Zack Bodner, president and CEO of the Oshman Family JCC, said in a statement. “We cannot continue to let our shared trauma define our sense of peoplehood. Many Jewish organizations lacked the language to have productive conversations about how Israel and the Diaspora should embrace each, but Oct. 7 has made this task even more urgent. The Z3 Institute will help give all of us that language.”


Martyrdom isn’t a Jewish value: Rethinking nonprofit leadership and sustainability

“In the world of nonprofit leadership, particularly within the Jewish community, a critical yet often overlooked issue persists amongst nonprofit executive directors: the belief that self-sacrifice, even to the detriment of one’s well-being, is a hallmark of commitment and success — even though research and best practices indicate otherwise,” writes Bradley Caro Cook, founder and executive director of Career Up Now, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Observations from the field: “I’ve experienced the pitfalls of this approach firsthand. However, recent introspections and conversations have starkly illuminated the misalignment between such self-sacrifice and the core values of Jewish tradition and effective leadership… I’ve observed a clear divide: some [nonprofit leaders] sacrifice their well-being for their organization’s gain, while others maintain a balance between their health and equitable compensation and their work. This could be a chicken or the egg situation — maybe the fact that the latter group’s organizations are thriving is why the leaders can afford balanced workloads and good pay. Either way, the contrast highlights not only different management philosophies but also suggests a correlation between leader well-being and organizational success.”

Mindset shift: “Five years ago, during a memorable panel at Upstart’s Collaboratory, a figure in Jewish philanthropy flagged the issue of non-livable wages for Jewish nonprofit leaders. Despite these warnings and evident industry patterns, I — driven by a misplaced sense of martyrdom — continued on this unsustainable path… Guidance from Mike Michalowicz’s 2014 book Profit First catalyzed a shift in perspective for me, emphasizing the necessity of prioritizing financial health to ensure organizational effectiveness… [I]ntegrating financial wellness into the leadership model is not just prudent management; it reflects a holistic commitment to the values of community stewardship and responsible governance… As we finalize our upcoming five-year growth plan, I am guided by a newfound philosophy underscored by Michalowicz’s wisdom: Prioritize profit and personal well-being to fortify our mission. This approach is not merely strategic; it is a moral imperative, aligning our operations with our values and ensuring our sustained ability to serve.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

The End is Nigh?: In the cover story for this month’s Atlantic, Franklin Foer documents and bemoans what he sees as the end of the golden era of American Jewry. “Though right- and left-wing anti-Semitism may have emerged in different ways, for different reasons, both are essentially attacks on an ideal that once dominated American politics, an ideal that American Jews championed and, in an important sense, co-authored. Over the course of the 20th century, Jews invested their faith in a distinct strain of liberalism that combined robust civil liberties, the protection of minority rights, and an ethos of cultural pluralism. They embraced this brand of liberalism because it was good for America — and good for the Jews. It was their fervent hope that liberalism would inoculate America against the world’s oldest hatred. For several generations, it worked. Liberalism helped unleash a Golden Age of American Jewry, an unprecedented period of safety, prosperity, and political influence… But that era is drawing to a close. America’s ascendant political movements — MAGA on one side, the illiberal left on the other — would demolish the last pillars of the consensus that Jews helped establish.” [TheAtlantic]

Ode to Cholent: In a cultural deep dive into the traditional Jewish dish in Longreads, Benjamin DuBow mixes evocative family anecdotes, accessible explanations of Talmudic legal concepts, a dash of folkloric flourish and heaping handful of culinary history to create a wonderfully cohesive stew of his own. “The characteristically Talmudic reading of the law that permits our Sabbath stew is, I might note, rather contentious. Or it was, rather, about 2,000 years ago, when the Pharisees were going at it with their aristocratic rivals, the Sadducees, over the authority of the Oral Torah. I have thus heard it said — from my sister, who heard it from Rebbetzin Auman of Brooklyn, NY — that cholent is not just a culturally Jewish food, but one of two ‘halakhically Jewish’ foods. That is to say, it emerges directly from an interpretation of Jewish Law, rather than mere custom. In this understanding of cholent’s etiology, the Pharisees began to make their Sabbath stews davka as a tangible manifestation of their politico-religious stance, a gastronomic avatar of their ideology, a culinary ‘Oh, yeah? Just watch me!’ Suffice it to say, the Pharisees won out. Or survived, which is effectively the same thing.” [Longreads]

Pulling Double Duty: In Times of Israel, Jon Falk, vice president of the Hillel International’s Israel Action and Addressing Antisemitism program, writes about the inspiration he draws from the students showing up on campus committed to learning and leading during these tumultuous times. “There’s a perpetual fear in the Jewish community that we’re losing our young. That our youth are no longer connected to the values we seek to instill in them, including a love for Israel. This fear is expressed in headlines about small groups of vocal young Jews who protest against Israel and about individuals who reject the paths their parents and grandparents forged. But in my role at Hillel International, I speak with thousands of Jewish college students every semester and I can tell you, without a doubt, that this is a generation of engaged, passionate, connected, and dedicated Jews and Zionists. And they are leading their peers toward a vibrant future.” [TOI]

Around the Web

Thousands of people took to the streets of San Francisco on Sunday to protest against antisemitism, despite inclement weather. They included Sheryl Sandberg and Stacy Schusterman, among other notable marchers…

Brooklyn’s Strauss Bakery baked a 50-pound hamantaschen for Masbia, the New York kosher soup kitchen and food bank, to kick off the organization’s efforts to raise money for New Yorkers in need ahead of Purim…

Seventeen relatives of Americans who were or are being held captive in Gaza will attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Thursday. The parents of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia for nearly a year on what are widely seen as spurious charges, will also attend

The New York Times spotlights The Netherlands’ National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam, which opens to the public next week…

Chanan Tigay was hired as the next editor in chief of J. The Jewish News of Northern California. He will replace managing editor Sue Barnett, who has filled the role on an interim basis since the previous editor, Sue Fishkoff, retired in mid-2022…

The American Jewish World Service is laying off approximately 10% of its staff of 120 and halting operations in three of the 17 countries in which it operates due to a “reality of fewer resources”…

In his speech accepting his admission into the Phoenix Suns’ “Ring of Honor,” Amar’e Stoudemire noted that in gematria, his number — 32 — stands for the Hebrew word, lev, or heart…

The State of Israel plans to sell its first international bond in the public market since Oct. 7…

Due to ongoing fighting on Israel’s northern border, the country’s folk music Jacob’s Ladder Festival, which is ordinarily held annually in the spring near the Sea of Galilee, will be postponed until the war is over. “In the future, we will all meet again to sing, dance and be joyful,” the organizers said…

Israeli authorities recommend purchasing solar panels over generators for Israelis worried about losing electricity because of war…

Nine federal agencies reinstated religious freedom protections for recipients of federally funded social services, a move that has been advocated for by Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger

Marilyn Fox, a St. Louis-based philanthropist who served as the first female president of the city’s Jewish Community Center, died last month at 89…

Ben Stern, a Holocaust survivor who famously fought to keep neo-Nazis from marching in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, died last week at 102…

Pic of the Day

Over 400 young adults attended NEXTGen Detroit’s EPIC fundraiser Saturday night, supporting the local and global Jewish community through contributions to the Jewish Federation of Detroit’s Annual Campaign.


Annie Liebovitz smiles
Courtesy/News Literacy Project

Founder and retired CEO of the D.C.-based News Literacy Project, Alan C. Miller

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