Your Daily Phil: The JCC story behind the Munich 11’s moment of silence + Rodan Foundation’s East Bay bid for diverse Jewry
Good Thursday morning!
Bend the Arc, the progressive Jewish social change organization, is launching a training program for organizations to help them become places where Jews of Color can work happily and successfully, Analucia Lopezrevoredo, the senior director of Bend the Arc’s Project Shamash Initiative, told eJewishPhilanthropy.
Project Shamash is a leadership development program for Jews of Color, but Lopezrevoredo and others involved in it realized that they also needed to prepare Jewish nonprofits to receive Jews of Color as employees
“If you transplant a flower into a new garden, it might dwindle because the ground is not able to support it,” she said.
The first organizational cohort of the 18-month program will consist of six organizations, all in the East Bay area: Camp Newman, Congregation Beth El, Congregation B’Nai Tikvah, Temple Isaiah, Urban Adamah and Wilderness Torah. The participants will be 13 executive directors and other leaders who can make cultural, financial and programmatic change, Lopezrevoredo said. They will meet digitally at least until the end of the year for three-hour seminars that will require up to eight hours of homework.
The program is funded by the Rodan Family Foundation, whose work focuses on the East Bay area, said Elana Rodan Schuldt, the foundation’s CEO.
“The diversity of our Jewish community is not reflected in Jewish life,” Schuldt said. “Because we have this hyperlocal focus, we can wrap our arms around the ecosystem.”
AS TOLD TO
How a JCC helped the Munich 11 get their moment of silence
When the 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team who were killed by Palestinian gunmen during the 1972 Munich Olympics were remembered on Friday during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, David Kirschtel cried — but he was also not surprised. The CEO of the Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, Kirschtel had helped make the moment happen, he told eJewishPhilanthropy, in a conversation about the 49-year struggle to honor the slain athletes.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
From Maccabi Games to Olympic Games: “Now, I’ve been the CEO at JCC Rockland for about 21 years. Being a huge sports guy, I started a basketball team. JCC Rockland was always a strong JCC Maccabi Games community, even though we were a small JCC. We didn’t even have a real building until the late 1980s. But we had a strong delegation. We always used to send 50, 60-plus kids. We never hosted, but we would travel around the country competing — what a great program. And Munich really became seared in my mind when my son competed, because in every Maccabi opening ceremony, Munich is remembered. I always felt great that the kids were going to play sports. They were going to hang out with friends — maybe to meet friends of the opposite sex — but they would also be present at that opening ceremony. Lenny Silberman [the founder of Lost Tribe Esports] had established that practice. And the JCC Association should get a ton of credit. Lenny Silberman set the framework. That’s the power of the movement.”
The widows’ struggle: “Now we get to 2010, which was when I decided that little old Rockland should host the games. 2012 was going to be the 40th anniversary of the deaths in Munich, and also the 25th anniversary of the Maccabi Games, so I also came up with the idea to dedicate the games to the memory of the Munich 11, and to do 11 events in the lead-up to the games. We collected 11 million pennies and that money went to feed the hungry in Rockland and in Israel. I didn’t know any of the widows, but I wrote up a proposal and got it to Ankie Spitzer, Andre Spitzer’s widow. [Spitzer was an accomplished fencer and coach of the Israeli Olympic team.] She didn’t understand what these people in New York were doing, but we had a Skype conversation. That’s when I learned that Ankie and Ilana Romano, the widow of Yossef Romano, the weightlifter, had been waiting for a moment of silence for the Munich 11 since 1976. In 1976, they went to Montreal, assuming their loved ones would be remembered. They paid their own way. From 1976 until 2010 the two women had fought the IOC [International Olympic Committee] every four years. They never got their moment of silence.”
