Your Daily Phil: Rare drop in charitable giving in 2022 + ‘My Friend Anne Frank’

Good Tuesday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we interview Dina Kraft, the co-author of a new best-selling book about and also by Anne Frank’s best friend, Hannah Pick-Goslar, and feature an op-ed from Elan Ezrachi. Also in this newsletter: Rabbi Steve Bayar, Danielle Gross and Michael Gove. We’ll start with a new report by the Giving USA Foundation showing a rare decline in charitable giving last year. 

Philanthropic giving dropped in 2022, down more than 10% after adjusting for inflation from the previous year, according to an annual study by the Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University released on Tuesday, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

This is only the fourth time that charitable giving has decreased from the previous year in the past four decades. The previous instances – 1987, 2008 and 2009 – followed the Black Monday crash and the Great Recession, respectively.

The authors of “Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy” calculated that individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $499.33 billion to U.S. charities last year. This represents a 3.4% decline from 2021 – a record high year – when $516.65 billion was donated. Factoring in inflation, that $17.32 billion drop represents a 10.5% reduction, according to the study.

“Declines in giving like those we saw in 2022 have a tangible impact on nonprofit organizations, especially those that rely on charitable dollars to support their daily work,” Amir Pasic, dean of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which co-authored the study, said in a statement. “Nonprofits and donors alike experienced the steady, negative impacts of inflation such as the growing cost of goods and high interest rates throughout 2022, and many of those challenges remain.”

Looking at the brighter side, Josh Birkholz, chair of Giving USA Foundation and CEO of BWF, said that the situation could have been far worse in light of the economic downturn in 2022.

“Drops in the stock market and high inflation caused many households to make tough decisions about their charitable giving for the year,” Birkholz said in a statement. “But despite uncertain economic times, Americans demonstrated how essential they view the nonprofit sector and its ability to solve big problems — by still giving nearly half a trillion dollars in 2022.”

Read the full story here.

A different diary

TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images

Dina Kraft is already well-known in Israel as a veteran journalist. In her long and illustrious career, Kraft has reported for the Associated Press from South Africa and The New York Times from Israel. Now, Kraft can add one more accolade to her extensive resume: the memoir she ghost-wrote together with Anne Frank’s best friend, Hannah Pick-Goslar, My Friend Anne Frank, became a New York Times bestseller last week, reports Ruth Marks Eglash for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.

In the stars: “For lack of a better word, it feels like this has all been bashert,” Kraft, who is the opinions editor at the English edition of Haaretz, told JI, using the Yiddish word for “destiny.” “I spent years writing Holocaust-related stories and, being the daughter of a family that fled Nazi Europe to the furthest corner of the globe – New Zealand, where my mother grew up – it felt like really something I was sort of working towards my whole life without realizing it,” she added.

Cautionary tale: Kraft said that one of the main takeaways from telling the story of Anne Frank’s best friend was a point that Pick-Goslar made to her several times over the course of their meetings. “How often, in an instant, a state-protected world can vanish from beneath your feet,” Kraft said. “Yes, you have to be vigilant, but this is also what happens when people are silent. There was evil in their world, but there were a lot more people who just kept their mouths shut. The silence and the complicity of silence is something I think is the cautionary tale of this book.”

Read the full story here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.

The spiral’s return?

The future of educational travel to Israel as Birthright participation numbers drop


“Recent reports have indicated that the number of participants in travel programs run by Taglit – Birthright Israel is expected to drop. The explanations provided by the leadership of Taglit attributed the decrease to lower funding from philanthropy and to the higher costs of travel. Whatever the reasons may be, this is an opportunity to reflect on the broader issues of educational travel to Israel,” writes Elan Ezrachi, a Jerusalem-based consultant in the areas of Jewish peoplehood and Israel engagement, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Enter the Spiral: “In the 1990s, it was widely recognized that an educational trip to Israel was an essential building block for the identity of young Jews… One term that was coined in the Israel travel discourse in those days was: the Spiral. The Spiral concept asserted that travel to Israel should not be a singular occurrence… The Spiral concept assumed that the first visit to Israel should take place during the formative teen years, in the framework of professional educational guidance and preferably with peers. After the ‘first taste’ of Israel, the youth would be encouraged to come again for longer and more focused programs, leading to deep immersion in Israeli society and culture.”

Strengthen the connection: “Twenty-three years after the establishment of Birthright, one cannot argue with the power of this initiative. I would dare say that Birthright had a profound impact on Jewish life, far beyond the impact it had on individual participants. But like every good product, it needs to always be revisited and adapted to changing realities. The leaders of Birthright themselves were aware of this need and introduced over the years a myriad of programmatic innovations that would renew their own system… Seventy-five years after the establishment of Israel, the challenge is to deepen the connection of world Jewry to the Jewish nation-state. The challenge of sustainable engagement with Israel among young Jews in the Diaspora is immense. Now is the time to work together toward this goal.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

