Your Daily Phil: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker reflects on the Colleyville attack

Good Friday morning!

Ed. note: In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the next Your Daily Phil will be published on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

In today’s 
Your Daily Phil, we speak with Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker ahead of the first anniversary of the attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, which falls on Sunday, and feature a column by Y.U.’s Erica Brown on the weekly Torah portion, as well as an op-ed by Jewish Creativity International’s Bob Goldfarb on the benefits of fiscal sponsorship. Also in this newsletter: Elana Kahn, Bill Ackman and SBF. We’ll start with a look at the state of antisemitism in the United States as we venture deeper into 2023.

For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent stories from Jewish InsidereJewishPhilanthropy and The Circuit, including: Ron Dermer: ‘The lesson of the Holocaust is that the Jewish people need power’; General Atlantic doles out $1 billion to maturing Israeli startups; The Year of Sophie Beren; How Jewish funders and organizations are approaching Israel’s new government; Josh Shapiro to use Tree of Life Bible at Pa. governor inauguration; Through subsidized salaries, a program hopes to place women clergy at Orthodox synagogues; and How an uncommon group for Jewish fathers formed — and folded — in Connecticut. Print the latest edition here.

As the Jewish community prepares to mark the first anniversary of the synagogue attack in Colleyville, Texas, the Anti-Defamation League released a survey of antisemitic attitudes in the United States that paints a sobering picture for the constellation of groups fighting antisemitism.

The survey asked respondents to rate the truth of 14 classically anti-Jewish statements, and found that 85% said at least one of them was “somewhat true” or “mostly true.” Twenty percent said six statements or more were at least somewhat true — nearly double the 11% in ADL’s 2019 survey.

More than half of respondents at least somewhat believed the statement “Jews in business go out of their way to hire other Jews.” Nearly 40% at least slightly agreed that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America,” and a similar percentage at least slightly agreed that “Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews.”

Pointing to the 3% of respondents who at least slightly agreed with 11 antisemitic stereotypes, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said at a virtual press conference that if that number were extrapolated to the country as a whole, “it translates to nearly 8 million Americans. In other words, there are more hardcore antisemites in America than the total number of American Jews,” a figure estimated at roughly 7.5 million by the Pew Research Center.

A survey by the American Jewish Committee, meanwhile, found that Jews ages 18 to 29 felt less safe following the Colleyville attack than those in older age groups. Two-thirds of Jews in the younger cohort who heard a lot or some about the attack “felt a great deal or a fair amount less safe,” the highest number among any age bracket surveyed.

The ADL survey found that American young adults are, on average, more anti-Israel than their elders, and have “only marginally less belief in anti-Jewish tropes.” Given those results, Huffnagle said, it makes sense that young American Jews may be “feeling less safe, not willing to want to post things online, seeing antisemitism more frequently.”

In the wake of rising antisemitism, the Jewish Federations of North America raised $62 million for communal security — one-third of which is going to the Secure Community Network, a national group, and two-thirds of which is going to funding security infrastructure, and security directors, for local Jewish communities. Those donations to communities will then be matched two-to-one by local giving, for a total of more than $120 million.

So far, JFNA has allocated $10 million in 25 three-year grants to local communities, and approximately 70 local federations have community security programs.

“If there was any doubt you needed to have a security program everywhere, Colleyville was the answer to that,” JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut told eJP. “Clearly, not every antisemitic incident is itself a violent act, but the more of them there are, the more they are clearly going to instigate, provoke or inspire violent acts.”

Read the full story here.

looking back, looking forward

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker talks to reporters outside of Whites Chapel United Methodist Church following a special service on January 17, 2022, in Southlake, Texas.

In the year since he and three of his congregants survived an hours-long hostage crisis in Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker has testified before Congress, was published in national news outlets, took a new pulpit in Winston-Salem, N.C., became a special adviser to the Anti-Defamation League and has served as a role model for how synagogue clergy should respond to violent antisemitism. But, he told eJewishPhilanthropy in an interview ahead of the anniversary of the attack, which falls on Sunday, he’s just grateful to be alive.