Turning point in 2012: “So we hosted the games in Rockland and we had started to help their campaign. We had no idea what we’re doing. Nothing. We started doing a handwritten petition. Talk about stupid. A board leader of mine said that we should do an online petition. They’re a dime a dozen now, but they weren’t so big back then. We figured we’re going to get a thousand signatures, and in a matter of 60 days we get 110,000 signatures, and comments from around 150 countries. Because it was the 40th anniversary, people started getting involved. The JCC Association. JFNA. The New York Board of Rabbis. Catholic University. Hadassah. Governments were holding minutes of silence to remember the athletes. Australia, Italy, Germany. In the presidential campaign here, Obama said something. Mitt Romney said something. This was all related to our petition, so I made a strategic decision. We took the petition to London and presented it to the IOC. Ankie and Ilana flew in. We held a press conference, and the BBC was there, and Reuters was there, and CNN was there. Big press. No clue what we were doing, but I guess we had some clue. It wasn’t as good as a minute of silence, but it was important. The world didn’t remember what happened in Munich. I’m not blaming anyone. You know what happens in the world. Overload. But what we did brought it back.”
DAY SCHOOLS AS HIDDEN GEMS
Israel can use some love. It’s not hard to find.
“Is anyone really shocked that 25% of American Jewish voters and a third of those under age 40 think that Israel is an apartheid state?” asks Robert Lichtman, chief Jewish learning officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest N.J., in an opinion piece foreJewishPhilanthropy.
Past investments: “Over the past 20 years, Jewish organizations and philanthropists have invested heavily in Israel advocacy. Perhaps that is why the rate of Jewish disaffection with Israel is not even higher. Investing more in Israel education might make it lower.”
Blurring of the line: “There is a fuzziness along the border between advocacy and education that is often used to make them sound so similar as to avoid clarifying distinctions and setting priorities. While the blurring of the line between advocacy and education might be a function of the overlap between them, they are distinct and should be addressed separately. Unless we address them separately and place a greater emphasis on Israel education, communal momentum will continue to bend towards supporting advocacy, addressing short-term crises and placing in peril the longer-term strategic plan of the Jewish people, which includes nurturing an emotional bond with Israel, a lifelong relationship that begins well before and extends far beyond the current primary focus on the college years.”
EDUCATION AS A CENTRAL VALUE
A community approach to our Jewish future
“This moment in Jewish history demands powerful leadership. As we face the uncertainty of our post-COVID world, including shifting organizational structures and demographic changes, real leadership will require reflection, innovation, agility, and a powerful set of skills to lead through change,” write Elana G. Kahn, associate dean for outreach at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, and Rachel Stern, chief learning officer at Shalom Austin, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Ongoing education: “Too often, unfortunately, we have left the education of our professional leaders to chance. Many Jewish professionals enter their roles without formal training for their work and many do not receive any additional training once they are on the job. In fact, in Jewish professional life access to educational and professional development opportunities is uneven.”
More training is needed: “Most of the somewhat limited conference dollars go to top executives, who are often already the most trained members of the team. Like the top leaders, however, entry- and mid-level professionals are deeply committed to key community building, the specific missions of our organizations, and the enrichment of Jewish life. Jewish professionals work extraordinary hours, often devoting their personal lives to professional endeavors. As possible, they pick up learning along the way, but mostly they serve our communities by doing, doing, doing. They need the training and tools to advance their essential work and chart our future.”
