Your Daily Phil: So. Florida’s new Keshet leadership project + Resetting the Table poised for growth

Good Thursday morning! 

Ed. note: Your Daily Phil will be enjoying a summer Friday off and will be back in your inbox on Monday morning. Have a good weekend!

In yesterday’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we did not link to the full story on MyZuzah. You can read the full piece here.

Four Jewish federations in South Florida, along with 12 other local Jewish agencies, are coming together later this month for the Keshet Leadership Project to learn how best to engage queer Jews. The consulting and training initiative is the first major foray into programming for Florida by Keshet, the national Jewish LGBTQ organization.

While the leadership project, which has existed for over a decade, is usually led through one local convener agency, Tracey Labgold, the Florida education and training manager for Keshet, noticed that several regional federations had good relationships with each other.

“What better way to support each other in the work than to ask [the four federations] to come together and lead this effort,” Labgold told eJewishPhilanthropy. “Everyone said yes, it was a really easy ask…they were really excited for opportunities to work together.”

The project includes the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County; the Greater Miami Jewish Federation; the Jewish Federation of Broward County; and the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. The federations are helping to cover the cost of the program for other participants, supplementing core Keshet funding from donors such as the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

To officially launch the yearlong initiative, 50 South Florida Jewish professionals will meet on Aug. 25 for a day of learning and self-assessment about how effective their LGBTQ engagement is at the moment, and what can be improved.

Then, the professionals will “create, and have Keshet’s input on, a customized action plan [to improve LGBTQ engagement] that is going to be ambitious and sustainable,” said Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael, Keshet’s national director of education and a co-facilitator of the project. Organizations will then have five coaching calls over the course of the next 12 months with Labgold, alongside several webinars, to help implement their plans.

Keshet’s expansion into Florida comes after several years of the state’s Republican leadership targeting the queer community, culminating in the passage of the Don’t Say Gay bill, which bans discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in public schools. The bill was passed under the guise of protecting parents’ rights to manage their children’s education, bolstered by homophobic allegations that children are being sexualized or groomed by LGBTQ teachers.

“We have seen increasing interest in our work in Florida over the past number of years,” Buck-Yael said. It’s “a place where LGBTQ+ people in all communities – so that extends to LGBTQ+ people in the Jewish community – are really on the front lines of what is happening in the political and cultural arena right now.”

That environment makes it all the more important that Jewish organizations foster a welcoming and supportive community for LGBTQ Jews, Labgold and Buck-Yael said, and for Keshet to prioritize work in Florida.

Jewish professionals “might be working with a young person or a longtime staff member who is being essentially kicked in the gut by these laws or proposed laws,” Buck-Yael said. They need to have the skills “and the tools to say, you belong here, and this is a place of dignity and safety for you.”


Poised for growth, Resetting the Table aims to shift ‘rigidity into receptivity’

Michele Eve Photography

As the associate vice president for campus affairs at the Jewish United Fund of Chicago and executive director of the Hillels of Illinois, Emily Briskman oversees nearly 60 Hillel professionals, many of whom spend significant time dealing with on-campus expressions of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Through her work with Hillels, Briskman has participated in programs run by Resetting the Table, an organization dedicated to building dialogue and deliberation across political divides, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz reports

Expanding the table: First created with seed funding from UJA-Federation of New York in 2013, and becoming an independent organization the following year, Resetting the Table is in a phase of growth and expansion. Recently, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw’s Hearthland Foundation began funding Resetting the Table programs happening outside of Jewish spaces, reaching multi-faith clergy and other leaders working to combat toxic polarization.

Cross-section conversations: “We didn’t want a uniform or a monolithic group of people talking to each other who all agreed,” Briskman told eJP. “We really wanted to get that idea of what’s going on across the community. That intergenerational piece for us was so important,” she said. “Generational differences, especially on Israel, can be deeply polarizing,” she added. 

Read the full story here.


The importance of childcare and early learning investments


“In August of 2021, Anna Hartman wrote in eJP that Jewish values inform a call to action for robust investments in early childhood education. ‘The time for change is now,’ she expressed as Congress considered the Build Back Better Act. Yet here we are, one year later, outraged, and still demanding action,” writes Ilana Dvorin Friedman, the early child childhood policy analyst at the Jewish United Fund in Chicago, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Current legislation: “On Sunday, Aug. 7, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (a shadow of the Build Back Better Act passed by the House of Representatives in the fall and was never approved by the Senate). The historic legislation that passed through the budget reconciliation process includes tax reform and provisions for health care and clean energy.”

Childcare and early learning are MIA: “While the Inflation Reduction Act includes noteworthy legislation, childcare and early learning are noticeably absent… Upsetting, yes. Surprising, sadly not. Our nation has a tradition of reluctantly addressing childcare in the wake of calamity without designs for stable, ongoing solutions.”