Gratitude: “As I approach the weekend, for the most part, I’m feeling grateful that I’m still alive,” Cytron-Walker said. “I am feeling concerned about the rise in antisemitism that persists and exists, and it’s really my hope and my prayer that people from all backgrounds are able to stand together against hate in all of its forms.”

Being prepared: “Having an emergency action plan, going through the workshops — those are the things that helped to save my life,” he said. “So, for me it wasn’t a hard thing. To save a life is to save a world. We were really fortunate on that day. Not everybody has had the trainings or the learning and the education, and if there are things that we can prepare for, it’s important to be able to do so. I think it’s horrible that we live in this world where we have to have this kind of preparation. And yet our kids do it in the public schools and in the private schools and we have to as adults as well.”

Speaking out: “The way that I’m commemorating is by trying to speak out, raising awareness about the current rise in antisemitism and the ways that we as a Jewish community can respond,” he said. “To work towards building relationships with others, to put the time and the energy and the effort into building those relationships, and giving our clergy and our community leaders the opportunity to really develop real relationships. Because those relationships are at the heart of a broader communal response.”

Read the full story here.

the torah of leadership

Making it ‘good’: Parshat Shemot


“The book of Exodus opens in a time of transition. Joseph’s death is recorded at the end of Genesis. A new Pharaoh is put in power. Leadership transitions are always concerning. Joseph’s meteoric success and contributions are suddenly eclipsed by fear that the Israelites will become a fifth column. The new Pharaoh took desperate and despotic measures to reduce, quite literally, what he saw as a security threat: ‘Then Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live”’ (Exodus 1:22). Forced labor was not enough. Murder was the next step in eradicating our people,” writes Erica Brown in her weekly column for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Finding beauty in a time of struggle: “Into this oppressive climate, we are introduced to two unnamed individuals as Chapter Two opens: ‘A certain member of the house of Levi went and took a woman of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw how beautiful he was, she hid him for three months’ (Ex. 2:1-2). The child is also not given a name. All we know is that the couple has noble tribal affiliations that will make an imprint on their baby. The Levites will soon emerge as spiritual leaders of their people. When this Jewish mother sees her Jewish son right after Pharaoh promulgated his decree, her first two words should have been ‘oy vey.’ Instead they are ‘ki tov’ – translated here in the English as ‘she saw how beautiful he was.’ Literally, the expression means ‘he is good,’ or ‘it is good.’ Nothing could have been further from the truth. Having a male child at this time was a death sentence.”

Seven times the ‘good’: “Rashi’s grandson, the Rashbam (R. Samuel ben Meir), simply directs readers, without any explanation, to the first chapter of Genesis, where the expression ‘ki tov’ (it is good), appears multiple times. The first was when God created light from darkness: ‘God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness’ (Gen. 1:4). Creating light from darkness is good. ‘Ki tov’ is used another five times in this chapter, culminating in a superlative state of goodness ‘tov me’od,’ it was very good: ‘And God saw all that had been made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day’ (Gen.1:31). Although not everything God creates is labeled good, ‘tov’ appears seven times in the chapter, paralleling the days of creation and the idea of seven throughout the Bible as a state or cycle of completion.”

