Your Daily Phil: Your Daily Phil: Israeli tech for synagogue security + LA Jewish community rallies after tragic car accident

Good Friday morning!

For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent eJP stories, including: Ahead of a month focused on Jews with disabilities, advocates say the pandemic has brought changes; $1 million in a FedEx envelope leads Mazon to a surprise donor; Education Dept. regulations addressing campus antisemitism have been delayed more than two years; Federal complaint alleges hostility toward Jewish students in Brooklyn College graduate program; The agenda for new L.A. federation CEO Noah Farkas: Building trust and diversity; and Israeli company hopes tech, and $10 million, will keep U.S. Jews safe. Print the latest edition here.

In the wake of a car accident in Colorado on Wednesday that claimed a woman’s life and left her husband seriously injured, their home community in Los Angeles has responded with an outpouring of financial support for their family. The couple, Leora (Alyeshmerayni) Ezoory, 33, and Joel Ezoory, are parents to five children, ages 7 months to 11.

As of Friday morning, a crowdfunding campaign hosted by The Chesed Fund at Beit Chesed LA, a charitable organization founded by Orthodox Jews, had raised more than $1.2 million from more than 8,300 people. The campaign has a goal of $2.5 million.

Leora Ezoory was known to be a generous person and a good friend, her colleague, Joel Bess, told eJewishPhilanthropy. “I am not surprised at all because Leora lived her life for other people,” Bess said. “She prayed for other people’s success every day and helped anyone and everyone in any situation, good or bad.”

Bess, the CEO of media and advertising company Optimal Fusion, first met Ezoory when she babysat for his children 18 years ago. According to her LinkedIn profile, she most recently served as a marketing and advertising manager. “I absolutely loved her energy and drive so I asked — practically begged — her to work for me when I started my company 14 years ago. She was my first employee ever and has been with me since,” he said.

Regarding the stream of donations, Bess said he had “never seen anything like it and most likely never will again.”


Israeli company hopes tech, and $10 million, will keep U.S. Jews safe

congregation beth israel in colleyville

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

An Israeli company that develops security technology is now setting a goal of raising $10 million to spread its product across Jewish institutions in the United States in the wake of last month’s attack on a congregation in Colleyville, Texas, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Tamara Zieve.

Detect and respond: Gabriel Network, the security firm, provides a variety of tools for synagogues, schools and the like to detect and respond to attacks. Gabriel’s system includes a smart panic button, gunshot detection, live video and audio, an interactive floor map of the building and the ability to control access points. 

Securing every building: An initial $1 million came from an anonymous donor who connected with Gabriel CEO Yoni Sherizen last week. It will pay for 500 synagogues and schools to install and use the technology for a year. Now, Gabriel hopes to recruit another nine philanthropists to each match the $1 million donation, for $10 million that it hopes will secure every Jewish communal building in the U.S. for a year.

Growing demand: The technology is currently being used by 20 institutions, including Jewish schools, a college campus and a Christian community in the U.S., and orders are out for 60 more, Sherizen told eJP. Using $100,000 from the initial donation, paired with matching funds from local donors, The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit told eJP it will be equipping all synagogues in the city’s metro area with Gabriel’s tech. 

See and hear: “Our system provides instant visibility and communication into a situation. So you would be able to see and hear exactly what’s going on throughout the building,” Sherizen told eJP. “And that can often lead to a much faster response.”

Read the full story here.


Michigan congregant eyes Supreme Court in battle with antisemitic picketers

Eliott Sorkin

In the latest move in a long-simmering conflict between an Ann Arbor, Mich., synagogue and a group of demonstrators who have picketed its Shabbat services for nearly two decades, one congregant is now asking the Supreme Court to intervene, while facing a recent ruling that he and a co-plaintiff must pay more than $150,000 in court costs for the demonstrators, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.

Background: For 18 years, demonstrators affiliated with a group calling itself Witness for Peace (WFP) — formerly Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends — have displayed dozens of provocative signs on both sides of the road outside Beth Israel Congregation each week on Saturday morning as congregants arrive for Shabbat services. Signs include messages such as “Resist Jewish power” and “End Jewish Supremacism in Palestine.” The Anti-Defamation League describes WFP as “anti-Semitic” and its leader, Henry Herskovitz, as a Holocaust denier.