New Funds: Brookfield Asset Management has raised $7 billion of a planned $12.5 billion for the new Brookfield Global Transition Fund, which Brookfield says will help accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions globally by investing in clean energy and renewable power, writes Scott Deveau in Bloomberg. At $12.5 billion, the fund would be the largest of its kind to date, and the newest investors include Singapore’s state investor and Canadian pension managers. “The decarbonization opportunities are bigger and are coming sooner than we might have expected a few months ago,” said Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor who is now Brookfield’s vice-chair. “This is a whole economy transition. So, it’s every sector. It’s every company.” [Bloomberg]
Internet Famous: Mr. Beast, the American YouTuber, businessman and philanthropist known for charitable efforts such as a “free bank” that gave cash to needy people, has started a new charity, Beast Philanthropy, and a YouTube channel with 4.7 million subscribers to serve as its platform, reports Virginia Glaze in Dextero. Since the channel debuted in June, Mr. Beast, whose given name is Jimmy Donaldson, has created five videos that solicit support for hunger relief. “We are literally putting over 100,000 pounds of food into the hands of people who need it the most,” Donaldson. [Dextero]
Lifelong Learners: In Stanford Social Innovation Review, Teresa Bonner touts the visual arts as an underrated method of mitigating the alienation and loneliness often suffered by older Americans, which is painful to them and costly to society, as social isolation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. She praises programs known as “creative aging,” originally developed by psychiatrist Dr. Gene Cohen that integrate social engagement with skill-based learning. “As the number of older Americans continues to grow dramatically, we must explore more asset-based—not just deficit-based—approaches to aging and recognize the vast potential of older adults to engage with and positively contribute to society,” Bonner concludes. [SSIR]
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Word on the Street
Walmart pledged $1 billion to pay for employees’ college tuition and books… The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Supporting Foundation and David and Inez Myers Foundation announced commitments totaling $20 million in support of efforts to close the digital divide in Cleveland… The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced first- and second-quarter grants totaling more than $84 million to forty-two organizations… Renee Wizig-Barrios was named CEO at Jewish Federation of Greater Houston… Former Israeli Knesset member Itzik Shmuli will become the new director-general of UJA-Federation of New York’s Israel office… Israel returned to the Green Pass system today, with the restriction applying to all events or locations with more than 100 people, indoors or outside… Celebrating 100 years since the birth of Hannah Senesh, the National Library of Israel digitized dozens of items from her recently acquired archive… The Zionist Federation of Australia launched a new two-year pilot program, Israel Go, which will provide financial support for young adults to participate in gap year Israel programs in 2022 and 2023… Plans for a national Holocaust memorial in London have been approved…
Pic of the Day
Members of the Workers Circle joined the Immigrants Are Essential! march across the Manhattan Bridge organized last week by the New York Immigration Coalition, Make the Road New York and New Immigration Community Empowerment. The march called for a pathway to citizenship and protections for undocumented workers.
Shoe designer, entrepreneur and founder of an eponymous shoe company, Stuart A. Weitzman…
Chairman of BOK Financial Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, George Kaiser… Newspaper columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronothand author of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, Meir Shalev… Denver-based trial lawyer, film producer and author of both fiction and nonfiction, Kenneth Eichner… Deputy health and science editor at The Washington Post, Carol Eisenberg… Global economic correspondent for The New York Times, Peter S. Goodman… Twin brothers, Los Angeles based philanthropists and businessmen, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz and Yisroel Zev Rechnitz… Actor, filmmaker and musician, he is best known for his role in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Joshua Radnor… Scottsdale, Arizona-based director of community engagement at BBYO, Jayme David… Director of the Straus Center at Yeshiva University, he is also the Rabbi of NYC’s Congregation Shearith Israel (often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue), Rabbi Meir Soloveichik… Investigative journalist at Bloomberg Industry Group, Aaron Kessler… Former member of the Canadian Parliament, David de Burgh Graham… Iraq war veteran, political and communications strategist, now serving as an adjunct professor at Duke University, Allison Jaslow… Rabbi, writer, educator and physician assistant, Rabbi Levi Welton… Deputy communications director for VPOTUS Kamala Harris, Herbie Ziskend… Volunteer manager at the Maryland SPCA, Adrienne Potter Yoe… and her twin sister, Moira Yoe Bauer, who works on corporate responsibility, governance and sustainability at Cigna… VP of crisis and risk management in the Los Angeles office of Edelman, Jason Levin… Graduate in the 2021 class at Georgetown Law, Danny Vinik… Tony Award-winning actor, Ari’el Stachel… Uriel Wassner… Assistant director for communications and broadcasting at Chicago State University, Sam Brief…
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