Your Daily Phil: Weitzman Museum of American Jewish History rededicated + UJA-Fed NY raises $32 million

Good Tuesday morning!

The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia celebrated its rededication last night as the Weitzman Museum of American Jewish History.

The in-person and virtual event was billed as a celebration in honor of the museum’s board and benefactors. Much attention was paid to the museum’s successful emergence from bankruptcy in September in addition to last week’s transformational gift announcement from shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. Weitzman, recovering at home from an illness, joined the evening remotely. Continuing references to the biblical half-shekel by an earlier speaker, Weitzman shared details of how his wife, Jane, provided the second half of the shekel to their relationship, creating a full Jewish life.

Brandeis University professor Jonathan Sarna, the museum’s chief historian, who told attendees “they came together to make history,” announced the museum will set aside new space to publicly document the history of American antisemitism.

Actor and singer Adam Kantor, best known for his role as Mark Cohen in the closing cast of “Rent,” entertained the crowd with a musical snapshot of his own childhood and Broadway roles.

The UJA – Federation of New York’s annual Wall Street Dinner, held last night at the Marriott Marquis in Midtown Manhattan, raised $32 million. Read more here.

Leading Edge released the findings from its new CEO report, which found that a majority of organizational leaders are still relative novices, having been in their roles for less than a decade.

Two-thirds of the CEOs surveyed said they were hired from outside the organizations for which they now work. The gender breakdown found that 54% of CEOs surveyed were male, while 46% were female.


The tech-savvy United Hatzalah is finding supporters in Silicon Valley


United Hatzalah, Israel’s volunteer emergency medical system, has launched a fundraising operation in San Francisco, its fifth in the United States, said Michael Brown, a vice president for the organization.“This is an organization that has really good people behind it, and is doing really holy work,” Mark Donig, the lay leader and Bay Area native who is leading the creation of the new chapter, told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.  

Everyone serving everyone: United Hatzalah’s volunteers are a cross-section of Israeli society, including Christians, Jews and Muslims, Donig noted. They serve everyone, and their response times are among the fastest in the world — an average of three minutes in Israel, and 90 seconds in Jerusalem. “I know an Israeli woman who thought all Arabs were a threat,” Brown said. “Then an Arab saved her granddaughter’s life. There are very few experiences that can create that kind of emotional change in someone. And that story confounds most people’s understanding of what life is actually on the ground in Israel.”

Disrupting EMS: Hatzalah’s use of technology to reduce its response times has proved interesting to Silicon Valley, said Donig. Especially in the period leading up to the 2020 election, amid widespread disenchantment with technology’s capacity to amplify disinformation, he sensed an appetite for stories about how tech can be “used for good,” he said. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, has helped United Hatzalah tell this story, Brown said. When United Hatzalah CEO Eli Beer was visiting the United States in early November, he visited Salesforce’s headquarters in San Francisco to discuss how the organization uses the software to track and manage its donors, as do many nonprofits. 

Read the full story here.

Hanukkah 5782

At home in America’s home?

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“How fortunate American Jews have been in the United States. This country has offered Jews a sense of at-homeness unprecedented in Jewish history. Having been granted citizenship as a matter of course along with other Americans, our ancestors had the confidence to plant new roots in this country and were able to flourish as both Americans and as Jews. By establishing a secular state that was friendly to religion, the founders made it possible for Jews to contribute to society without hiding or renouncing their Jewishness,” writes Shuly Rubin Schwartz, chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

White House invite: “So when an invitation to the White House Hanukkah party popped up in my inbox, I was filled with emotion. Honored to be invited, I hastily replied that I would attend. But I confess that something continued to gnaw at me as the day drew near, for I grew up in an era when separation of church and state was understood to be a necessary safeguard of the liberty that Jews have enjoyed. My rabbi father would rail against nativity scenes in the public square, and the addition of a hanukkiah, or menorah, far from assuaging his concerns, only exacerbated them.”

