Your Daily Phil: Schumer at UJA pushes to increase NSGP + Video takes center stage on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Good Thursday morning!

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Wednesday that he will work to double the size of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which allocates federal dollars to protect religious institutions, to $360 million.

Schumer made the announcement at a press conference at the UJA-Federation of New York headquarters, standing alongside a coalition of local religious leaders — most of them Jewish, along with Catholic, Muslim and Sikh representation. “With so much anguish in the land, we have seen our religious institutions come under attack, and we’re here to say, we must do more about it,” he said.

A coalition of national Jewish organizations has pushed for the funding increase in the wake of the recent attack on a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Schumer said he is confident the increase will pass with bipartisan support as part of an appropriations bill next month.

The grants pay for physical security measures at nonprofit institutions, like cameras and reinforced windows, as well as guards at entryways. The program began in 2005 with $25 million in funding. Last year, following attacks in 2018 and 2019 on Jewish communities in Pittsburgh, Poway, Calif., Jersey City, N.J. and Monsey, N.Y., it was increased from $90 million to $180 million. Historically, most of the NSGP grants have gone to Jewish institutions. Nearly a quarter of them have gone to institutions in New York.

But community leaders say that even $360 million may not be enough to fill institutions’ present needs, given the rise in antisemitism. In Fiscal Year 2021, institutions submitted applications for more than $400 million in grants. Fewer than half of the approximately 3,300 applications were approved. UJA-Federation CEO Eric Goldstein said that only a “fraction” of the nearly 2,000 Jewish institutions in New York have gotten grants, and that only a third of those that submitted grants last year were approved.

“We may need more,” Schumer said. “And if we need more, we’ll come back and get more.”


Jewish groups pivot to video to remember the Holocaust

Fritzie Fritzshall, a Holocaust survivor, guides viewers through a virtual reality tour of the Auschwitz barracks.


If your social media feeds soon fill up with videos about the Holocaust, don’t be surprised: TikTok and other platforms are taking center stage in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales reports

Turning to tech: Using social media to teach people about the Holocaust is nothing new. In recent years, Holocaust remembrance organizations and antisemitism watchdogs have invested in social media messaging, in part due to a perceived rise in Holocaust denial and trivialization online. But this year, organizations are relying on video in particular, along with other relatively new technologies, to educate the public about the genocide.

Immersive experience: “You can have award-winning books and films and exhibitions, but now you are immersed in this experience with the survivor where they grew up,” said Susan Abrams, CEO of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which is launching two virtual reality experiences guided by Holocaust survivors on Thursday. “That level of engagement — it’s imprinting, it’s memorable in a different kind of way.”

Fighting hate on TikTok: A campaign by the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO will make the website a standard feature on TikTok, the video social media platform. Now, when TikTok users search for terms about the Holocaust, including Holocaust denial, they will be prompted to visit the site. Later this year, the platform will begin posting a link to the site alongside videos about the Holocaust.

Read the full article here.

Timely announcement

White House names new members to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council

Phil Kalina

President Joe Biden named 10 new members to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing body of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, on Wednesday, a day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, reports Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss.

Who’s who: Two of the appointees — Allan M. Holt, managing director at The Carlyle Group, and Tom Bernstein, president and co-founder of Chelsea Piers L.P. — are current council members whose terms are being renewed. Bernstein, the chair emeritus, has been on the council since 2002, and Holt will continue as vice chairman. Stuart Eizenstat, the State Department’s special advisor on Holocaust issues, will chair the council.

‘Perilous times’: Several of the appointees have connections to Democratic politics, including Susan Stern, founder of Jewish Women for Joe and a member of the executive committee for the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work to make the museum stronger, and get the message out to as many people as possible. I’m afraid that the story is slipping away, and we can’t let that happen,” Stern, whose mother-in-law survived the Holocaust, told JIon Wednesday. “We’re living in very perilous times, and I think this is an important time and the museum has an important role to play in telling the story and making sure people understand the perils that we face.”

