Your Daily Phil: Teaching IDF officers about the Diaspora + Women’s groups release new grants

Good Wednesday morning!

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on new grants by the Hadassah Foundation and Women of Reform Judaism, and feature an op-ed from Beverly Socher-Lerner and Terri Soifer. Also in this newsletter: Melanie Roth Gorelick, Jess Reback, and Tami Gutman. We’ll start with a new initiative to teach Israeli military officers about Diaspora Jewry.

A group of 63 Israel Defense Forces officers returned to Israel on Monday following a first-of-its-kind eight-day delegation to London as part of a joint initiative organized by the military, the Gesher organization, Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry and AMI – the National Alliance Strengthening Israelis’ Connection to World Jewry, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

“We’re used to going abroad and telling people, ‘This is why Israel matters, so come donate, come support us, come help lobby for us,’” Shlomit Mali, the CEO of AMI, who led the delegation, told eJP on Wednesday. “This was the opposite: We didn’t come to tell, we came to listen.”

While there are a growing number of initiatives to bring Israeli leaders to Diaspora communities, this trip represented the first such delegation made up solely of IDF officers. Mali said the vast majority of the participants – 56 of 63 – held the rank of major, while the different groups that the delegation was broken up into were each led by a lieutenant colonel. A number of more senior officers, including a brigadier general, also participated in the delegation.

The delegation was funded jointly by the IDF, through the Defense Ministry budget, and AMI – the National Alliance Strengthening Israelis’ Connection to World Jewry, which is itself jointly funded by the Israeli government and private philanthropy, primarily the Maimonides Fund and the William Davidson Foundation.

In London, the delegation visited a number of Jewish communities, Jewish schools and British universities to speak with Jewish students. They also visited the House of Lords and met two Jewish lords and a Jewish baroness. “We heard what it’s like dealing with antisemitism. We heard about demographics. There was a panel with liberal Jewish communities and a panel with Haredi communities. We visited three synagogues on Shabbat,” Mali said.

“The connection to Diaspora Jewry is a critical facet of the State of Israel’s national security,” Maj. Gen. Yaniv Assur, the head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, said in a statement. “Soldiers from 69 different countries and Jewish communities serve in the IDF.”

Read the full story here.

Grant giving

Participants in a program run by QueenB, which recently received a grant from the Hadassah Foundation, in an undated photograph. (Courtesy/QueenB)

Two Jewish women’s grant-making organizations – the Hadassah Foundation and the Women of Reform Judaism – recently announced their slates of grantees for the coming year, totaling $700,500 in funding, including grants to some first-time recipients, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Big picture: The Hadassah Foundation released its list of five “core” $80,000 grants to organizations on Wednesday, which it said addressed its key focus for this year: “Biases in hiring and advancement and increasing the number and influence of women and girls in leadership.” This included Israel’s Forum Dvorah, the U.S.-based Gender Equity in Hiring Project, Israel’s QueenB, the Israel Women’s Network and Itach Ma’aki Women Lawyers for Social Justice. Hadassah Foundation Chair Audrey Weiner told eJP the recipients reflected the organization’s new strategic plan, which was released earlier this year, that focuses the organization’s grants on advocacy, education and legislation, not on direct service providers – “even though we are very impressed by the direct service that is being done in Israel and the U.S.” – with the hope that they will have a wider impact.

Just say YES: The Women of Reform Judaism directed $300,500 in grants this year through its Youth, Education, & Special Projects (YES) Fund, it said. In total, WRJ provided grants of different sizes of 22 organizations or initiatives, from $2,500 for “ish Queer Torah study,” a nine-month fellowship for queer-identifying Jewish adults, up to $60,500 – roughly a fifth of this year’s funding – for rabbinical scholarships at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion’s three U.S. campuses. “Along with the recent expansion of grants to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, WRJ strengthens the broad and diverse Jewish community of today and empowers the leaders of tomorrow,” WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla J. Feldman said in a statement.

Read the full piece here.

Jewish placemaking

Jewish placemaking Parents still believe in part-time Jewish education. Makom Community does too.

Courtesy/Rachel Utain-Evans

“Part-time Jewish education is an area of Jewish life that is often overlooked as extra or irreparable and a local problem. At Makom Community we are seeing the profound effects of intentional professional development that teaches communities how to design part-time Jewish education to honor each unique child and family,” write ??Beverly Socher-Lerner, executive director and founder, and Terri Soifer, director of strategy, at Makom Community in Philadelphia, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Honoring parents: “As a family-centered community that sees Jewish text as the heart of Jewish education, we are particularly grounded in the idea of kibud av v’em (honoring parents). Practically, that means that we create experiences where all parents are held up as interpreters of Jewish wisdom, regardless of the way they came to be a part of the Jewish community. Yes, I am saying that ALL our parents, whether they are Jewish or not, are a part of our Jewish community. And that is equally true whether a parent had a Jewish education they loved or hated or they didn’t grow up with a Jewish education at all.”

