Your Daily Phil: Staffing shortage at supplementary schools + Ongoing review of synagogue High Holiday plans

Good Friday morning!

Many of the rabbis leading the Orthodox Union’s (OU) more than 800 member congregations are considering outdoor High Holiday services among other COVID-related safety measures, Rabbi Adir Posy, director of the OU’s department of synagogue and community services, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

That possibility raises other questions about how to maintain the physical safety of congregations in a relatively unprotected outdoor setting, he said, noting that he recently attended a webinar offered by the Secure Communities Network, which advises Jewish organizations on security matters.

As a national organization, the OU is not providing guidance due to varying local health regulations and conditions, but is trying to help its synagogues understand the differences between last year, when lockdowns were still in place across the country, and this year, when the vaccine is available to most people older than age 12.

“We need to be very vigilant, but recognize that there is a difference between 2020 and 2021,” Posy said. “We don’t want to concretize unique and drastic measures,” such as the shortening of services that many synagogues implemented last year. Such steps may be necessary this year as well, he said, but they shouldn’t be taken by default.

Some rabbis are thinking about requiring eligible membersof their congregations to vaccinate, or to wear a mask if not vaccinated, Posy said, but he’s not hearing much discussion of synagogues requiring proof of vaccination.


CASJE’s latest paper reveals staffing shortage at supplementary schools


A growing industry of academic degree and training providers is helping the field of Jewish education meet its staffing needs, but supplemental schools, such as those in synagogues, face staffing shortages, according to a new paper from the Collaborative of Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE). “It’s the supplementary school sector that has shaped the narrative around a shortage. The personnel needs are immense there,” Alex Pomson, a researcher involved in the project, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.

Difficult decisions: Prepared by Rosov Consulting, where Pomson is the managing director, “Mapping the Marketplace,” is part of CASJE’s “Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators,” the first such study since the 2006 “Educators in Jewish Schools” study. This lack of recent hard data hampered philanthropic decision-making across the community, said Darin McKeever, president and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation, which with the Jim Joseph Foundation supported the study over two and a half years with grants totaling $1.5 million. The project also conducted the field’s first-ever census. It found that there were 72,000 Jewish educators working in the United States in 2019.

A varied methodology: “We funded this for the field, not for our foundations,” McKeever said. The conclusions in “Mapping the Marketplace” were drawn from a combination of interviews, surveys and focus groups in eight Jewish communities selected to provide a cross section of American Jewry: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, the San Francisco Bay area, Miami-Dade County in Florida and Nassau and Westchester Counties in New York. The educators responded to surveys, and some sat for follow-up interviews. Of the respondents, 40% work in day schools; 20% in supplemental schools and 20% are early childhood educators. The rest are informal educators or work in innovation or social justice organizations, federations or independently. 

New definition: The researchers decided to analyze the supply-and-demand dynamics of the Jewish education labor market because the lack of data on the subject has caused participants in the market — from funders to hiring managers to aspiring educators — to make decisions based on unexamined assumptions about the field of Jewish education as a whole. The new study defines “educator” as one who educates or “engages” in a Jewish setting, regardless of the subject taught or whether the educator identifies as Jewish. That definition, a shift from the definition used in the 2006 study, captures more and newer educator roles, such as those who work in camps, youth groups and adult education programs.

Read the full article here.


About the moving hearts


“Nearly 30 years ago, my friend Ann and I co-wrote our graduate thesis for the Hebrew Union College School of Jewish Non-Profit Management on ‘The Cost of Living Jewishly in Los Angeles,’” writes Barb Gelb, director of program advancement for United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

It’s not just the money: “I have not seen our paper since 1993, but I’m pretty sure we unsurprisingly concluded that living Jewishly was expensive, and the high cost could negatively affect Jewish engagement and affiliation. The (very simplified) course of action was to keep fees, membership and tuition low by increasing philanthropic dollars… As a bright-eyed grad student, I did not understand how complex the issue really was or would become. And while I cannot say that I have all the answers now, I know for sure that money is only a piece of the equation.” 

Vayakhel: “I’ll bet I’m not the only development professional in the community that gets kind of excited when the Torah portion Vayakhelrolls around. Early in the parsha, Moses tells the People, ‘Take from among you gifts to the Lord, everyone whose heart so moves him shall bring them.’ After a long description of the different types of gifts, the professionals who are building the tabernacle tell Moses, ‘The people are bringing more that is needed for the tasks entailed in the work that the LORD has commanded to be done.’ Moses then says something that I have never heard in my career: ‘Let no man or woman make further effort toward gifts for the sanctuary!’”

