Your Daily Phil: March of the Living fully returns + Securing Southern Jewish communities
Good Monday morning!
In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the Community Security Service’s efforts to expand to the Southeastern United States and feature op-eds by Jon Hornstein and Rabbi David Fainsilber. We’ll start with March of the Living’s plans for the upcoming Holocaust Remembrance Day.
March of the Living will resume operations in its “full format” for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with thousands of people from around the world due to participate in delegations to Poland later this month for Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, the organization said Sunday, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.
The march, whose theme is “Honoring Jewish Heroism in the Holocaust,” will be led by 42 Holocaust survivors, and the participants will include U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israeli Education Minister Yoav Kisch, Jewish Agency Board of Governors Chair Mark Wilf, Jewish Agency Chair Doron Almog and Keren Kayemet Le’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund Chair Ifat Ovadia Luski, as well as a number of notable philanthropists, including Robert Kraft, Miriam Adelson, Haim Taib, Eitan Neishlos and Mati Kochavi. The latter two recently made major contributions to March of the Living’s “From Soul to Sole” campaign to preserve the shoes of 80,000 children killed in the Holocaust.
“This is a special year that marks several significant events, the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel, and the 35th anniversary of the March of the Living,” President of the International March of the Living Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, and its chair, Shmuel Rosenman, said in a joint statement.
Nides and Friedman will lead an inaugural Bipartisan Diplomatic Delegation, an American initiative aimed at highlighting “what unites us as Jewish people and as human beings,” the two ambassadors said in a joint statement. Kraft will lead a delegation titled, “Speak up to Jewish hate,” which is connected to his recently launched campaign aimed at combating antisemitism. Taib, an Israeli entrepreneur born in Jerusalem to Tunisian parents, will be marching in memory of the Tunisian Jews killed in the Holocaust whose persecution by the Nazis – along with other Jewish communities in North Africa – has long been overshadowed by the experiences of European Jews.
Community Security Service expands to Southeast as antisemitism rises in the U.S.
The Community Security Service, which trains and oversees volunteer security guards for Jewish institutions, is expanding to dozens more locations across the Southeast United States, the organization told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross. Last week, representatives from 37 communities, most of them small, gathered in Atlanta for a one-day workshop to start the process of training them as volunteer security personnel, Richard Priem, chief operating officer of CSS, told eJP. The workshop was funded by the Marcus Family Foundation and received organizational support from the Institute for Southern Jewish Life and the Atlanta Federation, Priem said. The participants came from eight states across the southeast, from Kentucky to northern Florida.
Rising antisemitism: Priem noted the findings of the Anti-Defamation League’s recent survey of antisemitism in the United States, which found that a disproportionately high number of incidents occurred in areas with smaller Jewish populations. “Antisemitism is on the rise in the US and we need to do everything we can to protect our community and our institutions. CSS and other institutions are on the front lines every day offering trainings and real expertise to ensure that our synagogues and its members can live a flourishing life,” Bernie Marcus, founder of the Atlanta-based Home Depot and the Marcus Foundation, said in a statement to eJP.
Skin in the game: Largely based on the Community Security Trust model developed in the United Kingdom, CSS trains local community members to serve as security guards in synagogues and other communal institutions. The rationale behind it is that a paid security guard, no matter how dedicated, will not know the community nearly as well as someone who is a part of it, meaning they might not be able to tell when something in the community is amiss. A member of a synagogue is also more likely to feel personally connected to the other congregants and thus more responsible for their safety, Priem explained. “When you train someone whose friends and family are inside, they’re going to pay attention. They have skin in the game,” he said.
Eyes and ears: According to the ADL study, last year saw the largest number of antisemitic incidents since the organization began tracking them. Based on the first quarter of 2023, Priem said this year is on track to surpass 2022. While this can be addressed by spending large sums of money to increase physical security measures – what experts call “target hardening” – volunteers with basic training can also thwart many potential attacks, noticing things that don’t look quite right, like a suspicious car parked outside the building. “They don’t need a Jewish federation with a big security budget, they can get started with whatever they have,” Priem said. “A lot of it is also about being eyes and ears. Several people got arrested because our people reported it. You didn’t hear about it because they were arrested before they could do anything.”
Read the full article here.
Reaching all who are hungry: The case for focusing on Jewish poverty
“’This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate Passover.’ One of the most celebrated customs among American Jews, the Seder is a ritual feast that marks the Jews gaining freedom from slavery — and it begins with a reminder to include those who are in need. In that spirit, Passover is an opportune time to shine a light on the persistent ills of poverty,” writes Jon Hornstein, U.S. Jewish community grantmaking lead at The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Foundation focus on Jewish poverty: “The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of people who experience poverty in general and, more specifically, within the Jewish community. Throughout my five years of leading the Weinberg Foundation’s work on Jewish poverty, I often get asked: Why focus on Jewish poverty? Shouldn’t we care about everyone who is struggling, regardless of identity?”
Unique community dynamics: “Yes, we should — and we do. In 2022, over 30% of the foundation’s grantmaking supported the Jewish community in Israel and the United States, while the remaining nearly 70% went to nonprofits serving a range of people in need in both countries. Yet poverty in the U.S. Jewish community has unique dynamics that warrant individualized attention.”