The event: “Entering the White House, I expected to feel unsettled. Yet as I crossed the threshold, I thought about the all-important distinction between a government seeking a religious endorsement, or privileging one religion, and a government that extends respect and gratitude to all religious groups that make up the fabric of our society and especially its generous and humane aspects. This event surely reflected the latter. Passing through the White House corridors, we were greeted by live music and staff who offered a hearty ‘Welcome to the White House.’ I realized that was precisely how I felt: welcome. And as I entered the room where we would light the candles — despite the presence of six Christmas trees and four wreaths amidst a portrait of George Washington, I experienced a mixture of joy, pride and immense gratitude.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Summer Fun: In Inside Philanthropy, Simone Ellin looks at the efforts to keep summer camps afloat amid two tumultuous summers in which the COVID-19 pandemic upended traditional summer camp programming. Summer 2022, Ellin suggests, “offers an opportunity for camps to return to some semblance of normalcy after two summers of pandemic-induced closures and modifications.” Ellin highlights the work of Foundation for Jewish Camp, noting, “Both by distributing general operating funds and by serving as hubs for expertise and fundraising, organizations like FJC can act as advocates, intermediaries or simply as a way for far-flung nonprofits in a specific niche to keep in touch. In times of trouble, they can be the unsung infrastructural heroes of the philanthrosphere. While not every such intermediary organization proves effective, these kinds of entities are a growing part of the funding landscape. That trend will likely continue as more philanthropic dollars slosh around in the coming years.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

With $250 million in commitments, Yeshiva University announced the launch of the $613 million, fiveyear campaign,Rise Up: The Campaign for Yeshiva University, that will fund scholarships, facilities and faculty/programs… Michael Steinhardt has agreed to surrender 180 stolen antiquities worth $70 million to their rightful homelands and to never again collect ancient artifacts…. The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore and Pearlstone Center are partnering to launch OneTable in Baltimore… The third annual Kyiv Jewish Forum is scheduled to take place Dec. 15-16, featuring senior leaders from Ukraine, Israel, Europe and the United States… The Southern Poverty Law Center announced a 10-year, $100 million reinvestment from its endowment in support of civic engagement initiatives in the Deep South… Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe and the European Foundation Centre will merge to form Philea – Philanthropy Europe Association…

Pic of the Day


Hebrew College held a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday to celebrate the construction of its new shared campus in Newton, Mass. Pictured are Hebrew College President Sharon Cohen Anisfeld (right) and Laura Conrad Mandel, executive director of Boston’s Jewish Arts Collaborative. Both organizations are part of the hub sharing the campus.


Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Leading actress in multiple television series including “Roswell” and “Unreal,” Shiri Appleby… 

Linguist, social critic, political activist and professor emeritus at MIT, Noam Chomsky… Author or editor of 40 books including The New York Times best-selling Chicken Soup for the Jewish SoulRabbi Dov Peretz Elkins… Hedge fund manager and co-founder of Taglit-Birthright Israel and the founder of Hebrew-language charter schools in NYC, Michael Steinhardt… Professor of mathematics at Princeton University, Nicholas Michael Katz… Novelist of 15 books, essayist and screenwriter, Susan Isaacs… Former Israeli ambassador to Canada, now at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Ambassador Alan Baker… Chair emeritus of the Longmeadow, Mass., Democratic Town Committee, Candy Glazer… Director and vice chairman of Simon Property Group, Richard S. Sokolov… Immediate past board chair of AIPAC, Lillian Pinkus… U.S. senator (R-ME), Susan Collins… Co-chairman of Loews Hotels and co-owner of the NFL’s New York Giants, Jonathan M. Tisch… Pamela Decker… Haifa-born composer and professor of music at Harvard, Chaya Czernowin… Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention throughout most of the Obama admin, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden… Teacher in the Elko County School District in the northeast portion of Nevada and leader of the local Jewish community, Shawn Welton-Lowe… Provost at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Dr. Jeffrey Kress… Co-founder of Laurel Strategies, Dafna Tapiero… Director, writer, actor and comedian, best known as the director of “Modern Family” and “Life in Pieces,” Jason Winer… President of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs, Jed Hoyer… President of NYC-based Capitol Consulting, Jeffrey Leb… Food critic for The New YorkerHannah Goldfield… Co-author of Union: A Republican, a Democrat, and a Search for Common Ground, he is a VP at Schmidt Futures, Jordan Blashek… Director of recruiting at NYC’s Mission Staffing, Jaime Leiman… Founder of Go Dash Dot, an activewear accessories brand, Hannah Fastov… Medical doctor practicing in the U.K., Carine Moezinia… Social media manager at Lola & Sophie, Hannah Vilinsky… Partner in Cornerstone Venture Partners and founder of “Made in Jerusalem,” Hanan Brand… Jeff Blum…

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