Moving hearts: “When I tell people that I’m a fundraiser, they are often skeptical but impressed, claiming that they could never ask for money. They frequently ask if I feel like a schnorrer (beggar) or if people take my calls once they know what I do. In all honesty, I have never felt that my job is about asking for money. It’s about finding the moving hearts Moses talks about. I dream of and sincerely work towards a community whose members value it and are so connected and attached that they lovingly bring everything they can to support it.” 

Read the full piece here.


Five things to know about high-net-worth family philanthropy


“Family philanthropy is a key driver of social change and a great way for high-net-worth families to clarify their values, commit to a mission, and work collaboratively across generations to build and protect their legacies,” writes Hannah Shaw Grove, chief marketing officer at Foundation Source, in an opinion piece foreJewishPhilanthropy.

Findings: “[Foundation Source] recently analyzed the grantmaking activities of more than 1,000 private foundations over the past 24 months to understand how and where wealthy families are focusing their giving. Our findings provide a benchmark for affluent philanthropists and the advisors who support them.”

They don’t just give the minimum: “If you think affluent families only use their foundations to park assets and get tax benefits, think again. While foundations are required to give away 5% of their assets every year, those in our research sample gave away an average of 7.4% – a trend that has been constant in the 12 years we’ve conducted this analysis.”

They’re loosening the reins: “Typically, philanthropists carefully define how they want their foundation dollars to be used by issuing ‘specific-purpose’ grants. However, as they endeavored to meet the onslaught of urgent need in 2020, they eased their restrictions and gave more ‘general purpose’ grants to afford charities maximum flexibility in how to use the funding.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Narrow View: The argument that major philanthropy is indifferent to racism is often grounded in the statistic that only 8% of grant making in the U.S. goes to communities of color. But that figure is flawed, writes Howard Husock in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, because it only counts grants whose descriptions use keywords like “systemic racism.” Such a definition usually excludes organizations and programs that operate in communities of color by providing such services as libraries and schools. “Those truly interested in improving the lives of struggling Americans, including people of color, shouldn’t dismiss philanthropic efforts that address day-to-day hardships and remove barriers to opportunity,” Husock concludes. [ChroniclePhilanthropy]

Team Effort: The National Football League’s new collective bargaining agreement gives players at least 48% of all league revenue, fueling a boom in athlete philanthropy, reports Ade Adeniji, who interviews Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh and Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett for Inside Philanthropy. Suh and Scarlett both live in Portland, Ore., and have worked together on several projects, such as Stash101 Summer School, which partnered with financial tech company Stash to teach 160 public middle school students about budgeting, checking, savings and the stock market. “I’ve always believed heavily that my family paid it forward… so it’s kind of my focus to do the same, as well as being able to have a great platform to do that because of sports,” Suh said. [InsidePhilanthropy]

Small Town Life: Writing in Philanthropy Daily, Jack Fowler pays tribute to Karen Buchwald Wright, resident of Mount Vernon, Ohio, whose philanthropy helped keep the town a place people wanted to live even as other, similarly sized municipalities struggled to hold onto their populations. Wright was first inspired to give when she read in the local paper that the local pool was closing; she donated $500,000 to save it, and eventually founded the Ariel Foundation, which also plants trees, removes snow and preserves the downtown’s Victorian aesthetic. “Mount Vernon is small as cities go,” Fowler concludes. “But thanks to Karen Wright, it is where a generous person of means, looking for inspiration, will find one of the most outstanding demonstrations of all that can be accomplished by heartfelt philanthropy about that place where charity begins, and has always begun: home.” [PhilanthropyDaily]

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Word on the Street

Ann Mei Chang has been named CEO of Candid… Bard College announced a $25 million commitment from the Marieluise Hessel Foundation and a matching commitment of $25 million from Open Society Foundations founder George Soros to endow its Center for Curatorial Studies… Israeli archaeologists working at an excavation and restoration project at the Great Synagogue of Vilna found a tiny pointer used in Torah scroll readings… Far Rockaway, a Queens, New York, neighborhood with large Jewish and Black populations, has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the city…

Pic of the Day


Yiddishists returned to the Workers Circle’ “Yiddishland” retreat in upstate New York last week, where they spoke and studied Yiddish, dance and klezmer in-person after a virtual experience last year, due to the pandemic.


Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Starting three days ago, the first female governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul…

Friday: Chatsworth, CA resident, Ruth Ann Kerker Hapner… Interim president and CEO at the Jewish Federation of Broward County, Mark S. Freedman… Author and journalist, Michael Wolff… President of Cornell University, Martha Elizabeth Pollack… Israel’s Ambassador to Poland, Anna Azari… Former director of the White House National Economic Council in the Trump administration, previously the president and COO of Goldman Sachs, Gary Cohn… Executive director of J Street Israel, Nadav Tamir… Editor-at-large of The Hill, Steve Clemons… Israeli-born professor at Stanford University focused on artificial intelligence, a 2004 winner of a MacArthur genius fellowship, Daphne Koller… Co-founder of the 2017 Women’s March which she eventually left citing concerns over antisemitism, Vanessa Wruble… Portfolio manager and founder of NYC-based G2 Investment Partners, Joshua Goldberg… Former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Finance, Shai Babad… Mayor of Evanston, Illinois, Daniel Kalman Biss… Co-host of Jewish Insider’s Limited Liability Podcast and senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also a longtime GOP policy advisor and campaign strategist, Richard Goldberg… Co-founder of theSkimm, Danielle Merriah Weisberg… Director of national initiatives at the Jewish National Fund, Nelson France… Member of AJR, an indie pop multi-instrumentalist trio, together with his two brothers, Adam Metzger… Lecturer and Director of the Botanical Garden at Tel Aviv University, Yuval Sapir… Head of the historic Savannah Jewish community, Adam Solender… 

Saturday: Artist and chemist, he survived the Holocaust by living in a hole in the ground for seven months, Tibor Spitz… Independent international trade and development professional, Bernard Kupferschmid… Professor emeritus of quantum physics at Tel Aviv University, Yakir Aharonov… Retired general counsel of Queens College of the City University of New York, Jane Denkensohn… Founder and CEO of retail chain Indigo Books & Music and co-founder and past chair of Kobo, Heather Reisman… Psychoanalyst and author of a 2019 memoir about her father Norman Mailer, Susan Mailer… Former Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, Merryl H. Tisch… CEO of the Consumer Technology Association and author of the New York Times best-seller “Ninja Innovation,” Gary J. Shapiro… Senior rabbi of B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Jose Rolando Matalon.. British actress best known for her soap opera roles and known professionally as Emma Samms, Emma Elizabeth Wylie Samuelson… Deputy counsel to the POTUS and National Security Council legal advisor, Jonathan G. Cedarbaum… Television writer and producer, he is best known as the original showrunner and executive producer of Family Guy, David J. Zuckerman… CEO and founder of PharmStars and managing partner and co-founder of Ambit Health Ventures, Naomi Fried, Ph.D…. COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg… General counsel of G/O Media, Kai Falkenberg… Israeli soldier held captive for over 5 years by Hamas, Gilad Shalit

Sunday: Interior designer and fashion icon, Iris Apfel… Lakewood, California resident, Joe Lissak… Long time movie and television actor, Elliott Gould… Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration, Robert Rubin… Head of Yeshiva Ahavat Shalom in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hillel… Hotel and real estate mogul and co-founder of Dog Tag Bakery, Connie Milstein… Former Dean of Duke Law School following 17 years as a U.S. District Court judge, David F. Levi… Founder of Yad Sarah and former mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski… Los Angeles resident, Warren B. Stern… Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the Obama administration, Jacob Joseph ‘Jack’ Lew… Senior counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, Amy L. Nathan… Director of operations at Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue, Laura Kamer-Israel… CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Ariel Zwang… Journalist and author, Lisa Frydman Barr… Partner at DC-based HLP&R Advocacy, Jerr Rosenbaum… Election law guru at Dickinson Wright PLLC, Charles R. Spies… Hip-hop fashion designer, entrepreneur and artist, Marc Ecko… Rosh Yeshiva and Head of School at Bnei Akiva Schools in Toronto, Rabbi Seth Grauer… Rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Cherry Hill, NJ, Michael Z. Davies… Winner of the Tiberias Marathon and the Jerusalem Marathon, Bracha “Beatie” Deutsch… 

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