Passage of time: Other members appointed by Biden include Abe Foxman, the former longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League who had previously been tapped to serve on the Council by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Marsha Laufer, a philanthropist and Democratic activist; and Sam Lauter, who worked on Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign and sits on the board of Democratic Majority for Israel. Foxman told JI that continuing to educate the public about the Holocaust is critical “because of the lapse of time, the loss of survivors and witnesses,” noting that when he first joined the board, he was one of many Holocaust survivors nominated. Now, many of the board’s members are the descendants of survivors. “That’s what time does.”

Read more here.


On mitzvot and movements

Berlin, Germany, May, 2018; Shutterstock

“We, the Jewish people, and our friends need leadership to come together in the kind of movement like those that defeated the Nazis, the Soviet Union, South African apartheid and made racism unacceptable. The virus of the world’s oldest hatred must fought with the vigor and determination of fights against cancer, COVID, heart disease, diabetes,” writes Misha Galperin, president & CEO of the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Two mitzvot: “There are two mitzvot – commandments, good deeds, sacred obligations – whatever you choose to call them in the Jewish tradition that are very personally meaningful for me: redeeming captives and welcoming strangers.”

Personal story: “For those who know my story of being a refugee from the Soviet Union – it is obvious why that would be. When I first learned about those imperatives in my Wexner Heritage class – I was amazed by the connection between these ideas discussed by Moses Maimonides in the 12th century and the American Jewish community’s institutions of the 20th century (HIAS, NYANA, JDC, Family and Children’s and Vocational Services agencies) dedicated to fulfilling those ‘highest religious duties’ in relationship to myself and many thousands of other refugees and immigrants – Jewish and other. These two mitzvot were once again on display at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.”

Historic times: “This moment in American Jewish history is truly historic: never before has antisemitism from the fascist right, the woke left or from Islamic radicalism been so dangerous, so violent and so pervasive… It was one  thing to be kept out of the country, prohibited from living in certain neighborhoods, mocked as grabby, filthy and depraved and quite another to be shot at, taken hostage or be told you have no right to self-determination and should cease to exist as a people… Jews are being attacked and that’s bad news not just for the Jews.”

Read the full piece here.


Why our workplaces need to love their employees back


“In her latest book, Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone, labor journalist Sarah Jaffe argues that encouraging people to pursue their passions and find work they love offers employers, even if unintentionally, opportunities to exploit employees’ hearts. If employees love their work — especially in our mission-driven nonprofit space — employers can get away with offering lower wages, less hospitable working conditions and less room for professional growth than they otherwise could. Although this scenario leaves employees less happy than they might be, they generally will acclimate and remain on staff, precisely because they love what they do,” writes Mark S. Young, vice president of talent strategy at JCC Association of North America, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Accurate, but is it effective? “Jaffe’s thesis might be accurate, but this is not how the employment landscape should operate, especially following the Great Resignation of 2021. Instead, employers ought to love their employees back. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also is a more effective approach to achieving organizational goals.”

Business strategy: “Nearly a year ago, I published my own volume on the Jewish organizational work experience, Bless Our Workforce: Changing the Way We Manage Our People, arguing that investing in staff and treating them exceptionally well isn’t merely a nice thing to do — it’s a fantastic business strategy, too. Staff who feel valued — and yes, loved — not only stay, but also perform their best work, leading to stronger productivity, more satisfied end-users and a healthier financial position.”

Sense of belonging: “When stated thusly, even my own argument feels transactional, so perhaps it’s time to elevate employee-employer relationships, particularly in the Jewish community, so they feel transformational, offering employees a sense of belonging and caring that extends beyond the work they perform in exchange for a paycheck and holiday celebrations.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Never Forget: Jewish Insider‘s Tamara Zieve interviews Holocaust survivor Israela Hargil, who spent the years of the war disguised as a Christian child living with a Polish family and is featured in a new exhibition at Yad Vashem. “At the age of 3, Iza Harnik [now Israela Hargil] was forced to assume an entirely new identity, memorize a new life story and learn prayers belonging to her newly adopted religion — a false but life-saving guise that saved the young Jewish girl from the Nazis when a Christian family provided her with refuge in German-occupied Brody, formerly Poland, today Ukraine… Hargil’s harrowing story is documented by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, which is spotlighting her and others who survived under false identities, in a new virtual exhibition launched for this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls today.” [JI]