See you in court: In 2019, Beth Israel congregant Marvin Gerber and Miriam Brysk — who attends another congregation that holds services at the synagogue — filed suit against Herskovitz and his associates in federal district court, arguing that WFP violates their First Amendment right to freely practice their religion. WFP, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, counters that the demonstrators are exercising constitutionally protected free speech rights. Thus far, the congregants’ argument has not been successful, with federal district and circuit courts siding against them.

Reinforcements: Gerber is now petitioning the Supreme Court to take up the case. He has until April 1 to file a formal petition. Nathan Lewin, who has argued before the Supreme Court nearly 30 times, recently agreed to represent Gerber pro bono. “The Jewish community in the United States should view [the lower-court ruling] as a clear and present danger,” Lewin toldJI. “Not only because it combines what [the lower-court judge] viewed as simply being anti-Israel propaganda with what is sheer antisemitism. But I think what is most important is that it really hinders, intimidates, harasses people going to the synagogue, the right to worship.”

Read the full story here.


Salary transparency will soon be mandatory in New York City


“Mandated salary transparency on job descriptions is coming to New York City. With as many as 4,000 Jewish organizations, synagogues and schools in the NYC area, this represents a significant shift in culture for tens of thousands of employees,” writes Jessica Rothbart, an advisory board member for the Gender Equity in Hiring Project, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.

Tipping point: “Salary transparency has been done in earnest in the Jewish community since 2018. That’s when I entered the Gender Equity in Hiring Project‘s first cohort of Gender Equity advocates in summer 2018. We cautiously discussed the pros and cons of why a salary range closes the gender salary gap and how to get leadership invested at the dozen Jewish organizations represented around the table. With nine cohorts now completed, many organizations shifted their practice. Salary transparency on job postings started appearing in different forms – hourly wage amounts, annual salary ranges, exact numbers – along with explanations of benefits that added to an employee’s overall package. The shift was in motion, but the tipping point for all organizations will be [when the city’s mandate goes into effect on] May 15, 2022.”

Small window remains: “The 108 organizations that have gone through GEiHP’s program have started to do the work to ensure that salary transparency is part of their culture. Fueled by research around how salary transparency narrows the gender pay gap and helps keep employees more satisfied in their role, 135 trainees returned to their organization to raise the bar in their hiring practices… That leaves many organizations – including some of the largest in our community – reactive to the upcoming law with a small window to make the change. Although transparency will be mandated, there is still time and updates your organization can make to help ready your staff and improve your culture.”

Read the full piece here.

Worthy Reads

Stepping In: In the wake of Whoopi Goldberg’s comments about the Holocaust during a taping of “The View,” Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel talks to Jewish thought leaders about what Jewish representation among the show’s leads might look like, with respondents suggesting a range of potential new co-hosts, including Bari Weiss, Sarah Silverman and Batya Ungar-Sargon. “Appearing on the show a day after Goldberg had made her remarks, for which she has apologized, [ADL CEO Jonathan] Greenblatt took the opportunity at the end of a long and emotional discussion to suggest that the panelists consider enlisting a Jewish co-host… Out of 22 co-hosts who have worked for ‘The View’ since 1997, when the show was created, only two have been Jewish, the last of whom, comedian Michelle Collins, departed in 2016 after just a year in the role. The broadcast journalist Barbara Walters, who helped launch the show 25 years ago, retired from her seat in 2014.” [JI]

Gates’ Gifting: Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates donated over $3 billion to philanthropic causes through their foundation; now French Gates is preparing to take her giving in a different direction, Lucas Manfredi writes in Fox Business News. French Gates is planning to “commit the majority of her time, energy and efforts to fighting poverty and advancing equality for women, girls and marginalized groups around the globe.” In her most recent Giving Pledge letter, French Gates wrote: “I recognize the absurdity of so much wealth being concentrated in the hands of one person, and I believe the only responsible thing to do with a fortune this size is give it away — as thoughtfully and impactfully as possible[ …] My approach to philanthropy has always been data-driven, and I think it’s important for philanthropists to set ambitious goals and measure our progress against those goals. I’ve learned, however, that it’s equally important to place trust in the people and organizations we partner with and let them define success on their own terms. Philanthropists are generally more helpful to the world when we’re standing behind a movement rather than trying to lead our own.” [FoxBusinessNews]