Read the full piece here.

let’s get fiscal

“Many eJewishPhilanthropy readers are likely already familiar with ‘American Friends of…’ organizations and how they raise funds for their Israeli partners. Successful ones can attract millions of dollars a year for Israeli nonprofits through the efforts of a staff based in the United States, though their operating costs can be high. An ‘American Friends of…’ group needs money up front to hire a fundraising staff and pay for office space. And their annual operating costs can amount to 20-25% of the funds donated, leaving only 75-80% of grants and contributions for the overseas partner. That approach suits large, established institutions in Israel that can afford to hire a staff of professional fundraisers in the United States. But what about smaller nonprofits?” asks Bob Goldfarb, president of Jewish Creativity International, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Receiving and regranting donations: “Whether in Israel or in the United States, fiscal sponsorship is a less expensive way for smaller nonprofits to raise money from U.S. donors. A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that receives donations on behalf of qualified projects, individuals and organizations, and in turn ‘regrants’ those funds to the specific organization or project which the donor wishes to support. There’s no financial risk for the project, since there typically is no cost to them apart from paying the fiscal sponsor a percentage of the funds received, usually 5-8%. That means 92-95% of donated funds will always reach the project they’re intended to support.”

Creative control: “The 300-plus fiscal sponsors in the United States typically serve innovative projects, nonprofit startups, community groups and individual creative artists. Under fiscal sponsorship, those groups have total creative control, as well as full control over how their funds are spent. (‘American Friends,’ on the other hand, can legally use the funds they raise however they want.)”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Fund ‘the Baby’: What if “we leveraged the collective power of philanthropy to improve the lives of a specific group of people rather than improve outcomes within a specific program area?” Susan K. Thomas asks in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “[F]oundations with varying programmatic priorities can collaborate on funding when we agree on who we’re trying to help and the result we want to see… this was a long-term effort and required a lot of work and nudging to do things differently. Philanthropy tends to defer to old mental models, thinking that if we can’t name a finite project with a beginning and end then we can’t support it. The beauty of funding through a collaborative allows funders to share the risk of taking the big bets we may not be able to fund on our own. My greatest takeaway is the need to focus first on the population and the result, and then decide how we’ll get there, together, with multiple, complementary approaches that are rigorously examined and refined as needed. Marion Wright Edelman used an unforgettable metaphor when speaking to a room of foundation executives about collaboration. She said, ‘Put the baby on the table. What does that baby need? You can’t say, ‘Well, I can’t help because I only fund arms’ or ‘I only fund feet.’ No! We need to come to the table each ready and willing to contribute according to our strengths and together we help that baby thrive.” [SSIR]

Around the Web

According to a survey by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, total giving in North America increased 4.7% in the first three quarters of 2022 as compared to 2021, but the number of individual donors decreased 7.1%…

Elana Kahn is the new board chair of Repairing Together, a project that brings together children from across lines of difference to build relationships and break down the barriers of segregation. She serves as the associate dean for outreach at Chicago’s Spertus Institute…

Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman, a major donor to the Innocence Project, wrote in a Twitter thread that “I am not supporting or defending” arrested FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, but that “I don’t know whether SBF is guilty of a crime. I therefore reserve judgment until our legal process arrives at a conclusion.” SBF, meanwhile, has started a Substack

Pic of the Day

Doctors from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center treat children with eye cancer and retinoblastoma as part of a recent humanitarian mission to Nigeria. 


HOLLYWOOD, CA – OCTOBER 08: Alya Michelson and Founder of Michelson Found Animals Gary Michelson attends Michelson Found Animals Hosts 5th Annual Gala Honoring Leaders In The Animal Welfare Community at W Hollywood on October 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Orthopedic surgeon, inventor and philanthropist, he sold his medical patents to Medtronic in 2005 for $1.35 billion, Gary K. Michelson, M.D., pictured here with his wife, Alya, celebrates his birthday on Saturday…