Back to the Land
Jews in the woods
“I had only known urban or suburban living until I moved to Vermont. Having grown up in Montreal in the suburban shtetl that is ironically called Cote-Saint-Luc, I moved to the West Coast, then New York City, and finally, to Boston for rabbinical school at Hebrew College. Rural living was as foreign to me as a New York bagel,” writes Rabbi David Fainsilber, spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
New forms of Jewish life: “Those who were born in Vermont or who move here have a certain passion for life. You need to possess that if you are going to endure or, dare I say, even enjoy our cold winters! We call ourselves ‘Jews in the woods.’ Jews in our area have intentionally moved away from the central urban and suburban experience, including its robust Jewish life, in order to be tucked away in the woods, pursuing communion with nature, and a simpler, back-to-the-land lifestyle. In some ways, I see it as a move back in time, especially for Ashkenazi Jews who lived much of recent centuries in Eastern European small communities. At the same time, it’s a forward-looking move, embracing new creative forms of Jewish life, and enabling access for new, often marginalized Jews.”
D.I.Y. Supply Chains: When the Russian invasion of Ukraine broke down normal supply chains and made it difficult for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to get goods to its clients, the organization had to develop its own distribution methods, JDC CEO Ariel Zwang writes in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “For the last year, meeting even the most basic needs was nearly impossible in Ukraine as shops ran out of goods, people couldn’t go out for essential items, and supply chains broke down amidst shelling, widespread destruction, and closures of supermarkets and pharmacies. In Ukraine, a functioning supply chain quickly became a matter of life and death… To make sure aid continued to those populations, nonprofits such as the one I lead, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, needed to get creative. For us, that meant developing our own supply chain to ensure that the people we serve in Ukraine, predominately [sic] elderly, impoverished Jews, survived.” [ChronicleofPhilanthropy]
Holiday of Freedom: Though young, Uganda’s locally grown Jewish community has already faced considerable hardship, making its devotion to Judaism that much more admirable, writes Rabbi Dan Ornstein for National Public Radio. “My friend Jacob reaches out to me in Albany, New York, 7,677 miles from his home in Mbale, Uganda. He is seeking matzo for Passover and prayers for his community, known as the Abayudaya. I will mail the matzo to him before the holiday… The Abayudaya have painstakingly rebuilt their community through profound faith and determination as well as help from Jewish communities throughout the world. Today there are an estimated 2,500 Abayudaya Jews in Uganda — about 97 of them in Jacob’s village… The Abayudaya are giving me a Passover gift as well… Their steadfastness grants hope to all who wish to live in freedom, free of persecution. For me, that gift of hope is more precious than gold.” [NationalPublicRadio]
Around the Web
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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced four grants totaling $11.1 million focused on the collection, preservation and dissemination of the narratives of communities marginalized from American history…
The New York Women’s Foundation announced grants totaling $1.54 million in support of efforts to advance economic justice, strengthen democracy, end mass incarceration and defend transgender rights…
The Jewish Agency for Israel released a new song composed by former Hadag Nachash frontman Sha’anan Streett in honor of Israel’s upcoming 75th Independence Day…
Pic of the Day
More than 700 mostly Russian-speaking Jews, including 123 children, celebrated together in Berlin this weekend for the first-ever Limmud FSU Europe event in Germany. Participants hailed from 24 countries, including many who call Ukraine home.
Actress, comedian, singer, writer, producer and songwriter, Rachel Bloom…
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who held a series of posts at The New York Times from 1952 until 2000, including eight years as executive editor, Max Frankel… Democratic political strategist, Gina Glantz… Member of the Los Angeles City Council until four months ago, he was previously a three-term member of the California State Assembly, Paul Koretz… Dean at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University and a contributing editor of The Atlantic, Eliot A. Cohen… Singer, songwriter and music producer, Craig Reid Taubman… Jazz pianist, arranger and composer, James Gelfand… Rabbi, author, speaker and dean at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Bradley Shavit Artson… CEO of Phase 2 Media and former Chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group, Sandy Grushow… President and CEO of MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Shapiro… Defense attorney and CNN commentator, he has represented four U.S. governors facing impeachment proceedings, Ross H. Garber… Associate justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Raquel Montoya-Lewis… Member of the Knesset for the National Unity party, Ze’ev Elkin… Executive director of public affairs at Jewish United Fund – Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Daniel Goldwin… Award-winning Israeli classical pianist who currently lives in NYC, Ran Dank… Israeli screen, stage and television actress, Dana Ivgy… NYC-based independent filmmaker, who, together with his younger brother Benjamin, directed and wrote the 2019 film Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler, Joshua Safdie… Television and film actress, Amanda Bynes… Professional tennis player currently on the WTA Tour, Madison Brengle… Product marketing, developer experience at Square, Eva Sasson… Private foundation executive, Harry Zieve Cohen… Freelance director and journalist, his debut film is based on his four years reporting inside the alt-right movement, Daniel Lombroso… Junior at Emory, Zach Pearlstone… Washington correspondent for Israel’s public broadcasting corporation, Nathan Guttman…