Restricted Gifts Rising: While the pandemic may have prompted an increase in unrestricted giving to some organizations, restricted donations aren’t going away, write Heather DeBlanc, Casey Williams and Victoria M. Gómez Philips in NonProfitPro, suggesting that “by fully understanding the legalities of restricted donations, nonprofits can help reduce the risks associated with accepting restricted gifts and learn to use them to their fullest potential.” The authors provide an outline of actions nonprofits can take, including understanding endowments and how they differ from other types of restricted donations; how to alter restrictions under special circumstances; and what kinds of questions donors and nonprofits should ask about unrestricted donations and their impact. [NonProfitPro]

Community Comms

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Word on the Street

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul initiated a competition that seeks startup technologies from companies headquartered in Israel to help meet the needs of New York’s utility operations…

Houston Hillel launched QJews, aiming to provide a celebratory space for Houston’s queer Jews in their 20s and 30s… 

Boston attorney Michael Sheetz has been appointed president of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Foundation…

Alisa Finsten was promoted to chief of staff at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles…

Natalia Straus has been named director of donor engagement, women’s philanthropy at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington…

The Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley, Pa., is expanding its campus thanks to a land gift from New York developer Jeffrey Siegel… 

Following two years of increased charitable giving, a new survey from The Conference Board ESG Center indicatesthat the momentum will continue in 2022, with 94% of major U.S. corporations planning to maintain or increase their charitable giving this year…

The state of Pennsylvania is providing $4.5 million in budgetary allocations in support of the state’s Non-Profit Security Grant Program for the 2021-2022 fiscal year…

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City received a $100 million gift from the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation in support of preclinical cancer research, discovery and treatment…

Harvard Graduate School of Education announced a gift of $40 million from two Harvard Business School alumni who prefer to remain anonymous in support of endowed scholarships for students in its new Teaching and Teacher Leadership master’s program…

Rabbi Howard Alpert, the former CEO of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, died at 70…

Pic of the Day

Portuguese Jewish News

Campo da Igualdade Isaac Aboab, or the Isaac Aboab Field of Equality, a new Jewish cemetery, has been developed outside the city of Oporto, Portugal, with about 300 individual graves as well as family vaults. To avoid acts of vandalism, the Jewish community of Oporto has not publicly revealed its location. The cemetery is surrounded by a high wall, is under armed guard and is equipped with surveillance cameras.


Christian Alminana/Getty Images

Israeli-French singer-songwriter whose hit single “New Soul” was used by Apple in a 2008 advertising campaign for its MacBook Air, Yael Naim celebrates her birthday on Sunday… 

