Your Daily Phil: Reuven Rivlin weekends with itrek + Repair the World’s $5.8 million JCRIF grant

Good Monday morning!

Former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke at itrek’s “Accelerator Weekend,” outside Scottsdale, Ariz., an annual meeting at which the leaders of Israel trips offered by itrek gather to network and plan their weeklong journeys.

The organization brings elite graduate students on trips to Israel, during which they tour the country and meet thought leaders and Israeli citizens. Last year’s Accelerator Weekend was held virtually. “The atmosphere at the Accelerator Weekend was electric,” said itrek cofounder and CEO Gil Galanos.

Rivlin spoke about the ways in which his upbringing and his 30-year career in politics shaped him. The weekend event attracted 130 trek leaders, including alumni, representing business, law, policy and STEM programs at schools such as Duke University, Northwestern University and Princeton University.

Today is National Philanthropy Day, proclaimed by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1986 to inspire communities to gather in celebration of generosity and service in their backyards.

“Right from the start, I think one of the major goals of our administration has been to reinvigorate the American spirit of neighbor helping neighbor,” Reagan said in a speech that inaugurated the holiday. This year, Barry Hirschfeld, who with his wife Arlene has supported JEWISHColorado, the local federation; the Rose Foundation and several other causes, received a lifetime achievement award at the “National Philanthropy Day in Colorado” luncheon on Nov. 12.

In Detroit, the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) honored Hannan and Lisa Lis with the annual Max M. Fisher Award for Outstanding Philanthropist. The two support and have taken leadership roles in their local federation and JCC, Zioness and the Jewish National Fund, in addition to several other organizations. The Delaware Business Times will give awards to the Jewish Federation of Delaware for its annual appeal, branding, newsletter, special event and website at the virtual Philanthropy Day conference hosted by AFP’s Brandywine chapter on Nov. 17.


How Repair the World’s $5.8 million JCRIF grant will work

Repair the World

The field of Jewish service — both its reach and its educational depth — appears poised for a once-in-a-generation transformation in the wake of two multimillion-dollar grants to Repair the World. The Jewish service organization, based in New York City, received a $7 million grant from MacKenzie Scott, while the nearly $6 million grant from the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) is designed to support not only Repair the World, but also seven partner organizations focused on service opportunities for young Jews. “It’s not just about lifting up Repair. It’s about lifting up the whole field of Jewish service, and remaking a community that is grounded in service to our neighbors,” Repair the World’s CEO, Cindy Greenberg, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Repair the World and partners: Repair the World used Scott and Jewett’s unrestricted gift of $7 million, announced on June 15, as “rocket fuel,” Greenberg said. She launched a listening tour among donors, partners and participants in the organization’s programs. That tour helped the group refine its proposal for the JCRIF “Reset” grant, for which the funders — Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies; Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Supporting Foundation; Jim Joseph Foundation; Maimonides Fund and The Paul E. Singer Foundation — allocated $5.8 million over a period of three and a half years. 

A vision for the future: Both grants will fund a little more than half of the $23 million budget for the plan to grow Repair the World sufficiently to support a national Jewish service program that will reach 200,000 participants over the next three and a half years. Efforts are underway to raise the remaining funds, Greenberg said. Additional plans for how to spend the Scott-Jewett gift will be finalized at Repair the World’s December board meeting. The funders originally created JCRIF to protect Jewish institutions during the early days of the pandemic, and then developed the Reset grant program in the hope that Jewish organizations could channel the turbulence of the pandemic era into innovative plans for the coming years.

Read the full article here.


Global Zionist citizenship, a manifesto

Roman Yanushevsky / Shutterstock

“Zionism, initially defined as the national movement of the Jewish People, has made a huge comeback onto global Jewry’s agenda. Organizations across the globe, including the government of Israel, are investing tremendous resources into the reclamation and reeducation of Zionism,” writes Rabbi Leor Sinai, secretary-general of the World Confederation of United Zionists  in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Challenges: “One of the challenges we must overcome is understanding our collective, and specifically our youth’s, self-identification with global citizenship. Whereas prior to the State of Israel’s independence the stateless Jew was relegated to her/his own group-identity (or ghetto), 1948 changed all that. Just as Herzl willed it, and predicted it, Israel – and by extension today’s Jew – has gone global.”

Acceptance: “Early Zionist thought was fed by visions of a utopia, of an Israel that would be perfect and once it came to be, the modern nation-state would initiate a wave of understanding and coexistence resulting in an ideal global community. The visions of a utopia have yet to be realized, if ever, yet entry into the global community of nations is a reality that continues to alter the Jews’ psyche from exilic and excluded, to welcomed and accepted – by and large – among the family of nations. As a result, and in reaction to ongoing geopolitical global events, Zionism as it was is questioned.”

Read the full piece here.


