Your Daily Phil: Security after the Colorado Springs shooting

Good Wednesday morning!

Ed. note: In observance of Thanksgiving, Your Daily Phil will not be publishing on Thursday or Friday. Our next edition will be on Monday, Nov. 28. Happy Thanksgiving!

In today’s 
Your Daily Phil,we report on fears of violence in the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, and feature a column by Y.U.’s Erica Brown on the weekly Torah portion. Also in this newsletter: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mark Sklar and Rabbis Marc Schneier and Mendy Chitrik. We’ll start with a performance at a fundraising gala last night by Itzhak Perlman.

About a third of the way through his performance in New York City last night, Itzhak Perlman put his bow to his violin, and promptly played a scratchy and discordant tune. The audience laughed.

Then Perlman stopped. The melody was one he had learned as a child, so he had played it the way children usually do — in other words, poorly. “It’s very, very difficult to do this, you know,” he joked to the spectators. “You actually work on all the scratches, and so on, so that they’re exactly right.” He then played the melody again, properly this time.

Perlman was the main attraction at a gala near Times Square benefiting Amit, a network of nearly 100 religious schools serving 40,000 students across Israel, most of them from disadvantaged backgrounds. He was equal parts violin maestro and raconteur, telling his life story through jokes, anecdotes and, of course, music.

His performance took the audience from his childhood in a one-room apartment in Tel Aviv through his polio diagnosis, his early violin training, his appearance as a teenager on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” his move to the U.S. and his playing the iconic violin melody from the “Schindler’s List” soundtrack.

“I would get calls from, you know, Israel Bonds, UJA and so on and so forth, to play in fundraisers,” he told the crowd later, describing how he supported himself as a student at the Juilliard School in New York. “Can you imagine? This is 1958, and I had to play in fundraisers, and today is 2022, and I’m still” doing so. The rest of his sentence was drowned out by the audience’s laughter.

Perlman’s tone characterized the mood at the gala, which was more upbeat than other recent benefits that have focused on topics like the war in Ukraine and antisemitism. The event centered on the $70 million renovation of Kfar Batya, an Amit campus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ra’anana that will include classrooms, outdoor learning spaces, an athletic complex and a center for educational innovation alongside dorms for students.

Throughout the evening, items were set aside to be placed in a time capsule that will be buried at Kfar Batya, including: a telegram from Amit founder Bessie Gotsfeld; a Hebrew Bible used by an Amit student who won Israel’s International Chidon HaTanach, or Bible quiz, this year; and a pair of stethoscopes — one from a doctor who graduated from an Amit school.

The night’s main honorees were Evan and Layla Green, who are donating $5 million to Kfar Batya and whose name will adorn its innovation center. In his speech, Evan Green, a business services entrepreneur from Las Vegas, was forthright about the donation being far larger than any other the couple has given. “Frankly, it’s a bit nerve-racking,” he told the crowd.

“It’s literally 10 times more than we’ve ever donated in the past,” he told eJewishPhilanthropy ahead of his speech, adding that the couple is inspired by Amit’s educational philosophy and commitment to pedagogical experimentation, and have the funds to give the entire gift. “It’s a done deal, the five million. It was a little scary, a good scary… We’re going to do whatever it takes to get it done.”

securing space

An aerial view of mourners gathering on Tuesday at a memorial for the victims of the shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, Colo.
An aerial view of mourners gathering on Tuesday at a memorial for the victims of the shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, Colo.

When they heard of the deadly shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Saturday night, the news sent the employees of JQ International reeling — and strategizing about how to secure their own events, including an upcoming Hanukkah party. The feeling of fear, danger and uncertainty wasn’t foreign to the staff of JQ, a Jewish LGBTQ group based in Los Angeles. “We have always felt vulnerable, but just as the Jewish community is feeling increased vulnerability around antisemitism, we are feeling increased vulnerability around our safety and our security and the sanctuary of our spaces,” Asher Gellis, JQ’s founder and executive director, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz.

Safe solutions: For professionals at Jewish LGBTQ groups, as well as Jewish security organizations, the Colorado Springs attack — in which five people were killed and 18 injured — drove home the similarities between the dangers each community faces. The attack came soon after concrete threats of violence to synagogues in New Jersey and New York. At the same time, security officials said that different spaces may require different solutions.

