Your Daily Phil: The OU’s international effort to address the baby formula shortage + ADL’s new antisemitism research fellowship
Good Tuesday morning!
In today’s Your Daily Phil, we cover how the Orthodox Union is addressing the shortage of kosher baby formula. Below, antisemitism research gets a boost from a new Anti-Defamation League initiative.
The Anti-Defamation League announced today the inaugural cohort for its Center for Antisemitism Research Fellowship, which will fund 15 researchers across 10 projects that aim to comprehensively study antisemitism and the best ways to address hatred of Jews.
“With rising antisemitic incidents, it’s time to raise the bar on antisemitism research. We are so excited to be engaging some of the most experienced academic researchers in the world to enhance our understanding of the motivators of antisemitic prejudice,” the ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “We believe…data-driven research will contribute directly to our ability to diagnose and develop treatments for a full range of anti-Jewish hostilities.”
The research projects are organized into four areas: antisemitism and populism; experiences of antisemitism; anti-Zionism; and interventions into antisemitism. Most of the projects are analyzing antisemitism in the U.S., though there are researchers in the fellowship studying attitudes toward Jews in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Many of the projects seek to answer fundamental questions like: Does civic-mindedness reduce antisemitism? Which stories about Jews alleviate anti-Jewish prejudice? And, how do Jews define the boundaries between Zionism, anti-Zionism and antisemitism?
The Center for Antisemitism Research is an attempt by the ADL to move beyond a policy approach guided by periodic surveys of American Jews in favor of strategy based on academic research. “We’ve found that underneath the vast majority of anti-prejudice programs there are only a handful of [approaches] that have been deeply researched and tested for efficacy,” said Matt Williams, vice president of the Center for Antisemitism Research, in a statement to eJP.
The center is supported by The Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation, The ADL Lewy Family Institute for Combating Antisemitism and the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation.
How the Orthodox Union is keeping kosher baby formula coming during the ongoing shortage
Among the Americans hit hard by the ongoing baby formula shortage is the Orthodox Jewish community, which has over double the average U.S. birth rate and only uses kosher-certified formulas (deemed to be in accordance with Jewish dietary law) – meaning, more mouths to feed with fewer choices of formula. So the Orthodox Union is operating an emergency team of rabbis to quickly certify overseas factories and get kosher formula to the U.S., reports Lev Gringauz for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Big fish: The OU is working with Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Nutrition, two of the largest manufacturers of baby formula in the world, to kosher-certify production. “This is really to the credit of these companies,” Rabbi Moshe Elefant, CEO and chief rabbinic coordinator of OU Kosher, said. “They are strongly working on getting product into the country, but they’re very much sensitive to the kosher community to make sure that the product is kosher certified, recognizing the needs of our community.”
Speedy process: Kosher certification takes about two to three weeks, with rabbis checking both the ingredients of the formula, and what other ingredients are handled by factory equipment to avoid contamination with non-kosher material. Elefant likens the attention to detail to cooking a kosher chicken. “You could go to the store and buy a kosher chicken, and the kosher chicken is perfectly kosher,” he said. “But if you take it home to a home that’s not kosher, and that chicken is cooked in a non-kosher pot, you can’t eat that chicken, because it now became non-kosher. Same thing goes for [baby formula production equipment].”
End in sight?: “What will happen when the domestic production gets back up to snuff, and they’re able to produce enough?” Elefant said. “Will [companies] still be anxious to bring their product in? I don’t know. I really can’t answer.” The OU will likely find out soon, as Abbott’s Sturgis, Mich., factory is restarting operations to produce baby formula, though it will take another six weeks for the product to hit shelves. “If that facility opens up, and that facility is an OU-certified facility…that will alleviate the shortage, I would say very quickly,” Elefant said.
How good it is to be at camp
“‘Tov Li B’Machaneh Ramah!’… These words have been part of my vocabulary since a young age when I first attended Camp Ramah in New England and learned the anthem sung at many Ramah camps,” writes Rabbi Rafi Cohen, director of admissions for both The Rabbinical School and the H. L. Miller Cantorial School at The Jewish Theological Seminary, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Impactful experiences: “With each visit I was reminded just how good it is to be in camp, even if only for brief moments of time. When I think about the meaningful interactions that I had during these short trips, I am energized by the deep learning, special friendships and lifelong connections to Judaism that I witnessed. I observed mfirsthand just how impactful camp Jewish experiences continue to be for both campers and staff, and I felt energized by the people I spoke with.”
Pet Project: In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Aimee Gilbreath looks at the role philanthropy can play in pet care, following an uptick in pet adoptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Conventional thinking at one time held that people who couldn’t afford pets shouldn’t have them. But a new sensibility is emerging. Research clearly shows that caring for pets is good for their owners and shouldn’t be dictated by the size of a person’s bank account. The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute has found that relationships with pets improve physical and emotional health, encourage positive social development in children — including learning to take responsibility — reduce loneliness, and help create stronger communities. Grant makers that support vulnerable populations should recognize that pets are an integral part of families and that helping pets thrive deserves a place in programming priorities. Given the scope of the veterinary-care crisis in this country, philanthropic organizations of all stripes have a role to play.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]
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.
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Word on the Street
Yeshiva University is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a New York court order mandating that the Orthodox Jewish university recognize an LGBTQ group as an official campus club…
The Center for Jewish History in New York City, whose five partner institutions make up the largest collection of Jewish history and culture holdings outside of Israel, has named Gavriel Rosenfeld as its next president and Rio Daniel as its next chief executive officer. Rosenfeld, who will begin his role on Sept. 1, currently serves as the director of the Judaic studies program and a professor of history at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. Incoming CEO Daniel first joined CJH’s leadership team as chief financial officer in early 2019, and took over as chief operating officer in 2021…
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity has named Michael Waitz as its chief operating officer. Waitz previously served as North American director at Shorashim and as AEPi’s director of centennial development and director of programming…
Angela Williams, the first Black leader of United Way Worldwide, is taking the nonprofit in a new direction as it addresses an increased demand for charitable services…
The Ruderman Family Foundation has launched a 10-part original video series called “Jewish Foodie.” It aims to encourage Israelis to deepen their knowledge about U.S. Jewish communities, and Jewish Americans to become better acquainted with their heritage and culture…
PayPal Holdings, Inc., in partnership with National Philanthropic Trust and Vanguard Charitable, announced Grant Payments, a new product that enables donor-advised fund sponsors, community foundations and other grantmakers to deliver grants to charities via PayPal…
Pic of the Day
With the new school year approaching, the Federation of Jewish Communities of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS) Or Avner Jewish school in the heart of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, has constructed a large and comfortably furnished new shelter, easily accessible to the institution’s hundreds of students and staff in times of crisis.
Corporate communications strategist, investor and author of best-selling First Friends: The Powerful, Unsung (and Unelected) People Who Shaped our Presidents, Gary L. Ginsberg…
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