Your Daily Phil: World Mizrachi Movement gets new president

Good Wednesday morning.

In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on a New York City gala for Jerusalem’s disability organization Shalva and a new milestone for the Jewish Youth Promise. We feature an opinion piece by Alicia S. Oberman  about where the boards of Jewish nonprofits excel and where they fall short. Also in this issue: Jerome and Minnette RobinsonIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Olga MurrayWe’ll start with the appointment of a new president of the World Mizrachi Movement.

Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon, a leading figure in Israel’s national-religious community, has been named the next nasi, or president, of the religious-Zionist World Mizrachi Movement, ending some two years of the post being vacant, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Rimon, considered one of Israel’s top experts in halachaor Jewish law, succeeds Kurt Rothschild, who served as the organization’s president until his death in 2022 at 101.

Rimon’s appointment also brings a new “strategic partnership” with Sulamot, an educational organization founded and chaired by Rimon, Mizrachi said in a statement. Sulamot develops educational technologies, curricula and programming for Jewish schools in five languages. Since the start of the war, it has also provided aid to Gaza border communities and to Israeli soldiers.

“I believe deeply in the leadership of Mizrachi as well as the mission: Medinat Yisrael [State of Israel], Torah and Am Yisrael [People of Israel] — I feel very connected to this vision,” Rimon said in a statement. “Today the mission of Mizrachi is to bring unity in the Jewish people, to spread the light of Torah among the Jewish people, to bring the light of Eretz Yisrael to the whole world.”

For the past five months, the World Mizrachi Movement has been led by Rabbi Danny Mirvis, who has served as its acting CEO, standing in for the organization’s executive chairman, Rabbi Doron Perez, whose son, Daniel, was taken hostage and remains in captivity and whose son, Yonatan, was wounded while defending a military position near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

As Perez focuses on his family and the efforts to secure his son’s release, Mirvis has led the organization, while closely collaborating with him.

In a joint statement, Perez and Mirvis hailed Rimon as “an exceptional leader and ambassador for Mizrachi’s values of the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel.”

Read the full report here.


Hundreds attend NYC gala for Jerusalem disability nonprofit Shalva

The CEO of Shalva, Yochanan Samuels, presents the Engel family with the organization’s 'Spirit of Hope Award' at a gala in New York City on March 5, 2024.
The CEO of Shalva, Yochanan Samuels, presents the Engel family with the organization’s ‘Spirit of Hope Award’ at a gala in New York City on March 5, 2024.

Hundreds of supporters attended a gala dinner in New York City last Tuesday for Shalva, a Jerusalem nonprofit center that supports people with disabilities and their families, hearing the testimony of a released Israeli hostage whose father serves as the manager of the organization’s sports center, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Spirit of Hope: “[Hamas] told us that they don’t want us in Israel, that the families don’t want us and that we won’t be back even in another year,” said Ofir Engel, 18, who was taken captive on Oct. 7 while visiting his girlfriend, Yuval Sharabi, who survived the attacks. “We need to believe that anything is possible, and to never give up hope for a bright future,” Engel said. Shalva’s CEO, Yochanan Samuels, presented the Engel family with the organization’s “Spirit of Hope Award.”

Read the full report here.


More than 20,000 Jewish teens, young adults sign ‘Jewish Youth Promise’

Jason Dixon Photography

More than 20,000 young Jews — ages 13-24 — have now signed the Jewish Youth Promise, the organization of the same name announced this week, committing themselves to “being active, contributing members of the Jewish community throughout their lives,” reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.

Make a commitment: Originally known as the Jewish Youth Pledge when it launched in 2022, the organization works with a number of Jewish groups, from youth movements to fraternities, from across the denominational spectrum to get teens and young adults to dedicate themselves to a lifetime of Jewish activity.

‘Not a number, a testament’: “As we celebrate reaching 20,000 youth promises, we see it not just as a number but as a testament to the vibrant spirit of a generation ready to redefine our shared heritage,” said Mike Leven, who founded the organization, as well as the Jewish Future Promise, in which people pledge to give at least half of the charitable contributions made after their death to Jewish or Israeli causes. “These promises are beacons of hope, ensuring that Jewish identity remains vibrant and enduring.”


How are Jewish boards different from all other boards?