FRIDAY: Marriage and family therapist in Bakersfield, Calif., Kathleen Arnold-Chambers… Las Vegas resident, Cathy Nierenberg… Retired teacher, Lucia Meyerson… NYC pediatrician at Carnegie Hill Pediatrics, Barry B. Stein, MD… Lifelong resident of Greenwich Village, a two-time Emmy Award winner as a television producer, she worked for NBC Nightly News, Susanna Beth Aaron… President of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, Cindy S. Moelis… Actress and producer, winner of 11 Emmy Awards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus… Kaileh Lynn Pistol… Founder of the Freelancers Union, she was a MacArthur Fellow in 1999, Sara Horowitz… Retired member of the Senate of Canada, she is the past chair of the UJA of Greater Toronto, Linda Frum… Partner at King & Spalding, he served as deputy attorney general of the U.S. following 12 years as U.S. attorney for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein… Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel since 2013, Rabbi David Baruch Lau… Executive assistant to the president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, Bruce Maclver… Senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he works on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, Kenneth M. Pollack… President and CEO of Amazon, Andrew R. Jassy… Social media professional and pro-Israel activist, Heidi Krizer Daroff… Statistician and writer who analyzes sports and elections, he is the editor-in-chief of The New York Times‘ FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver… Marriage and family therapist, Shira Berenson Feinstein… Master of science candidate at the University of Denver, Carly Freedman Schlafer… Rebecca Seider… Sandra Shapiro…

SATURDAY: Chairman emeritus of the publicly traded Empire State Realty Trust, Peter L. Malkin… Retired travel counselor, Barbara Singer-Meis… Washington Nationals baseball fan known as Rubber Chicken Man, he waves a rubber chicken over the Nationals dugout and is one of the few fans for whom Topps has issued a baseball card, Hugh Kaufman… Award-winning legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio since 1975, focusing primarily on the U.S. Supreme Court, Nina Totenberg… Screenwriter, director and producer, best known as co-writer of the films “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Return of the Jedi,” Lawrence Kasdan… Painter, editor, writer and book artist, Susan Bee… Co-founder and chairman of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, which he manages with his wife Penny Pritzker, Bryan Traubert… Shaul Saulisbury… President of the Sprint Foundation and Sprint’s 1Million Project Foundation, Doug Michelman… Former member of the Knesset for the Likud party, she holds a Ph.D. in criminology, Anat Berko… Professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College, Eric Alterman… AIPAC president, he is a founding member of LA-based law firm, Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern, Michael L. Tuchin… Actress and film producer, Kerri Lee Green… Staff writer at The New YorkerSusan B. Glasser… Venture capitalist Adam R. Dell… Movie and television producer and co-founder of Electric City Entertainment, Jamie Patricof… Sales associate in the Montclair, N.J., office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, David Frey… Attorney at Toronto-based Sokoloff Lawyers, Aryeh Samuel

SUNDAY: Senior counsel at Covington & Burling, he was previously the domestic policy advisor to President Carter, U.S. ambassador to the EU and deputy secretary of Treasury, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat… Partner in BECO Management LLC, Michael David Epstein… University professor at Columbia University, he won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Martin Chalfie… Longtime member of Congregation B’nai B’rith in Santa Barbara, Madelyn Silver Palley… Founder of Prospect Global, Toni G. Verstandig… Chairman and CEO of Stagwell Global, Mark Penn… Football head coach and general manager, he has worked in both the NFL and CFL, Marc Trestman… President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David M. Zaslav… Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson, N.J., Douglas Sagal… Cryptographer, computer security specialist, blogger, writer, author of 13 books, he is a fellow and lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Bruce Schneier… Former White House deputy press secretary, now CEO of Words Matter Media and executive producer of the “Words Matter Podcast,” Adam L. Levine… Filmmaker and educator, her films are aimed at an audience of Haredi women, Tali Avrahami… Former deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Belgium, Sophie Wilmès… Basketball analyst for Fox Sports, Doug Gottlieb… Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Judge Steven Menashi… Conservative political commentator, Ben Shapiro… Investigative reporter at The New York Times focused on health care, Sarah Kliff… Real estate investor, Hershy Tannenbaum… Actress, singer and writer based in NYC, she starred as Hodel in Bartlett Sher’s acclaimed revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” Samantha Massell… CNN’s White House correspondent, Jeremy Diamond