Your Daily Phil: Sharsheret on Breast Cancer Awareness Month + A cookbook by Jews of Color

Good Thursday morning!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which happens annually in October, has attracted criticism as a gift to fraudsters and a source of emotional pain for both survivors and women fighting the disease. The benefits of having such a designated month outweigh these pitfalls, Elana Silber, CEO of the Jewish breast cancer charity Sharsheret, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “There’s so much negativity about pink-washing,” she acknowledged. “But it brings people to us. We see it as a positive.”

The month is more helpful to Sharsheret as an educational tool than as a fundraiser, Silber said. The charity hosted 175 community programs during October — 95 of them on college campuses — and increased its social media budget by about 50%. This year, it exhorted women who had postponed their checkups and mammograms due to the pandemic to make those appointments.

While October isn’t the charity’s most lucrative month, it does attract about 50% more donors than the average month, and about half of those are new donors, Silber said. “We get some money from it,” she said. “They’re small fundraisers. They’re not moving the needle in that way, but it’s awareness-raising.”


A college student collects recipes for a Jews of Color cookbook

As a teenager growing up in Chicago, Alana Chandler, whose father is Ashkenazi Jewish and whose mother is Japanese, was bothered by the sense that she didn’t “belong” in any one community despite the fact that both her parents are Jewish. That feeling of not belonging inspired her to create a cookbook of recipes from Jews of Color — perhaps giving fresh meaning to the term comfort food. Now, eight years later, the project is attracting mentorship and financial support, Chandler told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Soup for everyone: “There’s something uniquely powerful about food,” Chandler said. “Food is a symbol of care. My Japanese grandpa doesn’t really speak English, but when we’re sharing a bowl of matzah ball soup or ramen together, there’s this connection.” Titled Tlaim: The Patchwork Cookbook, the book will feature both recipes and narratives. (Tlaimmeans “patchwork” or “patches” in Hebrew.) Anyone who identifies as a Jew of Color can submit a recipe, and the team — Chandler, and Léa Jean-François and Jess Cohen, who are also helping create the book — will decide which ones to include based on its quality and the need to represent a range of ethnicities and dishes. They aim to publish the book in 2024.

Finding mentors and dollars: Chandler now attends M.I.T. in Boston, where she is a senior studying material science and engineering as well as women and gender studies. She never abandoned the idea for the cookbook, but was focused on other things when Jackie Baldwin, who leads the Jews of Color Caucus of Chicago’s Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, urged her to return to the project. Baldwin helped Chandler connect with sources of Jewish support. She secured a grant from the Jews of Color Initiative, and receives regular coaching and consulting from Ruth Abusch-Magder, director of education and rabbi in residence at Be’chol Lashon, an advocacy and support group for Jews of Color based in San Francisco. The two meet regularly to discuss promotion strategies, project management issues and other challenges, and Be’chol Lashon hosts the book’s website and submission portal.

Read the full article here.


Responding to antisemitism by growing community, deepening commitments and building coalitions


“In these polarized times, discourse over how best to confront antisemitism has often been visceral and sometimes taken on hyperbolic tones. At Reconstructing Judaism, we believe there are several steps toward a vigorous and constructive fight against rising antisemitism,” writes Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president and CEO of Reconstructing Judaism, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Coalition-building: “The fight against antisemitism is not a fight that Jews can win on our own. We must build effective coalitions, both within and beyond the Jewish community. Internally, we must work on the broadest coalitions that presume that all Jews vehemently oppose antisemitism and seek conditions for Jews to flourish, and that do not draw red lines legitimating particular expressions of Jewish peoplehood… From a pragmatic minimum, we must show up for others. From an ethical maximum, these relationships must not be transactional: they should be expressions of shared commitments and real relationships. Only then can we call allies out if and when they do not show up for us.”

Bolstering democratic institutions. “Fundamentally, we believe the best possible path to combat antisemitism and foster the flourishing of Jews and Jewish community is robust democracy, where pluralism is celebrated and minorities protected. We call on all individuals to defend democratic institutions, from protecting and using the franchise to supporting a free press and beyond, and to reinvigorate pluralism, seeking out and learning about individuals and communities who are different from us and building community together.”

Read the full piece here.


Jewish wisdom and strategic decision-making amid changing times


“A persistent challenge in grantmaking work — especially these past two years — is to determine how and when should we stay firm and how and when should we be flexible amid constantly changing circumstances,” writes Josh Miller, chief program officer of the Jim Joseph Foundation, an an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Middot / character traits: “In recent years, my chevrutah (study partner) and I have enjoyed studying musar — a body of Jewish thought focused on human character development and the many middot, or character traits, an individual can cultivate throughout their lifetime. Menachem Mendel Lefin of Satanov dedicates an entire chapter of his book Cheshbon HaNefesh (1808) to the middah of charitzut, decisiveness. He states, ‘All your acts should be preceded by deliberation; when you have reached a decision, act without hesitation.’ This important advice is meant to empower the learner to avoid the pitfalls of decision paralysis, inviting them to develop plans and stick with them. But like many teachings in musar (and in life) there are equally compelling lessons that stand in opposition to Lefin’s teachings. One Talmudic source, in Taanit 20b, explains that a person should be rach k’kaneh, ‘soft like a reed, not be stiff like a cedar.’ This text teaches that we need to bend our plans when new information challenges our assumptions.”