Group of business people working together around a conference table. Stock

“Just this week in eJP, the Jim Joseph Foundation’s Barry Finestone called on our field to ‘do more to activate boards.’… Using the power of data, let’s work together to support their growth and effectiveness, for the benefit of our collective future,” writes Alicia S. Oberman, senior adviser for board leadership at Leading Edge, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Data dive: “A new report by Leading Edge, ‘Jewish Nonprofit Boards: CEO Perceptions & Actions for Better Governance,’ shares insights on how CEOs of Jewish nonprofits perceive their boards and compares it with perceptions of boards in the general nonprofit sector… The report also shares practical actions Jewish nonprofits can take to improve their board effectiveness.”

For example: “Just 15% of CEOs we surveyed agreed that ‘the board evaluates its own work against [clear annual] goals at least every two years.’ … When organizations’ boards have assessed themselves in the past two years, those organizations’ CEOs rate their boards higher across all performance markers compared with organizations where the boards assess themselves less frequently. Board self-accountability and peer accountability are vital. Too often, holding board members accountable falls to the CEO — but simply put, that is not the CEO’s job. The CEO reports to the board, not vice-versa.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Green Game Changer: In Inside Philanthropy, Michael Kavate interviews Ellen Dorsey, who recently stepped down from her 16-year leadership role at the Wallace Global Fund, about her impactful career in the philanthropy sector. “One of Dorsey’s standout accomplishments was launching the global DivestInvest network, which, to date, has helped move roughly 60,000 individuals and more than 1,600 organizations — nearly 12% of which are philanthropies — to commit to divest $40.6 trillion in assets from fossil fuels. That’s 27 times the combined endowments of all U.S. foundations… Meanwhile, Dorsey’s legacy at the Wallace Global Fund goes well beyond divestment. The foundation’s grantmaking, which has recently hovered around $19 million a year based on a formal spend-down plan, has helped seed movement groups. Through Wallace, Dorsey backed a once-little-known organization called the Sunrise Movement, whose protest with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in Nancy Pelosi’s office brought international attention to the Green New Deal… What’s next for Dorsey? She knows what she will do first: ‘I’m going to take a nap.’” [InsidePhilanthropy]

High Demand, Short Supply: At one point in February 2023, there were almost  7,000 finance positions across the U.S. available at nonprofits and foundations with budgets of $10 million or more, reports Eden Stiffman in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “At some organizations, veteran CFOs are pondering retirement and thinking about who will come next. Others are having a hard time hiring more junior finance staff to work with them. The crunch is part of a trend affecting the broader workforce as fewer students choose to major in accounting and pursue finance careers… But the staffing crisis is more acute at nonprofits, which tend to attract a smaller pool of financial talent due to lower pay levels than business and a lack of knowledge about nonprofit finance jobs. It’s also exacerbated by the wave of openings created by retiring baby boomers, many of whom have had long tenures in these roles. The job of a CFO is also a lot more complex and demanding these days, requiring leaders to be strategic partners to the rest of the C-suite. Without enough strong financial talent entering the sector, nonprofits may struggle to navigate challenging economic environments.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]

Powering Health Care: Off-grid solar energy can power medical facilities far from electrical grids and serve as a backups for urban hospitals, filling a critical need, writes Ben Payton for Reuters. “The World Health Organization estimates that nearly one billion people are served by healthcare facilities that do not have a reliable supply of electricity. In a report published last year, it warned that 15% of healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, along with 12% in South Asia, lack any access to electricity whatsoever…Off-grid renewable systems, particularly solar panels combined with battery storage, can be a ‘game changer’ for healthcare, says Tanya Accone, senior advisor on innovation at UNICEF… Many development institutions, including UNICEF, are implementing programmes to fund the installation of solar systems in hospitals and clinics… Even so, [International Renewable Energy Agency’s Karmen] Siddiqui warns that there can still be a mismatch between the financial mechanisms that are most widely available and the needs of the countries with the most pressing healthcare challenges. While many donors are willing to offer concessional loans, he notes that the countries in greatest need are often only able to accept finance in the form of grants, he says. And when donors do provide support, they tend to focus on helping countries with the upfront cost of installation… without planning for operation and maintenance needs.” [Reuters]

Around the Web

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s PJ Library will begin distributing Jewish-themed storybooks to Jewish children in Argentina, the 40th country to join its program…

Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Israeli Ambassador to The Netherlands Modi Ephraim presented the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” to Jan Hendriks, Rolina and Johannes Oelen and Johannes and Wilhelmina Bros on Monday, following the opening of the country’s first National Holocaust Museum

The Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival kicked off yesterday at Temple Beth El in Aptos, Calif., the first time it has been held in person in five years. “This is the most important Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival ever,” said Paul Drescher, the festival’s director since 2014…

The Greenville, S.C., Jewish Federation’s ShalomFest will also return next month for the first time in four years…

The Israeli food security nonprofit Leket launched an online campaign to get Israelis to agree only to purchase locally grown produce to bolster the country’s hard-hit agriculture industry…

Business Insider profiles MacKenzie Scott, who has “revolutionized philanthropy” with her $36 billion fortune…

The family of Jerome and Minnette Robinson donated $1 million to the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston to support its Young Adult Division…

In The Times of IsraelTikvah Fund’s CEO, Eric Cohen, and chairman, Elliott Abramsargue for the need for the organization’s Emet Classical Academy, which is due to open in New York City next year…

New York Civil Liberties Union and Palestine Legal are suing Columbia University for suspending the school’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestinian and Jewish Voice for Peace…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC conference virtually yesterday, pushing back against Biden administration concerns about Israel’s planned military operations in the Gaza city of Rafah…

Riken Yamamoto was named the winner of the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize, along with $100,000, for his life’s work…

In the Jewish Telegraphic AgencyWorld Jewish Restitution Organization CEO Gideon Taylor makes the case for ongoing efforts to recover Jewish property looted during the Holocaust…

The Wall Street Journal reports on a growing threat to Jewish and Israeli people and institutions in Europe linked to Iran and the Israel-Hamas war…

The number of antisemitic incidents in Switzerland has tripled since the Oct. 7 terror attacks, according to a new survey by the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities

Former Irish Cabinet Minister Alan Shatter tells The Algemeiner that since Oct. 7 Ireland has become “the most hostile state towards Israel in the entire EU”…

Kathy Goldman, a longtime New York City food activist, died last week at 92…

Olga Murray, a lawyer whose Nepal Youth Foundation saved thousands of Nepali children, died last month at 98…

Pic of the Day

Over 50,000 people attend the traditional Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City today, during Chol Hamoed (the intermediary days) of Sukkot.

Participants in the Jewish Summit on Civics, mostly activists and educators, pictured yesterday at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The three-day summit, which ends today, overlaps with Civic Learning Week, a national initiative.

The Jewish summit was organized by A More Perfect Union: Jewish Partnership for Democracy.


Annie Liebovitz smiles
Scott Legato/Getty Images

Heavy metal songwriter, vocalist for the band Disturbed as well as for the band Device, David Draiman

Editor of Avotaynu Magazine, a journal of Jewish genealogy and scholarship, Sallyann Sack-Pikus… Israeli journalist, author and television host, Dan Margalit… Pop singer, pianist, composer of over 500 songs and record producer, Neil Sedaka… Israeli singer, he won the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest, Izhar Cohen… Psychotherapist in private practice in Manhattan and Teaneck, N.J., Shana Yocheved Schacter… U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)… Founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann… Professor of applied mathematics at Imperial College London, he is also a chess grandmaster, Jonathan Mestel… Former Florida congressman, Alan Grayson… Teacher of rabbinic literature and author of The Jewish Family Ethics Textbook, Rabbi Neal S. Scheindlin… Founder and CEO of MediaBistro which she sold in 2007, now managing director of Supernode Ventures, Laurel Touby… Member of the California State Senate, Benjamin Allen… Former member of Knesset for the Jewish Home party, he is a decorated IDF officer (now a reservist), Yonatan “Yoni” Chetboun… Deputy campaign manager on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, Ari Rabin-Havt… Television and film actor, Emile Hirsch… President and CEO of Nefco, Matthew Gelles… Television and film actor, Emory Isaac Cohen… Senior director of social marketing at NBC Universal since 2015, Jessie Hannah Rubin… Formula 3 racing driver, his mother is Houda Nonoo, the first Jewish woman to serve as an ambassador of Bahrain, Menasheh Idafar… Gabriel Romano…