More Ham for Me, Rabbi!: In The Times of Israel, Rabbi Steven Bayar reflects on the turn of events that led a group of Jews and Muslims to distribute pork at a Texas food bank. “Never have I seen Muslims and Jews brought together by pork ribs — until I came to San Antonio… Community organizations reserve a date to bring the Food Bank to their neighborhood, and supply funds for food and for volunteers to unload pallets, pack bags and distribute food to vetted and registered clients… We contacted the local Islamic community, the Jewish Federation of San Antonio and the National Council of Jewish Women. They all enthusiastically joined in…. Two completely different religious communities stood apart as the food truck arrived. We watched as pallets of fresh produce (squash, peppers, onions, cabbage and more), rice, beans, canned tuna, peanut butter and bread were unloaded. But the staff were excited that a special treat had been donated by our local food chain, H-E-B. Pork ribs! Muslims and Jews were being asked to distribute pork! But we all laughed at the incongruity.” [TOI]

The People Along the Way: In the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix and Northern Arizona, Shannon Levitt profiles Danielle Gross, the incoming co-chair of Jewish Federations of North America’s young leadership cabinet. “[Danielle] Gross has been part of NYLC for the last six years and this year, as its leader, will be her last. She was first introduced to the program by Rachel Hoffer, the Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix’s board chair, who let her know it was a place for like-minded people where she could see all the Federation’s work firsthand. ’I was drawn to the opportunity within Cabinet to be with like-minded young leaders who are in similar positions in their communities and to discover new ideas that I could bring back to Phoenix,’ Gross told Jewish News. ‘I’ve learned that leadership is not about where I’m going but about the people with me. I hope to inspire my peers and empower them to pursue their leadership dreams, and Cabinet is an excellent platform to achieve this.’” [JewishNews]

Around the Web

Reps. Pat Ryan (D-NY), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) will introduce two amendments on combating antisemitism and extremism in the military as part of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act…

Michael Gove, the U.K. secretary of state for leveling up, housing and communities, is spearheading new legislation that will bar British local councils from divesting from Israel. The proposal was hailed by leading British Jewish figures…

The Slingshot Fund announced its latest cohort of 10 fellows for its 18-month program. The fellowship aims to prepare its participants for leadership roles “in philanthropy, the Jewish community, and beyond”…

The Maimonides Fund’s Future Scientists Center and the Israeli Education Ministry’s Division for Gifted and Talented Students held a joint conference last week focused on developing educational programs for outstanding students…

Pic of the Day


M²’s founder and CEO Shuki Taylor speaks last week at the inaugural 18×18 Summit, a Jewish education conference that was held outside New York City. Over 100 Jewish education professionals from around the world, including Bulgaria, Germany, El Salvador, Israel, Poland, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, attended the three-day event.

“For the educators in attendance, the 18×18 Summit is a chance to refuel, recenter, and recalibrate – to find inspiration from across the vibrant, diverse Jewish educational landscape, to determine one’s unique contribution to that landscape, and to develop a plan to bring that vision to life for themselves and their organizations,” Mollie Andron, senior program director of fellowships at M², said in a statement.


Haim Twito/Besheva Conference

Executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Moshe Hauer

Weston, Fla., resident, Harold Kurte… Author of 72 books, Dan Greenburg… Former member of Knesset for the Ratz party, Ran Cohen… Owner of Schulman Small Business Services in Atlanta, Alan Schulman… Detroit-based pawnbroker, reality TV star, author and speaker, Leslie “Les” Gold… Chef, baker and author of eight books, she popularized sourdough and artisan breads in the U.S., Nancy Silverton… Host of Bully Pulpit from Booksmart Studios, Bob Garfield… Former assistant managing editor for politics at NBC News, now an adjunct professor at the University of Florida and FIU, Gregg Birnbaum… Federation leader, founder of Brilliant Detroit (helping children out of poverty) and of Riverstone Communities (owns and operates over 70 manufactured housing communities in 12 states), James Bellinson… Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and rabbi at Congregation Ohr HaTorah in Bergenfield, N.J., Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky… Israeli-American screenwriter, film director and producer of 20 films, Boaz Yakin… Senior legal affairs contributor at Politico, Josh Gerstein… Governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro… U.S. Sen. Eric Stephen Schmitt (R-MO)… Singer, songwriter and hazzan, he is a co-founder of the band Moshav, Yehuda Solomon… Program director of civic initiatives at The Teagle Foundation, Tamara Mann Tweel, Ph.D…. Israeli author of crime and thriller books, Mike Omer… Journalist, blogger and EMT in NYC, Maggie Shnayerson… Director of brand strategy and digital innovation at Kivvit, Pearl Gabel… Deputy communications director in the Trump White House, now at Hiltzik Strategies and Blumhouse, Josh Raffel… Jennifer Bernstein… Valeria Bystritskaia Mowbray… Supervising producer at HardPin, Sara Pearl Kenigsberg… Writer, director, comedian, YouTuber, podcaster and mental health advocate, Allison Beth Raskin… Team captain of Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Basketball Premier League and the EuroLeague, John DiBartolomeo… Chief campus officer at Hillel Ontario, Beverley Shimansky… Director of corporate governance at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Jaime Reich