Persistent challenge: “So which is it? Be decisive or be flexible? Navigating paradoxes like this are at the core of musarpractice — acknowledging contradictory truths and becoming adept at knowing when to rely on one or the other. Contemporary leadership theorists also explore this same notion using the language of ‘polarity thinking.’ At the Jim Joseph Foundation, we navigate these dynamics as we continuously shape, implement and reflect on the foundation’s grantmaking strategy.” 

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Sea Change: While the bankruptcy settlement for Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, shielded the Sackler family from future lawsuits and allowed them to keep the bulk of their fortune, it also forbade the family from seeking naming rights in exchange for donations until they had paid their opioid debts and exited the business, writes Benjamin Soskis in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Given the hostility toward the Sackler name, the ban is more symbolic than practical, but it nonetheless signals an important shift in public attitudes toward philanthropists, according to Soskis. The ban was “an unprecedented extension of the arm of the law into the philanthropic realm,” Soskis concludes. “It invites a wholesale reconsideration of the place of naming rights in contemporary philanthropic culture.” [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

Focus On Facilitation: In Next City, Cinnamon Janzer profiles InteRoots, a Denver-based nonprofit founded in 2018 that’s trying to pioneer a new approach to philanthropy in which the communities that need help provide the impetus for a program or initiative, shape its execution and serve on the organization’s board. When InteRoots decides to take on a project, it establishes an independent community board to communicate with InteRoots, oversee the work and select a partner to carry it. “We view ourselves as just kind of a shell, a structure through which the community can leverage us to get a connection to resources,” said M. Scott Frank, the group’s executive director and cofounder. [NextCity]

Shul Politics: In JTA, Ben Sales documents the twists and turns of the succession crisis that has split the congregation at Park East Synagogue, a prestigious Orthodox institution on Manhattan’s Upper East Side founded and still helmed by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, 91, a Holocaust survivor. After years of tensions between Schneier and his assistant rabbi, Benjamin Goldschmidt, 34, Goldschmidt was fired in mid-October and is threatening legal action, and the membership has split into dueling factions. “But the more pressing issue for the synagogue may be how it addresses the fact that its world-famous rabbi, while ‘a very spry 91,’ according to one leader, appears not to have cultivated a successor,” Sales writes. [JTA]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Beginning Nov. 1, travelers to Israel will no longer need to fill out a form asking for permission to visit before they can board a flight to Israel… The Reut Group think tank, in partnership with Enter, AM”I, World Zionist Organiztion, Our Common Destiny, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and The Reut Institute released the final mapping report of the field of Jewish Peoplehood in Israel… The Jewish Education Project‘s GENERATE Fellowship announced its inaugural fellowship cohort… Yeshivat Maharat, the New York-based women’s seminary, launched a new strategic plan for the next three years… The annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries begins today in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y…. The University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law received a $40 million estate gift from alumnus and namesake Fredric G. Levin… Endicott College in Beverley, Mass., entered a $20 million partnership with the Cummings Foundation to expand its School of Nursing and Health Sciences…

Pic of the Day

IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

United Arab Emirates Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed al-Alawi was welcomed to Israel earlier this week by Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin.


Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Actress and co-owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Jami Gertz
Redondo Beach, Calif., resident, Larry Berlin… Rabbi at the Moscow Choral Synagogue, Adolf Shayevich… Spiritual leader of the Village of New Square, N.Y., and Hasidic rebbe of Skverer Hasidism, Rabbi Dovid Twersky… Former member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Sofa Landver… Anthropology professor at NYU, Faye Ginsburg… Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden, Conn., Benjamin Edidin Scolnic… Four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and assistant secretary for health, Rachel Leland Levine… Former member of the Knesset for Likud (2015-2018), he currently serves as mayor of Beit She’an, Jackie Levy… Manager of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, after a 10-year career as an MLB catcher (1985-1994), Bob Melvin… Executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Ky., Mindy Haas… Owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise in the Houston area, he was a collegiate and an NFL football coach, Tony Levine… Film and television director and actor, Jacob “Jake” Kasdan… Israeli singer who performs in the Mizrahi style, Yaakov “Kobi” Peretz… Former member of the Knesset for Likud, Oren Hazan… Scottsdale, Ariz., attorney, he was a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Adam Kwasman… General counsel at Aurora Health Network, Elliot Schwab… Director of product management at Optum, Tali Warburg Goldstein
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