Jewish placemaking: “From our inception, Makom Community has been intentional about how we build community. Our unique pedagogy, Jewish placemaking, invites children and their families to engage with and challenge Jewish text while building the community we need. As a pedagogy, it shapes how we teach and learn and constantly connects us to why, including shaping our curriculum content.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Making a Name for Yourself: In the Cleveland Jewish News, Meghan Walsh explores the significance of naming programs and buildings after donors. “Naming a college fund or building after someone is often considered a great honor. These individuals are often ones who contribute significantly to the development of school initiatives and wish to see their names live on at the school for years and even after they have died…. [Amanda Pinney, assistant vice president of strategic giving at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland,] recalled a donation the school received called the ‘Stockpickers’ Endowed Scholarship Fund’ in which the donor, who had been ‘playing’ the stock market for 50 years, wanted to donate anonymously and smile when seeing her donation awarded to scholars. ‘That endowment allowed her to be anonymous, but simultaneously provide the school with the perpetual support it needed,’ Pinney explained. ‘It’s not the name or the amount of the gift that matters, it’s how you feel making it.’” [CJN]

Boring is Good: In The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Lisa Pilar Cowan argues that grantmakers should not give in to the search for a “shiny new object” but see projects through to the end. “I was raised watching Sesame Street, and I learned to pay attention in two-minute chunks to Muppets that sing… But the attraction to the shiny new thing isn’t only about attention spans, nor is it generational. The reason we are attracted to what’s shiny and new is that grant making, when done right, is kind of boring… We need to stick with this work, honor these commitments, for what could be seven generations, not seven years. That’s probably 500 grant cycles. Of reading the same proposals. Or writing the same checks (with increases to keep up with inflation and, where possible, tapping into bigger shares of our assets to distribute more money to the nonprofits we are hoping to help succeed).” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Around the Web

Four Israelis –  Ofer Fayerman, 64, Harel Masood, 21, Elisha Anteman, 17, and Shmuel Mordoff, 17 – were killed and four more injured in a terror attack at a West Bank gas station, making it one of the deadliest attacks in Israel in recent years. Israeli security forces killed the two perpetrators, who were affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization

Melanie Roth Gorelick was named the next CEO of Elluminate, formerly known as the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York. Gorelick, who will succeed Jamie Allen Black in the role, most recently served as senior vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs…

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the annual dinner of the British nonprofit Jewish Care on Monday night, skipping a vote in the House of Commons in the process. At the event, Sunak said he was “flattered” that the Jewish Chronicle newspaper had deemed him a “nice Jewish boy” despite having “absolutely no Jewish heritage”…

Tel Aviv University reached an agreement with the Sackler family to remove its name from the institution’s medical school, following years of petitions to do so over the family’s connection to the opioid epidemic. The university said the removal opened “naming opportunities for the Faculty of Medicine and School of Medicine to new donors”…

Jess Reback recently joined the Wexner Foundation as the inaugural director of a new emerging professional leadership program, which will focus on fieldwork instead of graduate school. Stefanie Zelkind, until recently the director of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program, will now serve as the director of the foundation’s Professional Leadership Alumni Network

Adamah provided interest-free loans or matching grants to eight Jewish institutions in North America – four synagogues, two camps, a Jewish Community Center and a school – for environmental projects, mainly the installation of solar panels. The organization estimated that these projects will save the recipients “over $320,000 annually through reduced energy bills and other expenses”…

President Joe Biden named three American Jewish leaders – Rabbi Abba Cohen of Agudath Israel of America; Joseph Douek, a businessman and philanthropist; and Rabbi Yair Robinson from Congregation Beth Emeth in Wilmington, Del. – to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, an agency tasked with preserving endangered cemeteries, monuments and historic buildings in Europe…

The Glastonbury Festival dropped the screening of a documentary about former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, which U.K. Jewish groups and others said perpetuated antisemitic conspiracy theories…

Pic of the Day


Two dolls — with a feeding tube and breathing tube, respectively — from a new line of toys created by ADI Israel, which assists children, adolescents and young adults with severe disabilities, that are meant to look like the organization’s residents and students.

“Children want dolls they can relate to, dolls that look like them,” Tami Gutman, an educator at ADI’s Jerusalem campus who created the dolls, said in a statement. “For children with severe disabilities and complex medical conditions, dolls that mirror their life situations are not available in neighborhood toy stores, so I decided to do something about it.”


Courtesy/Alghad Middle East Forum

Washington Institute distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, David Makovsky

Emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago and a writer on issues related to the Holocaust in Latvia, Edward Anders… Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1997, she assumed senior status in 2022, Judge Rosemary S. Pooler… Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton, Marjorie Margolies… Investment banker, he was the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador in the Bush 43 administration, Charles L. Glazer… Philanthropist and vice-chair of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Ingeborg Hanna Rennert… Co-founder of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, appointed to the House of Lords in 1996, Baron Maurice Saatchi… U.K. cabinet minister in both the Thatcher and Major governments, Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind… Creditors rights’ attorney at Chicago-area Blitt & Gaines, David Stephen Miller… Retired managing editor and writer at the Washington Post for 35 years, now chief editor at The Reis Group, Peter Perl… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party since 2013, Mickey Levy… Susan Gutman… CEO of Amir Development Company in Beverly Hills, Keenan Wolens… Punk rock singer and songwriter, known as the Gangsta Rabbi, Steve Lieberman… Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, David L. Marcus… Co-founder and executive editor of Axios, Mike Allen… National education policy reporter for the Washington Post, Laura Meckler… General manager for podcasts at Tablet Studios, Tanya Rebecca Singer… Actor, singer and entrepreneur known for his work on Broadway, television, film and concerts, Aaron Scott Lazar… Journalist and author, Abigail Krauser Shrier… Public affairs consultant based in Manhattan, Sam Nunberg… Co-founder and CEO of Kaggle, Anthony Goldbloom… Former member of the Knesset where she was the first ever Druze woman to serve, she is now a Jewish Agency shlicha, Gadeer Kamal Mreeh… Director of film publicity at Netflix, Jacqueline Berkowitz… Chief of staff to the chairman and CEO at Saban Capital Group, Amitai Raziel… Israeli classical pianist, Boris Giltburg… Executive director at Hunter Hillel, Merav Fine Braun… Editor for the global programming team at CNN, Madeleine Morgenstern… Singer-songwriter known as Jeryko, Yaniv Hoffman… Singer-songwriter and actor, known by his mononym Max, Maxwell George Schneider