Your Daily Phil: TikTok’s Daf Yomi star joins Moishe House + Losing Gen-Z on Israel

Good Tuesday morning!

Most Americans don’t know how charitable foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs) work – but once informed, they think that the philanthropic system should be more regulated, says a survey by Ipsos published this month. 

Just 19% of respondents knew what a DAF was, but once informed about DAFs and private foundations, 81% of respondents said that wealthy donors shouldn’t get tax breaks to create foundations; 69% said foundations and DAFs should have a minimum 10% annual grant payout rate; and 72% support making DAFs give money within two to five years of receiving donations.

A potential side effect of regulation would be less philanthropy, said Andrés Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, an umbrella group for private foundations. “If these policies get enacted, I think that the Jewish community will have a loss of giving,” he said. “Based on what we know from donors, any restriction has a chilling effect” on charitable giving.

The poll comes amid a debate over the benefits and costs of DAFs. Donors currently don’t have to give from their DAFs within any specific time frame, which has sparked accusations that wealthy Americans are hoarding money in the funds for tax benefits, rather than for charitable purposes.

In response, bills seeking to regulate DAFs were introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate over the past year to force DAFs to disburse funding within 15 or 50 years, depending on the type of fund, among other changes that aim to compel more giving.

“Charitable organizations are life-changing and lifesaving,” Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), who co-introduced the bill with Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), said in a statement. Pingree said DAFs “[give] the wealthy generous tax breaks for their charitable contributions but [are] not ensuring those funds help anyone in need. Our half-century old philanthropy laws must be reformed to correct this fundamental flaw in our current system.”

The Ipsos results should be taken “with a lot of salt,” Spokoiny said, noting the low percentage of respondents who were previously aware of DAFs. The survey had 1,005 respondents and a margin of error of 3.5%.

Spokoiny also feels critics overstate the problem, and pointed to a 2021 study from the National Philanthropic Trust, a public charity and philanthropy research organization, showing that DAFs had a payout rate of 23.8% in 2020 – more than double the mandatory payout rate that respondents told Ipsos they support. Meanwhile, private endowed foundations had an average payout rate of 7.3% that year, according to a survey by Candid.

DAFs hold roughly $160 billion in assets, compared to $1.1 trillion in private foundations, according to the National Philanthropic Trust report

“The truth is that most people using donor-advised funds are not billionaires,” Spokoiny said. “They’re folks for whom it’s too costly or too complicated to open their own foundation. They have an extra $5,000 and they want to do philanthropy with it.”


Miriam Anzovin, TikTok Daf Yomi star, to join Moishe House

Courtesy of Miriam Anzovin

Miriam Anzovin, a writer, visual artist and creator of the wildly popular “Daf Reactions” series on TikTok, says she exists “at the intersection of Sefaria and Sephora” — the online library of Jewish texts and the cosmetics company, respectively. Now, she’ll be the new artist-in-residence at Moishe House, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Esther D. Kustanowitz.

Viral Talmud: Anzovin uses her own authentic, informal millennial sensibility — grounded in her eclectic Jewish journey from being a self-described “formerly Orthodox person” to a secular atheist — to analyze pages of Talmud in viral social media videos. She shared the Moishe House news in a video post with her community of more than 17,000 followers on TikTok who devour and react to her 21st-century approach to Daf Yomi, the practice of learning a two-sided page of Talmud daily. She started that announcement video, as she does all her videos, with her now-classic opening line, “Shalom, friends.”

Authentic reaction: “I don’t call myself a teacher of Talmud, by any means,” Anzovin told eJP on Monday. “I react to what I’m learning and I share those reactions. I can teach people how to do what I do: discover an authentic personal reaction and pull that out as they’re going through the learning. But it requires a great deal more learning and experience and knowledge than I currently possess to say that I’m a teacher of Talmud…I am shocked to discover I inspire people to learn. I’m happy to have them along on this journey. It’s a part of my learning journey. But this response is a form of art.”

Read the full story here.


Reaching the right audience


“Ten years ago, we gathered on the blacktop outside our schools, or we hung out at the JCC or we spent time in Hebrew school surrounded by friends, parents and students older and younger than us. We absorbed every word amongst the chatter, every idea and value. This is how we learned. Little did we know how lucky we were to be influenced solely by the people around us — people we knew and trusted. Our community,” write Spencer Solomon, marketing and communications specialist, and Lenny Silberman CEO, of Lost Tribe, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Influencer culture: “Today, with the ubiquity of social media and the rise of influencer culture, Jewish parents and teens do not have that comfort. Influencers on social media can have as much impact on teens as the people around them in their daily lives — maybe more.”

Anti-Israel rhetoric: “Many Jewish teens follow A-list influencers who routinely propagate anti-Israel rhetoric. When Jewish teens see these messages from personalities they look up to, it profoundly impacts their perception of Israel and, in turn, their connection to Judaism.” 