New at Gates: 
After Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates’s divorce, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has given out more than $60 billion in grants over its 21 years, added three members – the head of the London School of Economics, a billionaire philanthropist and a founder of a nonprofit management consulting firm – to its new governing board, Nicholas Kulish reports in The New York Times: “The creation of the board ‘represents an explicit recognition by Bill and Melinda, especially in the wake of their divorce, that the foundation will be well served by the addition of strong, independent voices to help shape our governance,’ said Mark Suzman, the chief executive of the Gates Foundation, in a statement. Mr. Suzman will also serve on the board, bringing the total to six members.” [NYTimes]

Philanthro-Apps: Financial technology, including apps like Roundup (which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and donates that amount), Daffy (which creates a low contribution donor-advised fund) and Gen E (which donates to environmental/climate philanthropy), is making it easier for people to donate to causes they care about, Demetria Gallegos writes in The Wall Street Journal: “[A]pps focus on microphilanthropy, allowing users, for instance, to round up the change from credit-card and bank transactions and later give what they have saved to specific charities. These apps often are aimed at people who feel they don’t earn enough to make meaningful donations, especially younger adults who already tend to use fintech apps for payments and banking and may want to get involved in philanthropy but don’t know how.” [WSJ]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

A study from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation found that while most college students in America strongly value free speech and recognize its importance to democracy, the percentage of students who say free speech in America is secure has fallen sharply in recent years…

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved plans to enlarge Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus. The plan for the hospital’s development over the next 30 years includes the construction of seven new buildings, which will increase the number of beds in the hospital from 350 to 1,300…

Following a successful fundraising campaign, a life-size bronze statue of Licoricia of Winchester, “the most important Jewish woman in medieval England,” is to be unveiled in Winchester, England, in two weeks… 

The Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Israel Innovation Authority launched an economic program to encourage Arab Israelis and other minorities to enter the high-tech sector and better incorporate them in the industry…

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced grants totaling $16.1 million to 12 liberal arts colleges in support of social justice-oriented curricular development in the humanities…

Pic of the Day


Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (second from left) speaks at the fifth Israel-China Joint Committee on Innovation, meeting virtually on Monday. The countries signed a three-year plan to regulate cooperation and government-to-government dialogue through 2024.



Former college and professional basketball point guard, now a coordinator at Herzl Camp in Wisconsin, Jacqui Kalin… 

Auschwitz survivor, retired professor of child psychiatry at Harvard and the University of Cincinnati, Anna Ornstein… Senior counsel at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Arthur Fleischer… Investor Paul Sislin… Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, Barry Clark Barish… Priscilla Alexander… Casino magnate Steve Wynn (Weinberg)… Corporate venture capitalist and scientist, co-founder of Intel Capital, Avram Miller… Topanga, Calif., resident, Joseph Helfer… Columbia, S.C., resident, Charles Geffen… Accountant at North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction, Gene Bruton… VP at Elnat Equity Liquidity Providers, Eliezer Edelman… Professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at the Los Angles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Reuven Firestone… Cookbook author and co-founder of Foundation for Jewish Camp, Elisa Spungen Bildner… Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts… Member of the Missouri State Senate, Jill Schupp… Television writer and producer, he stars in the Netflix series “Somebody Feed Phil,” Philip Rosenthal… Founder and chairman of Willoughby Capital, Daniel Och… Communications director at C-SPAN and author of When Rabbis Bless CongressHoward Mortman… Founder and managing member of Liberty Peak Capital and co-founder and lead investor of Multiplier Capital, Ezra M. Friedberg… CEO of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester (N.Y), Josh Weinstein… Editor in chief of The Foreign DeskLisa Daftari… Jerusalem-born rapper and YouTuber, Rucka Rucka Ali… English fashion model, Daisy Rebecca Lowe… Foundation program manager at Jewish for Good in the Triangle area of North Carolina, Grace Kaplan… Co-founder of Quai.MD and an MBA candidate at Stanford, Lia Michal Weiner… Financial markets advisory associate at BlackRock, Joshua Henderson… 

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