FRIDAY: Award-winning journalist, he served as the State Department spokesman for two years during the Reagan administration, Bernard Kalb turns 100… Actor best known for his work as Herman “Hesh” Rabkin on HBO’s “The Sopranos” and as Howard Lyman on CBS’s “The Good Wife,” Jerry Adler… Stowe, Vt., resident, Barbara Gould Stern… Co-founder and Chair of SAGE Publications, she was international president of B’nai B’rith Girls at the age of 19, Sara Miller McCune… Attorney, bank executive and philanthropist, donor of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Adrienne Arsht… Dean of Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni in Riverdale, N.Y., Rabbi Avraham Ausband… Patrick B. Leek… Senior counsel at the global law firm Dentons, Evan Wolfson… Director of English-language programming at Herzog College in Alon Shvut, Israel, Shalom Berger… Actress, best known for her award-winning role as Private Vasquez in the 1986 science fiction action film “Aliens,” Jenette Elise Goldstein… Member of the State Senate of Maryland since 2013, representing portions of Montgomery County, Brian J. Feldman… Former mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, and previously the Democratic minority leader in the Alaska House of Representatives, Ethan Avram Berkowitz… Talent agent and executive chairman of Endeavor, Patrick Whitesell… Former kickboxing champion, ultra-distance cycling champion and IDF soldier, Leah Goldstein… President and COO of Blackstone Group and chairman of the board of Hilton Worldwide, Jonathan D. “Jon” Gray… The first elected Jewish mayor of Los Angeles, recently nominated to be U.S. ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti… Television writer and producer, Edward Lawrence “Eddy” Kitsis… Executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, Howard Libit… Acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Ilan Goldenberg… Author, psychotherapist and group fitness instructor, her book is about her genetic disease that has made her almost completely blind and deaf, Rebecca Alexander… Economic policy reporter at The New York Times based in Washington, Alan Rappeport… Manager in the NYC office of Monitor Deloitte, Justin Meservie… Senior legal project management specialist at Ropes & Gray, Abigail Dana Cable… Professor emeritus at Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, China, Dan Ben-Canaan… Jan Winnick…

SATURDAY: Native of Debrecen, Hungary, he survived Bergen Belsen as a child and was a guest at the 2019 State of the Union as a survivor of the Tree of Life shooting, Judah Samet… Director, screenwriter and producer, Michael Kenneth Mann… Israeli engineer, inventor and entrepreneur, he holds 567 patents and is a founding partner of Rainbow Medical, Yossi Gross… Actor, singer and comedian, best known as the voice of Jafar in Disney’s “Aladdin” franchise, Jonathan Freeman… Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, Randy E. Barnett… Past chair of the board of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, she was also national campaign chair for JFNA, Linda A. Hurwitz… Ellen Braun… Actress, writer, producer and director, Jennifer Jason Leigh… Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley, Niles Elliot Goldstein… Member of the New York State Assembly representing the east side of Manhattan since 2018, Harvey David Epstein… Canadian environmental activist, Tzeporah Berman… Executive director of the Jerusalem-based Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation, Pesach Wolicki… Baltimore-area oenophile and chiropractor, he is the president of Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Dr. Kenneth S. Friedman… Former member of the New York City Council, Benjamin Kallos… President and COO of American Signature, Jonathan Schottenstein… Global head of public affairs at Teach For All, Sarabeth Berman… Partner for political and strategic communications at Number 10 Strategies, Joshua Hantman… Olympic sprinter, born in Los Angeles and now an Israeli citizen, specializing in the 400 meter dash, Donald Sanford… Deputy director of communications and intergovernmental affairs at NYC’s Correctional Health Services, Nicole A. Levy… Israeli golfer who is a full-fledged LPGA Tour member, Laetitia Beck

SUNDAY: Israeli pediatric endocrinologist, winner of the 2009 Israel Prize, Dr. Zvi Laron… Bill Levine… Member of the New Jersey Senate from 2005 until last month, she served as senate majority leader, Loretta Weinberg… Rosalyn Kaplan… Cantor of Congregation Hugat Haverim in Glendale, California, Harvey Lee Block… Former syndicated columnist for The Washington Post for 43 years, Richard Martin Cohen… Louisiana Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne… Professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Michael Pollan… Chair of the board of UJA-Federation of New York, David Lewis Moore… Los Angeles attorney specializing in criminal and civil appeals, Paul Kujawsky… Former long-time foreign correspondent for NPR in many capitals including Jerusalem, author of the NYT-bestseller “The Geography of Bliss,” Eric Weiner… Special events producer at Ballas Bloom Consulting, Jacquelyn Ballas Bloom... Television and film actress, Naomi Grossman… Rabbi and author of seven books, Danya Ruttenberg… Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she leads the Mediated Matter research group, Neri Oxman… AIPAC’s Mid-Atlantic regional political director, Stephen Knable… Investigative journalist, Steven I. Weiss… Deputy division director, public diplomacy and international relations at the Israeli Ministry of Health, Adam Cutler… Brand and e-commerce manager at Loom & Table, Yadin Koschitzky

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