A former synagogue president reflects on member engagement


“Engagement is an overwhelming topic for synagogue presidents. How do you even begin to start engaging with members at a new and deeper level? It’s too much to think about especially when, as president, you have so much more pressing things to do and only two years to do it all!” writes Arlene Bryer, a past president of Temple Aliyah in Needham, Mass., in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Goals: “When I became president-elect, I decided that the best way for me to prepare both personally and professionally was to reach out to the oldest and/or longest members to get together for a coffee and conversation. I had two goals in mind: For me to get to know them better; what’s important to them, what do we need to improve on and to discover any potential philanthropic opportunities. And for them to get to know me better, and to gain their trust, which I believe was very important for my success given their longevity and their longtime support.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

’Tis The Season: In the Denver Post, Bruce Deboskey asks readers to consider that about 40% of food produced in the United States is never eaten, yet in 2020, over 38 million Americans, or 11.8%, lived in households that struggled with food insecurity. An advisor to family philanthropies, Deboskey suggests that the generations gathered for the holiday take some time during the festival meal to ask each other about their individual and collective responsibility for people who don’t have reliable access to an adequate, nutritious diet. “I mention these statistics, not to assign guilt as we approach the traditional holiday season, but to raise awareness of the challenges experienced by so many communities throughout the U.S.,” Deboskey states. [DenverPost]

Mixed Bag: Reporting from Glasgow, Scotland, in the immediate aftermath of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Leslie Johnson notes in a post on PhilanTopic that even though she and many other delegates feel buoyed by Mark Charney’s announcement that 40% of the world’s financial assets — $130 trillion — have pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by mid-century, there’s still no guarantee that emissions will be lower by 2030. This is exactly where philanthropy needs to step in, because it can play a watchdog role in addition to serving as the “risk capital” so essential to innovation. Johnson writes: “We, as philanthropic funders, have an opportunity to challenge business and industry to step up. We can play a role in changing the ‘rules’ of the system, putting in guardrails and strengthening accountability mechanisms.” [PhilanTopic]

Help Wanted: Portugal has passed a law that forbids employers of remote workers from contacting them outside of working hours, in one of the “boldest efforts” to regulate the new world of work that has emerged across industrialized nations due to the pandemic, reports Raphael Minder in The New York Times. The new law also requires Portuguese employers to pay part of their workers’ electricity and internet bills, but the motivation behind it is both to protect domestic workers and to encourage foreign workers to relocate to Portugal. “‘We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in, we want to attract them to Portugal,’ said Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s labor minister, at a conference in Lisbon this month.” [NYTimes]


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Word on the Street

Maya Natan will step down from her role as executive director of JFN Israel to become CEO of Keshet-DAF, the first donor-advised fund in Israel; Sigal Yaniv Feller will become JFN Israel’s new executive director… Rachel Lithgow joined ShalomLearning as chief executive officer… Rachel Lubert has been appointed general counsel of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, effective Jan. 1… London-based Jewish human rights charity René Cassin is running a series of events to highlight the organization’s work on women’s rights… Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $25 million commitment in support of career and technical education programs for high school students in nine U.S. cities; this new investment brings Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support of these programs to $90 million since 2016… Swedish Medical Center received a $20 million bequest from Paul G. Allen in support of the Seattle-based Swedish Cancer Institute… The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is providing grants totaling more than $9 million in support of efforts to expand the pipeline of diverse teachers, administrators and education leaders nationwide… The Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh is investing $16 million to endow the Tartan Scholars program, a university libraries deanship and help build a new health, wellness and athletics center at Carnegie Mellon University…

Pic of the Day

Beit Tefilah Abu Dhabi

Israeli Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Amir Hayek (left) and Rabbi Levi Duchman, the first resident rabbi of the UAE, at Beit Tefilah in Abu Dhabi, where the first Torah scroll completed in the Gulf nation was dedicated last week.


Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim… 
Dean of Ohr Etzion Yeshiva and a leader of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, he was a longtime member of the Knesset (1977-2003), Rabbi Haim Drukman… Author of dozens of children’s books and young adult fiction, Daniel Pinkwater… Stephen Wolff… Former chairman and CEO of Film and Music Entertainment, Larry Lotman… NYC-based consultant for nonprofit organizations, Perry Davis… Immigration and nationality attorney in Southern California, Michael D. Ullman… Past president of Gratz College in Pennsylvania, Paul Finkelman… Executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, Rabbi Meyer H. May… Executive producer and director of television programs including “Friends,” Kevin S. Bright… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, Meir Cohen… Partner in Toronto-based accounting firm Fuller Landau, he serves as president of the Toronto Congregation BAYT, Jeffrey M. Brown… Senior project manager at Boeing, Michael A. Lewine… Member of the Florida House of Representatives (D-98), Michael Alan Gottlieb… Former member of Knesset for the Likud party, Nava Boker… Founder and chairman of Perilune Capital and founder of Harspring Capital Management, Carey Robinson Wolchok… Director of development at ORT America, Tracy Weiss… Mortgage executive, Joshua Shein… CEO of the Riverdale Y, Deann Forman… As a 12-year-old baseball fan in Yankee Stadium, he interfered with a ball hit by Derek Jeter in the 1996 ALCS that was ruled to be a game-tying home run, Jeffrey Maier.. Professional golfer, he won the gold medal at the 2013 Maccabiah Games, Ben Silverman… White House reporter for The Associated Press, Zeke Miller… National director at Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit national security organization, Ben Goodman… Account manager at SingleSprout, Alison Borowsky… First-year law student at Harvard Law School, Micah Rosen… 
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