Overlapping hate: “Many extremists are both antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ+,” Shira Goodman, director of campaigns and outreach at the Anti-Defamation League, told eJP. “So, we share unique challenges. One difference we have seen is that Jews have been targeted in their places of worship, while most LGBTQ attacks target social venues such as clubs. But regardless of the location, all are hate crimes and should be treated as such.”

the torah of leadership

The lies of leadership: Parshat Toldot


“In the painting ‘Rebecca Presents Jacob to Isaac’ (1768), artist Nicolas-Guy Brenet shows Isaac sitting up straight in his bed with one arm held high and his legs tangled in sheets. Isaac’s other arm is wrapped around Jacob’s shoulder, whose red tunic matches the ruddiness of his face. Rebecca stands in the background, holding up a tent curtain so she can quietly watch the scene from a distance. Isaac is old and blind but, the artist suggests, his body knows the truth and protests. Isaac’s silent movement registers deception. The son with the pelt collar designed to imitate the manliness of his older twin was not Esau,” writes Erica Brown in a column for eJewishPhilanthropy.

A defining lie: “This week’s Torah reading, Toldot, paints dishonesty with words rather than images. Isaac asks, ‘“Yes, which of my sons are you?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau, your first-born; I have done as you told me. Pray sit up and eat of my game, that you may give me your innermost blessing”’ (Genesis 27:18-19). Jacob requested an innermost blessing while wearing an outer layer of betrayal. Jacob said, ‘I am Esau.’ The verse, by using names simply and lucidly, calls out the lie that would haunt Jacob for the rest of his life.”

Lies begetting deception: “Later, Laban, Jacob’s father-in-law, tricked him by switching brides; Jacob married Leah instead of the love of his life, Rachel. Jacob’s sons tricked him by giving him Joseph’s striped coat dipped in goat’s blood; Jacob naturally concluded that his favorite son had been killed by a wild animal. While Joseph did not trick his father outright, Joseph’s long disappearance in Egypt without contact overwhelmed Jacob with grief. We are told many times that Jacob’s hair grayed, and he was ready for death. Joseph rose to meteoric heights of leadership in Egypt while Jacob mourned him and languished in Canaan. All of this was the consequence of one lie.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Unrestricted Support: A San Francisco Bay Area project called the Radical Redistribution Fund is granting money to trans-led and Black-led organizations that are typically overlooked, Sarah Holder writes in Bloomberg. “There was no lengthy application process for recipients, who have no reporting or tax requirements and face no restrictions on how to use the funds. By giving money to trans-led and Black-led organizations that typically don’t get philanthropic attention, and to individuals, it was a far cry from the donor-advised funds that have long characterized much of charitable giving. But it’s also becoming less and less unusual to see no-strings-attached cash doled out without the formality of a grant process. The philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has famously given large sums of unrestricted money to small organizations, many of which didn’t know how they were chosen; organizations like GiveDirectly have sent donors’ money straight to low-income people all over the world.” [Bloomberg]

Family Philanthropy Values: 
To shape the next generation of donors, families should articulate and model their values and interests, writes Jennifer Gravenor in The Business Journals. “But how do you start getting family members involved? If you are just beginning to have conversations about your charitable activities with younger family members, it is important to give them an opportunity to share their interests with you. The most rewarding family philanthropy reflects the shared values and interests of all family members. Taking the time to understand and outline your philosophy, as well as assess overall readiness and interest in charitable work, makes your family’s philanthropy stronger and provides greater satisfaction around charitable giving… Effective engagement of the next generation is not a one-time event. You will be more successful when the next generation is exposed to a series of informal conversations and activities that build over time.” [TheBusinessJournals]

Worlds Collide: 
Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch interviews venture capitalist Aaron Samuels, a community leader and published poet. “Samuels collaborated with Reboot and Hillel International to produce a reading of his 2021 poem ‘Forgiveness,’ about experiencing Yom Kippur, and the elaborate security common at many American Jewish synagogues, as a Black Jew. The short film toggles between brief recordings of Black Jews of all ages as they showcase their Jewish identity, with Star of David necklaces, yarmulkes or prayer shawls, as Samuels recites his poem. ‘I walk, covered in white, to the temple steps. I walk past four police officers. I see their weapons. How they make the community feel safe. I ready my body to pray,’ Samuels reads, his voice strong and solemn, warm and inviting. ‘I walk through the metal detector, and I am buying candy in a new neighborhood. I exit the metal detector and I am asleep in my own bed. This is my place of worship. These are my people.’” [JI]