Pandemic illumination: “Similarly, it took a global pandemic to illuminate the essential role of childcare in our society and economy. The pandemic exacerbated the challenges of the childcare sector’s impracticable system of low revenue, unlivable wages, shortage of licensed childcare providers and insurmountable strain on families’ budgets.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Sparking Innovation: Some nonprofits have an easier time adopting innovation than others, Benjamin Kumpf and Emma Proud write in Stanford Social Innovation Review, and teams that strategically consider certain factors and pursue an explicit vision for the adoption of innovation are the ones that make the most progress toward adopting innovation, they said. This vision should include a culture of collaboration and learning and an organizational context: “The organizational culture supports adoption. This means collaboration — high levels of connectedness, trust, knowledge of others’ work, and drive to collaborate between different teams or divisions — as well as processes and managers who support people and teams to take risks, fail fast, learn, and share the learning internally and externally. The organizational context enables adoption. This means alignment with priorities — in which the innovation supports key organizational priorities, or is itself a clear priority — as well as an administrative environment in which policies are agile, minimal, and speak to fundamental values and drivers. This also means procurement and contracting processes are flexible enough to enable experimentation and enable adoption.” [SSIR]

Community Listening and Collaboration: Stacy Schusterman, a 2022 winner of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy and the chair of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, spoke at a virtual Chronicle of Philanthropy forum about women philanthropists, Maria Di Mento writes. “The pandemic and other recent events, Schusterman says, demonstrate how quickly societal systems that are vital to people and a well-functioning democracy can be weakened or threatened. For example, Schusterman says, the pandemic showed the importance of access to paid leave and help with child care because so many women had to leave the work force to care for sick or vulnerable loved ones… ‘We are really doubling down on all of those things by joining collaboratives and listening to communities and getting their input on how we can more collaboratively work with them to help solve the problems that these communities are most impacted by,’ says Schusterman. ‘We’re taking a long-term approach by making multi-year general operating grants to our grantees so they can be more nimble in addressing these problems.’” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Community Comms

Rabbis: Take the next step on your educational journey. Explore Spertus Institute’s Doctor in Hebrew Letters. Nondenominational, flexible, under the guidance of leading scholars.

Be featured: Email us to inform the eJP readership of your upcoming event, job opening, or other communication.

Word on the Street

Holocaust education for New York state students may soon be revamped after Gov. Kathy Hochulsigned legislation on Wednesday requiring the state Department of Education to examine whether the Holocaust is being properly taught in schools… 

The Israeli government has decided to bar foreigners from studying medicine in the country as part of an effort to curb the “brain drain” caused by citizens becoming doctors abroad due to difficulties getting accepted into local programs…

The California Community Foundation received its second gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in the form of two single-family residences located in Beverly Hills jointly valued at approximately $55 million. The bulk of sale proceeds — 90% — will be allocated to the foundation’s affordable housing grantmaking. This gift follows an earlier $20 million gift, made in 2021, to support small- to mid-sized arts organizations… 

Allison Nagelberg has joined Jewish National Fund-USA as the organization’s inaugural Northeast planned giving director. Previously, she was director of global connections for the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest N.J…

Rebekah Scallet has joined J, the St. Louis Community Center,  as the New Jewish Theatre’s artistic director…

Helen Light, the inaugural director of the Jewish Museum of Australia, died at 73…

Pic of the Day

Following decades of regular visits by Chabad roving rabbis, Bermuda will be getting the nation’s first permanent Chabad House, led by Rabbi Chaim and Menuchy Birnhack.


Choruzy/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Architect best known for the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Peter Eisenman turns 90… 

Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, she was succeeded by Chuck Schumer, she also served as Brooklyn district attorney and New York City comptroller, Elizabeth Holtzman… Principal of Investors Research Group based in Los Angeles, Jacob S. Segal… Former SVP for international affairs at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Lois Weinsaft… Co-founder of The Carlyle Group, he serves as chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, David Rubenstein… Former U.S. trade representative, she retired in 2021 as the chair of the international trade group at WilmerHale, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky… Senior counsel for benefits and employment at the D.C.-based law firm of Keightley & Ashner, Linda E. Rosenzweig… Lenore Solomon… Artistic director and choreographer of an eponymous dance company based in Union, N.J, Carolyn Dorfman… CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek, Leonid Mikhelson… Former member of the Massachusetts Senate, he is the founder of Cape Air, Daniel A. “Dan” Wolf… Publisher of Yated Ne’eman, a weekly English-language newspaper, Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz… Member of Knesset for the Likud party, David “Dudi” Amsalem… Co-founder and partner of MizMaa Ventures and wine columnist at Jewish Insider, Isaac “Yitz” Applbaum… Former chief of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman… Chairman at Duty Free Americas, Simon Falic… Political, cultural and social science commentator for The New York Times, David Brooks… Public affairs official at Meta, Ilana Marcus Drimmer… Former MLB pitcher for seven teams, he is the pitching coach for Team Israel, Andrew Lorraine… NFL offensive lineman for four seasons, he is now the managing partner of Oakland-based North Venture Partners, Alex Bernstein… Co-founder and CEO of Israeli interactive video firm Eko, Yoni Bloch… Chief investment officer of Toronto-based investment firm Murchinson, Marc Bistricer… NFL punter for seven seasons with the Jaguars and Bears, he is now a broker in the Jacksonville office of Merrill Lynch, Adam Podlesh… Ukrainian-born and San Francisco-raised journalist and copywriter, Yelena Shuster… General surgery resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Sara Ginzberg…. Operational and organizational transformation manager at Grant Thornton Public Sector, Daniel Weitz

FRIDAY: Hungarian-American investor, businessman, philanthropist and political activist, George Soros… CEO and co-founder of Forsight, a leading prop tech AI and machine learning company, Ariel Applbaum

SATURDAY: Treasury secretary of the United States, Janet Yellen… Founder and managing director at Beacon Global Strategies, Jeremy B. Bash

SUNDAY: Former attorney general of New Jersey and chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson… Director of the department of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Henry Brem

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