Time’s running out: “Let’s be clear: anti-Israel sentiment in social media and influencer culture is leading a generation of Jewish North American teens to turn their back on Israel. If the Jewish community does not adapt and combat this movement, the impact as Gen-Z moves into adulthood may be catastrophic.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Gen-Z Clout: “For nonprofits, there’s an exciting future event to prepare for. It’s an event that brings together all the most influential factors that speak particularly to nonprofits,” writes Chris Foster, in NonProfitPro. The event Foster refers to is the growing influence of Gen Z, the largest consumer group in the U.S., on philanthropy. “The sheer number of Gen Zers moving into positions of income and influence will send shockwaves across the entire economy. For nonprofits, this represents an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the natural behaviors, patterns and interests that are being revealed,” according to Foster. Pointing out that this generation is comfortable with monthly installments and payment apps, he posits that monthly recurring donations could be an easy sell. As a generation that leans into loyalty programs, they are willing to be engaged. “This generation is looking for a relationship beyond a transaction. They’re seeking more meaningful connections with the brands they choose, and that means the nonprofits, too. So keep in touch with regularity. Show them stories they can connect with throughout the weeks and months. And, when you’re able to link their involvement ($10/month) to a specific outcome you’re driving (20 meals for a food-insecure family of four) and show their loyalty is making a continued, positive difference, you’ll look and feel like their favorite brand’s loyalty program.”[NonProfitPRO]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called Seth Mann, one of the b’nai mitzvah celebrants whose ceremony at the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall was disrupted by Haredi protesters last month. Lapid expressed his disgust at the incident and conveyed that it did not represent Israel…

“I am very encouraged that  Prime Minister Lapid understands the outrageousness of the way Seth and his family were treated at his bar mitzvah at the egalitarian plaza of the Kotel,” William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told eJP. Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Assembly, told eJP, “This was an important gesture of support that is greatly appreciated. We hope the prime minister will also take further action to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again.”  

Jewish Federations of North America CEO Eric Fingerhut said, “The incident that took place at these b’nei mitzvah ceremonies was appalling, and we appreciate that Prime Minister Lapid is taking it seriously.” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, CEO of the Union for Reform Judaism, added, “While we appreciate the Prime Minister’s genuine and reassuring words stopping such brazen attacks is long overdue.” 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will increase by 50% the number of kosher-food products available in the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, a federal program that provides surplus food to food banks and pantries. Federations and agencies around the country receive food from this program to feed community members in need of assistance…

The Good People Fund announced $3.2 million in grants to support grassroots organizations in the United States and Israel. Since its establishment in 2008, the Millburn, N.J.-based fund has raised $23.9 million and supported 231 nonprofit organizations…

The 39th Jerusalem Film Festival opens on Thursday and runs through the end of the month at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and other local venues…

Curators, conservators, security guards and other staffers at the Baltimore Museum of Art voted overwhelmingly last week to unionize…

Pic of the Day

Margarita Corporan Event Photography

Forty Holocaust survivors and their spouses – most of whom live below the poverty line in Brooklyn – traveled to the Catskills last week for their first vacation in years. The retreat, organized by The Blue Card, was the organization’s first Catskills retreat since the COVID-19 shutdown.


Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Israeli actress, model and film producer, Yael Abecassis (left)… 

Retired Israeli airline pilot, he successfully thwarted an in-flight hijacking by Leila Khaled in 1970, Uri Bar-Lev… Johannesburg resident, Monty Lasovsky… Interactive designer, author and artist, in 1986 he married Caroline Kennedy, Edwin Arthur “Ed” Schlossberg… Retired professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University, he served in the Dutch Senate and later as the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands, Uriel “Uri” Rosenthal… Hotelier and real estate developer, often referred to as the creator of the boutique hotel concept, he gained fame in 1977 as co-founder of NYC’s Studio 54, Ian Schrager… Co-founder of Limmud FSU, Sandra F. Cahn… Former co-chairman of the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, Connecticut, Linda Meyer Russ… Sportswriter for The Athletic and author of three books on baseball, Jayson Stark… CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, Howard Schultz… Retired judicial assistant at the Montgomery County (PA) Court of Common Pleas, Deenie Silow… Rabbi of Congregation Beth Abraham in Bergenfield, N.J., and rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger... Head of the Kollel at Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Rabbi Ezra D. Neuberger… Former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, Edward Scott “Eddie” Lampert

Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman… Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and author of The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s MenEric Lichtblau… Spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ofir Gendelman… Co-chairman and CEO of CheckAlt, Shai Stern… Senior writer and NBA Insider for ESPN, Ramona Leor Shelburne… Former soccer star at the University of Virginia, he is now a senior director at Unified Women’s Healthcare, Chad Prince… Former deputy mayor of the city of Haifa, now a real estate developer, Shai Abuhatsira… Ultra-marathon runner, he performs as a mentalist and magician, Oz Pearlman… Associate partner at McKinsey & Company, Alexis Blair Wolfer… President of Brightside Academy Ohio, Ezra David Beren… Director of capital markets at JSB Capital Group, Yanky Schorr… National political reporter for The Washington PostIsaac Arnsdorf… South Africa country director for Innovation: Africa, Caroline Mendelsohn… Last year he became the first ever Orthodox Jewish player selected in the MLB Draft, picked number 77 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jacob Steinmetz… Former EVP and CEO of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, George Ban… Zach Houghton…

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