Around the Web

A 16-year-old Canadian-Israeli yeshiva student was killed and nearly two dozen people were injured in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning in twin explosions at bus stops that Israeli officials are treating as a terrorist attack…

Yeshiva University has opened up an English-language mental health center in Jerusalem that is focused on serving immigrants and students in the city…

The Jewish Federations of North America’s Jewish Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative announced a cohort of 200 Jewish lay and professional leaders who will focus for a year on building skills and knowledge to advance those values in their communities. This year’s cohort is far larger than the previous one, which included 40 participants…

Rabbi Ethan Linden, who was alleged in a lawsuit this year to have mishandled a sexual assault complaint in 2018 when he served as director of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, has been hired as director of educational operations and design at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, JTA reported. The institute said in a statement, “We maintain rigorous processes for screening and evaluating prospective employees for competence and character in our commitment to the excellence of our work.”…

New York Gov. Kathy Hochulsigned legislation on Tuesday that will create a statewide campaign advancing the values of tolerance and diversity, and that will mandate hate crimes prevention training for people convicted of the offenses. The legislation comes soon after the arrest of two suspects at Penn Station in Manhattan who are accused of plotting to attack a synagogue…

Staten Island resident Saadah Masoud, 29, pled guilty on Tuesday to participating in a conspiracy to commit hate crime acts. Masoud admitted to assaulting three people wearing identifiably Jewish or Israeli items between May 2021 and last April…

Reports that Qatar banned cooked kosher food at the World Cup are inaccurate, say Rabbis Marc Schneier and Mendy Chitrik, who are catering kosher bagels at the tournament…

Mark Sklar, a Phoenix real estate developer who helped shape the city and who, as a philanthropist, donated to Jewish and secular causes, died at 74…

Pic of the Day

(Photo by Evrim Aydin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Goalkeeper Matt Turner, one of two Jewish players on the U.S. squad at the World Cup, dives to block a penalty kick in Monday’s match against Wales. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.


< the New Music Seminar 2012 Opening Night Red Carpet Partyat Webster Hall on June 17, 2012 in New York City.

Rapper, singer, songwriter and recording artist, better known under her stage name Lanz Pierce, Alana Michelle Josephs

Former mayor of Pasadena, Calif., Terry Tornek… Senior U.S. District Court judge in Massachusetts, Judge Mark L. Wolf… Majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer (D-NY)… Phoenix resident, Richard S. Levy… Board member of the Yitzhak Rabin Center and former member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Andrea Lavin Solow… Professor of Jewish studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, Elliot R. Wolfson… Long Beach, N.Y., resident, Ellen P. Shiff… L.A.-based cost and management accountant, Simon Ordever… Israeli-born entrepreneur, Raanan Zilberman… Television personality and author, Keith Ablow… Founder of Union Main Group, a private holding company focused on platform buildups of small companies, Marc Hanover… Professor of chemistry at Northwestern University, Chad Mirkin… Majority owner of the NFL’s Washington Commanders, Daniel Snyder… Neurosurgeon specializing in the treatment of brain tumors and aneurysms, he is a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, Aaron Cohen-Gadol… SVP at Glen Echo Group, Amy Schatz… Berlin-based journalist on the Bloomberg News Automation team, Leonid Bershidsky… Executive at Hakluyt & Company, Keith Lieberthal… SVP and financial advisor at UBS Financial Services in Baltimore, P. Justin “P.J.” Pearlstone… Partner at Blueprint Interactive for digital strategy, Geoff Mackler… Director of tribal relations at Eastern Washington University, Erin Ross… Associate at Herbst & Weiss, Shmuel Winiarz… New England regional director for J Street, Jasmine Gothelf Winship… Former pitcher on the Israeli National Baseball Team, now working in renewable energy in Seattle, Corey A. Baker… President of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Md., Yaakov S. Neuberger… Development and grant writer for Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans (Beit Halochem), Elise Fischer… Toronto-based lyricist, author and playwright, Naomi Matlow

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